News Cast 3/30

News Cast for March 30th:

The Okeechobee Health Department is administering the Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine from now until 3pm (or they sell out). They have consent forms and the entrance is on the HWY 710 Side of the Ag Center. Photo ID is required. This is for all people 18+ years of age and older. No Appointment needed.

There will be “NO” Driver License service on Wednesday March 31st, due to the State of Florida doing a system upgrade to our computers.  Thursday April 1st, we will resume Driver’s License services with time delays.   We appreciate your patience during this time. 

Fatal crash reported on Florida Turnpike

A 29 year old Miami man was killed Monday night after a tractor trailer attempted to make a U-turn on the Florida Turnpike.

The incident occurred near mile marker 188 in Okeechobee County at 8:30 pm Monday. Troopers said the victim was headed north bound driving a sedan in an area where the left lane for both northbound and southbound traffic was closed due to construction.

The truck driver was headed southbound and attempted the U-turn in a paved turn around to travel back northbound.   Upon doing so he entered the right northbound lane. The northbound sedan was unable to stop in time and struck the rear of the tractor trailer. Troopers said the driver of the sedan died at the scene while the truck driver, a 61 year old Lake Worth resident, was not injured.

A passenger in the sedan, a 28 year old Miami woman, was listed in serious condition. The investigation into the crash is continuing.

Golf carts targeted by thieves

Reports of an increase in the thefts of golf carts in Florida caught the attention of Glades County Sheriff David Hardin.

He said he heard from sheriffs in Hendry and Charlotte County of a recent increase in golf cart thefts. He said it appears to be a growing problem in areas south of Orlando. He urged citizens to take precautions and lock up their golf carts and keep them in secure spaces.

Glades County has a large population of RV parks and communities where golf carts are common.

“I don’t know what is driving it.  I don’t know if it is a battery thing or they are selling the parts overseas.  If it is an organized operation hopefully we will get to the end of it.”

He noted the city of Moore Haven, Buckhead Ridge, Lakeport and other areas have a large amount of golf carts.

Wild fire activity expected to rise

Two wild fires could be the sign of things to come for Okeechobee County, the Division of Forestry said Tuesday. The heat from a pickup trucks engine and muffler sparked a hay field on fire in Fort Drum.

50 acres were burning off NE 304th Street when Okeechobee County Fire Rescue and the Division of Forestry arrived. Firemen said $70,000 in property damage was reported and the pickup was destroyed.

Another 20 acres burned in a wild fire in the 17000 block of North West 310th Street. Spokesperson for the Okeechobee District Miguel Nevarez said wild fire activity will be picking up, “If we go by the weather and the lack of rainfall that we have had this year our fire season is going to be very active.  We do hope that we will receive rain as the weeks move on.  If we do not, things are going to dry up and we will continue to see more wild fires pop up.”

Nevarez said he expects the temperatures to continue to rise and with a lack of rainfall expected through the next several weeks, the conditions could worsen. He said due to COVID-19 the DOF has not had its usual amount of public outreach and education.  He said this could impact the number of wild fires this year.

“We have been trying to look at different routes with town hall meetings online to inform the public.  We have tried video conferencing and social media to try and get the word out.”