News Cast 10/20

News Cast for October 20th:

FEMA Mobile Registration Intake Center Opening in LaBelle

(October 18, 2022) – LaBelle, Fla. – FEMA will open a mobile registration center in LaBelle at 10am on Tuesday, October 18 in response to damages caused by Hurricane Ian.

The Center location will be at the LaBelle Sports Park (Forrey Park) – 845 Forrey Drive, LaBelle, Fl. 33935.

FEMA representatives will be on site daily from 9am – 6pm through Tuesday, November 1, 2022.

The Mobile Registration Intake Center (MRIC) will be staffed with FEMA personnel who can assist with Individual Assistance registration and answer questions about disaster-assistance programs.

No fire assessment this year

The Okeechobee City Council opted not to pursue a fire assessment for the coming year.

City Manager Gary Ritter explained having the county wide assessment is just one proposal to give the county.

“You are providing fire service for the entire community.  In your next assessment, you assess the whole community, the city doesn’t pay $600,000 for fire service and they do fire assessments with a non ad valorem tax for city residents and county residents.”

Bobby Keefe suggested the city look at the assessment.  He said it would spread the burden equally around the city.

Officials note some city property owners do not pay any property tax due to various exemptions leaving businesses to carry more of the burden.

Today is wear purple day.  It is part of the October Domestic Violence Awareness month celebration.

Martha’s House will hold an event “Walk in her shoes’ in Flagler Park on Saturday at 10 am at 1 pm

The city also honored long time employee Robin Brock, administrative secretary as she retires at the end of the month.

They also heard a presentation on the latest plan for Veterans Memorial Park.

It includes a raised archway and welcome sign, bronze sculptures of soldiers, a general cleanup, more seating, barriers to keep people from climbing on the field pieces and helicopter, and more trees and screening to reduce traffic noise.

The city budget for the improvements is $236,000.

The city recently moved the field artillery pieces to public works so they can be painted and sandblasted.

Glades County still looking at their county jail options.

They have looked at the former Barnett Bank in Moore Haven to use as a sheriff’s administrative offices.  The asking price is $440,000.

They don’t want to spend $100,000 per month to lease the current facility.

It’s budget was depleted when federal INS detainees were pulled out earlier this year.

Commissioner John Ahern said some action has to be taken.

“We cant make the state pay us any money for inmates, we can’t make Hendry County do anything, we can’t make Okeechobee County do anything, but we have to provide a jail.”

Commissioner Donna Storter Long suggested the county set a December 1, 2022 deadline to move inmates into the old jail.

The Glades County planning board tabled until November a vote to chance the name of the Buckhead Ridge housing development and other adjustments to the plan.

Commissioner Donna Storter Long said this project could change things in the county.

“If they incorporate it will make a heck of a difference.  I suspect they will if its as fast growing as they think it is.  It will change the face of a lot of things in the county.”

The only debate for the Florida US Senate seat was held Tuesday night in West Palm Beach.

Incumbent Marco Rubio and challenge Val Demmings debated issues like the economy and inflation, gun control, abortion and border control.

Rubio said 5,000 illegal immigrants are crossing the border every day.

“There is no country in the world that can permit, tolerate, or afford 5,000 people per day coming to the border, saying the magic words and getting asylum.  This can’t continue.  It has to stop.  We can’t afford 10,000 people per day.”

Demmings said more border patrol agents would solve the problem.

She accused Rubio of doing nothing to keep school kids safe due to his support of 2nd amendment rights.

“You have done nothing to address gun violence and get dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous people.”

She also supported abortion on demand without limitations.

Rubio said Demmings supports not treating babies that are born alive after abortion attempts.

In the courts, 55 year old Randall Johnson of Okeechobee pled guilty to DUI manslaughter in a north Florida crash.

Johnson was driving a tractor trailer on I-10 and rearended another vehicle, killing the driver, 59 year old Paul Dismond of Rhode Island in Madison County back in late 2018.

He was sentenced to six years in prison and five years on probation at a recent court appearance.

Two Jacksonville women allegedly tried to smuggle cocaine into the Okeechobee Correctional Institution during visitation.

Royalty Stevenson allegedly had 120 grams hidden on her body.

Arionna Mitchell allegedly possessed 69 grams of cocaine.

Both were charged with trafficking and introduction of contraband into a state prison.