News Cast 12/19


December 19, 2023

News Cast for December 19th:

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Still a stalemate

Okeechobee County and South Florida Water Managers are at the same point they were months ago on a local water project.

Okeechobee County was allowed to give a presentation to the governing board on December 14 to state their opposition to the lower Kissimmee stormwater treatment area.

The old concerns were brought up, flooding risk, flood insurance, impacts on homes, impacts on flights, more birds, and more mosquitoes.

A local tree farm owner James Madrigal said the project could put him out of business.

Water management executive director Drew Bartlett said they have to find more areas to store water.

“A lot of water is going to our coast line, a lot of water into Lake Okeechobee and the everglades.  We need better place to put this water.  The EAA reservoir critically important.  C-44 will be used.  C-43 is needed, and northern storage absolutely necessary for the protection of Lake O.”

County commission chairman David Hazellief hinted that the next step could be litigation.

“There has been a lot of money spent already.  I hope you stop it and we don’t have to go to other resources to prevent this from happening.”

An Okeechobee woman goes on trial today for allegedly running over a 10-year-old girl.

Fort Pierce Police said Ariana Colon was driving on Oleander Avenue in Fort Pierce on September 23, 2021, and hit the girl, Yaceny Rodriguez Gonzales as she crossed the street to get on a school bus.

Police said Colon then fled the scene.

She faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted of vehicular homicide and fleeing the scene of an accident charges.

State Senator Erin Grall said she will support the effort to get more funding to build schools, $19 million for Moore Haven Elementary, and many millions to cure the shortfall for Okeechobee high school, now estimated to cost $111 million.

Grall will also be serving on agriculture committees and she thinks that will help her district.

Grall also will continue pushing for funding to speed up widening state road 70 across the state.

She also wants to make sure the state helps families deal with inflation.

A fist fight led to a gun being pulled after a dispute with a vendor and customer at a local flea market.  An incident report from Okeechobee County Sheriff Deputies said no shots were fired and neither party filed a report. There were no serious injuries reported.  The report said the dispute was over a $1 chessboard.

Maria Martinez of Okeechobee charged with intentionally slamming a Ford F 150 pickup into a Nissan Sedan three times at Lock 7 on Sunday.

No body was hurt in the incident.

The incident report said Martinez was upset with a female in the sedan.  It went on to state that Martinez tried a fourth time to ram the vehicle but struck a tree instead.

The report said over $10,000 in property damage was reported.

The criminal charges include felony criminal mischief and aggravated assault with a motor vehicle.

Two Ontario Canada residents, a 53 year old woman and 42 year old man killed in a motorcycle crash on US 98 just west of Lorida last night.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the accident occurred at the intersection of Madrid Drive in Spring Lake.

The report said the motorcycle was west bound on 98 when a pickup truck driven by a 40 year old Sebring man attempted a left turn onto Madrid causing the collision at 6:30 pm.