Local News

Gov. Scott: West Palm Beach Area Added More Than 17,000 New Jobs Over the Year

Gov. Scott: West Palm Beach Area Added More Than 17,000 New Jobs Over the Year

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that the West Palm Beach area added 17,600 new private-sector jobs in the last year. The area’s unemployment rate was 4.3 percent in June, dropping 0.7 percentage point in the last year. Statewide, Florida businesses created 17,800 new jobs in June and the unemployment rate dropped to 4.1 percent, the lowest rate since June 2007. Since December 2010, Florida businesses have created 1,397,400 new private-sector jobs.

Governor Scott said, “With Florida’s unemployment rate at a 10-year low, we are sending a message across the country that our state is the best place for job creators and families to succeed. It is also great news that West Palm Beach businesses have created more than 17,000 new jobs over the year, and we will keep working to make it easier for businesses to grow and create new opportunities in Florida.”

The industries with the highest growth over the year in West Palm Beach were professional and business services with 4,900 new jobs; leisure and hospitality with 4,700 new jobs; and education and health services with 4,100 new jobs. In June, the West Palm Beach area had 17,409 job openings and offered 4,818 openings for high-skill, high-wage STEM jobs.

For 63 consecutive months, Florida’s annual job growth rate of 3.1 percent is exceeding the nation’s rate of 1.7 percent. In June, 22,977 Floridians were placed in jobs by CareerSource Palm Beach County and the state’s other 23 local workforce boards.

To view the June 2017 employment data visit www.floridajobs.org/labor-market-information/labor-market-information-press-releases/monthly-press-releases


Ten Mile Creek Water Preserve Area Begins Operation to Protect St. Lucie River and Estuary

Ten Mile Creek Water Preserve Area Begins Operation to Protect St. Lucie River and Estuary

The project provides critical water storage and water quality improvement

West Palm Beach, FL – Reaching a major milestone in the effort to protect the St. Lucie River and Estuary, engineers at the South Florida Water Management District this month began filling the repaired Ten Mile Creek Water Preserve Area to store and clean water for the river and estuary.

Congress tasked SFWMD with completing the long-stalled federal project and bringing it online to provide the intended benefits to the river and estuary ecosystems and the families and businesses in St. Lucie and Martin counties who depend on their health.

In a video presentation, water managers explain the problem and the project’s solution:

  • Ten Mile Creek collects stormwater runoff across St. Lucie County and empties into the St. Lucie River.
  • Too much freshwater and too many nutrients upset the delicate ecological balance in the river and estuary.
  • The project pumps excess stormwater runoff from the creek into a reservoir.
  • The stored water flows to a wetland with plants that clean nutrients such as phosphorus.
  • The water is sent back to the creek at the right time and in the right volume for the river and estuary.

Watch Video: Ten Mile Creek Water Preserve Area


Charles Murphy News 7/21

News Cast for July 21st:

Arrests today include

  • 20 year old Gabriel Perez of Moore Haven, accused of driving to Okeechobee to meet with a 15 year old girl and have sexual relations. Charges include four counts of lewd and lascivious battery and four counts of computer solicitation of a minor.
  • 28 year old Erica Delacruz is charged with attempted murder.  She allegedly stabbed her husband with an 8 inch knife in the chest overnight Tuesday. Manuel Alvarez was flown to Lawnwood for treatment.   Authorities are unsure what prompted the argument between the two at a home on North West 20th Avenue.

Okeechobee county commissioners Thursday:

  • Set the tentative tax millage at the roll back rate and don’t  plant to collect additional property taxes this year.
  • Commissioners did extend local option gas taxes that add 5 cents to each gallon of fuel sold to help pay for local road and drainage work.
  • The county is considering hiring another code enforcement officer to check that contractors pull permits.  The county has learned that permit fee revenues are not increasing despite an increase in construction activity.
  • Commissioners rezoned 271 acres to agriculture on North East 31st Lane for a family ranch.
  • Commissioner Brad Goodbread urged the county to repair North East 80th Avenue.
  • Commissioner Bryant Culpepper urged the county to place a drop box at the animal shelter so residents can drop off cats and dogs after hours.
  • The county also signed off on modifications to the Okeechobee Utility authority interlocal agreement and a deal to allow the utility board to meet in the commission chambers for the next six months.

