News Cast 8/20

News Cast for August 20th:

Elementary school shifts some to virtual learning 

West Glades Elementary School in Glades County shifted all of its fifth-grade classes to virtual learning effective Monday due to what the district calls a large number of COVID cases and quarantined students. 

The district said the school is experiencing a large number of COVID cases and quarantined students. 

They want to return to in-class learning on September 7. 

Community transmission in Glades County has moved from substantial to high in the past few weeks. 

The schools remind parents to keep children home if they are sick. 

They also continue several prevention strategies at school including vigorous cleaning and disinfecting, handwashing, social distance, and encouraging the use of masks. 

Former Glades County Commission Samuel Griffin passed away at the age of 84.

Griffin was honored earlier this summer when the county dedicated the Sam Griffin Scenic Tower at Harney Pond in Lakeport.

Griffin and his family developed Uncle Joe’s Fish Camp on Lake Okeechobee.

Griffin is also a member of the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. 

City keep same tax rate 

Okeechobee City council cut $542,000 from their proposed budget. 

This still have a near $900,000 dollar budget deficit this year. 

Mayor Dowling Watford said the city has discussed adding a fire assessment as a way to raise revenue in the future. 

Budget cuts include a police car, $59,000 in improvements at Centennial Park and $175,000 for an arm tractor for public works. 

They also cut $150,000 to replace windows at city hall. 

Watford said the city is just putting off those things. 

The budget includes a three percent increase in pay for employees. 

The tax rate remains the same at 7.6 mills. 

TDC funds several rodeos 

The Okeechobee Tourist Development council reaffirmed their commitment to rodeos by providing funds for high school and professional rodeos in the coming year. 

$30,000 will go to the Florida high school rodeo association as they host multiple events at the Ag Center which include the state finals next June. 

They also helped fund an Extreme Rodeo in November and the Cow Town Rodeo next March. 

The budget for promotions and advertising dropped $46,000 due to the downturn in tourism caused by COVID. 

Firemen and crew save life 

Lt. Luis Rodriguez of Highlands County Fire Rescue received the Life Saving award for pulling a woman from a burning home on July 23. 

Allison Taylor survived her injuries after being rushed to Tampa General Hospital for treatment. 

Fire Chief Marc Bashoor said the Lt. found the victim in near zero visibility, and was able to pull her out of the burning building. 

The chief handed out awards to every member of the medical crew and helicopter that helped in the rescue. 

Evans Properties, South Florida Water Management, and St. Lucie County celebrated the ribbon cutting on the Bluefield Grove water farm near the Okeechobee County line. 

It will store about 60,000 acre feet of water each year and keep it out of the St. Lucie River. 

Water Management board member Jackie Thurlough Lippish said this area used to hold water for much of the year 

Ron Edwards President of Evans Properties said the company only gets involved in projects that make a difference. 

“I believe taking this water out of the system and never goes to tide of the estuary and dumps nutrients into the Indian River Lagoon will make a significant difference.”