News Cast 4/24

News Cast for April 24th:

Protecting the darkness

Okeechobee is doing its part to save the dark skies.

The Okeechobee County commission considered a dark sky ordinance that would regulate the types of new lighting used in the county.

The Kissimmee Prairie State Preserve is known as the darkest point in Florida where many go to camp and watch the stars.

This helps with the amount of visitors the park sees each year.

Dr. Paul Gray with Audubon said too much light can even impact wildlife.

“When you think about an owl they have great big eyes they can see in the dark, they have soft feathers and fly quietly, and they hear very well.  They do very well in the dark, they can see well, hear well and are quiet and that is how they catch mice.”

Mayor Dowling Watford said this won’t impede light that we use in our activities at night.

“A dark sky ordinance does not prohibit lights, it just defines the light you can use and the direction of that light.”

The Florida state legislature wraps up their 60-day session this week.

One bill making progress this year would provide cash settlements to former clients of the Okeechobee School for Boys who alleged they were brutally beaten and assaulted by staff members back in the 1950s and 1960s.

Senator Bobby Powell said it has been a long fight to help these men.

“The state doesn’t always get it right.  This is an opportunity to make further mitigation and direction.  I applaud you for taking this fight on.

The bill is sponsored by Senator Daryl Rouson of Tampa.  He has filed a similar bill for several years.

The clients must have been at the facility before 1976 to qualify for benefits if the law is passed.

Glades County Commissioners continues efforts to improve code enforcement.

County Commissioners have discussed the issues at length at recent meetings.

They’d like to see the appearance of many areas of the county improved.

Former commissioner Russell Echols urged his colleagues to take a tougher standing against the South Florida Water Management District constantly taking land off the tax roll for water treatment and storage.