Monday May 17, 2021

Drew Bartlett, South Florida’s chief water manager, has up to $1 million to spend on algae cleanups this summer, as cyanobacteria blooms spread across Lake Okeechobee. Much of the money would be used at the Pahokee Marina, where toxicity levels last month tested 100 times higher than what is considered safe. Water samples taken on May 6 showed cyanobacteria toxins in a canal that feeds the source of West Palm Beach’s drinking water. Samples from Canal Point, also tested positive for toxins. The Environmental Protection Agency says toxin levels over 8 parts per billion, are unsafe. Canal Point’s toxicity level of 77 ppb was the only one of the May 6 tests that was higher than EPA standards. The goal is to use the million-dollar budget to expedite cleanup efforts, and get rid of the threat of toxicity, all together. 

The Clewiston Police Department is asking for the public’s help in identifying a prowling suspect. The suspect is expected to be from the area.  A resident reported seeing someone, after being awakened by their doorbell camera shortly after 12:45 a.m. one night. The doorbell camera showed a person approaching the front door, but appearing to be scared away by the camera activation. The next incident happened moments later, where the same person approached the front of a different home, walked up to the front of a car parked in the driveway, and walked away. Around this time, CPD units were already dispatched within the confines of East Avenida del Rio, North San Diego Street, North San Gabriel Street, and East Sugarland Highway. CPD says it appeared, the person ran away as officers got closer to him and the suspect has not been identified. Prowling incidents are becoming less common as more residents use cameras on their property, according to CPD investigators. Police do believe the suspect lives in the area. Anyone with information on the suspect is asked to contact Clewiston police.

So officials are saying that vaccine hesitancy is still an issue across many communities. Health care workers are partnering with pastors, doctors, nurses’ organizations and everyday citizens to educate communities on COVID-19 vaccine safety. Dr. Tony F. Drayton, a Palm Beach County pastor, is helping dispel myths. He says he feels it’s part of his job to educate and inform about COVID-19 vaccine safety. Drayton said he still struggles with the people’s hesitancy due to their lack of trust. The issue is also being tackled by the T. Leroy Jefferson Medical Society. The group of health care professionals focuses on underserved communities in Palm Beach County. Outreach efforts are now tailored to deliver a simple message: that the vaccine is safe and effective. In addition to public service announcements, bus wraps and word of mouth, targeting specific family members, the issue is now being confronted on multiple fronts, all in an effort to turn the hesitancy, into herd immunity.

A free event in western Palm Beach County is helping children and teens with their mental health awareness. On Friday, the Federation of Families held “Soil to Soul”, an event where students, faculty and youth volunteers came together to plant flowers and paint flower pots during an outdoor garden event. Organizers said they hoped to bring kids together for a therapeutic arts and crafts activity. Student Body Health said its mission is to boost mental morale and positive health practices for children. Friday’s event was part of Mental Health Awareness Month.

Friday night on Cane Field in Clewiston, the stadium was filled with family and friends ready to witness high school and undergraduate students begin on their young adult journey. The emotions were flooding as the parents of Julian Avalo took to the field to accept their late sons’ diploma, in his absence. Julian was killed Thursday night in a vehicle accident. President of the Class of 2021 for Clewiston High School, Kalianna Ali, gave what began as a tearful and heartfelt speech in memory of her classmate, and then switched gears, sharing some of the funny and more light moments the class has shared together, which culminated in that moment, under Friday night lights. Another classmate, Annette Blanco, was awarded $10,000 cash by from a local retailer. Annette gave half of her award money to the Julian Avalo’s family. Congratulations to the graduates.

The Clewiston City Commission will meet tonight at City Hall. The meeting will be called to order at 5:00 p.m.  We’ve posted the link to view the agenda for tonight’s meeting on our website, at WAFCFM.com.

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