News Cast 9/23

News Cast for September 23rd:

A suspect’s escape attempt ends in Nubbin Slough 

Okeechobee Sheriff deputies pulled an alleged drug trafficker from the canal at Nubbin slough after a foot chase. 

Deputies spotted a suspicious vehicle in the 6400 block of 441 southeast near the edge of the road. 

When they searched the vehicle they say they found 23 grams of methamphetamines, 64 grams of marijuana, over $3,000 in cash, and several prescription pain pills. 

Juan Nieves, 30, was spotted running nearby and jumped into the canal. 

Deputies said he was subdued with pepper spray after struggling and trying to pull deputies into the water. 

Close contact students can now go to school 

Florida parents now have the choice of whether or not to quarantine their children after they’ve been exposed to COVID-19. 

Those with symptoms are encouraged to stay home from school until they get a negative test. 

Healthy kids would not have to be kept out of school until they receive a positive test. 

Symptomatic kids are asked to stay home and quarantine until they do not show symptoms, receive a negative test, or 10 years go by. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state will work on a symptoms based approach. 

“Quarantining healthy students is incredibly damaging to their educational advancement.  It is incredibly disrupted to families across the state.” 

State rep. Kaylee Tuck says the governor is a supporter of agriculture. 

The cabinet this week approved the preservation of three Okeechobee ranches. 

She said there is no way to stop the loss of some agriculture land to development. 

“When you look at population projections it will be interesting to see how the state balances this.  Everyday people move here and we have the need for more housing.  We are going to have to strike a balance between our farmland and development because we just can’t kick people out.” 

TDC supports two popular events 

The Yeehaw Music Festival and the battle of Okeechobee festival plan to return in 2022. 

The Tourist Development Council budgeted some funds to help promote those events. 

Executive Director Sherry Turgeon said the battle re-enactment is scheduled for February. 

They plan  a new attraction, pow-wow dancers. 

The event includes vendors, settlers, Seminole Craft and Food, soldier and indian camps, the battle re-enactment and the pow-wow dancers. 

Courtroom escape thwarted in Moore Haven 

A bailiff at the Glades County court house prevented an escape. 

Robert Mathias was convicted of drug charges and allegedly tried to bolt from the courtroom. 

Sheriff David Hardin said his deputy, Rodney Houstin, did what he was trained to do. 

“Just fast action on his part.  He was able to think things through and realize what was occurring.  He got to the suspect before he got through the doors.  At no time was the public in danger and he did very well.” 

Hardin publically thanked and honored Houston at a Glades County Board of County Commissioners meeting. 

He said the event pointed out the need to have a third security person in the court house during court. 

The budget request for the additional position was not included in this year’s county budget. 

Mathias is due to be sentenced on the drug charges October 5th

Hardin said the state attorney would have to decide if a new charge is added for the courtroom incident. 

The village of Indiantown has a new Mayor. 

The council elected Jackie Clarke unanimously to take over the role. 

Anthony Dowling was chosen to be Vice Mayor. 

Mayor Clarke said she wants to move the village forward. 

“I look forward to working closely with the administration and staff.” 

She said she wants to maintain transparency and a balanced budget.   

She also wants to create a robust working relationship with various agencies to better Indiantown. 

The village is facing tremendous development pressures with over 2,000 new homes proposed to be constructed.