News Cast 9/29

News Cast for September 29th:

Locals celebrate park improvements 

Okeechobee dignitaries and elected officials broke ground on the Cattlemen’s Square project in Flagler Park. 

A cattle drive sculpture is expected to be installed there in early 2022. 

Brandon Tucker of the Economic Council explained why they support the project. 

“At the beginning of the year the board of directors set forth a vision for Okeechobee County that within five years we will be named the best small town in Florida.  Everyone who come to Okeechobee for the first town always talk about this park.” 

Tucker said utilizing the parks will help improve Okeechobee. 

Bridget Waldau of Okeechobee Main Street said a lot of people put their time and money into this effort. 

“This is an encouraging moment.  The importance of the arts has been recognized.  It is not only for the beauty of the arts, but understanding the economic value.  Arts can uplift a rural community.” 

Mayor Dowling Watford said this is the best day for the parks since Henry Flagler laid them out. 

“This is really special because it honors our heritage.  Okeechobee has changed a lot since we grew up here.  It continues to change today.  As growth from the coast comes here we will continue to change.  This sculpture will remind us and future generations how important agriculture and cattle has been to this community and to Florida.” 

Florida sued the Biden administration for  claims they are allowing  illegal immigrants to pour into the state. 

Some 225,000 people have crossed the Mexico/US border illegally this year according to the US Border Patrol. 

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said immigrants bring crime to the community. 

“There are two reasons that people come from all over the country to Florida.  They are sunshine and law and order.  Every day we make certain that our residents are safe and that criminals go to jail so the citizens can enjoy life.” 

The governor also appointed Larry Keefe as the new public safety Czar who will be the point man in the state fight against illegal immigration. 

Family gets closure in missing persons case 

An Okeechobee man missing for 17 years turned up in Ocala. 

Fermin Palomino was killed by a motorist while crossing the street last month. 

His son Fermin Sjuts has been looking for him since 2004. 

He had gone to prison for a felony battery charge in 1999 and had lost touch with his father. 

Sgt. Charles Hunt of the Ocala Police Department was able to locate the family in Arizona and tell them what had happened. 

He said it was gratifying to help the family get closure. 

“The son went to prison and after being released moved out to Arizona.  His father lived off the grid and there was no way for him to know where he was.” 

The family had been fruit pickers in Okeechobee for several years. 

The driver who struck Palomino will not be charged. 

Sgt. Hunt said the family long had wondered what had become of Mr. Palomino and he said despite the tragic ending, they were glad to get this information. 

“Their reaction was closure.  His niece and son were extremely thankful to know where he was and to be at peace and not always wonder where he was at.”