News Cast 7/29

News Cast for July 29th:

Getting kids ready for school 

The 8th annual back to school expo scheduled for Saturday at Okeechobee High School. 

Leah Suarez with Our Village said they have plenty of school supplies to hand out. 

“We have over a thousand backpacks, we have school supplies, and clothing, and shoes and raffle prizes.” 

Everglades and Seminole elementary kids won’t be able to get back packs at the event but they will get them at their schools from another non-profit effort. 

Suarez said parents can also talk to vendors and non-profits that provide services in Okeechobee. 

“A very important piece of the expo is education to make sure families can connect to local service providers.  That way they aren’t floundering to look for resources.  They can ask questions about local resources before they need them.” 

The event is for students living in the Okeechobee zip codes of 34974 and 34972.  

The event begins at 8 am.  You can register in the OHS Lecture Hall. 

The Children Homes Society of Florida said we are seeing long term impacts from the pandemic in the form of stress, suicides and more substance abuse. 

“Schools and businesses were closed but a child in crisis does not stop being in crisis because the world is on hold.  At CHS we believe no child, no family, should face the tough times alone.” 

Andry Sweet is President and CEO. 

Sweet said the outcome for children in the child welfare system is not good. 

“A third of them that age out will be homeless within a year.  Our Board wants to be an organization that works itself out of business.  It is a change in our history and mission.” 

Martin County has created a working group to look for federal, state and local funding to bring in more workforce and affordable housing. 

A quarterly meeting of the school board, county commission and various cities including Indiantown included concerns about rising costs of living and rents. 

County Commissioner Ed Ciampi said this issue impacts the working poor, senior citizens and young people. 

“When we talk about building these places many people state they do not want them near them.  We aren’t talking about street people we are talking about all kinds of people.” 

He said Stuart and coastal businesses can’t hire people from out of the county because it costs too much to drive there to work. 

An alert resident visiting his mother noticed a suspicious vehicle in his yard next door in Whispering Pines Wednesday. 

He checked it out and interrupted a burglary. 

Two residents of Tyler, Texas were charged with burglary and giving false information. 

20 year old Jay Valentin and 19 year old Karly Mediola were caught possessing an AC unit, saw and power drill. 

They allegedly stole four or five cylinder heads from the same property and sold them for scrap the day before this incident. 

The couple was apparently living out of their vehicle. 

Both are now at the Okeechobee County Jail with bond at $15,000. 

While gas prices dipped below $4.00 gallon at many Okeechobee stations this week, there still are concerns about inflation. 

US Senator Rick Scott filed a bill named the Gas Price Act that requests studies on what is causing the increase. 

Scott said cutting back on energy production in the US is the main cause. 

He said the average Floridian will spend $1,200 more for electricity this year. 

“More families across Florida are feeling the pain of having to count their pennies,” he added.