News Cast for July 24th:

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The Okeechobee Police Department is requesting your assistance on identifying this female. If you have any information on who she could be, please contact the Okeechobee Police Department at (863) 763-5521 in reference to Officer Castaneda’s Case #230714012

The Glades County Board of County Commissioners agreed to become a Trails Gateway community as the home of part of the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail.

The Florida Trails Association plans to put up information kiosks on the trail that direct hikers and bikers and other users to the communities along the trail like Lakeport and Moore Haven.

Chairman Tim Stanley said the designation will help Glades County tourism.

“I think it will be a good relationship.  We are just one big natural park, so the more people we can bring in that are just walking through will be a positive for us.”

The Okeechobee Supervisor of Elections Melissa Arnold submitted a proposed $828,000 budget this year.

The spending plan represents an 18.65 percent budget increase.

Arnold said they will have three elections next year that include two local elections and a presidential preference primary election.

Arnold said there are more expenses during an election year.

“Elections are very expensive.  It is the bulk of the expense account.”

The Okeechobee Board of County Commissioners were asked to do more to help county jail inmates beat their addictions to illegal narcotics.

Casey Rogers with Rite Life said they need more funding.

She said they have a hard time stopping the cycle of incarceration for those addicted to illegal drugs.

“As you guys are building a $65 million jail to house 500 people, one of the things we want to do is educate those prisoners while they are in jail.  We want to educate them, set up a system to get them treatment when they are inside the jail so when they come out they won’t have to go back to what they know.”

Rogers said a big problem for inmates is their inability to get health insurance that might help them fight their addictions.

Okeechobee County Fire Rescue plans to scrap a ladder truck that was donated many years ago to the city fire department by the fire department in Pinellas Park.

Fire Officials said the ladder truck is in ill repair and in rough shape.  They noted numerous equipment breakdowns in recent years.

Fire Chief Earl Wooten said it would be cost prohibitive to put the truck back in service.

“It failed the most recent certification process.  We got a $30,000 estimate for the repairs that they think would make it pass.”

He noted the truck had a small engine fire when they were driving the truck back from Fort Myers.

By Taylor