News Cast for October 23rd:
Sheriff Paul May announced today, October 22, 2013, that he has filed the official appeal to the Office of Policy and Budget, Executive Office of the Governor, in Tallahassee for his Fiscal Year 2013-2014 budget. The Sheriff stated that the budget, dictated to him by the Okeechobee Board of County Commission, would take him back to Fiscal Year 2004-2005 and resulting in cutting over $2.2 million from the $15.3 budget requested. Sheriff May stated that he has laid off 28 staff members as of September 30, 2013. Those positions include Deputy Sheriffs from the road, Investigators and Detention Deputies from the jail, taking us back to Fiscal Year 2001-2002 staffing levels because he has already reduced positions in the past five years by seventeen. The Sheriff further stated that he does not feel that laying these officers off is safe for the ones remaining and for the citizens of Okeechobee County. Things have gone up so much in the past eight years, mainly gasoline, utilities, food for jail, inmate medical care, and insurance, that it makes it impossible to make it on this budget. Sheriff May said of this, “This is not what I wanted to happen but to ensure the safety of my deputies and the people of Okeechobee County, this is what I have to do.”
A 28 year old Indiantown man held on 40 thousand dollars bond accused of sexual battery. Martin County deputies said Gerzon Mendez-Ortiz was arrested after an 8 year old boy heard the victims’ screams and called the law to an Indiantown residence. Ortiz allegedly touched the woman in a lewd manner.
Sheriff Paul May officially appealed his budget to the Governor’s office of policy and budget Monday. The 13.1 million allocated by the county is not enough to meet the communities law enforcement needs, the Sheriff stated. His department recently laid off 28 employees to balance their spending plan for the upcoming year. He said at current staffing neither his department nor the community is safe.
A traffic stop in Four Seasons on an ATV led to the arrest of 30 year old Charles Hill on charges of possession of methamphetamine and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. Deputies seized a taser from the suspect.
Okeechobee’s school board held a strategic planning strategy session last night hoping to avoid another D grade as a district. Goals include improved morale of teachers, more professional development, and five point improvements in the number of students at grade levels in reading, math, writing and science.
A New Jersey appellate court upheld the murder conviction of former Blue Heron Golf Club owner Edward Ates. He is serving life in prison or murdering his son in law, Paul Duncsak in August 2006. Ates was upset that Duncsak refused to give him 250 thousand dollars to keep the golf course afloat in 2003.
On October 11th, 2013, the 2013 STEM Symposium was hosted by Okeechobee County Schools, Indian River State College-Dixon Hendry Campus and Communities In Schools. This annual event was a huge success due to the overwhelming support of local businesses and agencies as well as donors like Beef O Brady’s Restaurant that donated 75 lunches for all of the Guest speakers. Throughout the day long event OHS, IRSC and CIS had over 500 students flow through the Dixon Hendry campus to 16 different career clusters. This is the only opportunity that the 9th and 11th grade students have to learn about possible career options and due to a collaborative effort students are exposed to many options. Local representatives from businesses and agencies who attended the event were asked to share information with students about the career in general but also more specifically how science, technology, engineering or math are involved in that career. In total, there were 79 guest speakers representing their particular career field.
Sports Cast for 10/23:
Lady Brahman volleyball has high hopes as they tangle in their district tournament tonight with host school, South Fork
Coach Taylor Pritchard likes the way her team has played in recent matches and feels they are playing their best ball of the year. She admits another trip to the regional will not be easy. She also wants the team to limit mistakes.
Senior Erin Hudson said there real goal is to get another shot at Jensen in the district championship and they want to beat South Fork so they get another chance.
South Fork comes in at 20-5 and Okeechobee at 13-9.
The girls golf team finished 8th at the regional Monday in Plantation. Hannah Raulerson shot a 96 to lead Okeechobee.
The boys’ golf team also finished 8th at the regional and Kutter Crawford shot an 85.