Monday June 1, 2020 News

A 12-year incumbent and a second-time candidate will vie for Seat A on the Belle Glade City Commission in a municipal election, scheduled for Tuesday. Michael Martin, who was first elected to the commission in 2008 and had since faced no challengers, is running against Robert Mitchell. Mitchell ran for the commission in 2018 against Vice Mayor Mary Ross Wilkerson, but got one-third of the vote, losing by 400. Mitchell believed the city is “not managed well” for the city manager’s $235,000 yearly salary, saying he would even like to take that job. Mitchell uses his campaign Facebook page to share coronavirus updates and ways residents can tune into city commission meetings, which he felt haven’t been as open to the public since the pandemic.

The latest COVID numbers as of May 31st, 2020 in Hendry, Glades and Western Palm Beach Counties are as follows: 415 positive cases reported in Hendry, Glades County Reports 28, and WPBC, which includes Belle Glade, Pahokee and South Bay, reports 714 cases combined. It is unclear if these numbers include those employed and housed at South Bay and Moore Haven Correctional Facilities. Clewiston City Manager Randy Martin said for the first time, the state DOH website has the Clewiston zip code designated on their map as a “hot spot” along with nearby Immokalee and Belle Glade. That said, the management is not lifting any restrictions in the City at this time and is still recommending that all citizens continue following the guidance provided by the CDC and DOH in order to slow the spread of COVID-19:   More information about COVID-19 cases in Florida can be found on the DOH website – https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/ There you can find a county by county and city by city breakdown of every zip code in the state.

On Friday afternoon at about 1:30, PBSO Detectives were conducting an investigation in the 400 block of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Belle Glade when shots rang out from a vehicle, in the direction of the detectives.  Thankfully, no one was struck by gunfire. Further investigation led to the identity of 2 suspects: Keren Briscoe and Jatavious Odoms.  Briscoe was located, interviewed and denied involvement, but, probable cause was found to arrest him.  Detectives identified Odoms as the driver of the vehicle.  He was located and arrested as well. Odoms basically said that Law Enforcement was purposefully targeted during the shooting. Both were booked into the Palm Beach County Jail with no bond. 

The 20th Judicial Circuit Courts will move into phase two of operations on Monday as the state begins to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lee, Collier, Charlotte and Glades counties have met all criteria to transition to phase two, according to a news release from the 20th Judicial Circuit Courts. Hendry County courthouse remains in the first phase. The plan extends to in-person court proceedings with the use of protective measures. Remote technology is strongly encouraged and will be used. People entering the 20th Judicial Circuit courthouses are required to wear face masks or appropriate face coverings at all times. People without a face mask will be provided with one for free. All people entering are also subject to a health and safety screening, including temperature scans. Whether inside or outside of the courthouses, people must remain 6 feet apart. There were two confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in a non-court entity at the Hendry County Courthouse, according to the release. Once deep cleaning of the areas have taken place, all criteria for Hendry County will be met. There is a Phase Three in the chief justice’s plan and a Phase Four, which would be a complete return to normalcy.

Hurricane season starts on today and runs until November 30th. Hendry county is encouraging residents to create a plan that outlines what to do before, during and after a hurricane.  Remember to upgrade your hurricane kit to include hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and a few face masks per person. Take advantage of the tax-free holiday which goes thru June 4th. With shortages of products since the COVID-19 virus first surfaced, be wary of fake websites claiming to sell these and other related products are also continuing to surface.  To learn more about how to avoid COVID-19 scams visit: BBB.org/Coronavirus