News Cast for June 11th:

We need more resources

Okeechobee County Sheriff Noel Stephen continues to push more traffic enforcement.

He recently met with the Captain of the Florida Highway Patrol troop in Fort Pierce to get more enforcement.

He said troopers don’t have much of a presence in Okeechobee.

“The Florida Highway Patrol is virtually non-existent in our county.”

The county recently surpassed 300 traffic crashes for the year with 6 fatalities.

Last year they had over 700 crashes and nine fatalities.

The FHP, like some law enforcement agencies, have had trouble filling positions.

Stephen said in the past 10 months troopers only had written 150 citations in the county.

“We are not getting any help to speak of.”

The sheriff did receive a grant this year so he can pay some deputies overtime to beef up traffic enforcement in problem areas.

An arrest made for a second time in a series of thefts of items from grave sites at Evergreen Cemetery.

38 year old Mark Smith will face six new charges related to theft or removing contents or artifacts off a grave or tomb.

He was originally charged with one theft bonded out for $250 dollars and had to be re-arrested after other information came in.

The sheriff did recover many of the items.

Okeechobee County is trying to lure the Bassmaster Elite fishing series again in 2025.

They were here in 2023. The host fee is $50,000. The county tourist development council also committed to another $20,000 for various support services.

Assistant County Administrator Denise Whitehead said the series was very impressive the last time they held the tournament here.

“This is a driver for national recognition of Okeechobee and for tourism. Most of the angler come in the week ahead of time, they pre-fish the lake, and we have them staying at hotels during that time. We also have a lot of visitors just for the weigh ins on Saturday and Sunday.”

The series usually announces dates and locations for events in July.

The Indiantown Village Council welcomes new member Vernestine Williams Palmer. She fills the seat vacated by the resignation of Guyton Stone.

Palmer was the only candidate to file and qualify by the deadline in June.

Martin County Forever pushed for support of a ballot measure there to buy more conservation land.

Jim Whitaker said they would only buy from willing seller.

They are after land around the C-44 east of Indiantown to double its capacity.

They are looking for conservation easements for the surrounding agriculture properties.

A 13-year-old child arrested in Vero Beach for alleged attempted kidnappings of women at night in a residential neighborhood, Pointe West.

Sheriff Eric Flowers at a press conference said in one of the incidents the child was armed with a knife. In both instances the suspect was wearing a mask.