News Cast for October 17th:

Cattle is still king

Okeechobee County remains number one in cattle herds in the state followed by Highlands and Osceola County.

Todd Clemons said the Okeechobee livestock market sold 105,000 head of cattle in 2022 and expect to surpass that number this year.

He noted in the hay day cattle sales were 160,000 annually at the market.

They have been hosting special bull sales in October to benefit our local ranchers.

They auctioned off 55 Brangus bulls last Friday.  This Friday they auction off Charolais bulls and on October 27th they will auction off Sutphin Mixed Breed Bulls.

Clemons said they take care of all the cattle in their care even though it is a stressful time when a calf gets sold.

“Put yourself in the place of an animal a calf with his mother, eating grass, and having the best life in the world that morning.  Then here comes those guys on horses, and they run around and gather and bunch you up and herd you up into a pen and your momma goes that way and your over here by yourself.  Next thing you know your on a truck running down the highway at 60 miles per hour.  I was just eating grass this morning, how is this possible.’

Many of the cattle take a 20-hour trip on a semi to feed lots in the mid-west after being sold at the market.

The Florida Department of Transportation has decided on a signalized intersection to connect Martin Grade with County Road 15 B in Okeechobee.

They had considered Martin Grade intersection upgrades including turn lanes and acceleration lanes.

The Martin Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization is pushing on widening all of 710 from Indiantown north.

County Commissioner Doug Smith said the state transportation budget is flush with cash and now is a good time.

“Can we spend $17 billion in one year?  I don’t know.  That seems like a lot.  We were talking to the (DOT) secretary of about $150 million for this project.  It seems like we should be able to find this money.”

The intersection improvements are in the tentative five year work plan.

The US Army Corps of Engineers saw Lake Okeechobee levels go up over a quarter foot last week.

The level at 16.31 feet this morning.

The LOERS schedule recommends releases to both coasts but they won’t be changing the releases anytime soon.

Col. Jamie Booth was non-committal when asked when and if releases could occur with the lake so high.

“It depends on the rate of rise in the lake.  If we see a significant storm that comes in and we see a rate of rise that won’t taper off, that could trigger us to go with higher releases.”

The current releases are 2,000 cubic feet per second out the Julian Keen lock and dam in Moore Haven.

The Glades County School Board agreed to a new contract with teachers.

The salary for beginning teachers goes up $1,000 to $51,000 per year.

The salary for teachers with up to 14 year’s-experience goes up $1,100, those with 15 to 24 years expect to go up $1,100 and those with 25 years of more experience goes up $1,200.