News Cast for March 29th:

Drug dealer gets lengthy sentence

A 45-year prison sentence and over $50,000 in court costs and fines was handed down against Lavoski Jackson of Okeechobee.

The career criminal had scored 93 months in prison due to prior convictions for things like grand theft auto, escape, battery, forgery and cocaine sales.

Jackson was arrested by the Okeechobee Narcotics Task Force and Drug Enforcement Agents last July 23 after a search of a residential property at 656 NE 13th Avenue.

He went to a jury trial and was found guilty of drug trafficking on Feb. 7.

Officers said they located some 108 grams of illegal narcotics.

The city of Okeechobee will sell three lots in the commerce center for a precast concrete plant.

The Okeechobee County Economic Development Corporation and Florida Power and Light were instrumental in the deal.

The purchase price was $420,000.

City Administrator Gary Ritter said Landmark Precast, LLC, showed a lot of interest in Okeechobee due to its location. He said they could create up to 40 jobs.

Officials said are central location and lower cost of doing business are big assets for Okeechobee as it seeks new employers.

The city also learned 7 brews is interested in opening a coffee shop here.

Steve Nelson was named the new chairman of the Okeechobee Utility Authority Board by his colleagues.

They will hold a workshop in April to finalize an employee merit and cost of living payment.

Staff recommended a $1 per hour raise effective immediately.

The OUA also sought support from Congressman Scott Franklin to get federal funds for an automated meter reading system.

Executive Director John Hayford said this would help the OUA.

“You see it periodically where a customer comes in with a huge water bill. The fish cleaning station broke. This AMI system as its designed, should be able to send out text alerts to us that there is high water usage, but also can notify customers that sign up.”

He noted it won’t generate new revenue for the OUA. It does help prevent water loss and illegal use of water. It does encourage customers to look at their water bill, keep track of the consumption level , helps with water conservation, and provides other benefits.

Holy Cross Catholic Church in Indiantown will hold their annual Good Friday procession today but won’t be allowed to use village streets. They missed the deadline to submit a permit application.

The village noted it turned down a permit in January for a group wanting to put on a Martin Luther King Junior Day event because that application was turned in too late, and they have to treat all people equally.

Juan Carlos Laza with the Church said this decision broke the hearts of 3,000 church members.

“I’m asking you to reconsider. Next time this won’t happen. It will be put in days earlier. Can we go beyond a little mistake. You will deprive more than 3,000 people for this event.”

Councilmember Janet Hernandez suggested the denial of the permit was because she is employed by the church. She noted the church.

“We are not asking for favoritism. We are going through transition in the office. It fell through the cracks.”