News Cast 7/28

News Cast for July 28th:

Jobless rates increase 

Okeechobee saw its first monthly increase in unemployment in over a year in June with 3.3 percent. 

The report showed 576 people received benefits. 

The state saw a slight decline in jobless rates to 2.9 percent. 

The Labor force dropped about 600 workers in Okeechobee. 

Labor economist Adrienne Johnston said more people are working in Florida than before the pandemic hit. 

Hendry County had the highest rate in the state at 5.3 percent. 

Osceola was 3.9 percent and Palm Beach County was three percent.  Glades County rose from 2.4 percent in May to 3.6 percent in June. 

The report said 16,640 residents in Okeechobee were employed. 

Deputies from Indian River and Brevard Counties who shot and killed Curtis Kimbrough last month have been cleared of any wrongdoing. 

He had allegedly shot and kidnapped a 41 year old woman and abducted a 33 year old female in Yeehaw Junction. 

The Indian River Sheriff released dash board cameras from their patrol cars that showed a wild police chase and standoff. 

Indian River county Sheriff Eric Flowers said the video showed his deputies were justified. 

“the 18th judicial circuit has cleared these deputies that they have determined their actions were justified.  They were truly heroes in this incident.” 

The two women were rescued safely.  At one point in the standoff Kimbrough was seen putting a handgun to the head of one of the females. 

Highlands County Commissioners looking at an under 5 percent budget hike. 

They saw an 11 percent increase in the tax base in the past year. 

They are also seeking consulting firms to help find a new administrator. 

Commissioner Scott Kirouac supports the nation wide search to replace Randy Vosburg. 

“I don’t think any stone should be left unturned.  We have only so much reach for our own channels.  I would like to at least have the option of hiring a search firm.” 

Commissioners want to reduce the tax rate from 8.55 mills. 

The proposed budget includes $7.8 million for fire assessments and $11 million to expand the landfill in Lorida. 

Florida farmers opposed a proposal from Charlie Crist to buy up more farmland near Lake Okeechobee. 

They note 120,000 acres of farm land has been purchased south of the lake in recent years for water projects. 

Crist was behind the push to purchase U.S. Sugar when he was governor before. 

“I tried when I was governor the first time to buy as much sugar land as I could to restore the natural flow of water south through the Everglades, Lake Okeechobee, and into Florida Bay.  That is what we need to do.  That is what I will reignite when I’m elected governor again.  The only reason we couldn’t finish it was the great recession and the funds pushed back.” 

Agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried said her agency has done a lot to improve water quality by promoting . 

“We had a better balance on the environment and agriculture and we pushed legislation to promote sustainable environments.” 

Fried and Crist are the top candidates for the democratic nomination for governor this year.