News Cast 1/17

News Cast for January 17th:

County jobs available

Okeechobee County Commissioners discussed the current difficulty in filling open positions.

They plan to hold a discussion on ways to increase salaries, adjust benefits, or other means to recruit employees.

The county also got some good news on the Bass Pro Big Cedar Lodge project proposed at Okeetantie Recreation Area.

County Attorney Wade Vose said next month they will see a milestone in the planning process.

“They are having a site visit with the South Florida Water Management District on February 9 to determine wetlands.  That will lock in wetland and surface water limitations for five years so they can start design at a much higher level of confidence.”

The county also hired Ana Rhoden to be their new Human Resources Director.

Eight people were shot overnight in Ft. Pierce at a Dr. Martin Luther King Junior celebration.

The shooting occurred during a block party and car show at Ellis Park on Avenue M at 13th Street.

Resident Charlie Matthews told CBS news that he saw two people shot near where he was standing.

“There were two shots and then multiple shots and about 1,500 people started running.”

At least of the victims was serious injured.  There were no immediate arrests.

Deputies said it appeared to be a dispute between two groups that sparked the gunfire.

Highlands County attorney Sherry Sutphen suggests the county require new home buyers to sign an affidavit at closing that says they know they are not buying on county maintained roads.

The county gets many complaints about services not being provided on these non maintained roads.

Commissioner Scott Kirouac said its nearly impossible to get to some of these homes with a garbage truck.

“If it’s a dead end road.  If it’s a non county maintained road and they can keep going and not try a five point turn in a 60,000 pound truck and there stuck out there and it cost $1,000 to pull that truck out, those are the situations that I get calls on from time to time.”

There are over 1,000 miles of non county roads in Highlands County.

Eight people across Florida were arrested for illegal trafficking of harmful snakes.

Major Randy Bowlin of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission lists some of the snakes that were seized.

“It is hard to focus on one snake but we had countless cobras, Vipers, bushmaster snakes, snakes from Australia, many extremely dangerous snakes.”

He said these snakes are a threat to health and the ecosystem.

Four of those arrested were from South Florida with one case in Hendry County.

The Florida Senate Agriculture Committee lists recovery from the hurricanes, foreign competition and land sales, and smaller bills, as their priority to help agriculture this year.

Senator Erin Grall said we have do all we can to make sure agriculture is successful.

1.3 million acres of Florida farmland is now foreign owned.