News Cast 1/26

News Cast for January 26th:

Corps of Engineers complete dike

Elected officials around Lake Okeechobee cut the ribbon on the completed Herbert Hoover Dike rehabilitation in Clewiston on Wednesday.

18 years of construction resulted in 56 miles of new cutoff wall, the replacement of 28 water control structures and 42 different construction contracts.  A total of $1.5 billion was spent in these projects.

The project came in close to $400 million under budget and was also three years ahead of schedule.

Col. Jamie Booth of the US Army Corps of Engineers said they got a lot of support from all the stakeholders around the lake.

Michael Ellis with US Sugar said agriculture has been making great commitments to help the environment around the lake.  It includes 120,000 acres of farm land now being used for storage.

Michael Conner, Assistant Secretary of the US Army Office of Civil Works called it a tremendous achievement for the region.

South Bay Mayor Joe Kyles said it would make it easier for economic development and growth in areas south of the lake.

Corps officials said the dam safety action classification rating for the dike is expected to greatly improve as the result of these improvements.

A 75 year old Port St. Lucie man identified as the fatality north of Fort Drum Wednesday.

A near head on collision on 441 north near North West 290th Drive happened just after 5 am yesterday.

The victim was south bound in an SUV and Troopers said he crossed the center line colliding with a tractor trailer.

The truck driver, out of Miami, was not hurt.

Florida Governor Ron Desantis supports a limit on foreign ownership of valuable farmland in Florida.

DeSantis said the US economy is too intertwined with China, noting the shortages experienced during COVID-19.

DeSantis wants to limit the Chinese Community Party from buying up farmland, subdivisions or land located near military bases.

The Okeechobee city council…

Approved the Flagler Park Master Plan.

It includes ideas for improvements to the Butterfly Garden park, a new Seminole Park, and a new Settlers Park of the early Okeechobee settlers.

Mayor Dowling Watford said they will soon be tackling improvements for Veterans Memorial Park.

He said the excellent work done on the cattle drive sculpture has really raised community support for park improvements.

He said there is not enough support right now to extend Flagler Park to the block in front of the historic 1926 Okeechobee County Court House.

The city also reviewing plans for a commercial development just east of the new Racetrack Travel Center on 70 east.

It could include businesses, a restaurant and hotel.