News Cast for August 16th:

Tourists like small towns

Okeechobee could set another record for bed tax collections this year. 

Last year they collected a record $501,000.

This year they are looking at $414,000 plus through the first seven months of the fiscal year.

The city is reviewing plans for a new hotel and that will add hotel rooms needed in Okeechobee.

Vice Mayor Monica Clark also serves on the TDC board.

“IT looks like we will have another hotel in the city.  It would be nice to have a hotel north.  Quail Creek users are traveling to Fort Pierce for hotel rooms.”

The promotions budget this year is close to $100,000.  They continued their support of high school rodeos.  The circuit plans to again hold the state finals in Okeechobee.

Chairman Brad Goodbread said they need to keep supporting rodeos.

“High school rodeo is close to Okeechobee our heritage, cattle culture and western culture.  We appreciate you coming to Okeechobee and we would like to keep the finals here in Okeechobee.  We will do the best we can to keep it good for high school rodeo and Okeechobee County.”

Other events in the promotion budget include the Jack Link shooting sports cup, the battle of Okeechobee re-enactment, the Pete Clemons Memorial Ranch Rodeo, the Cracker Boys Bass Club, American Bass anglers and the extreme rodeo in the fall.

A Jacksonville woman was sentenced to 37 months in prison for trying to smuggle molly, marijuana and prescription pills into Okeechobee correctional institution.

Amanda Kirk pled no contest to three felonies including trafficking drugs into a prison.

She claims she was paid $500 here in Okeechobee on May 13th to attempt to smuggle in the drugs, hidden on her body.

She will also pay 53 thousand dollars in fines and court costs.

Okeechobee Deputies said $6,000 in property damage was reported after a vehicle fleeing an alleged assault and robbery, crashed into a trailer home in Okeechobee.

Thomas Mortimer, 54 faces charges in two separate cases for an incident August 10th and 11th.

The arrest report said Mortimer was visiting a friend and didn’t know his roommate, but allegedly grabbed her anyways and tried to get $20 in cash.  She suffered a fractured rib and a separated shoulder in the struggle.

In his effort to flee he crashed into a nearby trailer and badly cut himself.  Deputies found him at a Treasure Island gas station and helped stopped the bleeding with help from good Samaritans.

Charges include robbery, burglary to an occupied dwelling and criminal mischief.

The total bond was $168,500.

Alcohol was said to be a factor in these incidents.

The Glades County Board of County Commissioners are working on their annual budget. The sheriff is applying for a federal cops grant to fund two deputies.

David Hardin is asking for four new full-time deputies and three dispatchers.

The commission discussed raises of at least $1,000 and or five percent.

Commissioner Tony Whidden points out there are advantages working for the county.

“There are a lot of advantages you get working here you don’t get on the outside, mainly insurance.”

They also get paid holidays and weekends off.

Whidden said the lowest paid employees do need a raise.  He noted that also have to be mindful of what taxpayers are going through with inflation.

“People paying into the pot are not getting the raises that we gave the past three years.  We gave good raises the past three years.”