News Cast 12/5

News Cast for December 5th:

We still have a drug problem

Faith Farm Ministries is trying to recover from the pandemic.

The drug treatment program for men is completely free for the clients but cost up to $3,000 per month for the program.

They have been in Okeechobee since 1984 with the campus on Berman Road.

They operate two other programs in Boynton Beach and Fort Lauderdale and use a number of ventures to get revenue, donations, thrift stores, scrap programs, online sales of books and other items, and even crops and livestock.

This year they planted 10 acres of bamboo on the campus after citrus greening and other diseases wiped out their citrus groves.

Pastor and CEO Rick Aspden says the drug problem is growing with a 25 percent increase in drug related deaths last year reported in the US.

“We are losing the battle.  Right now the pandemic was part of the loss, but the fentanyl craziness that we have going on is part of that statistic also.”

Aspden said they had 80 men before the pandemic hit getting treatment and now that number is down to 30 men.  They think they will recover those numbers.

“There are plenty of people out there struggling with substance abuse.  It is just a matter of letting people know what can happen here at Faith Farm and then getting people to experience it.”

Aspden said Faith Farm’s programs center around Jesus Christ and that helps to cure these men.

“Drugs and alcohol use to the point where it controls your life is really a symptom of the problem.  We want to find the problem, address it through the Lord, and we find it is much more beneficial for those suffering from substance abuse, and they can achieve long term sobriety.”

They planned to baptize three men this week and are also anticipating the birth of new baby goats on the campus.

They have a goal of developing a goat herd of 160 goats.

Aspden said giving the men the responsibility of caring for these goats can lead to breakthroughs in their hearts where they are more ready to break the habit of substance abuse.

To donate or learn more about the program go online to

A Port St. Lucie man deemed unfit to go to trial in Okeechobee for stealing a trailer and impersonating a lawman.

Juan Rodriguez allegedly was spotted by the owner of the trailer driving away from the property off Martin Grade in December, 2020.

The victim gave chase onto 441 south east in Okeechobee where Rodriquez allegedly drove through a drive thru convenience store before claiming he was an undercover detective from Martin County.

The case was indefinitely postponed.

He faced charges that include aggravated assault, fleeing and eluding police and grand theft.

Okeechobee county fire rescue put out some tips for a safe holiday.

When putting up lights in your home, use a stable ladder, check every light you use, and don’t use frayed wires.  They also don’t want you to overload extension cords.

Chief Ralph Franklin also said keep a close eye on live Christmas trees.

“Make sure they are watered and are located away from any kind of flame source.  Don’t let them get dry and brittle because that is when your fire hazard starts to rise.”

The Chief also said its important to check the batteries in your smoke alarms on a regular basis.  The good new is some new batteries are designed to last a life time.

He also urged adults to drink responsibly this holiday season.

A drug bust Friday in Treasure Island.

The Okeechobee Narcotics Task Force said they found 238 grams of suspected cocaine, 700 grams of marijuana, prescription pills, nearly $12,000 in cash and two handguns.

Leamsi Alvarado, 42 is facing a host of charges including trafficking cocaine.

Deputies said Alvarado is a convicted felon.