News Cast for February 14th:
Calls reduced for OCFR
Okeechobee County firemen had a busy 2023.
In his annual report to commissioners Fire Chief Earl Wooten says they had 7,454 total incidents. 83 percent of them are ambulance, medical calls or car crashes. They transported 4,750 patients last year.
Wooten said they had a small decrease in calls because they no longer provide fire truck standbys when helicopters land at HCA Raulerson Hospital.
Wooten said a majority of the calls remain in and around the city limits.
They are working on a new fire station in conjunction with the growth north of town, adding a second ambulance in Treasure Island, and a new station somewhere in southwest Okeechobee in the future.
A sex offender who violated probation and absconded was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Carlos Garcia, 46, also will serve 10 years on probation.
The case dates all the way back to 2006.
Prosecutor Ashley Albright said they aren’t sure where Garcia hid for close to four years after he removed a GPS monitoring
unit. He was pulled over by an Okeechobee deputy and gave him a wrong name.
Garcia scored 123 months in jail. He pled no contest to violation of probation, lewd and lascivious molestation, giving a false name while arrested, resisting arrest without violence, escape and possession of a fictitious license.
Authorities said he vacated a residence in St. Lucie County without informing authorities. He also removed a GPS monitoring device that had been ordered by the court.
Buckhead Ridge VFW 9528 honored Glades Counties teacher of the year Michelle Tew.
They also honored Jo Ellen Erskine who won the Voice of Democracy essay contest and Alessia Grecco for the Patriots Pen essay contest this year.
John Denny read a portion of Grecco’s winning essay to the Glades County school board. She wrote about the huge differences between her home country and the US.
She also wrote about the additional opportunities students have in the US to advance education through scholarships.
The school system also purchased $21,000 worth of metal detectors to improve security at Glades County schools.