Thursday July 30, 2020

We are in the heart of Hurricane Season and with that officials from the Okeechobee County Emergency Management Department say they are currently monitoring some low-pressure weather activity in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Puerto Rico. While Okeechobee County is not under any weather watches or warnings right now, this system could develop into a possible tropical storm by the weekend and Emergency Management Director Mitch Smeykal says it’s a good idea to see if your storm supply kit is ready. Smeykal says there should be enough food and water for each person and pets in your group, not to mention medication, flashlights and batteries to last for at least five days. It’s also advisable to secure any loose items outside your home to protect them and other property. You can visit www.ready.gov/kit for more information on making your storm supply kit. WAFC and Kevin Kenny of WOKC, will continue to bring you updates as this storm develops.

Monday evening at around 5:30, Hendry County deputies responded to the area of U.S 27 and Old 27 in Clewiston for a traffic crash with injuries. Turns out that one of the drivers had a suspended driver’s license and an active warrant out of Martin County.  29-year-old Lavoski Butler of Pahokee was advised of the warrant and taken into custody.  Butler had received, what appeared to be minor injuries from the crash and was taken to the local E R. While Butler was being treated, he attempted to flee from Law Enforcement custody according to a sheriff’s office spokesperson, but his efforts were unsuccessful. Butler was arrested on an Out-Of-County Warrant and Resisting Arrest Without Violence; and he got a ticket for Operating a Motor Vehicle while DL Suspended/Cancelled or Revoked. According to a press release, Butler is currently being held in the Hendry County Jail with no bond.

A news source reports, Pahokee city commissioners voted 3-2 against a move to terminate their city manager, Chandler Williamson a month ago. Commissioner Regina Bohlen, was admonished by the city attorney on how the city charter specifies that a charter official is to be let go. So on Tuesday night, July 28, Commissioner Bohlen was ready. She made her motion to terminate based on the collective findings from 3 OIG reports. She was talking about the Inspector General’s recent investigations and resulting reports issued over the past two years.  On Tuesday night, Mayor Babb reread Bohlen’s motion, calling for the termination of Williamson.  The roll call was 4-1: Vice Mayor Clara Murvin voted no.

This means a preliminary resolution is to be prepared by the city attorney and presented for consideration at the next regular commission meeting, set for Tuesday, Aug. 11, at 6:30 p.m. According to the charter, if the Pahokee City Commission approves that resolution, it gives City Manager Williamson 10 days to file a formal response and request a public hearing before the commission. If he does not do so, then he, as a charter official, is officially considered terminated after that time.

On Monday, July 24, 2020, Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Deputies were notified of a burglary to a home in Montura. When they arrived, the victims reported they had been away from their home for a couple of weeks and returned to items missing from their home. Deputies were led to 393 Perimeter Road where a search warrant was obtained for a search of the home. Deputies observed several items described by the victims as being stolen, inside the residence. These items were seized and taken as evidence. Deputies took two suspects into custody and transported them to Hendry County Jail. The two individuals arrested were 19-year-old Joseph Lee Bright and 35-year-old Cheri Durance, both of Clewiston. Both Bright and Durance were charged with Burglary of a Dwelling and Grand Theft. Joseph was released July 25, on 1 $15,000.00 bond; Durance was also released on July 25, on a $17,500.00 bond.

(The Sheriffs would also like to remind those who leave their homes unattended for long periods of time, the Sheriff’s Office provides a service to its citizens at no cost.  Residential Security Checks help reduce the possibility of incidents such as this.   Simply contact the Sheriff’s Office and request to have a Residential Security Check of your home. The call taker will take your information and someone will contact you to request the necessary details.)

The Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) announced that all state-supported drive-thru and walk-up COVID-19 testing sites will temporarily close at 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 30, in anticipation of impacts from Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine. Testing sites are closing out of an abundance of caution to keep individuals operating and attending the sites safe. All sites have free standing structures including tents and other equipment, which cannot withstand tropical storm force winds, and could cause damage to people and property if not secured. Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine is expected to impact Florida with heavy rains and strong winds arriving to South Florida as early as Friday. The sites will remain closed until they are safe to reopen, with all sites anticipated to be reopened at the latest by 8 a.m., Wednesday, August 5.

The Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties announces a change in COVID-19 Testing July 31st through August 7th. Right now, No more appointments will be taken for the LaBelle test site tomorrow. Testing for August 3rd has been cancelled. Updates for the rest of the week will be sent out Monday.