News Cast 10/11

News Cast for October 11th:

Helping prevent a tragedy

This is fire prevention week in Florida.

Okeechobee County Commissioners issued a proclamation at their meeting on October 6.

County Administrator Deborah Manzo said 74% of fire deaths in Florida occur inside the home.

“When a home fire does occur it is more likely to be serious.  People are more likely to die in a house fire today than they were in 1980.”

It’s estimated you have two minutes to get out of a newer home during a fire due to the building materials they use.

County officials urged families to have an evacuation plan and to keep good batteries in their smoke detectors.

Commissioners also accepted a grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for $1.8 million to start work on a new storm water treatment area.

They also hired a firm to design an expansion of the parking lot at the Okeechobee County Airport.

More water will be flowing down the Kissimmee River and boaters are urged to use caution.

The South Florida Water Management District Governing Board heard a presentation on the river restoration.

They plan to install three new culverts along US 98 near the river so water sheet flows into Chandler Slough.

They also burned 1,200 acres in Starvation Slough in an attempt to increase broadleaf marsh and wet prairie.

Recreation Project Manager Mike Cheek said they will also be working at Hidden Acres to help drainage as they install an earthen plug and berm.

“This will happen in the dry season.  We will keep water from funneling around the back and put in three berm gaps to allow for sheet flow and prevent water from pushing off to the east.  It will be a vast improvement.”

Osceola County was added as a major disaster area for FEMA.

Individual assistance has now been approved for DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands and Osceola County.

Public assistance for debris collection has been approved in Hendry, Highlands, and Osceola County.

This is the last day to register to vote for the November 8th election.  You can go by the Okeechobee Supervisor of Elections office today to register.

The city of Clewiston’s main impacts from Hurricane Ian was overflow traffic on US 27, and a busy 911 dispatch center.

They also have seen more people coming to Hendry county to shop with fewer stores left open in Fort Myers.

Commissioner Hillary Hyslope said residents should expect to see bare shelves for a time at local grocery stores.

Dispatchers helped with 911 calls to Glades, Hendry and Highlands County during the storm.

A 34-year-old Glades County man charged with shooting a man in Moore Haven.

Glades Deputies said the two had been fighting over a woman.

Thomas Santana allegedly first shot at the victim’s home. 

Later he allegedly shot him in the back and left leg outside a business on US 27.

Deputies also found several bullet holes in the victim’s vehicle.

Santana is facing charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and improper firing of a weapon.

A murder trial begins in Okeechobee this morning.

James Hodges goes on trial for a May of 2019 killing of 43 year old Paul Murphy of Jupiter.

The dead man found inside a vehicle in Taylor Creek off Cemetery Road.

Sheriff Deputies said the two men had a dispute over a debt.

Hodges was charged with second degree murder.