Sheriff Noel Stephen plans to apply for Federal Cops grants to hire four new deputies.  He wants to create a criminal apprehension team to work on special projects like speed enforcement, extra patrols at the sports complex and lock 7, and more patrols in high crime areas.  The cost of the deputies would be over a quarter of a million per year with the federals pay 2/3 of the salary for the next three years.

Sports Cast for July 21st:

Cade Pearce won the MVP trophy for boy’s tennis. The freshman really enjoys the sport and thought it was a good decision to join the team. He said his goal in the off season is to improve his endurance and also continue improvement on his volley game. He says he had to play a number of older strong players this year, but was able to hold his own.

He plans to recruit some younger players to join the team next year as they build the program.


Local Firefighters to conduct training burn.

Local Firefighters to conduct training burn

On Saturday July 22, 2017, from 8:00 AM until about 5:00 PM, local firefighters will be conducting at training burn at the intersection of NW 5th Street and NW 2nd Avenue.

Firefighters from the county, city, and Coral Springs fire departments, along with multiple agencies from the Treasure Coast area will be participating in this training burn. County Fire Chief Ralph Franklin states “that this is a terrific training opportunity that allows firefighters to practice and improve their skills as an individual and as team member”.

Residents are urged to use caution when travelling in this area that day as there will be a large presence of firefighter and apparatus.

Vehicle traffic can expect temporary local street closures and possible traffic delays during this event.

For more information, contact Okeechobee County Fire Rescue at 763-5544 from 8am – 5pm, Monday – Friday.


Charles Murphy News 7/20

News Cast for July 20th:

City council is looking at a new medical clinic for employees.   They are looking at a 57 thousand dollar increase in health insurance, about 11 percent this year.

Council will decide in August whether City Administrator Marcos Montes De Oca deserves a raise to over 87 thousand dollars per year.  He also asked the city for more vacation and sick time after getting a near perfect performance evaluation.  Council members Monica Clark and Gary Ritter asked for more time to consider the raise.

City budget time is just around the corner.  To prepare they increased the tentative millage by 1 mill to just under 9 mills.  Normally they reduce the millage after the budget is finalized.  The first budget workshop is August 15th at 5 pm.

City residents won’t see an increase on their garbage bills this year.   The rate remains at 2 hundred and 30 dollars per residence. The city will also change the firm that sweeps streets.  USA services was selected Tuesday.  The annual price is about 27 thousand dollars.

In the courts, grand theft and exploitation of the elderly charges were recently dropped against Guillermo Limdimas.  He was accused of borrowing 36 hundred dollars from a mentally disabled man for his food truck, and then never trying to repay the loan.

34 year old Daniel Gomez Correa of Orlando was charged after a burglary, car theft, and chase with Osceola deputies near Kenansville.  He allegedly entered a home on Lake Marian Road, grabbed the keys to a Ford Explorer and fled.  Cops spotted him nearby and a chase ensued.  A sheriffs K-9 subdued the man.  Correa had faced multiple crimes like burglary to an occupied dwelling.

The Glades county planning board approved an expansion of the river forest yachting center in Ortona.

An algae bloom has been spotted in the center of Lake Okeechobee.  NO releases are being made from the lake this summer due to low water levels.

Sports Cast for July 20th:

Richard Roudybush resigned as Moore Haven football coach. He will take a job in the private sector and spend more time with his young family. He says his future coaching plans are up in the air. Max Manin was named the interim coach.  He was the defensive coordinator for the past two years.

He says he knows the kids and is excited about the opportunity.

Moore haven has won seven games the past two years and have designs on a playoff trip this year.

The new offensive coordinator is Chris Cook who coached before at Hardee High and Sebring High.


New Website Increases Outreach, Highlights SFWMD Public Restoration Planning Workshops

New Website Increases Outreach, Highlights SFWMD Public Restoration Planning Workshops

Workshops garner public input for Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan planning projects

West Palm Beach, FL – The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) will conduct public workshops to garner critical public input needed to complete several planning projects that are part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), including the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project (LOWRP) and the Western Everglades Restoration Project (WERP).

“These planning processes guide the future of Everglades restoration,” said SFWMD Governing Board Chairman Dan O’Keefe. “These forums will ensure public participation through the entirety of these planning processes.”

As part of SFWMD’s extensive public outreach for these workshops, the District unveiled its new website this week where interested parties can get information about the planning projects as well as upcoming workshops where they can offer input.

The Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project, which began July 2016, seeks to identify a slate of storage options, including the use of ASR wells and above-ground reservoirs to store water north of Lake Okeechobee. The project will improve the quantity, timing and distribution of flows into the 730-square-mile Lake Okeechobee. These measures will also aid in reducing damaging discharges from the lake to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries.
The Western Everglades Restoration Project, which began August 2016, will develop a plan to restore and reconnect the western portion of the Everglades ecosystem into the greater Everglades. The project will improve water quality, re-establish sheetflow from the West Feeder Canal across the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation and into Big Cypress National Preserve and maintain existing levels of flood protection.

Completion of these planning projects are part of the overall strategy devised decades ago to restore America’s Everglades ecosystem. They are also part of the Integrated Delivery Schedule, a carefully crafted sequencing plan created using extensive public input, which governs the completion of projects to maximize the benefit of taxpayer dollars for restoration.

The public is welcome to attend and offer their views at the workshops. The next two workshops are related to LOWRP and will be held on July 27 at SFWMD’s Okeechobee Service Center and July 28 at SFWMD’s Headquarters in West Palm Beach.

Learn more about ongoing SFWMD planning projects that are a part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.


Black bear ventures through downtown Avon Park

Black bear ventures through downtown Avon Park

AVON PARK — A young black bear took a walking tour of the City of Charm Monday morning, July 17, venturing from the south end of town to the north before crossing U.S. 27 and disappearing into some orange groves west of U.S. 27.

The bear’s odyssey first came to official attention at 8:36 a.m., when it was reported at Joe Hilton Street and Memorial Drive. It ran off into some bushes and wasn’t visible when a deputy went to investigate.

An hour later, however, at 9:39 a.m., another call came in, this time about the bear being in a yard near Glenwood Avenue and Shaw Street. When deputies arrived, the bear was loping up Eddie Cannon Street towards Summit Avenue. It then turned north and crossed Main Street — nearly being hit by a car — before finally stopping for a rest behind the Chevron Station at U.S. 27 at Alton Street at around 10:15 a.m.

Deputies were concerned about the bear running into traffic on the highway and causing a crash. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers arrived as the bear was taking its break, but said due to its already-stressed state any effort to tranquilize the bear would likely kill it. The best option, they said, was to help it find its way into a safe habitat.

After a short rest in the shade of some oak trees, the bear ventured back toward the south, passing through the rear parking lot of the Olympic Restaurant and then into the front yard of Harbor Community Bank. FWC and deputies stopped traffic on the highway at a little after 11 a.m. and the bear was chased across U.S. 27 to the west, since that was toward the nearest safe area.

Eventually, the bear was guided toward a blueberry field at the west end of Pleasant Street, where it climbed the fence. It was seen a few minutes later (around 11:50 a.m.) crossing Taunton Road into an orange grove, where it likely found some shade and a place to hide until nightfall.  The bear’s trek through town covered a little over two miles.

Link to video: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8ciGiO4dJ8UMjBkd1JheUxZWFk


Charles Murphy News 7/19

News Cast for July 19th:

Buckhead Ridge residents can sleep easier after Glades Deputies say they have their man in a rash of recent burglaries. 23 year old Daniel Kinzy allegedly committed seven burglaries between June 21st and July 8th. He also faces four counts of grand theft, two counts of criminal mischief and one count of petit theft. Kinzy has helped authorities recover some of the stolen merchandise.

No one was hurt Monday morning after a mobile home fire at 3831 south east 25th Street in Treasure Island. Okeechobee county fire rescue found heavy smoke and flames coming out of the window of the home as they arrived just after 9:30 am. The state fire marshall is investigating. The family is in need of help with dog food, if you’d like to help donate call 423-271-1193.

Two men were airlifted to Lawnwood regional medical center Monday night after an all terrain vehicle accident on North East 3 hundred and 42nd Trail in Fort Drum Ranchettes. Gibson Yates and Mack Hubbard were injured in the accident. The Florida highway patrol is investigating.

A 58 year old Lake City man charged with sexual battery of a physically helpless child in Glades County. Rodney Dunbar was held without bond at the Glades County jail. Authorities say the alleged incident occurred back in January of 2015.

20 year old Aaron Rodriguez of Okeechobee was charged with attempted grand theft auto, and prowling in Fort Pierce, allegedly grabbing two door handles to a parked police car with an officer inside and then running away Monday morning.

