News Cast 4/14

News Cast for April 14th:

Chamber talks with Congressman on Okeechobee issues

Congressman Greg Steube spoke to the Okeechobee Chamber of Commerce on issues like COVID relief, small business issues and US-Mexico border control. Steube said he voted against the $1.9 trillion dollar package.

He said he worries about the growing national debt. He said small businesses are having a tough time finding employees.

“When they are making more money by not working than working obviously people are not going to go to work.”

Steube explained that workers on unemployment who are receiving an additional $400 to $600 per week are the problem.

“That is incentivizing many people not to go back to work especially in the service industry and the manufacturing industry.”

Steube said the pandemic has helped Congress realize the importance of telehealth and that there are efforts to expand those services.

“There are a lot of bills to put in permanently, expansions to telehealth so rural communities like Okeechobee can take advantage of telehealth and Medicaid and Medicare will continue to reimburse those types of appointments.,” he added.

Most Sheriff’s Offices have open positions

Most of the Sheriff’s offices and prisons in the state are having trouble holding onto or recruiting staff.

Okeechobee County Sheriff Noel Stephen said that isn’t as big of a problem here as he is currently fully staffed.

Stephen said Okeechobee Correctional Institution is having trouble finding prison guards also known as corrections officers.  They currently have about 60 open positions.  He said that is about 30 percent of the entire staff. Stephen said this problem is state wide.

“It is definitely something that is being felt across the state.

At a recent Sheriffs Conference 65 of the 67 sheriff’s said they had open positions.

Stephen said he lost six certified officers in February.  He noted most of the time they leave for better salaries and benefit packages particularly insurance.

He recently joined a new insurance pool of Florida Sheriffs to try and reduce insurance costs for his employees.

‘It is something we are always working on by negotiating with insurance companies to get the best thing for our employees,” he added.

Ex boyfriend arrested for threats

A bad breakup leads to an arrest.

Okeechobee police arrested 23 year old Tyler Selph with making threats to post nude photos of his ex-girlfriend on the internet.

He was arrested on one count of extortion.

Bond in the case was set at $10,000.

The investigation began as a complaint about harassing phone calls as the victim said Selph had constantly texted her and called her despite her request to stop calling.