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News Cast for March 9th:

Okeechobee County Commissioners got a preliminary presentation from the property appraiser and budget director at their meeting yesterday regarding the upcoming county budget for 2018 thru 2019. While inflation and fuel prices are on the rise, there was good news, specifically regarding the construction of the county’s power plant which will be finished in 2020. County Appraiser Mickey Bandi says the $1.2 billion dollar plant will mean property tax dollars for the county. Commissioner Bryant Culpepper said other good news included home appraisals up five percent and 25 percent in reserves in the general fund.

To help with the rash of speeding drivers on certain roads in Okeechobee County, commissioners yesterday decided to take some action. Commissioners gave the green light to have speed cushions installed at SW 9th Street and 67th Street and on SW 36th Street. There will also be speed trailers put in these areas, mobile devices which not only show the speed a driver is going and how many vehicles are going through, but also send the data to the sheriff’s office. Sheriff Noel Stephen says these will not cost the county anything; the funding for these speed trailers will come from the sheriff’s budget. The cost for the speed trailers will be about $10,000.00 dollars apiece. The speed cushions will cost the county about $2900.00 dollars apiece.

Okeechobee County Commissioners had a busy day yesterday; regular meeting in the morning and code enforcement workshop in the afternoon. Commissioners and members of the code enforcement met to discuss the issues facing the enforcement board, specifically the lack of enough trained staff, according to Okeechobee resident and member of the city code enforcement board, Megan Wilt. Commissioners and Code Enforcement Board members say hiring additional staff is a priority, plus introducing a fund to help clean up properties and working with waste management.

Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Deputies have a New York area woman in custody on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Deputies say 29 year old Meghan G. McIntosh was running around at Sunshine Grove during the arts and music festival brandishing a knife and threatening to kill people. McIntosh went into a tent and began to point the knife at people there and then specifically at one man, reportedly a former boyfriend, and threatened to kill him. She then entered another tent and threatened to kill herself. Deputies arrested McIntosh with some resistance from her and booked her into county jail. Her bond is set at $7,500.00 dollars.

On the arrest report:

28 year old D’ Andre Markel Smith of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for obstruction after a fight. He was released after posting a $500.00 dollar bond.

29 year old Taylor Lewis Jones of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation of past drug offenses. He’s being held without bond.

47 year old Lewis Harrison England of Okeechobee was arrested for driving without a valid license after a traffic stop. His bond is set at $1,000.00 dollars.

51 year old Gregory Lamar Gavan of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of a flashlight stun gun by a felon after a traffic stop. His bond has not been set.

55 year old Paul Allen Davis of Yeehaw Junction was arrested on an out of county arrest warrant from Hillsborough for robbery with a deadly weapon. He’s being held without bond.

38 year old Joseph Lee Hasting of Lake Wales was arrested on four counts of violating probation. His bond has not been set.