News Cast 9/17

News Cast for September 17th:

A victory for water treatment 

Officials cut the ribbon on the pump station to serve the Lakeside Ranch storm water treatment area in southeast Okeechobee. 

Officials said it will help treat water before it reaches Lake Okeechobee. 

Executive Director of the South Florida Water Management District Drew Bartlett said they have been working hard to improve the water situation. 

“We are building project everywhere, north, south, east and west to make south Florida better for all of us.” 

Chairman of the Okeechobee County Board of County Commissioners Terry Burroughs said the lake is vital to everyday life in our region. 

“We are always trying to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Okeechobee County.  A lot of the citizens use this lake on a consistent basis.  Everyone around the lake benefits from the lake.  It attracts all kinds of recreational users, fishermen, boaters, and hunters.  All of that is economic vitality for communities around the lake.” 

He encouraged more cooperation among everyone impacted by the lake to come up with a solution that works for everyone. 

Okeechobee County Commissioners approved a 3.18 percent property tax hike. 

No one spoke at a public hearing last night on the proposed $115 million dollar spending plan. 

The millage rate was set at 8 mills. 

7 clients at the Glades Detention Center claim they’ve been abused, neglected and sexually harassed. 

There is a push among democratic politicians in the state to close the facility in Moore Haven. 

Wendy King with the Immigration Action Alliance said the women also were subject to dangerous chemicals like HTQ neutral during the pandemic. 

“There is no ventilation so these chemicals are extremely toxic.  It causes cough, further spreading of COVID in the women’s dorms, and infertility.” 

King said the clients claimed guards watch them shower and make unannounced visits into their cell. 

The complaint also alleged a psychiatrist at the facility made sexually  harassing remarks to clients. 

“These complaints include sexual harassment from guards watching females shower from their towers and verbal abuse like being called racial slurs, called low lives and told to go back to your country.” 

Glades County Sheriff David Hardin defended his operation of the facility. 

“We are open for inspection.  All of our inspections have been high standards.  I stand behind my people on everything.” 

Immigration groups said they do not have any independent evidence or documents, like video surveillance, that prove these incidents have occurred. 

Charges filed in fatal crash 

A driver claimed he was under the influence of alcohol, marijuana and cocaine before a fatal crash last Friday night west of Okeechobee. 

Adrian Estrada Hernandez, 23 of Four Seasons was charged with DUI manslaughter. 

Troopers said they found beer in the vehicle that overturned after leaving SW67th Drive.  A local woman was killed.