News Cast 1/23

News cast for January 23rd:

Airport sees turnaround

The Okeechobee County Airport set a record for the amount of fuel sales in November.

The new Airport Manager John Hurst said that is good news for the airport.

He said they sold $130,000 worth of fuel in December, which is the highest month they can find on their financial records.

They also have taken steps to provide more parking at the airport.

“We have had issues of derelict vehicles parked there for a lengthy period of time.  Fortunately we’ve been able to get a few removed,” Hurst added.

They have one of the lowest prices for aviation fuel in the state.

Hurst said he thinks the airport can begin to make a profit for the county moving forward.

The Indiantown Village Council continues to debate village records.

At issue is  a computer used by the manager Howard Brown, that was wiped clean after he resigned.

Councilmember Carmine DiPaolo said that is a concern. 

He said he has lost all faith in the village record keeper, village clerk Susan Owens.

“This could be criminal.  I’ve spoken to FDLE and the sheriff.  They have made suggestions to me and the course it is going to take.  Wiping the computer that belonged to the village manager when there are questions about what has and hasn’t been done in this village, to me, you just did him a big favor.”

He also wanted to know why the vice mayor lost his village computer on a flight and worried that those records could be used or the system hacked.

Vice Mayor Guyton Stone refused to answer questions from his colleague.

“I’m not on trial here I’m sorry,” he said.

Councilmember Janet Hernandez said this is all a way to try and hurt the former manager’s reputation.

“Mr. Brown has to go look for a job.  Some people don’t care about people’s careers but they literally have to eat.”

The village council learned the Saturday bus shuttle going to Stuart has been thriving with increased ridership each month.

Rising temperatures continue to worry the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

Jill Horwitz gave a presentation to the Hendry Glades Audubon Society earlier this month.

She said dangerous temperatures and humidity of 105 degrees or warmer could be felt 100 days per year by the year 2050.

She added she worries about the heat impacts on farm workers in this region who are forced to work outside and have few legal rights.

The tribe advocates for more electric vehicles, more reliance on solar power, and more planning of trees across the state as a way to try and reduce rising temperatures.

In the morning hours of Saturday, January 21, 2023, Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a riot in progress at the Everglades Youth Academy located at 5050 NE 168th Street, Okeechobee.

Two pods (Units 6 & 7) were actively rioting, fighting staff, causing damage by throwing desks and chairs, and tearing down the cameras and light fixtures.

Upon arrival, units established a secured perimeter and law enforcement entered the compound, and all youth detainees were placed inside their secured rooms.

Written statements were collected from all staff involved, and the involved rioters were identified by staff members, separated by law enforcement, and arrested.

One suspect resisted law enforcement while being detained, and a chemical agent was used to assist in his arrest.

Ten detainees were arrested for various charges ranging from rioting to battery on staff and transported to the Okeechobee County Jail.

Those arrested will be held without bond, two of whom were juveniles and were later transferred to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

One staff member from the Everglades Youth Academy was transported due to their injuries, while others were treated on scene and released.

via Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office