News Cast for August 24th:

On August 23,2023, a joint operation occurred on campus at the Okeechobee High School for narcotics or paraphernalia. During the operation, School Resource Deputies and Okeechobee High School Administrators teamed with the Sheriff’s Office and City Police K-9 teams to search over two hundred and fifty (250) book bags from a single building picked randomly.

There were fourteen (14) positive alerts. Two (2) of the students were caught with “dab pens” containing T.H.C. (marijuana); one (1) student had multiple “dab pens” in their possession and is suspected to have been distributing these items to other students on campus. Instead of arresting the students, the Sheriff’s Office issued a civil citation to each involved, and the school board will handle any administrative issues per their code of conduct.

Drowning likely accidental

Glades County Sheriff deputies are treating the death of a 19- year-old farm worker as an accidental drowning.

Waldemar Uvaldo Abac Lopez was found in a canal by a passerby near the Buckhead Ridge Marina on July 8th.

Lt. Gary Johnson said the family had reported the teen as a missing person in South Florida.

They are awaiting the final toxicology report in the case from the medical examiner’s office for the 20th Judicial Circuit.

The Corps of Engineers received some push back for sending small amounts of water out of Lake Okeechobee to help the people that use the St. Lucie canal and growers in western Martin County.

The gates at S-80 were open for an hour last Friday sending out 22.8 million gallons.

On August 5, another 142.7 million gallons of lake water was sent east.

Major Cory Bell said they have not changed the lake release schedule this week with 2,000 cubic feet per second going west out the Julian Keen Lock and Dam.

Bell said they received over three inches of rain last week and lowered the St. Lucie Canal level because it impacts navigation and erodes the canal banks.

Florida Power and Light has set records for power usage in South Florida due to the higher temperatures this summer.

Spokesperson Bianca Soriano listed some ways FPL customers can save money during the heat wave.

They include setting the thermostat between 74 and 78 degrees, and also setting it at 82 degrees when you are not in the home.  They also urge you to change the AC filter on a monthly basis.

Other tips are using outdoor grills to do your cooking, use cold water to wash clothes and dishes, and keeping shades, drapes and blinds closed to keep out the sun.

Captain John Mizell Pearce was honored by US President Joe Biden for his contributions during the 3rd Seminole Indian War in Florida.

Cynthia Morrison asked Highlands County commissioners to honor pioneers like Captain Pearce who founded Fort Basinger, and also served in the Confederate Calvary Unit during the Civil War.

Capt. Pearce also donated artifacts collected from the Calusa Indian tribe in this region to the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.

Commissioners said they would consider a resolution at a future BOCC meeting.