News Cast 11/8


November 8, 2023

News Cast for November 8th:

A public meeting on the LOCAR project resulted in few public comments.

The large reservoir proposed in eastern Highlands County between Cornwell and the Kissimmee River could store 200,000  acre feet of water before it reaches Lake Okeechobee.

The storage could lower the lakes of Lake Okeechobee when it gets too high or even add water to the lake when its levels get too low.

Dr. Paul Gray said that would help the lake marshes which have taken a beating this year.

“The lake has a lot of problems but it is not completely dead and still has wonderful value.  We hope to get a good drawdown this year.”

Gretchen Ehlinger told the crowd what they looked at in the draft environmental impact statement.

“Aestethics, environmental justice, recreation, threatened and endangered species, air quality, water quality, and economics.”

The main concern remains leaks and flooding potential from the reservoir.

A bond hearing set for 17-year-old Sebastian Urbano on November 28th.

He’s charged with second-degree murder in the slaying of a 16- year-old boy at Scott Driver Boat Ramp in August.

The bond is $750,000.

His attorney Jeff Gorman said his clients 8th amendment rights against excessive bail has been violated.

Gorman said Urbano is a life long resident of Okeechobee, has a full time job and place to stay, and is not a flight risk.  He notes Urbano has no prior criminal history

An Okeechobee man robbed of his marijuana.

Deputies said a resident of Big Water RV Park at 11555 highway 441 south east claimed two men robbed him last night at gun point.

He said the suspects fled the scene but couldn’t describe the vehicle.

A section of NW 36th Street had to be closed for a time Monday night when a semi hauling scrap metal flipped over on the S curve between Basswood and Whispering Pines.

Okeechobee County Sheriff Deputies said the driver was not hurt.

Okeechobee County would like to help pet owners reunite with their pets.

Currently if animal control picks up a pet, the owner has five days to claim them.  If they don’t get there in time, the dog or cat becomes county property.

County attorney Wade Vose said this would give residents more time and clean up some of the animal control ordinances.

The Griffin Group, related to Ben Hill Griffin, was hired by the village of Indiantown as their lobbyist.

They will be paid $5,000 per month.

Councilmember Carmine DiPaolo said the former lobbyist didn’t work hard for the village.

“I think this is a welcome change and something that is needed.  I’d like to have quarterly reports from them to see what they are doing so everybody knows what we are paying the money for.”

The village approved the first reading of a deal for mobility fees or transportation impact fees with the county, and will receive 70 percent of the proceeds.  The final approval is set for November 16th.