News Cast 9/24

News Cast for September 24th:

Prosecutors looking at video 

The State Attorney is considering filing charges against an underage student injured while being arrested at Okeechobee High School. 

Attorney in charge Ashley Albright said they will also review the actions of the school resource deputy. 

“We have received the juvenile take and hold warrant.  We are reviewing it like we do any case.  We hold a state attorney hearing.  We meet with all the witnesses, take sworn testimony, review the video, and make a filing decision from there.” 

The student was taken down to the concrete and suffered a possible broken leg and was hospitalized. 

He allegedly acted up on a school bus and was being disruptive and verbally abusive to staff and other students, the incident report added. 

Belle Glade debates shots 

The city of Belle Glade will not require employees to be vaccinated. 

City Manager Robert Rease said he supported incentives for employees, not mandates. 

“There has been a lot o flitigations and expenses to city that require vaccinations.  We will be required to pay for that.  Instead, we chose to encourage our people to be vaccinated.” 

They offered $100 gift cards to employees that get or have gotten the shots. 

They will also offer free flu shots to employees. 

City board supports heavy commercial project 

The Okeechobee city planning board recommended a rezoning of two lots of about 4 acres to heavy commercial. 

The site was turned down for a 44-unit town house project earlier this year. 

Planning Board member Phil Baughman said the town houses would have been a nice fit for the neighborhood. 

“I still believe what you had fit.  I hope in the future you will not be turned away if you have another opportunity to get something like that going.  I think it is needed and would work well.” 

City Council wanted to keep as much commercial property as they could as they turned down the project. 

The applicant could propose a national hotel or motel chain for the properties. 

The lots are located in the 200 block of NE 3rd St, and in the 300 block of NE 4th St. 

Florida’s West Coast unite against Lake plan 

West Coast counties are lining up against the proposed Lake Okeechobee regulation schedule. 

They complain too much polluted water will be sent down the Caloosahatchee River. 

They also don’t like the east coast getting less water than they do. 

Lee County Commission Chairman Kevin Ruane said this plan is worse than the current plan. 

“We will actually potentially receive more water than the plan from 2008.  I never thought I would wait 13 years to actually receive more water and have a worse situation.” 

Lee, Collier, and Charlotte Counties Board of County Commissioners sent letters of concern to the Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville about the plan. 

COVID drops in Okeechobee 

COVID cases dropped by 50 percent in Okeechobee last week. 

Vaccinations are now up to 48 percent with more than a  thousand of teenagers. 

Raulerson Hospital administrator Brian Melear said they remain busy with 24 patients COVID positive, 44% of their intensive care unit.  They admitted eight new patients in the past week. 

Melear said in the past 15 months Raulerson has admitted 735 patients for COVID. 

The health department reported 129 new cases in the past week, 23 of them school age children. 

Melear suggested the surgical center for use for monoclonal antibody treatments being set up by the state. 

One unit in Highlands County was going to come to Okeechobee one day per week for treatments. 

That was put on hold when the state allotment for the treatment was cut by the federal government