News Cast 8/13

News Cast for August 13th:

A day in the life of a St. Lucie County Ag Unit Deputy is often ordinary. 

That all changed the afternoon of August 11 for Deputy Sheriff Mangrum when he encountered a suspect, of the avian nature, fleeing on foot near Okeechobee Road.  

As deputies approached the subject he attempted to elude law enforcement by running into some tall grass.  

Deputy Mangrum who stands at 6’1″ tall was able to coax the emu to the ground where he could be brought to safety.  

The large, flightless bird was transported to a local emu farm where he will remain in custody until his owners can be located.  

*While he was not emu-sed about being detained, no emus were harmed in events of this encounter 

COVID hits Raulerson hard 

Okeechobee reported a 39% increase in COVID cases last week. 

212 new cases were reported. 

Health Department Director Brett Smith said 41% of the population has been fully vaccinated. 

“We have had 14,987 people vaccinated.  That is pretty good numbers.  Right now one pharmacy does about 30 per day.  The health department is doing 20 to 25 shots.  People aren’t coming in to get vaccinated.” 

The hospital had 44 patients with COVID type symptoms and 13 in intensive care. 

The normal capacity of ICU is 10 patients. 

Commission Chairman Terry Burroughs said the vast majority of hospitalizations are young people that have not been vaccinated. 

Nine staff at Okeechobee county fire rescue were out due to COVID or having close contacts with positive cases. 

The Glades County Sheriff Detective Bureau was also without any detectives due to COVID for one week. 

Sheriff David Hardin said many of the detectives were not vaccinated. 

Glades Schools return with normal week 

Glades County schools started with few problems this week. 

Sheriff David Hardin wanted to remind motorists that school buses are on the road. 

He said there are cases of motorists passing stopped school buses especially on US 27. 

He said the first time his officers will issue warnings but will start writing citations if the gentle reminder does not work. 

Superintendent Dr. Beth Barfield said a small percentage of students wore masks. 

She is teaching one class each day at the high school and noticed two to three or her class of 25 wore masks. 

She said they hope motorists slow down in school zones.  She noted small children and parents are getting used to the routine of dropping off their children and she asked others to be patient around schools. 

Agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried said mask mandates are needed in all schools in Florida. 

The Okeechobee County Economic Development Corporation working with Space Florida to pursue economic development opportunities at the airport. 

Director of Business and Economic Development for Space Florida Matt Chesnut said they have gotten good cooperation from Okeechobee. 

Chesnut said more aircraft maintenance facilities are needed in South Florida. 

He noted many urban airports are landlocked and can’t expand. 

President of the EDC Bert Culbreath said one firm is willing to invest 1 point 5 million at the airport.