News Cast 3/22

News Cast for March 22nd:

State plans 10 day closure of 441 north

Traffic jams, traffic detours, and more cars in residential neighborhoods will be the impacts felt in June as CSX makes improvements to the railroad tracks over 441 north in the city limits. Okeechobee Police Chief Robert Peterson reported to the Okeechobee City Council that the road will be closed for about 10 days. He noted this is similar to projects done on the road in the past.

“It will have a big impact.  We mainly have to give ourselves a little more time.  The good thing is they will do it in the summer time when there is less traffic,” he added.

Peterson said there is more traffic in the summer than previous years. “I’m happy they are doing it in June rather than December,” he added. He said in addition to a smoother surface there will also be improved lighting at the railroad tracks. He said people that live north of the tracks should use streets like 68 west, NW 36th Street and NW 9th Street to avoid the backups.

Windy conditions spark brush fires

Okeechobee County Fire Rescue and the Florida Division of Forestry responded to at least four separate brush fires in various parts of Okeechobee County.

The largest of the fires was a 40 acre brush fire at 20479 NW 280th Street on March 17 at 12:15 pm. Fire crews were on the scene for about two and a half hours. Other brush fires, mostly small in size, were reported in Fort Drum on NE 9th Avenue and on NW 240th Street near Basinger. Fire Rescue said there were no buildings damaged and no injuries reported in these incidents.

Miami man critical in Glades motorcycle crash

A 34 year old Miami man was listed in critical condition Sunday after he lost control of his motorcycle near Moore Haven, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

A news release from the FHP stated the motorcyclist was headed south bound on US 27 and lost control as he approached the intersection of State Road 78 just before 6 a.m. The motorcycle traveled off the right side of the roadway and overturned onto the shoulder. The report stated the driver was wearing a helmet.  Troopers also report the operator was taken by Glades EMS to a local hospital but did not reveal other details.

Surveillance cameras land suspected burglar in jail

Okeechobee City Police said about $5,000 in property damage was done after a man threw an object through the front window of a convenience store at 118 South Parrott Avenue. Police moved quickly and made an arrest after they watched the crime recorded on a nearby surveillance camera. Eric Madera was found walking on South Parrott Avenue and matched the appearance and clothing of the suspect who committed the crime.

Police said they located about $151 in store merchandise on the suspect including cigarettes, drinks, and a charging cable. Madera was charged with burglary of an unoccupied structure and criminal mischief. His bond was set at $7,500.