News 3-2-2020

The Florida Department of Health has announced there are two presumptive positive cases of coronavirus disease in Florida. Despite these cases in Florida, the overall immediate threat to the public remains low. The first patient is an adult Manatee county resident without travel history to countries identified for restricted travel by the CDC. The second patient is an adult resident of Hillsborough county with a history of travel to Italy. These people are isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. COVID-19 can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, including when an individual coughs or sneezes. These droplets may land on objects and surfaces. Other people may contract COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.

A man is arrested after leading the Hendry County Sheriffs Office on a vehicle chase. Deputies say Thomas Ferguson fled the scene after a sergeant pulled him over in the area of Fort Denaud. Deputies say he wove in and out of traffic forcing people off the road and driving the wrong way. Deputies say Ferguson even tried to hit one of their cars. A report says, the sheriff, himself, eventually used his truck to stop Ferguson’s car.

One person was flown to a trauma hospital Friday morning after a house fire in Belle Glade, according to Palm Beach County Fire Rescue authorities. Rescue crews were called to a home near Southeast Third Street North and East Canal Street North shortly before 8:30. Two people were inside the home at the time of the fire; one person was injured. The extent of that person’s injuries was not immediately known.

A local rancher convicted of letting cows starve to death has been sentenced to five years of probation and 100 hours of community service. Court records show that 52-year-old Robert Starkweather was sentenced Friday in Hendry County court. He was convicted in January of 12 counts of aggravated animal cruelty. Deputies reported finding 13 dead cows and 131 emaciated cows and calves.

3rd meeting for the Montura ranch estates land use study took place February 29 at 10 a.m. The meeting is essentially a community-based mapping exercise that asks residents to locate desirable non-residential uses in the community. The attendees were broken into groups at tables with a map and facilitator from the Montura Study Team. Each group was responsible for presenting its ideas for shopping, schools, parks, medical and other important uses can be best located. The next meeting will be held on April 4.

Two people, including a Belle Glade man, were killed in an overnight motorcycle crash in West Park. The crash involved a group of bikers who were heading west on Hallandale Beach Boulevard at around 2 a.m., Sunday. Family members have identified the victims as Oscar Boatwright of Belle Glade, and Michael McKenzie of Miami. Reports say, Boatwright’s Harley-Davidson was split in half from the impact. BSO traffic homicide detectives are investigating the crash.

This next story may not be suitable for children or young adults… A Clewiston man is in Okeechobee County Jail on sexual assault charges in connection with an incident that took place the day after Valentine’s Day. Sheriff’s deputies were called to a residence at an undisclosed address in Okeechobee county and were told by a man there that he was struck in the face by 23-year-old Alexander Rubio. The man told deputies that after he left the house, Rubio raped the underage girl living there. Rubio evidently approached the girl, forcibly removed her clothes and sexually assaulted her. He was arrested and charged with sexual battery of an underage girl and false imprisonment forcibly by threat. He was booked into county jail $150 thousand dollars bond.