News Cast 3/18

News Cast for March 18th:

Divers begin research on Lake Okeechobee

An effort is underway to try and determine if we can predict algae blooms in Lake Okeechobee.

This comes as more experts are worried about another algae bloom hitting the lake this summer.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection approved a grant for Florida Atlantic University to study the lake.

A large lander was placed a the floor of Lake Okeechobee near the North Tower near Okee Tantie Recreation Area to monitor sediment conditions for one month at a time.

Sediment will also be collected at four other locations.

Dr.  Jordon Beckler said divers report limited visibility in the water and compare the water to swimming in a septic tank.

”I think the description is accurate.  I’m not trying to touch the water and eat my sandwich.  The water quality is the worst I’ve seen in my career outside of direct septic drainage.”

He said the equipment is deployed for about 24 hours.  It directly measures nutrient flows and sediments.

Progress can be followed online at halo.gcoos.org

Two departments team up to arrest alleged thief

Okeechobee and Highlands County deputies chased after a stolen vehicle on Monday.

Bryan Corwin, 31, was captured after a K-9 search in a remote area of South West 196th Avenue.

He reportedly had bailed from the vehicle into the brush but was located Monday afternoon.

Okeechobee Deputies began the pursuit and chased him to Brighton where the vehicle was seen on Fulmar Terrace.

Deputies said when they found the vehicle it was abandoned.

The driver wore a camouflage face mask that covered the lower portion of his face, Highlands Deputies said.

He was held at the Highlands County Jail on a charge of grand theft auto.

Indiantown looks for economic development

The Indiantown Village Council voted to create the position of Economic Development Specialist in an effort to increase the number of businesses in the village.

Mayor Janet Hernandez said they also want to expand the village tax base.

The salary offered will be between $45,000 and $60,000 according to Village Manager Howard Brown.

“They implement proactive business attraction efforts, they manage the retail recruitment consultant that we hired to help us go out and recruit retail in the community,” he added.

There was some discussion on whether or not the Indiantown Chamber of Commerce should be handling this issue.

Councilwoman Susan Gibbs Thomas said she felt the chamber has done a good job recruiting business.

“That is what the chamber does.  We talk about getting up and running but I don’t think the village is there yet to support a full-time employee in this capacity.”

Resident Linda Ivory said she questioned whether the chamber of commerce wanted growth, “The village council is making the best decisions for this community not just for the few people that want it to stay the way it has been for the past 67 years.”