News Cast for October 24th:

Please contact Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services for availability. 863-357-3225

More people are working in Okeechobee

Okeechobee’s workforce grew and more people were employed in September.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity said Okeechobee unemployment was 3.5 percent in September.  That compared to 3.7 percent in August.

The report said 638 people collected benefits, 17,762 were employed and 18,400 were in the work force during September in Okeechobee County.

The report said 675 people collected benefits, 17,712 were employed and 18,387 were in the work force during August in Okeechobee.

The unemployment rates around the region included 3.2 percent in Martin County, 3.3 percent in Palm Beach County, four percent in Glades County and 4.7 percent in Highlands County.

The jobless rate last September was 2.9 percent.  The work force last year was 17,793.

A proposed project deemed to be the second largest retirement community in Florida has been withdrawn by Sun Terra communities in southern Osceola County.

Freedom was to be built on the Rhode Ranch, 14,000 acres on route 60 west of Yeehaw Junction.

The project included 34,000 homes, town centers, grocery stores, and championship golf courses.

The developer also wanted to make the community a haven for private boats and a community water taxi on the Kissimmee River.

The state asked to limit the amount of Osceola turkeys found in Okeechobee taken by out of state hunters.

Hunters said too many are taken at wildlife management areas.  They note other states limit what out of state hunters can take.

Florida Fish and Wildlife conservation commission Chair Rodney Baretto agreed to consider the quota.

He noted hunting is on the decline specifically amongst youth in our state.

“We have 22 million people and just 260,000 hunting licenses.  It’s a sport in decline among young people, not only in Florida but across the nation.”

A teenager charged with robbery and rape of a prison guard, was acquitted this summer at a trial in Okeechobee on the most serious charges.

Nassir Sanders was convicted of battery on detention facility staff and sentenced as a youthful offender to one year probation.

He had faced 52 months in prison in the light sentence from Circuit Court Judge Laurie Buchanon.

He had prior convictions for robbery, grand theft, stealing a vehicle and burglary.

The guard said he held her down in a cell, and stole her radio preventing her from calling for help.