News Cast 11/19

News Cast for November 19th:

Honoring a lifetime of achievement 

The City of Okeechobee honored Seminole legend Joe Dan Osceola. 

The event was coordinated by the local chapter of the Fellowship for Christian Athletes. 

Osceola was the first Seminole to graduate from Okeechobee High, he was a star running back in 1956 who earned all-conference honors.  Osceola went on to run track at Georgetown College in Kentucky.  He became the first Seminole to earn a college degree. 

Joe Dan played pivotal roles for the tribe as well serving as Chief and Tribal Council chair during his career. 

He was instrumental in the expansion of health care and the expansion of their cattle division. 

Osceola passed away in 2019. 

His daughter Courtney Osceola had a lot of great memories about her father. 

“This man lived so many lives.  He achieved so much.  He was the first in many ways.  We think of him every day.  When we get sad we look to him, our mother and our ancestors who have achieved so much.” 

She said family was always number one to Joe Dan. 

Louis Gopher organized the event at City Hall Park. 

He said Joe Dan took success from the gridiron onto his everyday life. 

“He did a lot of stuff after his football days.  He was one of the first to graduate from a public high school.  He was a first man and it was only fitting that he would be the first for this.” 

The family was presented a #25 jersey from his football playing days. 

The jersey number is no longer used but has not officially been retired by the Okeechobee Brahman Football Program. 

His son Wade Osceola said his father taught him a lot of attributes. 

“As you get older there has to be hard work.  There has to be 100 percent focus, persistence and a positive attitude.  He always taught me to see the glass as half full and not half empty.” 

The drivers involved in a double fatality on Monday on route 70 remain in critical condition. 

The Florida highway patrol said driver error and unsafe passing caused the crash. 

Lt. Greg Bueno said the crash could have easily been avoided. 

“What a tragedy.  We have to use patience.  When you are passing you must be extremely cautious, you must make sure you have enough room.” 

Two 68 year old men were killed in the accident on route 70 at nine mile grade (721). 

The Okeechobee City Council approved a rezoning and land use change for a proposed multi-family housing and commercial project located north of route 70 east. 

The project will be developed on 55 acres of vacant land just east of NE 8th Avenue and north and east of River Run. 

The project could include up to 1 million square feet in commercial space for a storage project. 

Some 400 housing units could also be approved. 

Councilmember Monica Clark supported the project. 

“This was approved years ago.  We can’t hold property owners hostage by what happened years ago.” 

Neighbors worry about the traffic impacts. 

The city would be looking for another access besides 8th avenue. 

The challenges that are facing farmers in our region were highlighted by a new video produced by the Highlands County Farm Bureau. 

Rancher Gene Lollis heads up the Buck Island Ranch. 

He maintains beef producers don’t see much of a profit these days. 

He said it’s important to keep agriculture producing for national security reasons. 

“We must realize that we can’t be dependent on any other country or nation to produce our food.  When you take that away and you think about oil and other things.  We don’t want someone else bringing food to us, we need to produce it ourselves.” 

The governor signed bills to prohibit vaccine mandates. 

The Florida Legislature met in special session this week. 

Employers who violate the law face up to $10,000 in fines per employee. 

Government and schools are also included. 

The bill allows parents to sue if the school districts punish their children for not getting shots. 

DeSantis said the media continues to be biased in their coverage of the pandemic. 

“They don’t want to tell you this.  Florida for the last month is one of the lowest or the lowest state for COVID.  You see it surging in other parts of the nation.  The corporate media doesn’t like when it surges in other parts.  They only like it when it surges in places they don’t like.”