News 2-18-2020

The dangers of smokeless tobacco became a topic of concern during the Okeechobee County Commissioners meeting on Thursday and they took the time to proclaim this week as “Through With Chew Week.” Courtney Moyett, the Tobacco Prevention Specialist for Okeechobee County, says this is an initiative focusing on smokeless tobacco such as chewing tobacco and dip and the health risks associated with constantly using it. While facial deformities is a major side effect of constant use of smokeless tobacco, Moyett says there are a lot more to be concerned with. Moyett says smokeless tobacco has 28 additives in it and it usually has more nicotine than cigarettes. A reason people use smokeless tobacco is because they don’t think it’s a problem when it really is a big problem and kids see that and start using it.

The Clewiston City Commission met last night at city hall. The 3-hour meeting, which can still be viewed on the City’s Facebook page, started with a discussion about the Hampton Inn. Some constituents were uneasy about beer and wine service, as well as the location and even height of the structure. The Hampton Inn owner Harry Patel said that beer and wine will be available in a cooler for guests to purchase.  He also added that the structure had to be a minimum of 4 stories in order to use the Hampton Inn name. A local pastor was concerned about the hotel being too close to a place of worship. Mayor Mali Gardner said wine is served periodically at that very church! City Manager Randy Martin added that even hotels that don’t serve alcohol, do not prohibit their guests from bringing their own alcohol purchased elsewhere, back to their rooms. Commissioner Melanie McGAhee, who was noticeably very proud of the project said, “I think its great that someone thought enough of Clewiston to invest 10 million dollars into our town.” Patel later corrected the commissioner saying, “11”. The City is estimating an early summer completion date.

All visitors and vendors entering Hendry Regional Medical Center in Clewiston will now be required to provide a Government issued photo ID as part of an enhanced system to safeguard the patients and employees of the organization. The new system called FAST-PASS was installed the beginning of February. The FAST-PASS system rapidly identifies, captures and logs visitors and vendors who enter the facility. Located at all three entry points of HRMC, the new system allows employees to verify who is entering the facility at all times. Visitors, 16 years and older, will be required to show a valid form of ID and have their picture taken. A visitor’s badge will be printed to include their photo and the location they are visiting. Passes are only valid for 24 hours. Minors who are accompanied by an adult will also receive a badge with the parent/guardians photo on it. After April 1, 2020 individuals who do not present a valid form of ID will not be granted access to the facility.

A boil water notice has been issued for the city of LaBelle. According to city officials, all water users in LaBelle are being encouraged to bring water to a rolling boil for at least one minute before drinking it. The notice was issued because of equipment failure. Pressure was lost to the city’s water service area but service is back to normal. The notice will be in effect until Thursday, Feb. 20 at 2:30 p.m. City officials are waiting for a bacteriological survey to show that the water is safe to drink again. A different notice may be issued on Thursday if the water isn’t safe to consume.