News Cast 11/9


November 9, 2023

News Cast for November 9th:

County names new head over roads and bridges

After a long search Okeechobee looked to Kansas to find a new road and bridge director.

Darren Brown is the new public works director.

He had retired in Kansas five years ago and moved to Okeechobee.  He said he got the itch to work again and had served as interim director for a time this summer.

“I feel like I still have something to offer that is why I’m standing in front of you today,” he told commissioners.

County Administrator Deborah Manzo said she was impressed with how Brown has handled his responsibilities and after interviewing several candidates, he became the top candiate.

County commissioner Terry Burroughs and fellow commissioners took a trip to Tallahassee in October to lobby lawmakers.

Burroughs said one of his priorities remains widening State Road 70 west to Arcadia.

He said just getting it on the radar of top state officials is a win.

The Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral continue to the be the world’s busiest spaceport.

58 launches have taken place this year.

The human space flight missions are going to launching again soon from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

There has been a transition since 2011 from government control to more private business control of the space industry.

Mark Nappi is the Operations Leader for Boeings Florida Space Coast.  He said they will easily have over 60 launches this year.

Several veteran observances begin today as Veteran’s day is Saturday.

Pahokee will hold an observance and remembrance ceremony from 10 to noon at the city marina.

There is also one planned at the veterans building at the Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation.

Highlands County is honoring veterans all month.  A company gave them a free billboard to use on US 27 to honor veterans.

They have also been a purple heart county for 10 years.

The county is working with the Chamber of Commerce in Lake Placid, Sebring and Avon Park to list businesses that offer active military and other veteran discounts.

The county commission approved a proclamation naming November as Veteran’s Appreciation Month.

Nearly 12,000 veterans live in Highlands County now, 11.9% of the overall population.

The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office arrested three teens, ages 13 to 15, on felony criminal mischief charges.

The children are accused of causing $5,000 in damage to the Okeechobee Sports Complex bathrooms under the common area.

The report said numerous toilets, sinks and other items were damaged beyond repair.

All of the teens were in the custody of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

The sheriff said many community members provided support and helped gather evidence to lead to the arrests.