News Cast 2/1


February 1, 2024

News Cast for February 1st:

Search begins for school leader

The Florida School Boards Association heard priorities from the Okeechobee school board as they begin a search for a new superintendent of schools.

Board member Jill Holcomb told them she wants the district to remain student centered, giving students more options and opportunities.

Board member Dr. Christine Bishop wants the schools to do a better job of promoting the things they are doing well.

Andrea Messina with FSBA promised a transparent and inclusive search process that will go nationwide.

She expects plenty of interested candidates.

“I do expect a lot of candidates. It’s a good district and it’s a great opportunity. What I heard from the board would underscore that.”

She mentions positive relationships between the school board and superintendent, strong community support, and a strong financial position as things that should appeal to candidates.

The board wants to name a new superintendent by the end of May. They hope to have a community meet and greet on May 21 and make a decision on May 29.

The FSBA promised to put up an internet portal to update the public on the search and also have a survey to get input from the public.

Kenworthy’s last day is Feb. 29.

Assistant Superintendent Dylan Tedders has been named the interim superintendent.

The Florida Department of Transportation delayed the start date to improvements planned in the city on route 70 east until May 1.

County Commissioner Kelly Owens was outspoken that starting the project now would bring about major traffic jams.

“They agreed to postpone the start date. I want to thank Senator Grall’s office and Gary Ritter (City Administrator) for efforts to get the project delayed. At least it won’t be in the middle of our heavy traffic and it won’t be as bad.”

Bass Pro took another extension on their option to buy Okee Tantee for the Big Cedar Project to April.

County officials said they are working with South Florida Water management on a flowage easement on the project.

The county also approved a $230,000 contract to install a new red light at the intersection of US 441 north and 36th Street.

Highlands County Commissioners heard the state plan to consolidate soil and water management districts into seven regions. Suzie Bishop said they will try to do their best to lobby against the bill in Tallahassee.

In previous years the legislature considered a bill to eliminate them all together and put those responsibilities on water management districts.

An on-duty court security deputy killed himself in Highlands County. 56 year old Paul Robitaille shot himself near the Sheriffs headquarters after taking a break from court.

An investigation is underway.

Highlands County Fire Rescue said a home was destroyed by a fire on Irish Lane in Lorida early Wednesday. The residence was fully involved as they arrived around 5 am.

The American Red Cross is helping the resident. There were no injuries and the cause was ruled to be accidental.