News Cast 1/14

News Cast for January 14th:

Gun at school incident won’t go to court 

An 11 year old Okeechobee youth won’t face charges for bringing a BB gun to Seminole Elementary school. 

It caused a stir as it looked like a real handgun. 

Prosecutor Ashley Albright said the student won’t face a criminal charge but the school could impose discipline. 

Albright said a BB gun can be considered a deadly weapon under Florida law. 

“We reviewed the case but the case can’t be prosecuted.  We were informed that the BB gun was not loaded and did not have a CO2 cartridge in it.  Since the BB gun was not operable, it was not considered a weapon.  For that reason we could not criminally prosecute him.” 

Manatees are yet to feed on romaine lettuce being fed to them manually at the Indian River lagoon. 

Over 1,000 manatees died last year in Florida mostly due to starvation. 

Ron Messick is a biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife conservation commission. 

He said they are not giving up on the feeding program. 

“As we adapt we will offer lettuce in different forms.  Not only floating, but in the water and submerged.  We are offering it at different locations.  We are confident that at some point we will find a trigger that works.” 

Officials worry the cold snap hitting Florida could lead to more manatee deaths.  

Two Okeechobee men were charged with dealing in stolen property and petit theft. 

City police said 67 year old Perry Arnold Junior and 55 year old Randall Bourn were seen on camera taking appliances from a local business and then selling them for scrap. 

The items were taken without the property owner’s consent or knowledge, police alleged. 

32 year old Charles Williams was sentenced to 11 years and a half years in jail for a carjacking in Glades County. 

The incident occurred back in November 11, 2019 at Old Sportsman’s Village Boat ramp on route 78 near Nicodemous Slough. 

Williams injured the driver but deputies got the car back that day in Buckhead Ridge. 

Congressman Darren Soto supported a bill that gives the Seminole Tribe of Florida the right to sell, purchase and lease commercial real estate. 

The bill was signed into law by President Joe Biden late last year. 

Soto also wants the federal and state governments to show the Tribe more respect when it comes to water issues. 

“They need to treat the tribe and its sovereignty with respect.  They can’t disregard the rights of your people.” 

Chairman of the Tribe Marcellus Osceola said the tribe continues to be committed to being good stewards of the land. 

He listed various concerns they have with water storage projects bordering reservations and the concept of aquifer storage wells. 

“We love our home and we do need to protect it.  There are times when the federal and state government want to do certain things.  We have to do things to protect ourselves from reservoirs and ARS wells that are potentially going to do harm.  We don’t know but there isn’t enough research on those.” 

“We respect the land.  We go about saving our lands from being scarred any farther than they already are.  It is an everyday battle.”
Historian Gordon Wharin said many don’t realize the commitment the tribe has had to the cattle industry in Florida. 

“We grew up in cattle and we are known for cattle.  When the Spanish was here we had cattle fever.  We lost our herds after the Seminole Wars.  In the early 1900s it was illegal to do any business with the Seminoles, even trade.” 

Wharin said that didn’t stop Seminole families from investing in cattle. 

“Cattle was number one and an economic foundation for our tribe and people.  It was very important that the industry be a part of us.  Seminole families took a risk.  It was illegal for them to buy cattle.  They saw a need and took that risk.”