News Cast for July 1st:

Repairs for Streets getting costly

Okeechobee City Council got a bit of sticker shock earlier this year with the growing costs of asphalt and maintaining city streets.

As a result they will prioritize more street improvements sooner to help offset the costs.

Mayor Dowling Watford supported a focus on street improvements.

“That would be my number one priority because we are so far behind and we are not catching up.”

They could decide what streets to repair during their budget workshops.

A Lorida man is facing criminal charges for failing to allow firemen onto his property to put out a burn pile.

The firemen claim 33-year-old Ricky Hodges was burning too many things including logs, and unauthorized materials too close to the home.

Another resident eventually let them on the property on Gardner Drive and firemen put out the flames.

Hodges was charged with preventing or hindering a firefighter on duty and burning without a permit.

The fire dated back to September 11th of last year.

The new lake regulation schedule or LOSOM is expected to be approved August 12th by leadership with the US Army Corps of Engineers.

The working group held their last meeting in June and some were not pleased.

While it is expected to reduce releases to the coasts, it is also expected to keep the lake higher.

Tim Gysan with the Corps of Engineers said there is a benefit to having more storage in the lake.

“The Herbert Hoover Dike rehabilitation allows us to take advantage of the work and storage (capacity) and look at a beneficial use philosophy rather than a risk reduction philosophy in our operations.”

Drew Bartlett with the South Florida Water Management District said they continue to push for more water storage around the lake.

He said the governor has pushed to get more projects done quicker. He noted construction is underway for a southern

reservoir and work continues on above and below ground storage north of the lake.

”Get the best results we can out of a new lake schedule because we have a rehabilitated Herbert Hoover dike.”

38 businesses visited by an undercover 17-year-old and the sheriffs office did not sell the teen alcohol and or nicotine related products like cigarettes or vapes.

The sheriff reported 10 local stores did sell one or both to the minor.

New laws going into effect today include expanding hours underage teenagers can work, and preventing local governments from imposing limits on outside working conditions like shade breaks and hydration or drink breaks. Another law targets street racing and street takeovers. It will increase fines and potential jail time for people who participate in these endeavors.

Another law will prevent harassment of first responders on duty at calls.

Another law said new mothers will no longer have to go to jury duty.