News Cast 8/29

News Cast for August 29th:

New leader at the EOC 

Todd Hardacre was selected as the new Okeechobee County Emergency Management Director. 

He had worked at the Okeechobee County Health Department and was closely involved with the EOC during storms and COVID-19. 

He said one of the biggest challenges they face in Okeechobee is storm complacency especially from new residents. 

“I think consistently putting information out through social media, the radio and our community partners will help.  Just reminding people there may not be a storm today but they live in Florida and at any time there could be something coming.” 

Officials continue to predict an above average hurricane season this year. 

Another cold case homicide solved in St. Lucie County involving an Okeechobee victim. 

Albert Clay was found dead, days after he had been reported missing, on March 31, of 1986. 

Investigators dove into the cocaine and marijuana days in Okeechobee and named two suspects this summer.   

Ralph Richard Ray and Monserrate Ruiz of Fort Pierce allegedly stabbed and beat the man. 

“These are the suspects.  There is probable cause that they committed this homicide.” 

Taylor said there was an eye witness who came forward.  The witness said the two men beat and stabbed the man over a drug debt at a residence off Orange Avenue. 

Detective Paul Taylor said both suspects have since passed away. 

He spent a lot of time talking about the cocaine and marijuana drug rings that littered both Okeechobee and St. Lucie County during that era. 

“I talked to the old timers that used to work here and I heard the stories of the crazy stuff that used to happen.  I think someone in the know should write a book.   There were a lot of crazy things happening back in those days and many cold cases that come from that era.” 

Clay’s body was found in the C-24 canal off Okeechobee Road. 

The infrastructure package approved by Congress this summer….$1 point 3 trillion….will benefit rural areas. 

That the statement of central Florida congressman Darren Soto.  High speed internet could be extended to ranches and businesses all the way south to Yeehaw Junction in his district. 

Soto points out Osceola has a smart growth management plan. 

“In two thirds of the county you can’t develop subdivisions.  You can have homes on five acre tracts.  The land is for agriculture, environment, hunting leases, parks, water storage, and not for major subdivisions and development.”