News Cast 8/6

News Cast for August 6th:

Firemen make transition to one department 

The inter-local agreement for fire service kicked in on Monday. 

So far the transition has gone smoothly. 

The transition officially happened at 7 a.m. 

City Fire Chief Herb Smith said it was an emotional day.  He said the crew had one last group get together last week. 

“I got upset first thing in the morning but I worked through it. It was awkward but we got through it.  We got a lot of support from the city employees and families.”   

City Council this week approved a list of equipment that will go to the county. 

The county will also be allowed to use the former city station for storage for the next two years. 

Smith said his next task will be to sell off surplus fire equipment. 

County Fire Chief Ralph Franklin said the five, now former City firemen, begin shift work this weekend. 

He said he likes having new people and new equipment. 

“So far the transition has gone pretty well.  They are getting acclimated in our systems and computer programs.  The additional staffing is a big plus when it comes to safety at the fire scene and serving the public.  The equipment will allow us to keep a second engine at the main station.” 

Okeechobee Schools ready for new year 

Okeechobee schools kicked off the new school year with Open House last night. 

The first day of instruction is Monday. 

The COVID protocols remain the same. 

No mask mandates are in place although masks are available. 

No vaccinations are required but shots are available at the high school and Osceola Middle School. 

School Board member Malissa Morgan and the rest of the school board were updated on the protocols. 

She says this allows her to answer the questions of local parents. 

“I feel very comfortable with them.  I appreciate the superintendent giving us the whole list of the protocols.  That means we can respond when parents call us with questions.” 

Superintendent of Schools Ken Kenworthy said he felt the schools can have a normal year. 

“We know students are eager to return without masks.  We had record numbers in summer school.  We had a lot of camps over the summer that were all successful.  I hope this fall will be similar.  Kids will be excited to come back, see their friends, and get back on track.” 

Students who test positive will miss 10 days of school. 

Unvaccinated students who come into contact with positive cases will miss 14 days. 

Moore Haven man faces manslaughter charge 

A Glades County man faces a DUI manslaughter charge after an alcohol related crash east of LaBelle on July 31. 

The Florida Highway Patrol said Jorge Cristhian Perez Amador, was driving a vehicle involved in the three vehicle wreck near the intersection of SR-80 and Lexington Parkway. 

A 38 year old North Miami woman was killed in the accident. 

Charges filed include DUI manslaughter, and driving on a suspending license causing serious bodily injury or death.