News Cast 2/2

News Cast for February 2nd:

Convenience store evacuated due to smoke

A problem with the air conditioning units caused smoke to fill the B/P gas station and convenience store at 4993 US 441 south Monday night. Okeechobee County Fire Rescue said the store was evacuated and no one was injured. Both county and city units responded to the scene just after 10 p.m. The fire report said there was a lot of smoke in the building.

“There was thick white smoke exiting the roof along the eaves on the A and D side of the building with no flames visible.” Firemen entered the store but were unable to find any heart source of fire. They advised the store manager to contact an electrician and air conditioning expert to solve the problem.

Courts see backlog in cases

The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed court proceedings as courtrooms and jury trials were mostly shut down.

Jury trials began again in January.

Head of the Okeechobee State Attorney’s Office Ashley Albright said they expect to offer plea deals with time deadlines to try and get cases through the system. Albright said he agreed that justice delayed takes away from the state’s ability to prove a case.

“The older a case gets, witnesses forget things and details can become blurred.  From the state’s perspective we’d like to see cases go to trial within a month of the crime.” The backlog in cases has also added to the number of inmates awaiting trial at the Okeechobee County jail.

Health Department takes County Up on Vaccine offer

After several complaints about seniors having trouble getting appointments for COVID-19 vaccine, the Okeechobee Health Department agreed to hold an event at the Okeechobee Agri-Civic Center on Thursday. Officials said 500 doses of Moderna vaccine will be available beginning at 8:30 a.m

You must be 65 years or older or a direct health care worker to get the shot.  They are considered the first dose vaccinations. Proof of age and Florida residency is required. The vaccine will be distributed on a first come first serve basis.