Thursday August 6, 2020

Florida is setting up an advanced training program for people who oversee prescribed burns, with an emphasis on burns in sugar cane fields, in an effort to reduce smoke in surrounding communities. The state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced new boundary lines in the Everglades Agricultural Area to further separate growing inland communities around Lake Okeechobee, from the potential impacts of burning cane fields. In a news release, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said the new steps will “enhance public safety, reduce smoke and ash impacts for Everglades communities and reduce the risk of wildfires.” One of the steps taken Tuesday sets up a $175 per-student training course — online or in a classroom — for certified prescribed burn managers from public and private agencies and organizations. It is intended to help reduce smoke impacts.

The department of health reports, the latest number of cases for the coronavirus have increased by 3 to now 1,694 in Hendry County. Several COVID-19 testing sites that closed ahead of Tropical Storms Isaias are reopened. The Health Care District of Palm Beach County says the C.L. Brumback Primary Care Clinic at Lakeside Medical Center in Belle Glade will reopen for drive through and walk up testing. You need an appointment for testing at these sites, but you do not need to be experiencing symptoms. Calling some COVID-19 test results “useless” because they’re taking too long to come back, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says the state is aiming to speed the process up.

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Travis Benjamin has announced that he is opting out of the 2020 NFL season, making him the first 49ers player to do so. A former four-star recruit out of Glades Central High School in Belle Glade, Benjamin was ranked as the No. 166 overall prospect and No. 24 wide receiver in the country for the 2008 class, according to the 24/7Sports Composite. He was also the No. 30 player in the Sunshine State. As part of the agreement, all players have the option to opt out of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today is the deadline to decide.

With Tropical Storm Isaias giving Florida residents a scare recently, now is the time to make sure your home is strengthened to withstand a hurricane or tropical storm. Mitch Smeykal of the Okeechobee Emergency Management Center says your garage door is the most vulnerable part of your home and once that goes, the rest of your home will surely be next. Smeykal says to replace your garage door once every ten years or use a retro fit kit. Smeykal says while using plywood and aluminum is a good solution for boarding up your windows, poly plastic and some fabrics work just as well and they are not as difficult to put up on your windows. Remember, we are in the heart of Hurricane Season.