News Cast 11/1


November 1, 2023

News Cast for November 1st:

Public Notice or NEW TRAFFIC PATTERN – Hwy 98 & Hwy 70 West Intersection.

If you are traveling south on Hwy 98 and come to the SR70 W intersection, there is now a double-turn lane in the secondary southbound lane.

This means the inside lane also has the right of way within the same route as it travels through the intersection (eastbound inside lane). This area is being monitored by law enforcement.

Please use caution and have patience for the new change.

Work continues at boy’s school

Indian River State College officials said they are enthusiastic by progress being made on the data center project at the former Okeechobee School for Boys.

Dixon Hendry campus Provost Russ Brown gave an update to county commissioners.

He said they have hired a consultant firm to evaluate the property and its buildings.  They are also working on a survey and inspecting equipment.  Some could be surplused for use by both the private and public sector.

Another consideration is using the existing gymnasium as a public venue.

Brown said some of the buildings could be salvaged.

They are considering other projects on the property as well including manufacturing.

County Commissioner Terry Burroughs said the governor’s office is supportive of the project and they might be able to find state revenue sources.

The Central Florida Regional Planning Council is supporting the widening of state road 70 to four lanes from Manatee County to Okeechobee County. 

The council met here in Okeechobee to discuss several ongoing projects and the Florida Wildlife Corridor.

Member Jacqueline Tucker said the road project would be a monstrous undertaking due to the canals on both sides of the road.

The department of transportation was recently asked to add design and engineering dollars for 70 to their preliminary five- year work plan.

Marybeth Soderstrom said FDOT did recently change policy where they can put more emphasis on safety and not just consider capacity of vehicles when it comes to 70 funding.

A state wide study was done on development as part of the Florida wildlife corridor.  There has been tremendous growth in the seven counties it represents threatening vital habitats, agriculture land, and open space.

Jeff Schmucker told the group that the corridor doesn’t want to completely stop all growth.

“As folks decide to migrate in from the coast line we do realize there is growth coming to our region.”

The study found 17,669 new homes and businesses were built in the region between January, 2019 and March, 2022.

Highlands, Okeechobee, and Osceola are part of the council.

An Okeechobee man, Matthew Rowe was charged with lewd and lascivious molestation.

He is accused of improper touching of a 7-year-old child.  Bond in the case was $800,000.