News Cast 12/20

News Cast for December 20th:

As a reminder, WOKC will be closed for Friday, December 24th for Christmas Eve. Thank you.

Anorther push for northern storage 

The Executive Director of the South Florida Water Management Drew Bartlett said water storage north of the lake is one of the key remedies to our water woes. 

The legislature funded $50 million annually in the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project. 

Bartlett provided an update on water projects to the House Agriculture subcommittee in Tallahassee. 

He said a key feature is the aquifer storage wells planned north of the lake. 

They have also been talking with land owners along the Kissimmee River for more storage projects. 

Bartlett explained they want to control the flow of water entering Lake Okeechobee and clean it before it comes in. 

“It is the storage north and south of the lake that is the ultimate goal to complete the system around the lake.  The improvements we get from the Herbert Hoover dike is tremendous.  The ultimate solution is the northern and southern storage.” 

Bartlett said northern storage is important for the health of the lake, and both the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers. 

An Okeechobee jury convicted Dustin Robinson of two counts of animal abuse at a trial on Friday. 

Both charges are misdemeanors. 

Officials allege Robinson choked a puppy in front of witnesses in October of 2020. 

He’s due to be sentenced on January 21st

Video of the incident was a key piece of evidence. 

Project Opioid released a report on the increase in fentanyl related deaths in Florida. 

The four county Treasure Coast region had 158 deaths in the past year. 

Some counties are seeing drug related deaths increase by several hundred percent. 

Founder/CEO of Project Opioid Andre Bailey said fentanyl is now the most prolific killer drug in history. 

“Most people that are taking fentanyl and overdosing do not realize what they are taking.  They are mixing drugs without the knowledge of what they are doing.” 

Okeechobee had over 25 deaths due to fentanyl in the past year. 

A new city manager is on board in Moore Haven. 

Larry Tibbs has 26 years of experience working in Florida governments. 

He worked for the city of Belle Glade as finance director and also worked for the city of Lauderdale Lakes. 

Tibbs said he  plans to work closely with Glades County. 

“The county court house is our biggest resident in the city.  We want to use some of their energy and efforts to help us out.  I’ve worked with the county manager before and we have familiarity on what needs to be done.  I plan to work together with him.” 

One of the key priorities of the city council has been downtown redevelopment.