News Cast 5/16

News Cast for May 16th:

City wants to clear sidewalks 

Okeechobee city council objected to businesses laying out too much merchandise in front of their stores to attract customers. 

City administrator Gary Ritter said certain restaurants use the sidewalks for customers. 

“Some use the pavers to put tables.  Other restaurants use them for tables and benches.  What we do has to be consistent all the way down Park Street.” 

Councilmember Bobby Keefe said there is a difference between outside dining and cluttering the sidewalks. 

“There is a big difference between people sitting and eating pizza outside versus a hodge podge of retail items blocking the view of vehicles turning at that corner.” 

The council supported having code enforcement issue citations for these types of violations. 

Keefe also supports making SW Park Street one way traffic. 

He predicts that would mean less vehicle traffic and a more pedestrian friendly downtown. 

Glades County received close to $8 million for road work from the Florida Department of Transportation. 

Over $7 million will beef up route 721 north of the Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation. 

$232,000 will go to resurface Lake Drive in Buckhead Ridge. 

County Manager Marcos Montes De Oca said these state dollars really help the county. 

“This to me was a big win for us.  I wish we had that money for other roads.  The funding is there and we will be able to get it out.” 

The state gave Glades County four years to finish the work in Buckhead Ridge. 

A private firm is now running the Highlands County landfill in Lorida. 

They have had several fires at the facility in the past 18 months. 

One fire shut down the dump for 50 hours. 

Robert Diefendorfer with the firm Jones, Edmonds and Associates, said at the last fire, some equipment wasn’t working. 

“One of the fires we have minimum pressure.  A second truck is so important because if something happens to one truck we have another one available to use.” 

Lake Okeechobee is losing 1.2 inches per week due to evaporation. 

The lake level stood at 12.7 feet this morning. 

There have been some small algae blooms on the lake this year. 

Lt. Col Todd Polk of the US Army Corps of Engineers said the water quality has been mostly good. 

“The north and northwest sections of the lake have seen algae blooms.  There was one recently with bacteria at the Franklin locks on the C-43 side.  We are doing all we can and we know it is that time of year.”