News Cast 12/21

News Cast for December 21st:

Jobs remain plentiful across Florida and in Okeechobee. 

Over 730,000 jobs are unfilled in the state. 

Okeechobee had 3.8 percent unemployment.   

683 residents collected benefits last month. 

Our labor force declined slightly to 18,001 worker. 

Chief Economist Adrienne Johnston described the job market in rural areas. 

“We continue to see lower unemployment rates in rural areas than we saw prior to the pandemic.  People are connecting to jobs.  Lower rates in metro areas are positive for rural areas too.” 

The state jobless rate was 4.5 percent last month. 

Around the region, Palm Beach County had 3.5 percent, Glades County 3.1 percent and Highlands County 4.9 percent. 

Career Source Heartland is doing the best they can to connect employers with workers. 

Mary Smith told the Okeechobee County Board of  County Commissioners they’ve worked with businesses to make local jobs more attractive. 

She said commercial truck drivers are in demand. 

“I know a lot of CDL drivers have moved out of the area because other states are offering higher sign on bonuses.  Many don’t have the experience and are having to drive over the road.” 

Commissioners approved a lease with Peter Herman for a hangar at the airport. 

The lease is with Starlight Real Estate and Aviation. 

Herman said he would like to bring in a new mechanics shop to the airport. 

Governor Ron DeSantis announced his proposed Stop WoKe Act. 

He wants to prevent critical race theory from being taught in Florida schools. 

The bill also allows parents to sue if the theory is taught. 

DeSantis gave an example of the Woke Ideology in other states. 

“The Arizona Department of Education created an equity tool kit.  It found that babies show the first sign of racism at three months old and white children become full racists by age five.” 

He opposed states decisions to remove the statues of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. 

Fishermen in Osceola County are upset that they can’t reach their favorite fishing hole on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. 

They said there is too much vegetation on the lakes. 

Dale Hueberry said the fishing is good but you can’t get on the water. 

“When we can find water we can catch 50 crappy in two hours.  There is no water to have your lures troll in.  You spend the entire day picking up hydrilla.  It is really hard to find any fishable water.  It is really bad.”   

Fishermen debated the merits of mechanical harvesting versus herbicides during the hearing hosted by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes Management Plan. 

The state is holding public hearings on various Lake management plans. 

The hearings for Lake Okeechobee are scheduled for February 16th in Okeechobee with another in Clewiston on January 25th