News Cast 3/8

News Cast for March 8th:

Deputies spot drug deal in parking lot

Okeechobee County Deputies sitting inside a vehicle in a parking lot observed a drug deal involving two suspects Friday afternoon.

Christopher Lee Stone, 38, was allegedly spotted trying to sell drugs by the narcotics task force.

The alleged transaction occurred in the 3600 of US 441 southeast.

The arresting deputy was about five yards away and said he could see directly into the suspect’s vehicle.

Stone allegedly possessed nearly 13 grams of methamphetamine, and a small amount of marijuana, arrest reports stated.

He was held on $41,000 bond to face a charge of possession with intent to sell methamphetamines.

City Council hears priorities from the Treasure Coast

The Treasure Coast League of Cities listed water issues, online sales taxes, and affordable housing as three of their top priorities this session.

Port St. Lucie City Councilwoman Jolien Caraballo said they also have concerns about the anti-protest bill and taking away local control.

“The league is not opposed to the bill.  For cities the issue is ability to control a local budget.  The bill would create an issue with our budgeting.  We want them to rethink that so that we don’t have an issue with home rule.”

While the Florida House has considered the bill and have shown it support, it is unlikely the Senate will hear the bill this year.

The sales tax fairness bill insures that all entities including online sales pay sales tax.  She said it would be fair to those with infrastructure in the state and those from out of state. Floridians pay sales taxes for online sales.  The state can miss out on millions in tax dollars each year from the businesses that don’t submit those sales taxes back to the state.

 “Florida is one of two states that don’t have that law in place.  We are hopeful that the legislature will pass it and the governor signs it into law,” Caraballo added.

IRSC President gives update on college

Dr. Timothy Moore, hired last July as President at Indian River State College, said the college is changing the way it provides services to students.

“Students want it on demand and on the fly.  Those are things we have to step up and deliver.”

They have compressed semesters from 16 to eight weeks.  They also offer more courses online.

“That is great for our veterans, our working dads and moms out there, and a way to get people to get new skills and earn a living wage faster than ever before.”

Dr. Moore said IRSC continues to be more affordable than other Florida institutions.

He said the salaries graduates earn are also very competitive with other universities in Florida.

He said the college is committed to meeting the needs of Okeechobee and its students.

“Each county has its own personality, fears, desires and concerns.  My job is to understand that and help work with elected officials to achieve their goals.  Okeechobee is part of our planning process as a college and we are bringing critical education and technology support to the area.”