Tuesday February 23, 2021

According to a recent report, for three consecutive days, Palm Beach County reported zero new deaths from COVID-19. Since, Feb. 18, 2021, the county death toll has stayed at 2,394. According to the COVID-19 Dashboard, on the Florida Department of Health website, right now there are 115,592 positive cases in Palm Beach County. Data reported from Johns Hopkins University shows the county fatality rate is 2.04 percent, which is slightly higher than the state fatality rate of 1.06 percent. The County does have several testing and vaccine sights, as leaders have reportedly been aggressive about controlling the spread.

500 Orange Avenue Circle in Belle Glade was once the sight of a maximum-security prison called Glades Correctional Institution. The facility provided over 300 jobs to citizens of the Glades and beyond. Back in 2011, the facility closed down, sitting abandoned since then. Multiple ideas and plans for the site have even included giving the property to the Atlanta Braves for a new spring training facility. Well it looks like a manufacturer called FINFROCK is going to be the next occupant of more than 140,000 square feet of the property. That space will be used for concrete manufacturing facilities and administrative offices. The plant will allow FINFROCK to better serve commercial developers in Palm Beach, Dade, Broward and Southwest Florida counties, while bringing much needed jobs and economic stimulus to the region. On March 9, the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners will vote to approve economic incentives for FINFROCK, which has committed to creating more than 200 higher-wage jobs in the Belle Glade district over the next 10 years. Its estimated that the plant could bring around $242 million to the region. The facility is set to break ground this year.

On Friday, a court upheld a ruling that would allow school guardians or safety assistants to carry guns in schools. The Hendry County Sheriff’s Office says the best way to fight off a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun. Just weeks after the Parkland shooting, the State Legislature passed the “Guardian Program.” School staff members could choose to go through 144 hours of training to carry a gun on school grounds. The Superintendent of Hendry County Schools Michael Swindle is quoted as saying, “Being a small rural district, we just do not have enough sheriff deputies to put enough deputies on every campus”. Attorneys argued, guardians violate state law, that prohibits anyone, other than law enforcement officers, from carrying guns on campus. The court disagreed and chose to uphold the program. The Sherriff’s Office says until a better option comes along, they will continue to train guardians.

Hendry County will be conducting road work on Cowboy Way from SR 80 eastward to Bridge Street in LaBelle. The road work includes drilling and getting pavement samples of the existing roadway. Flagmen will be present to direct traffic and the speed limit will be reduced through the project area. Expect some lanes to be closed off and on, so allow extra time for your commute. Motorists and pedestrians should use extra caution when traveling through the work zone. The road work is expected to have a completion time of just one day, ending at around 4:30 today. The Hendry County Engineering Department will notify of any changes beyond that. Residents or motorists with any questions or concerns can contact the Hendry County Engineering Department at 863-675-5222.