News Cast 6/1

News Cast for June 1st:

Please be advised that the entire OUA service area is under a Precautionary Boil Water until further notice due to a loss of pressure throughout the system.

The Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival will return in 2022. 

Organizers announced the dates for March 3 to 6. 

It will be the fifth festival held. 

CEO of Insomniac Events, Pasquale Rotella said they could not be more excited than coming back to Okeechobee. 

“After this long year, I can’t wait to be back in nature with all my Okeechobee friends and family.   This festival is all about music, camping out, and making smores while dancing in a jungle, grass fields and on a beautiful beach.” 

Soundlinger, the other company behind the event, said the festival will serve as a beacon of light and a much needed distraction after this long pandemic. 

You can start to purchase tickets on June 3. 

FHP, Deputies have death investigations

A shooting was reported Monday in Four Seasons with a fatality involved, Okeechobee Sheriff Noel Stephen said.

Few details have been released due to it being an ongoing investigation.

Two fatal car crashes were reported in Okeechobee this morning.

One crash occurred at the intersection of 68 East and 441 north.  The road there was reopened after the investigation.

The second fatality crash occurred at the intersection of 441 north and NE 106th Street.

The road was shut down there this morning for the investigation.

OHS graduation wraps wild year for the class of 2021

The class of 2021 at Okeechobee High School will not be soon forgotten.

That the quote from OHS Principal Lauren Meyers.

She maintains the class maintained the high traditions of OHS.

“This very ceremony plays homage to the tradition of Brahman pride, perseverance, respect, integrity, dependability and ethics.  Those pillars of the Brahman way have brought you to this very moment.  We take pride in all that you have accomplished today.”

Meyers said the school system is indebted to the parents and extended families that helped support and develop these young men and women.

The four Suma Cum Laude students gave short addresses to the class.

Christian Cobb one of four summa Cum Laude graduates, told classmates it was a great day.

“I congratulate the class of 2021.  The amount of hard work and challenges we have faced over the past four years has led to this moment.”

Jayden Eggar said this was a great accomplishment for his class.

“Don’t stop here.  Whatever your palns are after high school don’t let the past four years hold you back.  Don’t let them be your peak.  There is so much more out there.  Don’t be afraid to try new things.  Don’t be afraid to take advantage of opportunities.”
Eggar said to not cling to the past and seize opportunities.

The other speakers included Jillian Johnston and Cristian Trejo.

Employers should expect more applicants

Career Source Heartland said they expect more people to be seeking jobs in June as the unemployment benefits from the state and federal government continue to dry up.

The extra $300 per week approved in stimulus packages will end on June 26.

Okeechobee employers have had trouble getting applicants for several months.

Donna Doubleday said there were lots of benefits for food stamps and unemployment during the pandemic and that impacted the job force.

“These waivers are being lifted.  We anticipate seeing more job seekers as a result of these actions.  We are pretty encouraged by that.”

Unemployment rates stood at 4.4% in April.  That is about half of the rate reported in April, 2020.

County Commission Chairman Terry Burroughs urged Career Source to do more to help people released from jail get jobs and be productive citizens.

Prisoner of war honored in Okeechobee

An Okeechobee veteran who died as a prisoner of war was remembered at a special ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park.

Corporal Earl Henry Hansel fought in the US Navy during World War 2.  He again joined the fight in Korea as a member of the US Army.

He was captured and died as a POW in Korea in 1951.

Tara Holliday, represented Hansel’s  family at the observance.

She said the family appreciated this recognition.

“It was wonderful.  It was definitely appreciated.”

The County Commissioner earlier this year renamed a portion of Center Street after Corp. Hansel.

His name was engraved on the veteran’s memorial.

“He was taken captive and he was confirmed deceased.  My grandmother told us the story about him and she hoped that one day he would come home.”

The poem “Freedom Isn’t Free” was read by Veteran’s Services Officer Sarah Carter and a wreath was dedicated for Hansel.

Holliday said Hansel grew up in Okeechobee.  Holiday is his grand niece.  Her grandmother was Edith Hester. She was Hansel’s sister.