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News Cast for July 30th:

It’s been more than a week of budget discussion in Okeechobee County and the school board was no exception. The school board met on Thursday night and approved their budget for the 2018/19 fiscal year. Their budget will be just under $72 million dollars; just over $830 thousand dollars more from last year. Superintendent Ken Kenworthy says if he has any concerns, it would be that he hopes kids will show up on the first day of school on August 10th. The raise in the budget is a result of the new school resource officers and mental health programs as required by state law.

Kenworthy-School Budget

Okeechobee County Commissioners got a presentation at their meeting on Thursday from a representative of the Ft. Pierce based Marine Cleanup Initiative, Inc. about something that can help clean up the algae that has been a growing problem in the state. Operations Director Dyana Voss says a special robot, using technology powered by solar and wind, can create temperatures so hot and pressure so great that it can break up the algae in a body of water. Voss says once the algae is broken up, the remains can be quite useful. Voss says this technology, already approved by the US Coast Guard as functional on a boat, will be used in a special demonstration next month in the Caloosahatchie River and she has invited county officials to observe. She hopes these robots, created by New Jersey based Solaris Cybernetics, can be available at some point for the general public.

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Okeechobee County Sheriff’s deputies have a local man in custody on a host of charges after an incident early Thursday morning. Just after midnight, deputies were searching for 24 year old Salomon Serrano Junior after they got a report he had been involved in a domestic dispute with his girlfriend which violated his probation. Serrano left the house before deputies arrived and he was eventually found on the 24 hundred block of SE 25th Drive after he had ripped the screen off the porch door of someone’s house. He was arrested and charged with burglary, causing damage and resisting arrest after he refused to be put in the deputy’s squad car. He’s being held in county jail and his bond has not been set.

A report of a building fire in Okeechobee turned out to be a lot less serious Thursday night. Firefighters were called to the five hundred block of NW 27th Lane just before nine o’clock after dispatchers received the report and found it was a meter box about ten feet from the building that was damaged from a lightning strike due to passing weather and there was no fire. Building maintenance was notified because it was a county owned facility and Florida Power and Light was called in to shut down the power. No one was hurt and no damages.

On the arrest report:

44 year old Rhonda Latrelle James of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for violating probation on past charges of drug possession and driving on a suspended license. She’s being held without bond.

38 year old Juan Solorzano of Okeechobee was arrested for battery and threatening his wife after a domestic dispute. His bond has not been set.

52 year old Paul Lamar Kemp of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia after a traffic stop. His bond is set at $11 thousand dollars.