News Cast 12/17

News Cast for December 17th:

A day of remembrance 

Okeechobee organizer Brad Phares said 1,500 wreaths will be laid on the graves of veterans in Okeechobee’s three cemeteries. 

Wreaths across America ceremonies to honor veterans will be held at 12 noon at Evergreen Cemetery in Okeechobee and at 11:30 am at Ortona Cemetery tomorrow. 

Phares said there was a lot of generosity this year 

“It was outstanding this year.  Two ladies really worked hard at the VFW to raise funds.  We made sure we got enough donations for every veterans grave to receive a wreath.” 

Wreaths are laid for all branches of the military and for POW’s and MIA’s. 

A procession to Evergreen will begin at 11:30 am at Cypress Hut Eagles Club. 

John Denny is helping to organize the event in Glades County. 

He said 425 wreaths will be laid by students in Moore Haven schools. 

“I used past soldiers and airmen in the past and this year we decided to get the younger generation involved.  The students will place the wreaths.  After the ceremony, some families asked to place a wreath on the graves of their departed loved ones.  When they are finished, the volunteers will place the wreaths on the graves.” 

Okeechobee county had a long list of things they want from the state in 2022. 

-They include $25 million to expand the jail 

-Permission to hold a sales tax referendum vote to help pay for the jail. 

-Getting back the former Okeechobee school for boys property 

-Improved broadband internet and help with more affordable housing. 

Chairman Terry Burroughs said South Florida Water Management District there is among agencies who want the former boys school. 

The county also wantw state funds to build an expo hall at the Ag Civic Center. 

Former governor Charlie Crist, running for that office again, says democrats have to do better among rural voters. 

“The different parts of the state are all beautiful.  You must go there look people in the eye, tell them you are concerned about them and their welfare, is incredibly important.  I know we need better leadership.  I’m running for governor to give people more hope and an opportunity for a better future.”’ 

Arrests today include 48 year old Michael Beckman of Lorida. 

Okeechobee County Sheriff Deputies said he was found in a vehicle reported stolen out of Charlotte County on 70 west. 

Deputies said over 22 grams of methamphetamine was found in the vehicle. 

60 year old Keith Woods was charged with possession of fentanyl and methamphetamine after a traffic stop on 70 east near Spot in the Sun. 

A Lakeport crash involving alcohol that killed two men led to a 28 year prison term Thursday. 

Judge Jack Lundy sentenced 43 year old Benjamin Desjardine of Louisiana for the January, 4, 2018 crash. 

He was convicted of DUI manslaughter at his trial in October. 

Two Lehigh Acres men were killed in the near head on collision,  55 year old Michael Furrow and 71 year old Robert Yale. 

A Brighton woman, Tracy Cypress, who stopped to help the injured, was herself struck and critically injured by another vehicle trying to avoid the debris in the road that night on route 721. 

COVID activity continues to be near zero in Okeechobee. 

Less than 1 percent have tested positive and more people have gotten tested since Thanksgiving. 

No omicron variant has been detected yet in Okeechobee 

Health Department Director Brett Smith said this strain appears to be less deadly. 

Our vaccination rate is now at 48 percent for those five years and older. 

Chairman Terry Burroughs voiced annoyance at the national media coverage of the new variant. 

“They talk about it being highly transmissible.  All of this stuff is highly transmissible.  The national media report on a lot of clutter and they make people in communities nervous.”