News Cast for April 5th:

The investigation continues

A fatal mobile home fire at 400 SE 7th Street early Thursday.

Okeechobee County Fire rescue said they found the west side of the trailer on fire and quickly entered the home and put out the flames just before 6 am.

In the process, firemen uncovered an unidentified body inside the residence.

The State Fire Marshal and Okeechobee Police are now investigating the case.

Spring Break won’t align with the county fair week in 2025.

The school board approved a calendar supported by 63 percent of staff that breaks up the two.

423 students took part in the livestock show this year.

School Board member Jill Holcomb said she sided with staff but heard both sides of the issue.

“We absolutely heard them. We heard the ones that say we really need to have the show during spring break. We also heard from those that want a real spring break, without the show taking up all of our time off.”

Holcomb said the employee committee came up with the proposals, the employees voted, and she felt she had to honor and respect what the employees asked for.

The school board supported sending elementary school field trips to the fair and noted there are plenty of classroom lessons that could be taught from the fair rides, exhibits, and livestock.

Our Village gave a report to Okeechobee County Commissioners about social problems in Okeechobee, live high poverty rates, food insecurity, single parent homes and more drug use.

Executive Director Leah Suarez said things aren’t getting any better.

“Most of our county is low income and low food access, and you add issues like transportation, raising children as a single parent, mental health, it is pretty concerning.”

The county has a high rate of people on food stamps, and more single parent homes.

Suarez said they are working with House of Hope on the Treasure Coast to bring in more fresh food and produce.

“We have 5,000 food insecure individuals in the county. 74 percent of those qualify for federal assistance at less than 200 percent of the poverty level. The state is at 57 percent food insecure and we are at 74 percent. That is rather concerning.”

The Seminole Gaming Compact revenues will go toward land conservation, around $750 million per year.

Angler Scott Martin said he’s glad some money will go to projects inside Lake Okeechobee.

He called it a huge day for the lake’s health.

“It’s a big deal for us. When we talk of future generations, we are so dependent on a healthy, and vibrant lake. I’m so glad the governor signed this bill and we will go forward and start implementing projects.”

Martin said there is no submerged vegetation left in Lake Okeechobee.

“We can bring back the submerged vegetation we so desperately need. We need it to naturally cleanse the water.”

Chairman of the Seminole Tribe of Florida Marcellus Osceola said the tribe and state entered a long-term relationship to improve things.

“I’ve been asked how is the money going to be spent from the gaming compact. I think the state and tribe have worked together because we aren’t going anywhere. The tribe and state should be great partners.”

Osceola recalled his grand father traveling 40 miles in a dugout canoe to find game to feed his family. Some times those trips took up to a month. He said that was the way of life for the

tribe. He said many used to drink the water in the Everglades and others used to swim. He said he would like to see those days return.