News Cast 8/18

News Cast for August 18th:

State cracks down on illegal berry harvesting 

The Florida Department of Agriculture wants berry pickers to get a permit and also to get permission from the landowners where they plan to pick saw palmetto berries. 

Six arrests were reported recently for illegal harvesting of saw palmetto berries. 

Permits were not obtained and some occurred on state lands. 

Brian Benson with the Florida Department of Agriculture said these berries are in demand for medical uses. 

Among the arrests were 22 year old Edwin Mendez and 32 year old Rolando Ramirez Perez of Immokalee for an incident at Dupuis Wildlife Management Area near Lake Okeechobee. 

Other arrests occurred in Lorida and at Allapattah Wildlife Area in western Martin County. 

Two Okeechobee residents were arrested on misdemeanor charges. 

Nexair expanding at industrial park 

Okeechobee County is looking to expand the footprint of Nexair in the industrial park. 

They could lease two additional lots for parking and storage. 

Company officials told commissioners they need a concrete pad but not necessarily a building to store containers. 

Demand for their containers and air products has increased by over 300 percent in the past five years. 

Shooting threats ends Pahokee meeting prematurely 

Unrest continued in Pahokee as only two of five commissioners attended a town meeting. 

It ended prematurely after attendees received text messages threatening them about shootings. 

Mayor Keith Babb extended an emergency declaration for another week. 

Residents want to start a recall election. 

Other residents said the three members of the commission that fired the city attorney and interim city manager had pulled a coup and are not following the wishes of the community. 

Interim Manager Rodney Lucas, who was fired last week by the majority of the commission, said this is all about race and bullies. 

Lucas and attorney Bernadette Norris-Weeks maintain their firings were illegal because the meetings were not properly advertised