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News Cast for September 7th:

Okeechobee County School Board members made it official at last night’s meeting by unanimously approving the school district’s budget for the 2018/19 school year after several weeks of meetings and workshops. The budget for this year is just over $72 million dollars; about a million dollars more than last year’s budget. Superintendent Ken Kenworthy says the general fund for this year is just over $54.8 million dollars which is about $500 thousand dollars less than the previous year. Kenworthy attributes that to the student body being lessened by about 170 students from last year. Kenworthy says the general fund would have been even lower but thanks to some added “safe school money” the general fund didn’t dip any lower. School board members also approved the millage rate for this year at 6.359 percent.

School Budget Approved 1

School Budget Approved 2

The beginning of Tuesday’s Okeechobee City Council meeting was a time of awards and recognition and one of them was the presentation of a merit award from Okeechobee Main Street. Okeechobee Main Street president Angie Griffin was on hand for this award presentation and she says once a year the department of state gives awards to Main Streets all over the state, recognizing them for projects they’ve done. Griffin says this award was for a beautification project where Okeechobee Main Street collaborated with the city to re-plant planters downtown. Griffin says this award means a lot for a small community like Okeechobee. Griffin says Okeechobee was recognized as an art alliance and she says Main Street is currently working on an art museum and sculptures for the community.

Griffin 1

Griffin 2

Investigators from the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office are looking for a Sebring man in connection with an incident where a man was stabbed late last month. Spokesperson Scott Dressel says 56 year old Joseph Francis Hutton and his accomplice 60 year old Robert Charles Pressley reportedly stabbed a man at the Sunrise Mini Storage on the 64 hundred block of Highway 27 in South Sebring in the early morning hours of August 23rd after arguing with the victim about items that he was removing from the bin, claiming that some of them were his. Dressel says the victim was quite lucky in this incident. Dressel says Pressley was later arrested at a home in Sebring along with six others who were found to be in possession of several drugs including methamphetamine and marijuana. Hutton was not at the house at the time of the drug arrests. Hutton is six feet four inches tall and weighs 280 pounds. If you know of his whereabouts, please contact the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office.

Dressel-Stabbing and Drug Arrests 1

Dressel-Stabbing and Drug Arrests 2

On the arrest report:

35 year old Christopher Earl Masters of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for failing to appear in court on past charges of petit theft and dealing in stolen property. He’s being held without bond.

26 year old Taylor Michelle Simpson of Kenansville was arrested on a warrant from Brevard County for violating probation on past charges of drug possession. Her bond is set at seven thousand dollars.