Thursday October 21, 2021

Woman from Belle Glade Helps Save Lives in Georgia

They call themselves “Student Docs for Shocks,” and their mission is to save lives when minutes matter. Four medical students have been raising money to put defibrillators parks, sports facilities, and daycare centers. But it won’t be cheap. A defibrillator usually costs $1,000 or higher. But doctors-in-the-making Chris Griesser, Tyler Richie, Rex Burch and Sara Lezcano – all third-year students at the Georgia campus of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) say it’s so worth it. Student Docs for Shocks, has given out more than $15,000 worth of defibrillators, in and around Atlanta cities. Well one of the Georgia students has local ties and will bring her mission across state lines. Sara Lezcano spent most of her childhood in Belle Glade, and had her first experience with emergency medicine at age 13. The group is giving out the devices in Florida, as well as in Georgia, since three of the four students have ties to the Sunshine state.

Man Charged in Nearly 35 Year-Old Case, Arrested in LaBelle

A former law enforcement officer facing child sexual assault charges from the 80s in Vermont, was arrested this week on new felony charges in Hendry County. He is charged with three counts of sexual assault, which authorities say Forte committed against a 12-year-old girl in 1987.  Leonard Forte, who is 80, was arrested locally Monday, on separate charges of fraud and impersonation, as well as public order crimes, according to the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office. He was released the same day after posting a $20,000 bail. He’s also been free on bail in the Vermont charges. The state recharged him in 1997, but the case remained in limbo for more than two decades, while Forte continually claimed to be too sick to travel to Vermont and stand trial. He’s been living in LaBelle ever since.

Local Crossing Guard Dies from COVID Complications

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office announced the passing of beloved school crossing guard, Maria Ortega. A news affiliate reports that Ortega worked for over 14 years as a school crossing guard at Rosenwald Elementary in South Bay and at Lake Shore Middle School in Belle Glade. Those who knew her say she was an active community member involved with a local church in Belle Glade. Sources say Ortega lost her battle with COVID-19 last week and is survived by her daughter, who is also a crossing guard, and her two sons.

Florida Vaccinations Rates as of Monday

Florida has passed 80% vaccination for adults receiving at least one COVID-19 shot, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Florida has vaccinated 13,810,423 adults with at least one dose, which is 80.1%. The state’s rates are slightly ahead of the nation percentage of 79.0% for one dose and 66.0% for two. President Joe Biden had set a July 4th goal to have 70% of adults getting at least one vaccine. The nation and Florida didn’t reach that goal until one month later.