News Cast for May 15th:

Sheriff warns of continued drug problem

Drug overdoses continue to increase in Okeechobee.

Fentanyl and methamphetamines are the drugs of choice these days.

Sheriff Noel Stephen said there are many people arrested over and over again for drugs.

For some it is been passed down in families from generation to generation.

He said the key is treating drug addicts. He’s emphasized bringing in outside support.

“We have no dollars for drug rehabilitation or prevention. We have to rely on other agencies to bring dollars in.”

He noted drugs impacts all age groups.

“We recently had a six month old, mom and dad went to a convenience store, they are not users, but somehow or someway they came in contact with fentanyl, touched the baby, and the baby started to have an overdose as they drove down the road away from this convenience store.”

The wild fire threat remains high. In addition to the St. Lucie fires around Bluefield Road and the Fairground, large fires

plagued Hendry County Monday night and in Highlands County along the US 27 corridor on Tuesday. Several homes had to be evacuated for a time. There were also power outages in Hendry County.

Larson Dairy hosted some public tours to show off how they produce milk for the thousands.

They displayed the JM Larson operation including their waste to energy facility. It is located on route 68 east.

3,200 hundred cows produce 25,000 gallons of milk per day at the facility as they lounge away the day in covered barns with fans and mists of water.

Colleen Larson led the tour for the local extension office. She notes farms are not a huge money maker.

“There are plenty of other things that people would do if it was just to make money. It is the love of the land, love of the cattle and really a love of feeding people. Most farmers at the core in their heart get satisfaction in providing a wholesome product. It is a big purpose in what they do.”

They also hosted educators from the St. Lucie School system and those teachers can bring back what they learned to the classroom.

A farmworker bus crash claimed 8 lives in Marion County near Dunnellon.

A drunk driver was arrested for DUI manslaughter. 40 people were hospitalized.

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said this is devastating to all the families because the deaths are unexpected.

FHP said there may be more fatalities among those hospitalized.

A local woman had criminal charges dropped and her case dismissed in court.

42-year-old Denise Ferrell completed a pre trial diversion program.

The animal cruelty case dated back to 2022.

Okeechobee County Animal Control said a gelding horse was put down and a foal was rehabilitated by Liberty Farms after an attack by a pig in a pasture in Southwest Okeechobee.