News Cast 10/6

A free legal help hotline is now available for #HurricaneIan survivors.

The hotline is available to connect survivors to free legal services in qualifying counties who can’t afford an attorney.

Survivors can call 866-550-2929 anytime & leave a message if calling after hours.

No Interest Loans From Florida SBA

LABELLE, FL. — Florida’s small business owners in need of assistance can now apply for the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program at www.FloridaJobs.org/EBL.

Loans approved through the Emergency Bridge Loan Program are intended to “bridge the gap” between the time a disaster impacts a business and when a business has secured longer term recovery funding such as federally or commercially available loans, insurance claims, or other resources. Eligible small businesses may apply for loans of up to $50,000 through the program.

Loans made under this program are short-term, zero-interest, personal loans using State of Florida funds. They are not grants and loans must be repaid by the approved applicant.

DEO administers the Emergency Bridge Loan Program alongside its fiscal administrator, Florida First Capital Finance Corporation.

Visit www.FloridaJobs.org/EBL to learn more about the program, as well as to view the lending guidelines and required documentation and to complete an application by the December 2, 2022, deadline. Business owners who need further program information may call 833-832-4494 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time.

News Cast for October 6th:

President tours damage

The White House promised to support the long-term rebuilding of Southwest Florida as the president surveyed the storm damage Wednesday.

President Joe Biden said the recovery will take years.

“Today we have one job and only one job. That is to make sure the people of Florida have everything they need so they can recover.  We are the only nation in the world that can come out of these disasters better than how we went into them.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he has been amazed at the attitudes of the people who have been devastated by the storm.

“The spirit of the people in SW Florida has been phenomenal.  I visited people 85-90 years old in shelters that have lost everything.  All they can do is thank the Red Cross, FEMA, the state and everyone who is supporting them.  We will get there if it’s a team effort.”

John Hurst of Lake Placid was named the new manager at the Okeechobee County Airport.

His goals include an overall cleanup of the airport and attracting more business including a flight school and aircraft maintenance facility.

Hurst said he thinks Okeechobee can catch up to other regional airports like Sebring and Arcadia that have made vast improvements in recent years.

“We have facilities that could use some tender love and care.  We are painting the fuel tanks, improving the pilots lounge, and I’d like to take the repairs up a notch.”

Okeechobee lawmen wrote over 3,900 citations last year, an increase from just over 3,200 in 2020.

1,066 speeding tickets topped the list.

Other common infractions included running red lights, running stop signs, and driving with a suspended license.

Glades County also saw a huge increase from 3,174 citations in 2020 to 4,952 citations in 2021.

That included 2,471 speeding tickets.

The highway patrol wrote 380 tickets in Okeechobee but nearly 2,000 in Glades County.

LT. Greg Bueno admits troopers have less time to spend on traffic enforcement as they have had a shortage of troopers in recent years.

“Our troopers respond to different counties.  We have hit and runs, impairment, deaths, and those are very involved time involved.  The case doesn’t end when we call the tow truck or the ambulance leaves.  We have a lot of work to do before we can get back to our normal practice duties.”

He said drivers do think they can get away with breaking the law but that those infractions will eventually catch up to you.

Pahokee City Commissioners continued a citizens committee that will make recommendations on how to spend $3.5 million in American Recovery Act Funds.

Former Vice Mayor Regina Bohlen urged the commission to send out checks to residents, businesses and senior citizens who struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The commission was also urged to take a position against sugar cane burning and encouraging mechanical harvesting instead.

This is Hispanic heritage month and also hunger action month in Florida.

Gary Porter with the Treasure Coast Food bank said the hunger problem is growing in our area.

“A lot of folks don’t understand the issue of hunger.  It is not just the people living on the streets, it is people just like you and I who are struggling and going through hard time.”

22 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty charges were dropped against Brian Peffer of Okeechobee.

Court records show he successfully completed a pretrial diversion program.

Animal control seized 33 dogs and two chickens from an unlicensed rescue on NWest 288th Street last October 1.

Some of the animals had minor cuts, had no food or water and were found in enclosed areas with urine and feces.