Newscast for Thursday, September 8th 2022

Honoring our veterans 

A committee was put together to work on sprucing up Veterans Memorial Park. 

They are removing the large field artillery piece for cleaning, painting and sand blasting at the city barn.  They also plan to add covered seating and improve the overall appearance of the park. 

Marty Faulkner said the World War 2 era guns need to be maintained and the appearance of the park is important to veterans.
“Trying to get other pieces like that in good condition would be almost impossible in today’s world.  We are fortunate to have them, we need to maintain them, and we need to make sure they are available for generations to come.” 

They are accepting community donations for this work at American Legion Post 64, ask for commander Carl Geyser or at the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s office, ask for Sgt. Jack Nash. 

Traffic calming devices like speed bumps, radar signs and other measures might not slow down vehicles speeding through our residential areas. 

The county commission discussed special taxing districts to fund these things. 

They worry that will shift traffic over to other streets that don’t have these measures. 

Commissioner Brad Goodbread said we should do all we can on residential streets to slow people down. 

“If we need speed bumps to keep people from plowing over little kids, then speed bumps it is.” 

A Desoto county deputy spotted an Okeechobee man trying to hide lying down in the dirt near an Arcadia home. 

He remembered a recent burglary there and stopped next to a church finding Vasilios Rallis had tried to break into the home.  He also found some drugs. 

He also arrested an alleged look out Joshua Duke, sitting near a parked U-Haul truck nearby. 

Both men face attempted burglary charges with Duke also facing drug possession charges related to prescription pills. 

A state trooper suffered minor injury after he rear ended a slower moving pickup truck hauling a trailer in Palmdale. 

The accident occurred at 6:30 am just south of the State Road 29 county road 74 intersections on Tuesday. 

The other driver, a 47 year old LaBelle man was not hurt. 

Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden said he doesn’t have enough deputies to keep people safe. 

He asked for an over $2.8 million  budget hike to hire 19 new employees. 

Whidden used Okeechobee County as an example to justify his request. 

“Okeechobee’s Sheriff requested $20.8 million this year.  We are asking for $18.1 million.  We have slightly more population and we have more area to cover (300 square miles).  We are doing it with far less bodies than Okeechobee.  We need to address that and make it safer.”   

He also wants a pay hike to help keep deputies from leaving for other agencies.  He wants five percent for unsworn and three percent for sworn officers in addition to state funded pay raises coming to law enforcement this year.