News Cast for August 7th:

Following a two plus hour regular meeting last night, the Okeechobee City Council met for another three hours discussing the city’s budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year in a workshop format. City Administrator Marcos Montes De Oca says the city budget for next fiscal year stands at just under $7.6 million dollars and the city’s reserves at just over eight million dollars. De Oca also says some good news about this upcoming budget is the millage rate could be less than last year’s budget, possibly the biggest millage drop in the last 20 years; a big plus for taxpayers. De Oca also reported an uptick in revenues, specifically in the city’s building department. The next city budget workshop is scheduled for August 20th at five o’clock.

Okeechobee County Commissioners meet tomorrow morning and they will be looking at lease conditions and terms of property leased to Martha’s House and they will also be reviewing the selection of the architectural firm that will create the blueprints for the proposed sheriff’s department jail renovation and expansion. The meeting will take place in the Historic County Courthouse beginning at nine o’clock and it will be streamed live on the commissioners’ website.

Speaking of the commissioners’ they got the opportunity to meet and confirm the appointment of the brand new Director of Community Services for Okeechobee County at their last meeting. Denise Whitehead applied and was appointed to the position after working the past seven months as the director of community relations for Martha’s House. Whitehead, a native of Wisconsin, has been living in Okeechobee for the last 18 years and part of her new role will be overseeing the Parks and Recreation division, previously helmed by Albie Scoggins, who retired in June. Whitehead says what attracted her to the job was the fact she has, as she puts it, a “heart for the community” (Whitehead 1). Whitehead began as Community Services Director on July 29th. She previously held jobs in juvenile justice and Glades Electric as Director of Communications.

An Alva man is dead following a vehicle accident early yesterday morning in Lee County. Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) officers say 45 year old Darrius Harden of Lehigh Acres was driving a Honda Civic sedan east on Route 80 near Charleston Park Drive in Alva a little before 5:45 when 35 year old Michael Alterma was walking in the area and he darted from the south shoulder of the road, right into the path of Harden’s oncoming car, causing a collision.  The impact caused Alterma to travel across the top of the car. Alterma was pronounced dead at the scene by medics. Harden was not injured in the accident and no charges have been filed against him. FHP is investigating.

On the arrest report:

39 year old Michael Clayton Stewart of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for drunk driving after a traffic stop and subsequent field sobriety test. His bond is set at $750 dollars.

28 year old Juan Diaz-Jimenez of Okeechobee was arrested for driving without a valid license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a $250 dollar bond.

40 year old Casey Torria Casen of Okeechobee was arrested for disorderly intoxication and resisting arrest. His bond is set at one thousand dollars.

31 year old Thomas Colby Fralix of Okeechobee was arrested by police for burglary of an unoccupied building. His bond is set at $25 hundred dollars.

18 year old Ken’Noris De’Vante Wilcher of Phoenix, AL was arrested for petit theft and having an unregistered license plate on his vehicle. His bond is set at $350 dollars.