News Cast for June 24th:

Okeechobee beats the state

Okeechobee continued to have very low unemployment levels in May.

Okeechobee had three percent of the workforce out of work while the state averaged 3.3 percent.

The number of workers and those employed also increased in Okeechobee in May.

The labor force rose from 18,172 to 18,265. The number of employed increased from 17,593 to 17,718.

The number that collected unemployment benefits went from 579 to 547.

Okeechobee was tied with several other counties for 41st lowest in the state.

Labor economist Jimmy Heckman said across the state there are many jobs to be had. He noted there are more than one job available for every Floridian out of work.

Around the region Glades County had 3.8 percent, Osceola 3.3 percent and Highlands County 4.2 percent.

Two vehicle crashes claimed lives in rural Osceola County this weekend. Both of them happened on US 441.

A 19-year-old Kenansville man died when a Ford F250 left 441 near Williams Road just after 8 pm Friday. His 20-year-old male passenger from St. Cloud was seriously injured.

Troopers said they are unsure what caused the pickup to leave the road and strike a tree.

Two tractor trailers collided south of Yeehaw Junction on 441 Saturday morning just after 7 am.

A 59-year-old Orlando man driving a north bound truck died at the scene.

Troopers said it appeared the north bound truck veered into the south bound lane and caused the crash.

Both trucks left the road after the collision and flipped over into the tree line.

A 28-year-old Orlando man driving the other truck avoided injury.

Okeechobee Schools don’t predict major impacts right of way for the FHSAA rule allowing high school athletes to get some money from sponsorships and endorsements.

Superintendent Dylan Tedders said he sees the merit of having these sponsorships.

“It is good for the students because if somebody is making money off of your name, you ought to be able to recoup some of that. We have to make sure that we follow all the directions from the FHSAA as to what our students are allowed and not allowed to do. We will stay within the regulations to make sure our students don’t lose any eligibility by taking part.”

St. Lucie County is using more unmarked vehicles to beef up traffic enforcement in rural areas.

State Road 70, since it was four laned, has become a drag strip with speeding tickets for 90 miles an hour or above, not uncommon.

Sheriff Keith Pearson said there has been good results so far.

“We see a lot of positive feedback from the community with these unmarked cars. You can’t identify them until it is too late. They have radar, computers, they are fully equipped, but they don’t have the perception of a Ford Crown Victoria or Ford Explorer with the light bar on top.”

Pearson said a lot of drivers commute to St. Lucie and forget the agriculture livestock out there and the wildlife out there. He added cattle can get out onto the road.

He said many continue to speed even though they are unfamiliar with their surroundings.

“Speed only makes it 10 times worse when they try to swerve to avoid a hog or swerve to avoid a deer because they are not prepared for that. The last thing we want is for people to injure themselves out there and more importantly injure other people.”