News 3-13-2020

A Clewiston man will likely face jail time after being found guilty on Wednesday evening of sexual assault. A Hendry County Court jury found 48-year-old William Carroll Meredith guilty of one count of Sexual Battery When Victim is Physically Incapacitated and one count of Petit Theft following a two-day trial in Hendry County. Court documents say last year Meredith sexually battered a woman at his home while she was unconscious. He also took photos of her before and after the attack before stealing a hundred dollars from her purse. The victim discovered the crime when she awoke and found the photos on Meredith’s phone and saw multiple Facebook messages, he wrote to friends detailing what he’d done. She took his phone and reported him to the sheriff’s department. Meredith will be sentenced on April 8th.

A local restaurant is extending its efforts to protect its customers against the Covid-19 outbreak. Store manager Tracy Giese of Sonny’s Barbecue in Clewiston says they’ve put more frequent practices in place to ensure an even more sanitary dining atmosphere. She will continue taking steps toward keeping Sonny’s BBQ a safe and inviting place to eat.

More new case of COVID-19 in Florida have been announced as of yesterday. A 68-year-old male in Seminole County has tested positive. He is isolated, and will remain so, until cleared by public health officials. As of yesterday afternoon, the total number of positive cases in Florida is 27. But, as of about 11 o’clock last night that total soared. 15 new positive cases were tested in our state. This includes two males in Palm Beach County. One is a 73-year-old, the other a 74-year-old, both are travel related. Total number of positive cases in Florida is now, 41. The death toll remains at 2. Visit the COVID-19 webpage at Florida Health.gov for more information.

Governor Ron DeSantis announced the activation of the Business Damage Assessment survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Florida’s local business operations. The survey, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will evaluate businesses affected by COVID-19 and the impacts the virus has had on the local economy so actions to implement appropriate relief programs can begin.

Last week, thousands of people from literally all over the world came to experience the Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival. This weekend, Okeechobee County will host another special event known as the Speckled Perch Festival. This very special event is a time to celebrate the fishing industry and honor tourists who love to fish. Mayor Dowling Watford says the event has grown from a time of people donating the speckled perch to a huge festival with lots of attractions for people to see and have people experience what Okeechobee has to offer. Watford says another added attraction to the event this year is a car show. The Speckled Perch Festival was started in the early 1960’s by the Okeechobee County Chamber of Commerce.