News Cast 8/14

News Cast for August 14th:

Thanks to the Okeechobee County Commissioners, a local armed forces veteran will be honored in a very special way for his service to this country. During their meeting yesterday, County Commissioners gave the green light on a couple of street signs that will bear the name of Corporal Earl Henry Hansel where Center Street is located.  Cpl. Hansel served with the US Navy in World War II and again in the Korean Conflict. Cpl. Hansel was captured and died a Prisoner of War (POW) in Korea. Okeechobee County Community Services Director Denise Whitehead, who played a big part in assisting Sarah Carter from the local Veterans’ Services office in getting these street signs accomplished, says being a part of this made her extremely proud. Commissioner Bryant Culpepper, also a US Navy veteran, says this recognition was “long, long overdue” for Cpl. Hansel. The idea for this was brought to the commissioners a year ago by Okeechobee resident Betty Williamson, a childhood friend of Cpl. Hansel. Williamson says Cpl. Hansel was a “humorous, well-liked Okeechobee guy” who loved chewing tobacco. The street signs will bear Cpl. Hansel’s name and on one of them it will read “In Memory of Cpl. Earl Hansel, POW-MIA.” The signs should be ready to be put up in the next few weeks.

Once again, the people who represent the Treasure Coast Food Bank will be making another trip to Okeechobee County this morning for a free food pantry to some lucky people and their vehicles. Okeechobee County Fire Chief Ralph Franklin says the food pantry will have enough food to pack several hundred vehicles and it will be held at the Agri-Civic Center which Franklin, and several others, say is the best place for this event. The food pantry will begin at nine o’clock this morning at the Agri-Civic Center and conclude at eleven o’clock. People attending won’t have to leave their vehicles. Officials from the Treasure Coast Food Bank, Okeechobee Sheriff’s Department and others will be on hand to assist in making sure it runs smoothly. People eligible will receive a call and given instructions on registering for this food pantry. There will be another free food pantry likely set for the 26th of August.

Okeechobee County is inching closer and closer the eleven hundred mark in positive COVID-19 cases. As of yesterday morning, courtesy of the Florida Department of Health, the number of positive cases in Okeechobee County is now at 1,087 since March, with 12 fatalities. 1,083 people diagnosed with the virus are local residents and their ages range from zero to 94 with the median age of the patients being 36. One hundred five county residents have been hospitalized. Those who have tested positive are being cooperative with the county and their health providers and going through routine contact tracing. Along with fever, coughing and shortness of breath, other COVID-19 symptoms to watch out for include chills, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, sore throat and a sudden loss of sense of smell or sense of taste.

During their meeting yesterday, the Okeechobee County Commissioners renewed the local state of emergency for the county for another week beginning today.

Also as of yesterday morning, there are a reported 557,137 reported positive cases of the Coronavirus since March and 551,232 of them are FL residents. The state’s death toll stands at 8,913 with 32,537 people hospitalized.

The Okeechobee County COVID-19 information line remains open from 8am to 5pm now every Tuesday thru Saturday. This number, which also doubles as the phone number of the County Library 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 County Library phone number/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 or the Center for Disease Control at

On the arrest report:

37 year old Joshua Alan Tarvin of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for failing to register as a sex offender with the sheriff’s department. His bond is set at five thousand dollars.

21 year old Edwardo Ciannelli Taylor Junior of Okeechobee was arrested for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and several counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without the intent to kill. His bond is set at $52 thousand five hundred dollars.

43 year old Augustus Rose Junior of Okeechobee was arrested for perjury and giving false information to a law officer. His bond is set at five thousand dollars.

45 year old Pittman Jason Sampson of Okeechobee was arrested by police for driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. His bond is set at five hundred dollars.

24 year old James Lee Howling the Fourth of Okeechobee was arrested for loitering and trespassing. His bond is set at a thousand dollars.