The cat’s out of the bag: Seniors to be honored in Flagler Park

OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee City Council met May 5 for the first time in almost a month, after their last meeting was unexpectedly canceled. One of the items on the agenda was a surprise that has been planned for the seniors of Okeechobee. Each senior will have his or her own snipe sign displayed in Flagler Park with their name and picture on it.

After the signs have been up for two weeks, the students will be given their signs to take home. “I guess the cat is out of the bag now,” said city administrator Marcos Montes de Oca. Some of the local businesses and organizations wanted to do something special to recognize the seniors, and this was what they came up with.

In other business, the council unanimously decided to send a resolution, similar to the one sent by the county commissioners to Governor Ron DeSantis, requesting he consider a speedier reopening of Okeechobee County/City businesses. During the discussion, Mayor Dowling Watford explained the city council, the county commissioners, the sheriff and the police chief are obligated to follow the governor’s order regarding the opening of businesses whether they agree with them or not.

“Please don’t put them in that position,” he said.

Police Chief Bob Peterson said they do not have the manpower to go door to door constantly to check on each business, but they are responding to complaints, and there have been a lot of those.

“People are calling and telling on each other,” he said. They are also responding to obvious violations such as 20 cars parked in front of a business that is supposed to be closed.

Tiffany Collins of the Okeechobee County Health Department said the expansion of testing is one of the health department’s top priorities. The state received over 200,000 of the antibody test kits, but those will be reserved for use in health care facilities to test health care workers. The testing criteria has been expanded to include not only coughing, fever and shortness of breath, but also chills, muscle pain, new loss of taste or smell, vomiting or diarrhea and sore throat. If you have any of those symptoms, you can call the health department to be screened and evaluated before an appointment for free testing is scheduled. Some pharmacies will be able to administer the test as well.

She said there were three new positive tests at Okeechobee health Care Facility, one resident and two staff members, and everyone in the facility, along with those at Grand Oaks, will be retested on Friday, May 8.

Ms. Collins also reminded everyone that school age children who need their physicals or vaccinations in order to enter school next year should go ahead and get those done.

Mayor Watford proclaimed the month of May 2020 as “Mental Health Awareness Month” and as “Building Safety Month.” He proclaimed the week of June 1-5, 2020 as “Code Enforcement Officers’ Appreciation Week,” and Okeechobee City Police Sgt. Dawn Wendt was presented with a longevity service award for 20 years of service to the department.

A snipe sign is defined as a sign made of any material when such sign is tacked, nailed, posted, pasted, glued or otherwise attached to trees, poles, fences or other objects, and the advertising matter appearing thereon is not applicable to the present use of the premises upon which such sign is located.

Major Donald Hagan (left) and Chief Bob Peterson (right) present Sgt. Dawn Wendt with a certificate recognizing her 20 years of service to the Okeechobee City Police Department.

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