News Cast for October 25th:

The Okeechobee City Council voted to add the emblem of the American Red Cross on the Helicopter Utility-1 ‘Huey’ Helicopter in Veterans Memorial Park.

Billy Dean interviewing some kids from a home schooling program in Okeechobee.

Veteran Greg Maynard said he thinks the veterans would support the move.

“The helicopter has done quite a bit of healing for the veterans.  Something universal with the Red Cross emblem would be an honor because the soldiers didn’t get their honor when they returned home.”

He listened to the stories of veterans who flew in those helicopters and realized the good memories and joy those men experienced as a result.

Mayor Dowling Watford said these helicopters are important to veterans and they have saved many lives.

“The Huey has such a distinct sound and you could hear it for miles.  That was a good sound.  I know what it had to mean for those guys to hear that sound.”

He said a veteran with three purple hearts suggested the Red Cross emblem.

The city scheduled the annual lighting ceremony for November 28 at 5 pm.

The annual lighted Christmas parade is scheduled for December 9th.

Lake Okeechobee levels rose to 16.27 feet in the past week.

The lake is 9 inches higher this  year compared to last.

Inflows measured 84 hundred cubic feet per second.

Major Cory Bell with the US Army Corps of Engineers said they are expecting above average rainfall for the dry season.

We are not overly concerned.  We realize that forecasters expect it be a wet winter.  Right now we do have reserve capacity in the lake.  We are bringing new projects online to store water south.  We will be able to send more water south.”

In the courts..

A cocaine trafficker was sentenced to five years in prison and $53,000 in fines and court costs.

The narcotics task force seized over $13,000 in cash, 26 ounces of marijuana and over a half pound of cocaine in a home at 3211 South East 34th Avenue during a search last December 2nd.

Leamsi Alvarado had prior conviction for cocaine trafficking and scored nine years in jail.

Highlands County commissioners

Will ask the state to help fund an additional full-time ambulance.  That will give them 10 full time ambulances.

The goal is to improve response times to outlying areas.

They also gave aa positive evaluation to administrator Laurie Hurner.  She gets a four percent merit raise.

County Commissioner Don Elwell praised Hurner for the job she did in her first year.

“We appreciate the efforts of our county administrator.  We have an administrator who is growing into the role very well.  I’m looking forward to a good year ahead.”

The county also wants to have more funding from the state to expand the Heartland Transportation Disadvantaged Program.

A dog was rescued in Port Mayaca on Tuesday.

The dog somehow ended up at a spillway at the locks with a 12- foot drop at the rim canal and couldn’t get out.

Martin County Sheriffs Animal Services responded and were able to rescue the animal.  He was taken to the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast.