News Cast 1/17


January 17, 2024

News Cast for January 17th:

Nearly 600 4th grade students learned more about agriculture this year at the annual Ag Venture program at the Ag Center.

There were programs and education about beef cattle, dairy farms, vegetables, citrus growers, and honey bees.

The kids also got to meet a real-life cowboy Tre Bennett of Rollins Ranch.

Lindsey Wiggins helped to bring the adopt a cowboy program to Okeechobee.

She said kids are fascinated by cowboys

“I think its because there are fewer and fewer of them.  It is just a novelty to them.  I think they want to learn more about what cowboys do, their unique tools, and wardrobe and unique way of being.  I think that is what they connect with.”

Dairy farmer Colleen Larson explained how cows produce milk.  She noted they have to drink a lot of water.  She noted her farm currently has 3,000 cows.

“I hope the kids realize how fortunate they are to live in a community that is so important to agriculture.  Okeechobee still is rooted and was founded in agriculture.  A lot of kids don’t have that connection to the food they consume.  I hope when they go through life, they remember the community they grew up in and how important agriculture is to all of us.”

Coordinator Paula Daniel said about 100 people volunteer each year to make the event possible.  She said the teachers then incorporate what the kids learn into classrooms lessons.

Bennett said he has always been in agriculture having started with his dad at age three.  Rollins Ranch has a cow calf operation and market cattle for sale.  He said he felt the Ag Venture program was an undervalued program.

“It’s a wonderful think and I was humbled to be there.  I hope they keep it up and sustain agriculture with this push for development.  They kids had a ton of questions.  I’ve always enjoyed working in agriculture and explained to them what I do on a daily basis.”

The Okeechobee County Technical Review Committee will consider a 116 foot high communications tower for 33 acres at 5445 Highway 441 north for the South Florida Water Management District.

Slim Chickens wants to build a new restaurant at 3238 US highway 441 south.

VVF Okee 90 Farms wants to have 18 residential lots platted on 91 acres at 995 North West 144th Drive.

The city planning board recommended a rezoning to allow the Budget Inn to expand at 201 South Parrott Avenue.  The .65 acre motel is currently non-conforming.

The lack of parking space was the main concern raised by planning board members.

Planning Board member Doug McCoy said downtown is appropriate for motels.  He said it adds foot traffic and visitors that can spend money in the downtown area.

An Okeechobee man charged with grand theft accused of stealing a Big Tex dump trailer in Lehigh Acres.

Lee County deputies said they found the trailer stuck on the side of the road and two men trying to get it unstuck.

52-year-old Lamar Talamantez claimed he was paid $200 by the trailer owner to move it. 

The deputy was handed a cell phone from the alleged owner but he couldn’t tell the deputy where the trailer was parked, what it looked like and where it was being moved to.  He then abruptly hung up on the deputy.

The Glades County School Board and the Economic Development Council couldn’t reach a deal on 50 feet strip of land at the Chalo Nitka Grounds where the schools want to build the new Moore Haven Elementary school.

Superintendent Dr. Beth Barfield said the land would not impact the Chalo Nitka festival.

The board voted 3-2 to pursue litigation over the issue.

The EDC wanted the schools to name them the successor to the lease agreed to in 1985 with the chamber of commerce which no longer exists.

The land was donated to the community for their use at that time.