News Cast 2/27

News Cast for February 27th:

OHS kids pursuing careers

It is not just college anymore for Okeechobee kids.

Okeechobee schools have seen an increase in students taking career and technical education courses.

The school board honored the teachers and students in their many CTE programs at a recent meeting.

418 students last year received some kind of career certification.

Programs offered include agriculture operations, nursing, digital design, building construction and technology, automotive, animal science and aquaculture.

CTE Coordinator Daryl Roehm said they are doing a better job preparing kids.

“The teachers embrace the programs we are offering and they are doing an excellent job preparing these kids for the certifications.”

He’d like to add programs in business and health care in the near future.

They also get input from an advisory committee on what programs are needed in Okeechobee.

“Essential skills or soft skills are needed by our graduates.  We have training for soft skills through Florida ready to work.  They take that curriculum and are certified that they are trained in soft skills.”

Soft skills include the ability to communicate with prospective clients, mentor your co-workers, lead a team, negotiate a contract, follow instructions, and get a job done on time.

High levels in Lake Okeechobee continue to concern the South Florida Water Management district.

One of the problems has been delays in the C-43 reservoir in Hendry County.

Executive Director Drew Bartlett recently met with the contractor to discuss those delays but came away disenchanted.  He said the contractor is not taking the steps needed to get the project back on schedule.

Last week the district helped break ground on the large Everglades Agriculture Area Reservoir that will store water, twice as deep as Lake Okeechobee.

The district said the governor will push hard for more storage north of Lake Okeechobee this year meaning Okeechobee could lose large tracts of land currently used for agriculture.

Governing Board member Jay Steinle said it involves a lot of water.

“200,000 acre feet north of the lake is four times the size of the C-44, it is almost the size of the EAA reservoir.  It is huge.  It does not include storage from the ASR wells.”

A regional biosolids facility pitched by Martin County Commissioner Doug Smith.

He gave a presentation at a joint meeting of the four county commissions earlier this year.

A Washington State firm developed technology to help cattle ranchers deal with manure and also still provide them the nitrogen they need.

He’s spoke to utility directors on the Treasure Coast to see if they support taking sludge from cities in south Florida and treating it rather than land apply them.

Smith said we have to process more waste and limit land application.

“What ends up happening is whatever gets processed and put out on land, pasture, agriculture land, whatever, certain waste like pharmaceutical waste doesn’t go away, its still there.”

They also have portable units they can bring to cattle ranches.

“There is a huge ranch in Texas that has one of their units.  They have hundreds of thousands of heads of cattle.  Its application in Florida is pretty good.  We have a huge cattle industry and we have a huge residential population.”