News Cast 11/27


November 27, 2023

News Cast for November 27th:

Proud to have Brahmans among those recognized at this month’s School Board Meeting for earning a perfect score on Florida State Assessments.

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Job market doing well

Okeechobee jobless rates remained low in October at 3.4 percent.

The report from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity showed 629 residents collected unemployment checks in October compared to 636 in September.  The labor force in Okeechobee declined by 30 workers.

Labor Economist Jimmy Heckman said the state reported 8 of 10 job sectors gained jobs in October.

“The fastest growing Florida industries in the past year were education and health services at 6.4 percent.  Trade, transportation and utilities was 3.3 percent, and financial activities at 2.6 percent.  Six major sectors outpaced national figures in the past year.  The three that most outperformed the nation were trade, transportation and utilities, education and health services and financial activities.”

Around the area, St. Lucie had 3.7 percent, Osceola 3.6 percent, Palm Beach County 3.3 percent and Martin three percent.

Highlands County like Okeechobee has their fair share of labor camps and migrant workers.

Sheriff Paul Blackman said he fears these people are victims of crimes and aren’t reporting them.

They range from thefts, to batteries and even homicides.

Blackman says the average farm worker wants nothing to do with law enforcement because they fear they will be deported.

He noted that is a federal responsibility and local agencies have no interest in deporting people that benefit the community.

He said his deputies often hear rumors of crimes in this population but no one files a report or comes forward with information.

He said human trafficking remains a problem in the state and notes traffickers use fear to keep their victims from reporting crimes.

“We want to try and help folks as much as we can especially looking after our victims, regardless if they are here illegally or whatever.  If they are good, hard working folks, that are contributing to our society, we want to look after them, just like any other victim.”

The Okeechobee Livestock Market and UF Extension Office have teamed up for a winter time lecture series on the cattle industry.

Once a month an expert in the field will speak at the lunch time at the market.

Dr. Todd Thrift, Associate Professor of Cow and Calf Management Beef Nutrition and Stocker Feedlot Management, was the first speaker in November.  He said calf prices set record highs and things are looking good in the beef industry.

He was asked about the long term outlook for ranchers

“There was a short-term lull in the last two weeks.  If you look long term there is quite a bit of optimism that it is just a short blip in the market.  We look for our calf prices to be pretty strong for the next two to three years.”

Cooperative Extension Agent Lauren Butler said the series will include a variety of topics this winter.

“Dr. Thrift is always fun to listen to.  He always connects really well with the cattlemen.  He creates dialogue.  I wanted to let the ranchers talk about the issues pressing on their minds so they could ask Dr. Thrift what his perceptions of those things are.”

The next speaker is Dr. Joao Bittar to speak about cattle wellness on December 13th.  It begins at 11 am.

A motorcyclist was killed in a head on collision trying to pass other motorcycles near Indiantown.

The accident on Thanksgiving night in the 11550 hundred block of Kanner Highway, route 76, just east of Timer Powers Park.

The 35-year-old man was west bound passing in the east bound lane and struck a 2004 Dodge Ram 35 hundred pickup that was pulled a flatbed trailer and farm tractor.