News Cast 3/20

News Cast for March 20th:

Continuing a downtown makeover

The city of Okeechobee is committed to improving the appearance of their downtown area.

They cut the ribbon last week on a downtown landscaping improvement project.

It is just subtle changes but the message is clear.

A vibrant downtown is vital to the city of Okeechobee.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Paulette Wise said this will help local businesses.

“Our businesses need as much traffic as they can possibly get so they can stay in business.  Our people here come and shop and need to shop more.  We are big on shopping local.  This will definitely help.”

Mayor Dowling Watford said a vibrant downtown is important to the community.

He said its worth checking out what’s available in downtown Okeechobee.

“The little shops and boutiques are really nice.  The owners have done a great job making them look attractive.  There are interesting products and something different you don’t find at the big box stores.  You also get the local, personal touch.  It is nice to do business with local people and support the downtown area.”

The city is also working on a parks master plan.  The next park due for upgrades is Veterans Memorial Park.

The city will host a town hall meeting Tuesday night at 6 pm at city hall.  There will be refreshments, a promotion ceremony for the city police department, and a state of the city address by administrator Gary Ritter.

Okeechobee County honored long time planner Jennifer Busbin for 30 years of service.

She retired this month and will take a job in the private sector working for an architect and planning firm.

Planning Director Bill Royce said Busbin will be sorely missed.

“She is clearly the best employee I ever worked with.  It has been 27 years of ups and downs, good times and not so good times, but the dedication has been unwavering unreal.  She talks about herding cats.  You can get stuff done like anybody I’ve ever seen or anybody I’ve ever worked with.”

A Collier County man arrested in Glades County on Saturday on a second-degree murder warrant.

He is wanted for a slaying of an unidentified woman at Golden Gate Estates last Thursday.

There was no information immediately available on how the arrest went down.

Highlands County spent $1.3 million dollars this month on a landfill compactor to save space and a hydraulic cover spray unit to prevent wild fires.

The landfill has been hit by several fires and one commissioner suggested putting in surveillance cameras for early detection.

Assistant County Attorney Matt Raulerson was honored as he moves on to be the lead attorney for Hendry County.

Raulerson said working for Highlands County was a great experience.

“I’d like to thank the board and Sherry Sutphen the county attorney for her mentorship.  I really enjoyed my time here.  You have a great staff with great leadership and I was very fortunate.”