Monday February 1, 2021

It’s reported that the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office is dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19 in the county jail. 34 inmates have allegedly tested positive so far. The Sheriff’s Office reportedly said it is now isolating all of the positive inmates, away from the general population.  According to a study by the non-profit Marshall Project released last month, one in every five prisoners nationwide has tested positive for COVID-19, and more than 1,700 have died. The Sheriff’s Office said none of the inmates who tested positive are showing symptoms at this time.

After lots of pushing from residents and leaders in the Glades communities, the Palm Beach County Health Department will receive 5,000 additional vaccines for communities with limited access to Publix pharmacies. It’s reported that, that’s about how many people 65 and older live in the area. Commissioner Melissa McKinlay and other leaders sounded off after Gov. DeSantis decided to make vaccines available to 67 Publix pharmacies in the county, limiting access to residents in western Palm Beach County. McKinlay says she is now making sure isolated seniors in Belle Glade, South Bay and Pahokee, have a chance of protection. The county is considering the Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center at Palm Beach State College as a possible vaccine site. It’s centrally located and has plenty of parking. McKinlay considers this announcement as a victory for not only those in western Palm Beach County, but for rural counties across Florida.

An Okeechobee man is dead following a vehicle accident that happened late Friday night in Martin County. A 20-year-old Indiantown man was traveling east on County Road 714. The 70-year-old Okeechobee man was traveling on the same road in the opposite direction. The 20-year-old traveled into the westbound lane hitting the 70-year-old head on. The 70-year-old came to final rest on the side of the road. The Okeechobee man did not survive injuries sustained, and was pronounced deceased on scene by Martin County Fire Rescue. This case is still pending investigation.

Just before Hurricane Irma came to our state, the city of South Bay had a plan for a new community center. Officials wanted to build a facility that would act as a community center during good weather and an emergency shelter. The city leaders asked the state for $2.14 million. They were awarded $337,500. Even when the hurricane damaged the Tanner Park Center in South Bay, requests made for the next two legislative sessions never made it beyond committee hearings. Last year, lawmakers agreed to put up $550,000 for the project, but Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed it. This month, South Bay was awarded $2.08 million to build “a larger, more resilient community center that serves as an emergency shelter,” according to a news release. This $2 million grant is a jumping off point, local leaders, however, expect construction costs to near $10 million.  Anticipated construction could begin in late 2022.