News Cast for May 2nd:

Big Lake Missions Outreach gave up the meal program they provided each day at lunch time at the Methodist Church.

Bruce and Mary Ann Swinford were honored by Okeechobee County Commissioners for the work they have done.

They began work in 1995 to help the homeless population.  They reach out to help 15,000 homeless and needy persons each year.

They still plan to provide the food pantry and Christmas programs to help the community.

Donations are still requested at Big Lake Missions Outreach PO Box 1663 Okeechobee, Fl 34973-1663.

A muck fire was burning west of Okeechobee and could send some smoke this way.

The fire is on Lonesome Island Road off state road 70 in Highlands County, several miles east of US 27.

The Florida Forest Service Okeechobee district expects some smoke impacts for several days.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis banned the sale of lab produced meat in Florida.

He said extremists are trying to end cattle ranching and agriculture as we know it in the name of environmental benefits and global warming.

DeSantis said we must support our ranchers.

“I think it is really important that we stand by our agriculture industry and our cattle ranchers.  I commend the legislature for being forward thinking on this.  This is not just being done nilly willy, they want to make meat in the lab and put the people sitting here today out of business.  We will not let that happen in the great state of Florida.”

Agriculture commissioner Wilton Simpson said the agriculture legislation passed also impacts crimes that target farms with tougher penalties.  The bill also allows FFA and 4-H students to attend events during school and not be penalized by the schools by being absent.

In the courts, Jamiere Murray of West Palm Beach received two years in prison and four years probation for trying to sell 8 grams of fentanyl in Okeechobee on February 2nd, 2023.

He worked out a deal with an undercover officer to come to a fast food restaurant here and sell $1,000 of the drug.

He was sentenced as a youthful offender.

Three other suspects were in the vehicle with him and were charged with conspiracy to traffic fentanyl.

The charges against Clayton Adams, Christopher Murray and Andre Douglas were later dropped.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection said phosphorus loads into Lake Okeechobee have dropped by 38 percent in the past five years.

Still 262 metric tons have to be reduced to meet targets.

Stacey Ollis explained the BMAPS for lake Okeechobee and ongoing storage and treatment projects north of the lake.  They include Grassy Island Ranch, and the Brady Ranch will add 10,000 acre feet of storage.

Applications for both the Statewide Alligator Harvest Program and the new Alligator Super Hunt open this Friday, May 3, at 10 a.m.

Applications may be submitted at any county tax collector’s office, license agent, or online at