News Cast 5/19

News Cast for May 19th:

Ritter could be named interim administrator

Okeechobee city council directed the City Attorney to negotiate a contract with Gary Ritter to step in as city administrator. Marcos Montes De Oca resigned from the job and that is effective on June 18. Mayor Dowling Watford said he thought Montes De Oca did a good job for the city.

“It is kind of a sad day any time a valuable employee leaves the city.  The city is a family.  Marcos will be very well where ever he goes.”

Watford said the city has improved since Montes De Oca took the job nearly six years ago.

Ritter said he would be interested in the permanent position.

“I think I would like the job if they (the council) likes what I do as the interim.  I look forward to keeping things running.  I love the city, this has been my home for over 40 years, and I look forward to serving the constituents here.”

The council also awarded the key to the city and an Outstanding Leadership Award to outgoing councilmember Wes Abney who resigns at the end of the month.

Raulerson Hospital is a safe facility

The latest safety grades were released on hospitals around the nation by the Leapfrog Group and Okeechobee’s hospital was among the 76 in Florida that earned top marks.

HCA/Raulerson earned an A grade and continued to improve its practices according to the report.

Raulerson administrator Brian Melear said he was glad to hear the news.

“It is what our community deserves.  It is what we strive for.  I have a consistent message for the team here, safety, quality, patient experience and physician and staff engagement.  We have the right kind of staff and physician leadership.  We focus on safety, quality and the patient experience.  We expect to deliver that kind of quality to our community.”

The goal of the grades is to reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by hospital errors across the nation.

Leapfrog Spokesperson Erica Mobley said COVID data was not included in this report but will be in the fall.

“There are a number of measures we look at in the safety grade.  These include staffing in the ICU, hand washing, and practices that prevent medical errors.  The hospitals that do well on these measures most likely were those giving better care to patients during the COVID time frame.”

Vehicle suffers $400 in damage from baseball bat

A 24 year old Lake Wales man reportedly became irate when he found his property in Lakeport ransacked and damaged.

Robert Koff landed in the Glades County Jail after he allegedly struck a 27 year old Clewiston man with a baseball bat up to 20 times injuring his arms and legs.

Koff was charged with criminal mischief, aggravated battery and burglary to a vehicle with an assault.

The victim was sitting in his vehicle in a convenience store parking lot on Kaufman Lane when the alleged attack occurred.

Glades EMS treated the victim at the scene.  He refused transport to the hospital.