News Cast 5/26

News Cast for May 26th:

When numerous types of businesses were permitted to reopen this month after weeks of COVID-19 induced inactivity, schools were omitted from that list. This forced schoolteachers to continue to conduct online learning with their students. Okeechobee County School Superintendent Ken Kenworthy says when he heard that online learning would be done for the rest of the school year, it was a surprise because he and other school officials were not told beforehand. That said, Kenworthy says despite the growing pains associated with having to do this, it’s been a success considering there are over 66 hundred students to teach. Kenworthy says as well as online learning has progressed, it’ll never replace face to face learning in a classroom.

The last day of school is on May 28th and students have until then to get all work done. There will be no final exams or standardized tests as voted on by the school board.

An Okeechobee man is facing serious charges following an officer involved shooting two weeks ago where the man was shot himself. 25 year old John David Brighton was taken to county jail last Thursday after being released from the hospital where he was treated for gunshot wounds in connection with a shooting that took place on the afternoon of May 12th. Investigators say Brighton engaged officers in a shooting after they were trying to pull him over to serve an arrest warrant on him in the Basswood subdivision area. Brighton fled the scene while pointing a gun at detectives, who were forced to fire multiple shots at him, with two shots hitting him in the buttocks and shoulder. Sheriff Noel Stephen says no officers were hurt in this incident and he says that’s attributable to the training his officers have received.

Investigators say Brighton, who was out on bond and ordered back to jail because of subsequent arrests, had a Crosman pellet revolver and an airsoft rifle on him when he was arrested. He’s charged with aggravated assault on law enforcement and resisting arrest. His bond has not been set. The detective who was forced to shoot Brighton was put on administrative leave.  

Officials from the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Department say several gas pumps at the Town Star Gas Station on the 23 hundred block of Route 70 West, have recently been tampered with and illegal card skimmers installed. These card skimmers can digitally capture your financial and personal information by anyone specifically criminals. If you have used this gas station, it’s advised that you monitor your bank records and alert your bank if there’s any fraudulent activity. This case is currently being investigated.

There are now 51,746 reported cases of people who have tested positive for the Coronavirus in the state, with 50,414 of them being FL residents. The state’s death toll stands at 2,252 with 9,424 people hospitalized.

To get an idea of what restaurants or other businesses are open or closed in Okeechobee County, please log on to our website at www.wokc.com.

Along with the Wal-Mart parking lot on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7am to 9am each day, Okeechobee County residents can be tested for the Coronavirus at the Okeechobee County Health Department, the emergency room at Raulerson Hospital or by contacting Florida Community Health Centers at (863) 763-7481. You must meet certain criteria before you can be tested and you need to make an appointment. If you’re not sure if you fit the criteria to be tested, please call the county health department and they’ll let you know for sure. These testing sites are available on weekends.

Raulerson Hospital in Okeechobee remains on lockdown and they are not allowing any visitors to patients at this time.

The Okeechobee County COVID-19 information line remains open from 8am to 5pm every Monday thru Friday.  This hotline is manned by live personnel and callers can ask about county updates on the Coronavirus and what is being done. The hotline will not address questions about the virus itself or medical questions. The hotline related to county updates on the Coronavirus is (863) 763-3536. Any questions related to the virus itself, please call the Okeechobee Health Department at (863) 462-5800 or the 24/7 Department of Health hotline at (866) 779-6121.

Remember, the key to avoiding the Coronavirus is good personal hygiene. Washing your hands for at least 20-30 seconds with soap and water or using a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol in it is recommended. Avoid touching your eyes or face with unwashed hands. Practice social distancing by keeping at least six feet away from someone when greeting them and not shaking any hands. Avoid shopping at peak hours and use delivery services instead.  Avoid places where there are 10 people or more.

If you need further information about the virus and recommendations for preventing it, please log on to the Department of Health at floridahealth.gov or the Center for Disease Control at cdc.gov.

On the arrest report:

27 year old Chase Andrea Cunningham of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for possession of synthetic cannabis, oxycodone without a prescription, driving on a suspended license, and introducing contraband into a detention facility after a traffic stop. Her bond is set at $40 thousand dollars.

46 year old Edward Presley Barsh Junior of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of synthetic cannabis, fleeing and eluding law enforcement and tampering with evidence after a traffic stop and subsequent high speed pursuit. His bond is set at $15 thousand dollars.

21 year old Shaun Michael St. John of Okeechobee was arrested by police on a warrant from Highlands County for violating probation on past grand theft charges and recently driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. His bond has not been set.