News Cast 1/10

News Cast for January 10th:

We have received information that the COVID-19 testing site run by Curative located at the Okeechobee County Agri-Civic Center is temporarily closed today, Monday, January 10, due to staffing shortages.

Okeechobee County urges residents to call any testing or vaccination location to ensure availability.

Opinions differ on industrial project 

Okeechobee County Commissioners asked the developer of a bio char facility to hold a meeting with residents to better explain its impacts. 

They continued a public hearing on a zoning change from agriculture to industrial for 99 acres located at 5800 highway 710 east. 

Residents voiced concerns over truck traffic and safety, air pollution, and water pollution. 

Jade Conner told commissions that ground water will be impacted. 

“IT will ruin my quality of life.  I’ve been doing water treatment for over 30 years.  When the landfill was pu tin they said that would never leach into the ground.  I have treated so many wells with iron filters.  These wells, after the hurricanes in 2004 and 2005, we had to add carbon filters.  It did leach into the ground and there is no way to contain it when you have that much rain.” 

Donald Stevenson, the applicant, said it will be good for the environment because the process removes carbon from entering the atmosphere. 

“WE bought this property for a bio char operation.  This is a technology that takes organic debris and baking it.” 

He said there will not be air pollution problems as all of the smoke is contained inside the facility. 

County Commissioner Terry Burroughs did not support access on South East 59th Terrace for trucks using the facility. 

“710 will be four-lanes but that is 10 years out.   We will have to live with what we approve here.  Access on 59th Terrace is a non-starter for me.” 

Another concern was trains stopping there, cutting Hi Lo Acres off from emergency vehicles 

Okeechobee High school had a graduation rate of 93.2 percent for the 2020-2021 school year despite the pandemic. 

The state did suspend testing requirements which made it easier to graduate from high school. 

The student had to maintain a 2.0 grade point average and achieve enough credits. 

Assistant Superintendent Dylan Tedders said virtual school graduation rates were 77 percent. 

He noted tougher graduation requirements will return this year. 

“That is hard to sell to an 18 year old.  They think someone will come with a life preserver and save them in May.  Our message is in the last semester, take care of the requirements, and finish strong.  We want kids to walk across the stage and get a standard diploma.” 

No charges will be filed in a traffic death in Lakeport. 

A 23 year old Stuart man was killed in the crash near the intersection of 721 and 78 on Friday morning. 

He was trying to pass another vehicle while north bound and drove into the path of a south bound tractor trailer. 

The driver died at the scene. 

The truck driver suffered minor injury. 

State and federal lawmakers want to stem the tide of rising gun violence. 

In Florida for example, the deaths of children due to guns, has increased by 50 percent during the pandemic. 

State Senator Tina Polsky represents the Glades region. 

She says these stats are alarming. 

“IF we had this many people dying from a disease, we would do something about it.  The fact that we do nothing is mind boggling to me.  Toddlers discover guns under piles of clothes, teenagers acquire ghost guns made from kits online, middle school kids carry hand guns for protection.”