News Cast 2/15


February 15, 2024

News Cast for February 15th:

Corps to start releases from Big Lake

The US Army Corps of Engineers will start sending water out of Lake Okeechobee Saturday.

The El Nino winter has raised levels of the lake to over 16 feet and more water is coming down from the Kissimmee Valley.

4,000 cubic feet per second will be sent out the Caloosahatchee, 1,800 cubic feet out the St. Lucie and 500 cubic feet per second out the Lake Worth lagoon.

The Corps wants to lower the levels of the lake now when algae blooms are not a problem.

Okeechobee County Commissioners went on record to oppose a bill that would consolidate soil and water conservation districts.

Under the proposal, Okeechobee would be part of a 10-county district from Okeechobee and the Treasure Coast north to Lake County.

Audrie Kuipers with the local district said farmers are not supporting this proposal.

The Florida Farm Bureau is also opposed.

The bill is considered a longshot to pass this year.

An Okeechobee man was sentenced to one year in jail and five years on probation for trying to rob a Circle K convenience store in Gainesville last May 2nd.

23-year-old Eric McFatten tried to hide his identity with a shirt over his face and a clerk quickly locked herself in an office to foil the plot.

He ran from the store but was caught nearby by Gainesville Police.

He didn’t steal any money or merchandise.

A weather forecast of high winds and storms closed Glades County schools on January 9 which happened to be the first day back from winter vacation.

Many school board members said they got a lot of heat for the decision from parents and other residents.

The bad weather that was forecast did not come to fruition.

Superintendent Dr. Beth Barfield defended her decision stating she acted on the best information available at the time.

“I made the decision based on the safety of students. I will never apologize for that and I’ll take heat all day long.”

Board Chair Crystal Drake said the criticism was misplaced because the board does not make that decision.

“I can’t defend actions I don’t know anything about. I don’t know all the facts. If it is not our responsibility, we shouldn’t be blasted for it. We got blasted on a decision that is not our lane.”

More Kenansville and Yeehaw Junction residents will have quicker access to dental care.

A $500,000 grant from Osceola County and a partnership with Osceola Community Health Services paid for a mobile unit to visit all outlying communities on a regular basis.

Each year some 300 people could receive low cost but quality dentures.

Resident Josue Rivera said seniors need help and this is a great way to help them.

“I am grateful for the smile I’m about to receive. It is very much need in the community. All seniors will appreciate getting a great smile for a change.”


The high school track will look different by the middle of April. At the cost of nearly $200,000, crews are wrapping up the first stage by resurfacing the track. Next they plan to add rubber once the asphalt cures. This phase should be done in the next 3-4 weeks. Then they will paint the lane lines.

The track has been resurfaced with asphalt 3-4 times since 1999, but rubber has never been added. The benefits of this upgrade will provide a better running surface for training and allow OHS to host track meets. Having a rubber track is more forgiving on the joints, improves traction, and enhances running performance. Also included in the cost is new equipment like hurdles, a new jump pit, and a discus net. story and photos by Jacob Smith”