News Cast 5/10

News Cast for May 10th:

Crowns for a cure draws overwhelming response

Organizer Taylor Fulford had to change the venue of the first ever Crowns for a Cure Beauty Pagaent after an overwhelming response from Okeechobee.

The event raised $9,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

65 kids from newborn to 18 competed for titles at the event Saturday.

Fulford said in her mind all of the kids were winners, “We want to congratulate all of our contestants, even the contestants that were not given a title walked away with a crown, sash, a rose and new friendships.”

The seven winners received over $350 in prizes, a modeling contract, and two of the older winners received a $1,000 scholarship for tuition and books at Indian River State College.

Fulford thanked everyone who came and volunteered to make the event a success, “We are overwhelmed by the love and generosity Okeechobee has given toward this cause.”

She said the event made a difference in the lives of people in Okeechobee and other communities.

Polk Sheriff defends police in Florida

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said the police reform bill before the governor won’t make dramatic changes to the profession.

He said Florida officers already have more training and more oversight than most states.

He said choke holds aren’t allowed in his department and deputies do have a duty to intervene when a colleague oversteps.

“The bill said you have a duty to intervene when one of your colleagues get emotionally caught up in an event.  We have always done that.”

He admits it is tougher than ever to hire officers but he wants standards to be high.

“This environment has made it more difficult.  One of the things I credit it to is the momma factor.   There are mothers all across this nation looking at their 20-22 year old child and say look, you are not going to take a job, work shift work, work nights and weekends and holidays, where you put your life on the line, where you are spit on, cussed at, stabbed and shot and then you make a mistake and you end up in state or federal prison.  You are not doing that.”

He said the national media bias against police has not helped anyone,

 “I am shocked by all of this.  I see false narratives and half-truths being perpetuated by main stream media as being accurate.  We are fortunate to be in Florida.  The state supports us, the governor supports us and I support all my men and women, all my deputies because they are doing a very difficult job.  If they mess up I hold them accountable.”

Deadly weekend on area roads

A 32 year old Moore Haven man was hospitalized with serious injury after a two vehicle wreck in western Glades County on Saturday morning.

The Florida highway patrol said the accident occurred on State road 78 near Marshall Field Road around 11 am Saturday.

The man operated a van west bound that crossed the center line that struck the trailer of another vehicle.

Route 70 was shut down for several hours early Saturday after a four vehicle crash near Lake Placid.

Two young adults from Highlands County were killed, an 18 year old from Sebring and a 21 year old from Lake Placid.

Another 18 year old from Lake Placid was in critical condition at Tampa General.

The accident was caused by a pickup truck driven by the 18 year old Sebring youth that went off the road struck a tree and utility pole and landed in the road.

Three other vehicles collided with each other due to the vehicle in the road, troopers said.

Another milestone for COVID

Okeechobee recently passed the 4,000 case mark for COVID-19.

The latest number 4,016 cases.

The number of those vaccinated is approaching 19,000.

Interim Health Department Director Bret Smith said they are trying to educate the public on the safety of the vaccine.

“When we go into these communities, I go with the community health nurse and we teach them how safe the vaccine is.  We use the Moderna vaccine that has very few instances or problems.  We encourage people by telling them the process, how safe they are, and get them lined up for vaccine.  It has worked successfully.”