News Cast 4/6

News Cast for April 6th:

Schools plan building projects

Okeechobee County Schools plan to start renovations at the high school field house this year.

They have to decide on what equipment to purchase for athletics.  The budget is $100,000.

Improvements include new floors, painting, new storage areas, and new lockers.

Director of Operations Jeff Diefendorf said he thinks the public will like the finished product.

“We have already painted the outside of the building and made it look a lot nicer.  We put up new signs, a new logo out front so it is getting there.”

The schools also plan to replace roofs at Central Elementary, the Operations Building, the Freshman campus classroom building and auditorium, and the district office building.

The budgeted costs are close to $900,000.

The board also approved new floors for the district offices, the Okeechobee Achievement Academy, Yearling Middle School and North Elementary School.   The estimated price tag is over $210,000.

A tractor trailer crash claims a life in Glades County.

It happened in Palmdale around 8 AM  Wednesday at the intersection of County Road 74 and State Road 29.

A truck driver from Punta Gorda, 55, was east bound when he somehow lost control of the rig and it overturned.

Troopers said he was wearing his seat belt but died at the scene.

A farmer in western Martin county had to call for help after a cow wandered off and got stuck in the mud.

One of the most deadliest things a cow can do is get stuck in the mud.

Martin County Fire Rescue crews out of Indiantown responded and were able to remove the cow thanks to its special response team.

Okeechobee County will remain with the Heartland Career Source for at least the next year.

There were proposals to realign many of the career source offices in the state.  Okeechobee was in the running to join with the Treasure Coast or even with Polk County.

The Heartland district includes Highlands, DeSoto and Hardee Counties.

Mary Smith told Okeechobee commissioners that regardless of the boundaries, they still have help with jobs all over Florida.

“Our clients that come in that want to work with the Treasure Coast we can still provide them referrals and contacts and information.  If you want to work on the Treasure Coast we can help you find work.  We aren’t saying you have to work in Sebring or Okeechobee.  You can go to work anywhere.  We are a Florida board.  If you want to find a job in Orlando I can help you find a job in Orlando.”

Commissioner Brad Goodbread supported joining with the Treasure Coast because it would provide more resources and opportunity for Okeechobee residents.  He noted most of our residents who work out of town are working on the east coast.  He added most of our shoppers who go out of town head to the Treasure Coast.

Glades County and the Glades Correctional Board of Directors (GCDC) are still working on a lease for the sheriffs administrative offices.

The county has been looking at other options like building a new sheriff’s department.  They recently moved inmates to the old jail downtown.

The county wanted to cap expenses at $12,000 per month to lease offices.  The GCDC balked at that over concerns with the kitchen and the amount of fuel they would use.

Commissioner Tony Whidden supports building a new county jail.

“GCDC is bleeding out and bleeding out fast.  We are two years from an election.  If it don’t go the right way we are not going to have a choice.  We won’t have time to build.  We are not crying wolf.”

The county has applied for $750,000 from the state to design a new jail this year.

A new owner of the Calusa Lodge in Lakeport was praised for doing a lot of clean up and improvements to the facility.