News Cast for March 21st:

County Fair likely sets record

The Okeechobee County Fair said they grew in attendance and attractions this year.

President of the Fair Board Linda Syfrett said they got a lot of great comments about the entertainment this year.

She said they are excited about the future direction of the fair.

“We will be attending the annual meeting of the Florida Federation of Fairs in May. We belong to the organization and we collaborate with everybody else in the fair industry. They have a huge show there of all the different entertainment that is offered. It is very enjoyable and enlightening when we attend that conference.”

423 students took part in the youth livestock show this year and that number is expected to grow next year, Syfrett added.

The Florida Cattlemen’s Association threw their support behind the Florida Wildlife Corridor.

President Jim Handley told the Fish and Wildlife Commission that there is enormous interest in the conservation area from ranchers.

“We support the corridor. We certainly have a lot of ranchers and families that are interested in a variety of easement

programs. I think everybody is aware the list of those interested is longer than the money being available.”

He said this program helps keep ranches in operation.

“To keep them operating we can’t over regulate them. We can’t put them in a position where it doesn’t make economic sense to continue to ranch. We strongly support private property rights. As long as the programs the state brings forward is an opportunity on a volunteer basis, I think you will get a lot of cooperation from our ranchers.”

The commission heard a report on the manatee feeding program and the rising number of Florida panther deaths due to vehicle collisions. Its estimated up to 23 panthers per year can be killed in vehicle collisions.

They also heard opposition to relaxing bear hunting regulations.

One lawmaker wanted to allow the killing of bears near garages and residential homes.

Okeechobee police identified 53-year-old Larry Tabor as the pedestrian struck and killed Monday.

He was struck crossing the street in the 100 block of North Parrott Avenue in the north bound lane by a Dodge Journey, City Police said.

Tabor died at the hospital several hours after the collision.

Traffic Investigators closed the street Wednesday for about three hours to do some more investigation into the incident.

The city of Pahokee considering more security at parks after recent reports of thefts and vandalism.

In one case $90,000 worth of electricity was stolen at the city marina.

One suggestion was hiring private security or park rangers. Another is having more patrols from the Palm Beach Sheriffs Office.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that bans homeless encampments and sleeping on city sidewalks, streets and parks.

DeSantis said they need to control the homeless population from impacting businesses and the community at large.

The legislation will require cities to place the homeless in shelters or in a centralized location that has security and access to both medical and mental health services.