News Cast 10/11

News Cast for October 11th:

Corrections guard faces charges 

A state corrections officer is accused of bringing in marijuana to the Level 10 facility as payment for detainees to batter another detainee. 

Seven of the detainees allegedly assaulted one detainee at the facility in July.  Charges are pending from the incident on July 16. 

Henry Futch, 44 of Okeechobee was charged with battery, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and making a false report to law enforcement. 

The arrest affidavit said witnesses said Futch had a vendetta against the victim. 

The victim was not seriously hurt.  He was originally charged with battery on Futch for holding his arms in July. 

A snap chat video of the actual fight provided by the public helped to reopen the investigation. 

One of the detainees claimed Futch had paid him with marijuana and black and mild’s to attack the other detainee at the Everglades Youth Facility on NE 168th Street. 

Conservation groups support preservation efforts in Okeechobee 

Conservation groups said the conservation of ranch land in Okeechobee is a great help to the environment. 

The state earlier this year approved $35 million in conservation easements and purchases of three cattle ranches. 

Hillary Swain is chief executive officer at the Archbold Ranch in Highlands County. 

She said all three ranches are located near water bodies and that will help with water quality. 

“The Osowaw Ranch contributes to the St. Johns River, the Corrigan Ranch contributes to the Kissimmee River, and Cow Creek Ranch contributes to the St. Lucie River.  Okeechobee County is helping in every direction.” 

The state purchased the Corrigan Ranch, and conserved the Cow Creek Ranch and Osowaw Ranch, a total of about 13,000 acres. 

Council changes course on park plan 

The Okeechobee City Council voted to disband the Flagler Park Design Review Committee. 

They will let City Administrator Gary Ritter and Okeechobee Main Street take the lead in designing the other parks. 

There was some concern over the planning of Cattlemen’s Square as at first the work was going to cost over $1 million dollars. 

That was later reduced to $400,000. 

Councilmember Bob Jarriel said the council was partly at fault for that problem. 

“I think we failed to give them direction.  I think part of that is our fault.  I feel like with Gary we got a lot accomplished in a short time.  There were great members on this Board.  I appreciated their comments.” 

Councilwoman Monica Clark said they should not criticize the design review committee. 

“We never gave them guidance on what it should cost.  We have a wide variety of people on that board.  You bring ideas together and the board had a lot of good ideas.  I don’t think the cost was what we expected from them.  They were flabbergasted with the costs of the first plan.” 

7 Okeechobee schools earned perfect scores last spring on the Florida Standard Assessment. 

They were honored at a recent school board meeting with their parents. 

The list included Hunter Clark, Alena Dominquez, Mason Johnson, Emma Spangler, Connor Stinson, Alice Wright and Noah Wright. 

School Board member Jill Holcomb pointed out these are difficult tests and these moments were great for the student, their families and also their teachers. 

“They are not easy tests.  They are designed to have some questions missed. For those kids to recognize the tricky questions and choose the right answers was very remarkable.”