News Cast 2/21


February 21, 2024

News Cast for February 21st:

How long will they last?

The US Army Corps of Engineers expects the releases from Lake Okeechobee to continue until April 1.

The lake level was at 16.38 feet this morning.

Col. Jamie Booth said after six weeks they will reassess where we are at.

“Try and use the next month and a half to try and get as much water off of Lake Okeechobee as we possibly can. Then do another assessment and see if we can bring levels down before oyster spawns, ahead of the time frame when we see blue green algae, and certainly ahead of the wet season.”

Treasure Coast Congressman Brian Mast remains opposed to any releases into the St. Lucie Estuary.

He maintains the old regulation schedule is flawed.

“Its on debunked science, it is on bad data, bad assumptions, that don’t even think they are doing harm to our estuaries here.”

He thinks the lake is held artificially high to benefit sugar and other farmers.

The Corps said even if LOSOM was in place they would likely be releasing water right now.

The Okeechobee Tourist Development Council is hosting Visit Florida this week. They are producing video to make a television commercial to promote Okeechobee.

The TDC learned the annual bed tax collections set another record in 2023 at $555,855.

They voted to reduce in half the day use fee at Scott Driver for non-profit fishing tournaments and series.

Denise Whitehead predicted more demand for use at Scott Driver once Okee-Tantee is sold.

The Board of County Commissioners will have the final say on the reduction in fees from $500 to $250. A $500 deposit would remain in place.

The city of Okeechobee is considering increasing the cash bonuses they give employees once they reach certain length of service milestones between 15 and 30 years.

The current cash amounts were set back in 1982.

For example an employee with 20 years of service receives a check of $250 on their anniversary date of hire.

Administrator Gary Ritter said it is time to update this policy.

“You take a police officer who has been here 20 years and he gets $250. I think we should reward employees who have been here that long a little more than $250.”

More candidates have filed to run for office in Glades County this year.

Jeffrey Nunemaker, Tico Salgado, Curtis Clay and David Hardin are running for sheriff.

Will Dorman, Richard Sullivan and Harley Brook are running for judge. Jack Lundy is retiring.

No other constitutional officers face opponents.

In county commission District 1 George Humphries is opposed by Jeffrey Patterson.

In commission district 3, D.J McGlothern is opposed by Jerry Sapp.

In commission district 5, Kevin Flanaghan, Tim Stanley and Stu Taylor are on the ballot.

In the school board races, Kevin Bryant, Larry Luckey the second and Kari West are running in district 2.

Felinda Langdale is opposing school superintendent Dr. Beth Barfield.

The Chalo Nitka Queen for 2024 is Kyleigh Adams. The Junior Miss pageant was Veana Lewis.