News Cast 7/14

Are we throwing good money after bad? 

Okeechobee’s Sheriff has long decried spending lease payments for his radio system. 

The county joined the state system called Slurs 12 years ago. 

This year they are considering the purchase of 275 radios for the sheriff and fire rescue and the sheriffs cost is $2.6 million. 

Sheriff Noel Stephen was asked if he’d like to own his own radio system. 

“We talked about these costs for years.  I think the costs would be somewhat comparable.  I think its worthy of a discussion with those that are in the know.” 

Stephen said the state radio system was an improvement over the old system.  They have put up a local tower on SW Ferrell Road to improve coverage in eastern Glades and eastern Highlands County. 

A committee will be set up to look at a radio system just for Okeechobee, with possibly the county, city, OUA and school board. 

Law enforcement will be doing their best to protect ear drums in Florida. 

A new law makes it an offense if music can be heard 25 feet outside a vehicle. 

Brian Hester is Chief Deputy in St. Lucie County. 

“Law enforcement may cite anyone with a non moving violation fine of up to $116.” 

Okeechobee police will also be enforcing the fight on loud music. 

Police Chief Donald Hagan said they will give motorists time to adjust to the new law. 

“Initially we will stop some folks, put out warnings and educate.  I hate to blind side some people.  Without education it is not fair to go out and hammer them with these huge citations.  Education is a must.  Motorists are already having a hard time putting gasoline in their tank.  I think it is only fair to educate people before we do strict enforcement.” 

The Florida Chamber of Commerce held a recent summit on childhood poverty. 

They talk about affordable housing, having food on the table and improved child care. 

CEO Mark Wilson said poverty can be a generational thing for families. 

“70 percent that experienced poverty during childhood don’t graduate from high school.  Those that were in poverty throughout childhood have a graduation rate of about 60 percent.  It is not these kids fault that these kids were born into these situations.” 

The average rents are up 16 percent and the average home price is up 17 percent in Florida in the past year.