News Cast 11/5

News Cast for November 5th:

A precautionary boil water notice has been issued for City of Moore Haven residents and business, with the exception of GEO Correctional Facility, Glades County 

Sheriff’s Department, Loves Travel Stop, Emergency Management Services, and the Glades County Health Department.  

As a precaution, all other jurisdictions are advised to boil water used for drinking or cooking, or use bottled water as an alternative. This precautionary boil water notice will remain in effect for the City of Moore Haven until further notice. 

Plenty of requests for state 

The Okeechobee County wish list for the state legislative delegation this year will include $25 million for the county jail expansion and conveyance of the former Okeechobee School for Boys property. 

County Attorney Wade Vose said the county has a pretty good argument when they ask the state to give back the boys school. 

“The county bought it with county money at market price and gave it back to the state for free.  That is a fairly compelling argument to legislators I would imagine.” 

Water Management also could use some of the 1,100 acres for water projects. 

The county sees it as a possible industrial park. 

Commissioner Kelly Owens said if they don’t get some funding from the state to fix up and develop the property, one of the options would be selling it to a developer. 

The local state delegation meets in Okeechobee on Tuesday afternoon. 

Fishermen decry chemicals on Lake 

Chemical spraying on Lake Okeechobee has long been a bone of contention. 

Glades County Commissioners were a sounding board for a recent discussion on the issue. 

Lakeport fishermen Dennis Lee said he sees the impacts of constant spraying every time he goes on the water. 

“Our lake is being destroyed by some bad people.  Some people are out there for the money only.  They are getting rich from chemicals.” 

Jim Watt said the amount of spraying continues to increase each year. 

“In 2018-2019 there was a 13 percent increase in spraying.  2020 had a 25 percent increase in spraying.  That has pretty much been the rule.” 

Watt said the spraying of exotics also kills the food supply for fish and wildlife. 

Watt said there is an active investigation about possible money laundering and grand theft regarding these chemicals. 

The fishermen said they support more mechanical harvesting which can be more expensive. 

Panther territory now in Glades, Highlands County 

Florida panther populations continue to increase despite 24 deaths this year, 18 due to traffic collisions. 

Larry Williams with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said a lot of people helped the species rebound. 

“We have a lot more panthers now than we did 30 years ago.  That is a huge success story.  It is a credit to tons of people that have helped make this happen.” 

A new study showed up to five percent of calves born on South Florida ranches could be taken by panthers in a given year. 

Right now ranchers are not being repaid for these losses. 

Ranchers have to have a carcass to prove death.  Panthers by nature hide their food. 

There are a reported 130 panthers in the wild. 

Recently the state installed some 112 cameras to follow panthers.  There is more activity north of the Caloosahatchee River. 

Sebring man crashes in Glades County

A 30 year old Sebring man was charged after an over 20 mile high speed chase with law enforcement officers that ended north of Moore Haven on September 25.

Glades Deputies said the suspect crashed his car into a ditch near Boars Hammock on US 27.

Christian D. Leonardo pled no contest in Glades County to charges of DUI and driving on a suspended license.

He was sentenced to 18 months probation and a $2,000 fine.

Highlands County charges of driving without a license, fleeing a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault on law enforcement officers, leaving the scene of a crash with property damage, and resisting arrest are pending.

Sebring Police said they tried to serve an arrest warrant on Leonardo from the Bartow Police Department.

He fled in the vehicle and at one point crashed into a Sebring Police car.

The chase went south on US 27 and continued at speeds of up to 85 miles per hour.

Law enforcement officers were able to deflate one of the vehicles tires north of Lake Placid and at the route 70 intersection.

Police said Leonardo had threatened to commit suicide by cop.

Glades Deputies said he was highly intoxicated and was verbally abusive to jail staff.