News Cast for May 23rd:

Jobless rates remain low

There was another decline in unemployment in Okeechobee.  In March it was 2.7 percent.  In April it was 2.5 percent.

The state says 490 residents collected benefits in March and 457 last month.

Glades County saw a decline to 2.6 percent in April, and was at 3.1 percent in March.

Labor economist Jimmy Heckman said around the state new job creation continued in April.

“There was an increase of 55,000 job openings, down 12.3 percent from last year.  There were 281,000 quits in March, an over the month decrease of 8,000 and a 20 percent decrease from one year ago.”

Around the region Osceola had 2.7 percent, Palm Beach 2.3 percent, and Hendry 3.4 percent.  St. Lucie County had 2.7 percent and Martin 2.2 percent.

17 Moore Haven Seniors graduated with associates degrees this month from Florida Southwestern College.

Th district also pushed for a delay in tighter graduation requirements this year.

The district has received grants to purchase electric buses.  They were to get 13 buses at a cost of 3 hundred and 75 thousand per bus, however the low bid was 4 hundred and 15 thousand so they have to decide how to proceed with local dollars.

Highlands Sheriff deputies were forced to shoot a sex offender and fugitive from justice.

63 year old Bradley Begens was armed and he wouldn’t come to the door and hid himself in a closet.  He was shot when he raised the firearm as deputies entered the closet.

Sheriff Paul Blackman said the incident happened on Concord Street in Spring Lake on US 98.  He said his deputies made multiple attempts to try and make the arrest peacefully.

A woman was found hiding in the closet too, 60 year old Doreen Murphy Turner.  She faces murder in the second degree and resisting arrest charges.

In the courts, Ryan Cruz pled no contest to multiple drug charges including sale of methamphetamines.

A March 1st traffic stop on NE 120th Street reportedly led deputies to some LSD, ecstasy, mushrooms and cocaine.  He had originally face drug trafficking charges.

He gets two year’s probation with six months in the county jail.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month across Florida and in Okeechobee County.

Commissioners issued a proclamation to raise awareness about a growing mental health problem.

Tracy Fernandez of Suncoast Mental Health said many adults don’t get the help they need for mental health issues.

She said 74 percent of the clients they have in Okeechobee are children.

By Taylor