News Cast 1/16

News Cast for January 16th:

Too many drug arrests…too many deaths

Okeechobee County Sheriff Noel Stephen said the state needs to toughen the sentences they hand down to drug offenders.

He said time after time people get arrested for drugs and still don’t go to prison.

He’s mostly concerned about drug dealers who spread poison in the community and ruin lives.

He noted the recent trend is opioid addicts who at one time got drugs legally, are now switching to street drugs.

“Now those folks that have that problem have to rely on methamphetamine and synthetic drugs to get the fix that they need.  Coupled with this fentanyl, it is sadly killing them.”

The medical examiner said 22 people lost their lives in drug overdoses in Okeechobee in 2022, and 18 in 2021.

“I’m worried about those that are selling and make a lifestyle out of selling drugs, doing it over and over again.  We have arrested people 50 times, and they have been in prison three times, and have 20 felony convictions.  I just question if we are throwing good money away to bad.”

The Glades County Board of County Commissioners approved the Lakefront Estates Planned development located off state road 78 in Buckhead Ridge.

525 acres will be developed into 1,300 homes and a variety of uses like commercial , religious, schools and parks.

Three access points will eventually be required off the state highway.   The first access with a turn lane will be required before any building construction.

Resident DJ McLoughlin said the county should ask for funding from the developer to pay for the costs of additional services like fire and ambulance.

The county has explored expanding the Buckhead Ridge Fire Department building and adding some county office space.

The final public hearing on the project will be Monday, January 23 at 6 pm at the Moore Haven court house.

The Indiantown Village Council selected former Martin County Administrator Taryn Kryzda to be their interim village manager.

The move did not come without controversy as her application was received after the deadline.

The village intends to continue a search for a permanent manager.

Resident Anna Phares was concerned the village would be letting the county government have more control over village matters.

“We are now a village. We thought things would be different.  The east will not control the west anymore.  Bringing someone from the east to help us, when they were in control for many years, and we were neglected, and are still neglected?  I don’t think that is a good idea.”

Kryzda began work on Friday, she will be paid the same as Howard Brown, who resigned last month.  Brown was paid $12,500 per month.

Accuweather says a new cold temperature record was set in Okeechobee this morning, 32 degrees reported at the airport.  They reported a low of 34 degrees overnight Saturday.