News Cast 8/31

News Cast for August 31st:

For the second time in three days, the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Department dealt with a missing palmetto berry picker, but this latest case unfortunately did not yield a happy ending like the previous one did as this man was later found dead. Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Department Spokesperson Corporal Jack Nash says the Sheriff’s Department received a call of the missing palmetto berry picker sometime late Wednesday afternoon and deputies responded to the Triple S Ranch off of Highway 68 and were told by members of this man’s group that he failed to show up at a predetermined location at two o’clock. Nash says this man, a 63 year old African-American of Haitian descent and Ft. Pierce resident, had been missing from his group since 11:30 that morning. A search commenced and his body was found sometime later. Despite no apparent foul play involved in this case, Nash says he and others hoped this would yield a positive result like the previous case.

The man’s name is not being released at this time as it’s still under investigation. Nash says this case is not related to the previous case involving 65 year old Jean Odney Alexandre of Immokalee who disappeared Monday afternoon after picking palmetto berries in the prairie area of Northern Okeechobee County. Alexandre was found unharmed Thursday morning at Kissimmee State Park.

As of Friday morning, Okeechobee County received eight more additions to their number of positive COVID-19 cases but thankfully no more fatalities for the time being. Courtesy of the Florida Department of Health, the number of positive cases in Okeechobee County is at 1,219 since March, with 15 fatalities. 1,215 people diagnosed with the virus are local residents and their ages range from zero to 94 with the median age of the patients being 38. 127 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.

Also of Friday morning, Hendry County has 1,957 positive cases of the Coronavirus since March with 39 fatalities. 1,955 of them are Hendry County residents. The age ranges of those that have been affected are zero to 101 with the median age being 37. 172 residents have been hospitalized. In all, there are 615,806 reported positive cases of the Coronavirus in the state since March and 609,074 of them are FL residents. Florida’s death toll is at 10,957 along with 38,029 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 floridahealth.gov or the Center for Disease Control at cdc.gov.

School is set to start today for Palm Beach County area students. Many of them will have to rely on access to internet, thanks to the restrictions from COVID-19. Many parents, teachers and advocates have spoken up about the digital divide that exits in some local areas. Palm Beach County resident Tammy Jackson-Moore is used to speaking up on behalf of the residents of Belle Glade, Pahokee, and South Bay on a myriad of issues that might come up that face the community. Jackson-Moore says one of the biggest issues is children’s access to education (Moore 1). Jackson-Moore says many of the area residents are grateful for the leaders in the community that are helping to make a way for the students despite the fact there might not be enough Google Chromebooks available for all.

On the arrest report:

19 year old Tyrone Tyrese Frost of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for contempt of court during his hearing on past charges of possession of a weapon by a convicted felon and possession of cocaine. He’s being held without bond.

25 year old Veronica Nicole Garcia of Okeechobee was arrested on several counts of violating probation on past charges of grand theft and depositing bad checks with intent to defraud someone. She’s being held without bond.

58 year old Deborah Jean Gillis of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of cocaine and the substance dextroamphetamine without a prescription. She was released after posting a ten thousand dollar bond.

44 year old Tony Ray Hammons of Okeechobee was arrested for false imprisonment of someone by threat. His bond is set at five thousand dollars.

21 year old Mariah Deona Mosely of Okeechobee was arrested on a capias warrant for battery for the second time. Her bond is set at $25 hundred dollars.

41 year old Richard Woods Reynolds of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past charges of possessing methamphetamine and other drugs. He was released after posting a $15 hundred dollar bond.

26 year old Santos Diaz Junior of Moore Haven was arrested for failing to return borrowed property. His bond has not been set.