Monday December 27, 2021

A man who dodged allegations of child sexual assault for over 30 years, Leonard Forte, has reportedly died, according to the Vermont State Police.  Forte’s defense attorney in Florida said, Forte died on Wednesday at his home in LaBelle. At the time of his death, Forte had been fighting extradition to Vermont to stand trial. On December 10, the Vermont Supreme Court dismissed an appeal that he was not physically capable of facing a jury due to various medical conditions. The dismissal came after decades of claiming illness kept him from attending the trial. The prosecution resumed after a 2019 investigation  found that he appeared to be healthy and leading an active life in retirement. In July, Vermont prosecutors charged him with two counts of obstruction of justice, alleging that he had faked illness to avoid trial. In October, Florida prosecutors charged him with fraud and impersonation. No cause of death has been released. Forte was 80 years old. 

Florida reported 32,580 daily coronavirus cases, breaking the state record for the second day in a week, according to CDC numbers from Saturday. On Friday, the state reported 31,758 infections. In its weekly report Friday, the state’s infections increased 124,861 over seven days, which is around 4.5 times as much as the previous week. With the omicron variant spreading worldwide in the past month, Florida’s cases have climbed exponentially. Total beds in use at the hospitals are at 73.68%.

The New School Tigers, took on the Old School Tigers in a 7 on 7 football tournament at Cane Field Thursday. Players as young as the 14U Cougars played with the Varsity Tigers, against veterans in the game like Eric Green, Karsin Turner, Pierre Garcon, Tyler Clemmons and many others. The tournament was a success overall all, but the New School walked away with the victory and bragging rights, in a 30 – 24 victory over the Old School. Coach Pete Walker, the New School coach, sent his thanks out to Bo Battle and Eric Green for the vision, to the parents and fans for their support, to the Cougars organization and other contributing local businesses, and partners including the Kaki brothers, Dwight Hatfield, Jason Williams, Smokin Joe Whitehead, Dr. Chip Edwards and Jenard Similien! Coach Walker says, this inaugural 7 on 7 game, is just the beginning.

Troopers will target impaired drivers in the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” Campaign through New Year’s Day. Last December, nearly 1,200 people were involved in impaired driving crashes in Florida.  Okeechobee Sheriff Noel Stephen encourages the designated driver. He says don’t spoil your holidays by injuring yourself behind the wheel. The sheriff recently produced a new video to encourage drivers to slow down in residential neighborhoods, and he has yard signs available to encourage drivers to lower speeds. 

The Health Care District of Palm Beach County announced a new COVID-19 testing site that opened in Belle Glade. The district’s mobile health clinic will provide rapid antigen testing while stationed outside Lakeside Medical Center, located at 39200 Hooker Highway. American Medical Response (AMR) will be onsite providing Regeneron monoclonal antibody treatment to patients who tested positive for COVID-19 and meet the criteria to receive it. No appointment is needed and walk-ups are welcome.