News Cast 11/29

News Cast for November 29th:

U.S. Small Business Administration Exceeds $1 Billion in Hurricane Ian Assistance

Okeechobee has plenty of requests

As residents prepare their wish list for Christmas gifts,

Okeechobee County already has a list of things they’d like funded by the state legislature in 2023.

The list of legislative priorities includes $15 million to help pay for the county jail expansion.

Chairman Terry Burroughs said he thinks the county can get even more for the jail.

“$22 million was given to a north Florida county last year.  I think the possibility is there for more funds.  We have to talk to leadership, explain the problem, and that will help our representative.”

Commissioner Kelly Owens said rep. Kaylee Tuck said it was unlikely the county could get more than $10 million for the jail.

The county will also request $3.4 million for local water quality projects including ones in Four Seasons, Spot in the Sun and SW 7th Street.

A 37 year old Opalocka truck driver died in a crash west of Clewiston between a tractor trailer and a train Monday morning.

US 27 ended up being closed about 17 hours for the cleanup and investigation.  It was fully opened up about 7:30 pm Monday.

The truck had burst into flames upon impact.

The train hauling 36 cars was empty at the time and there was no one on board injured.

The annual Florida Forum hosted by the Florida Chamber of Commerce focused on job creation.

The state has 464,000 jobs available but only 264,000 applicants.

Department of Corrections Commissioner Ricky Dixon said getting prison inmates reformed and trained could be one measure to use to help the employee shortage in the state.

Keynote speaker Jade Simmons spoke on the history of Florida.  She said the state decided to drain much of the land in South Florida due to hurricanes and the desire for growth.

Highlands County commissioners approved an assisted living facility and a housing project in Spring Lake near Lorida.

124 units of cottages, single family homes and town houses will be built off US 98 known as the Farm in Spring Lake.

County Commissioner Scott Kirouac said it’s a good project for Highlands County because it will tie agriculture with residential.

He also wants the county to focus more on drainage improvements after flooding problems from record rains this fall.

The assisted living facility would include 160 units.

Chris Campbell was elected chairman of the county commission.