News Cast 6/21

News Cast for June 21st:

Two killed in crash

A three vehicle collision on North West 192nd Avenue claimed the life of a 27 year old Okeechobee man and a seven year old child late Saturday.

The Florida highway patrol said a northbound pickup truck driven by a 21 year old Okeechobee man caused the deadly crash.  He and his passenger, female, were in critical condition.

The occupants in this vehicle were not wearing seatbelts.

Troopers allege the north bound pickup sideswiped a trailer being towed by a sport utility vehicle and then hit the third vehicle, the victim’s pickup head on near North West 254th Street.

Troopers said the 27 year old victim was not wearing a seat belt.  The child was properly restrained.

Five people in the sport utility vehicle, including three small children, were not hurt.  All were properly restrained with seatbelts and child restraints.

The crash remains under investigation.

FHP said the passenger critically injured was an 18 year old Okeechobee female.

Both she and the 21 year old driver are in critical but stable condition.

Tuck helps pass church gun legislation

State Rep. Kaylee Tuck said a bill she sponsored to relax gun regulations on church grounds passed through the legislature.

Tuck said the guns in churches bill was meant to relax regulations.

“What was happening if there was a church with a school on it, you couldn’t carry a gun in the church even though it was a

 Sunday and there was no school going on.  With the church shooting in Texas, we don’t want to have a bunch of sitting ducks in our churches, especially since practicing our faith is so important to us.”

Tuck explained what the bill did to address this issue.

“Churches can have private regulations if they want to.  The state cannot tell them that they can’t have guns in the church even if they have a school.  There were some really good things we did this session for gun rights.”

Tuck reported progress on efforts to bring more broadband internet to rural areas.

She also predicts more people will be looking for jobs next week due to the end of federal unemployment benefits from the pandemic.

Slight increase in jobless rate

Unemployment rates rose slightly in May across Florida. 

Florida had 4.9 %, Glades County 4% and Okeechobee County 4.5%.

The state has gained back nearly 567,000 thousand jobs in the past year.

The highest unemployment rate was found in Miami Dade County at 6.9%.

Highlands County had the highest in this region 6.2%.

The state has lost 454,000 jobs since the pandemic began.

Okeechobee County reported 806 people collected benefits last month.

Glades County reported 229 people were unemployed in May.

The Orlando area made the most gains in jobs in May with near 110,000 new jobs in the past year.

A Prosperity and economic opportunity solution summit was hosted by the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

The goal was to make sure everyone in the state, regardless of their zip code, had the same opportunity for jobs, education and success.

Jamal Sowell is Florida’s Secretary of Commerce.

He said the pandemic taught Florida that diversity is key to the health of an economy.

“Diversity is key when it comes to different businesses, companies, aviation, aerospace, financial services, etc.  If this ever happens again we need to have options for people for jobs in every part of the state.  We have historically focused on agriculture, tourism, and entertainment.  We need to look at companies that realize there are more than just tourists here.”

Dane Eagle, Secretary of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity said Florida is seeing an economic recovery but there is work to be done.
“We still have a ways to go.  We have regained nearly 800,000 jobs since the great recession.  There are still over 400,000 jobs we have yet to regain.  Over half of those are in leisure and hospitality.”

He said more people will be seeking jobs starting June 26 when federal unemployment benefits end from the pandemic.

“I think that will really help heal the leisure and hospitality industry.”