News Cast 5/28

News Cast for May 28th:

Graduation set for tonight

The Okeechobee High School class of 2021 graduates tonight.

About 389 seniors were expected to receive diplomas at the ceremony at the Ag Civic Center.

Each senior can have five guests to watch the ceremony.

It will also be live streamed on the district’s you tube channel.

The OHS band will also take part this year.

Principal Lauren Meyers said the students went through a lot to get to this point, “Our teachers have done so much better in person.  Our teachers are the magic of education so I’m really encouraged by the progress we have seen over the past few months.”

“I’m just extremely excited for these students.  They are  a great group of kids and I look forward to shaking their hands on the graduation stage.”

Expect more traffic this weekend

The Florida highway patrol will have all available troopers and staff on the roads for Memorial Day weekend.

They are expecting a record amount of traffic as people get out after a near 15 month pandemic.

Lt. Yanko Reyes said be sure to slow down on rural roads like ours.

“Please be aware of your surroundings.  If you are not familiar with the road, slow down, be aware of other vehicles, there is no rush.  You will get there when you get there.”

He said drivers should not text in drive.  Troopers will also be checking motorists for seat belts during the Click It or Ticket Campaign.

He said the key to safety is keeping your eyes on the road and paying attention.

“Think about your life and the others if you don’t know the road.  Don’t text and drive.  You take your mind off the road and you can swerve and cause a head on collision.”

He also urged motorists to have a designated driver if they intend to consume alcohol.

He said wildlife and alligators can also cause serious collisions.

Drowning spike concerning health officials

Florida Health officials are concerned about a 256%  jump in childhood drownings in Florida this year.

Some blame the lack of swimming classes and lessons during the pandemic.

Dr. Don Plumley is Medical Director at Arnold Palmer Orlando Health Medical Center.

“We are going into a hot Memorial Day weekend.  We are just worried about the drowning rates.  Last year people didn’t travel and people didn’t get swim lessons.  We are lining up for a perfect storm with a bunch of people around water that aren’t used to it.  That has us concerned.”

He said if you go to the beach be sure to swim near a life guard station.

He added assign one adult to supervise the kids at all times at a residential pool party or celebration.

While boating, he encouraged parents to keep a close eye on their children and to make sure they are wearing a life jacket.
“It just takes a moment, a bump, or a tilt of the boat and the kids are in the water.  It takes just a few moments.  It is not like a lake is crystal clear. If the kids goes  into the water you can have a hard time finding them.”

Pahokee city marina will open soon

Mayor Keith Babb said conditions have improved at the marina and it will open soon.

There was a large narrative of toxic water in the marina which appeared to be overblown.

With the lake levels declining there is no danger of any lake releases anytime soon.

“Folks still use the marina at their own risk.  There is no immediate danger.  It was a safety precaution to make sure there weren’t overbearing odors or smell or people getting into the water.”

Babb said the cleanup of the algae bloom went well.

“It appears to be getting better and we are looking to reopen the marina to the public.”

The commission had a difference of opinion over a proposed lease of the marina campground.

The governor and cabinet are expected to vote on the lease in June.

Commissioner Sarah Perez said there has been abuse of power on part of the commission.

She said the marina issue should be revisited by the new commission.

Mayor Babb said reversing a decision made six months ago doesn’t make any sense.