McArthur Dairy reportedly laid off 18 Okeechobee dairy workers.

Sports Cast for July 19th:

The Okeechobee boys cross country team doesn’t plan to rebuild but reload after two consecutive trips to the State Finals. Coach A.J Mayernik says he always felt the cross country team could be a state power. The guys lost three key runners to graduation but Mayernik says the returning group should be strong. The girl’s team was young and continues to grow. He says the kids work out all summer long to get ready for the season.

The boy’s team was 23rd in the state this year despite a runner being injured during the state finals.


Temporary Pumps Have Immediate Impact On High Water Levels in Water Conservation Areas

Temporary Pumps Have Immediate Impact On High Water Levels in Water Conservation Areas

 Pumps at S-176 structure in Miami-Dade County will improve ability to move water out of Water Conservation Area 3A, aiding in response to high water emergency caused by heavy June rainfall

Homestead, FL – South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) teams from the Homestead and West Palm Beach field stations worked through the weekend to install two temporary pumps that will ramp up efforts to lower water levels in Water Conservation Area 3A.

“I am very proud of our staff for working tirelessly to implement this pump installation, as well as all the other efforts undertaken since heavy rainfall caused this high water emergency in the conservation areas,” said SFWMD Governing Board Chairman Dan O’Keefe. “Protecting plants and wildlife and the Everglades is important to every Floridian and this latest example once again proves our staff is up for the task.”

The two temporary pumps, installed at the S-176 structure in South Miami-Dade County, are part of the South Dade Conveyance System that allows water to be moved to tide south through the S-197 structure. The pumps increase the amount of water that can be moved through S-176 south by 175 cubic feet per second, allowing more water to be moved out of Water Conservation Area 3A to the north.

An average of nearly 15 inches of rainfall fell across the District in June, with more than 18 inches falling directly on the water conservation areas in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. This led the Department of Environmental Protection to declare a state of emergency in Water Conservation Area 3A, where the heavy rain caused high water levels that put wildlife at risk of drowning. In the aftermath, SFWMD water managers have been taking every feasible operational step to lower the water levels the maximum extent permitted by the system’s design.

Installation of the pumps is expected to be completed this week.


Charles Murphy News 7/18

News Cast for July 18th:

A two-year-old child drowned in a pond in Lorida, at 1833 Sunnyside Drive. The child was found Thursday morning and died Friday in the hospital. Highlands deputies are investigating.

Former all state running back D’Angelo Ware was arrested on marijuana and weapons charges in Moore Haven.  Glades deputies investigating a suspicious vehicle in Washington Park say they found 38 grams of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and a loaded Mossburg 254 caliber rifle.  Ware is no longer on the Florida International football team.

An Okeechobee sex offender, who absconded was sentenced to 7 years in prison.  During the flight from justice, 43-year-old Hector Velasquez was charged with human trafficking, for pimping a 17 year old female at a motel in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The Florida highway patrol has found no evidence that 23 year old Dennis Cummings was hit by a hit and run vehicle on the morning he died on Dark Hammock Road May 4th.  Cummings was lying in the road around 3 am when he was run over by a tractor trailer.

22-year-old Dejuan Dozier of LaBelle was charged with shooting three people, one seriously, at a party in June, and fleeing to Ft. Myers.  One of the victims was shot at least 7 times but survived.  Hendry deputies say it appeared to be gang related.

Sheriffs K-9 ran a burglary suspect up a tree early Saturday near Four Seasons.  38-year-old Willie Joe Harris and 33 year old Kimberly Lyons faces burglary, resisting arrest and prowling charges.

A traffic crash may have been a suicide attempt on Saturday night.  City police allege 27 year old Derek Warrington drove the vehicle through the boat ramp and into Taylor Creek on South East 4th Street.  A passenger claimed Warrington said were dying tonight. The witness did not want to pursue criminal charges.

A 23 year old Indiantown man, Edin Acierno was charged after a road rage incident at the Treasure Coast mall, he faces assault and marijuana possession charges.

Sports Cast for July 18th:

Haley Underhill was named the Rising Star of the Brahman softball team this year. She hit three homeruns, and was among the team leaders in runs scored and batting average. Underhill says she lacked confidence when she started her freshman year. She was also the top pitcher on the team until an injury derailed her season.  She said she readjusted her thinking and was determined to help her team in another way.

Haley is among the Lady Brahmans who play travel ball throughout the year.


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