News Cast 3/30

News Cast for March 30th:

Okeechobee priorities moving at the state capital

Bills to convey the former Okeechobee School for Boys to Indian River State College have been moving through committees at the state capital.

Another to settle the long lawsuit between the Okeechobee Sheriff and the Medrano family also getting through committees.

Other priorities like water storage and septic to sewer could get records amounts of funding.

US Senator Rick Scott saluted our farmers and ranchers saying 2022 was a tough year for agriculture.

“I know this past year has been a trying time for our farmers with multiple hurricanes impacting your livestock and crops.  We are doing all we can to make sure you have every resource you need to recover.”

Florida cattle ranchers support the Black Vulture Relief Act in Washington.

The vultures have been expanding their territory and are known to attack and kill calves.

Scott Alds with the US Department of Agriculture said they can be destructive.

“When they find a dead calf with vultures around, they think something else happened to that calf, not realizing the vultures may have killed it themselves.”

The vultures have a black head, and a white patch on shorter wings.

They also cause property damages like cell phone towers, house shingles, boat seats, tractor seats, and foam mats on patios.

Lauren Butler, County Extension Agent, said the vultures are even causing problems in Okeechobee.

“For cattle producers it is kind of an unknown.  There can be times the vultures come in after a calf has passed from other issues and are scavenging.  Sometimes they can be the cause of death.  The cow protects the calf, steps on its foot and breaks its leg and they can’t live after that.  Vultures can also target weak calves.”

The Glades County School Board rejected a suggestion from staff to charge parents for full day pre k programs next year.

Board members elected to give more thought and study to the idea.

Some were concerned the mostly four year old students would be held out of school entirely if parents had to pay.

Transportation at midday would have been another issue to tackle.

Drug trafficking remains an issue in our area.

In neighboring Osceola County…the Sheriff and the eleceted State Attorney are at odds.

The sheriff said the prosecutors are light on pushing convictions and sentences for drug crimes.

The State Attorney said they need better cases to get convictions.

Sheriff Marcos Lopez is behind a change in prosecutors.

“When you drop charges of spank them on the hand, that is the wrong message you are sending to these people that are killing our communities.  It is a continuous pattern for them to prosper.  These guys have degrees in drug trafficking, selling narcotics, and poisoning communities.  We need to take a stand and put an end to this once and for all.”

Lopez said there were over 140 overdoses in his county last year.

State Attorney Monique Worrell shares the concern about drug trafficking.  She said her office sent 13 people to prison last year for drug trafficking from Osceola County.  She adds that 36 of the 73 cases mentioned by the Sheriff, are still pending.

“I agree that drugs are negatively impacting our community.  I agree that fentanyl is a deadly drug and it is a problem.  We are seeing overdose deaths at an alarming rate.  We have to do everything we can to make sure these folks are held accountable.  I don’t believe that the way to do that is by pointing fingers at each other saying who isn’t doing what they should be doing.”