News Cast 7/5

News Cast for July 5th:

The Indiantown Fire Station of Martin County Fire Rescue spent the night of July 3 putting out a tractor trailer fire.

The Indiantown Fire Station of Martin County Fire Rescue

Crews reported the cab was fully engulfed as they arrived. There were no injuries reported.

County holds busy commission meeting 

Lt. Robert Banfield was honored for 34 years of service to Okeechobee County. 

The county commission approved a proclamation to honor Lt. Banfield upon his retirement. 

The county also opted not to end the Pace financing program that helps residents upgrade their homes. 

Commissioner Kelly Owens voted to keep the program going despite some ongoing concerns. 

“I’m not ready to discontinue this program.  I think to hold a program responsible for a flyer sent out by somebody else is not fair.” 

Commissioner David Hazellief has compared the program to a scam.  He has worried residents couldn’t afford their new house payments and could lose their homes. 

The county commission wants the governor to appoint Frank DeCarlo to office as soon as possible. 

Chairman Terry Burroughs said they sent off a letter to Tallahassee last week. 

“Frank can be able to embrace this new position and not something he can learn overnight.  The quicker he gets into the seat and gets involved the better it will be for him.” 

Florida Power and Light is planning another solar center in Okeechobee County. 

The latest project is located near Evergreen Cemetery and R Bar Estates. 

They plan to hold an open house to explain the projects to residents in either August or September. 

The City of Okeechobee lost out on the first round of grants for city hall but will try again. 

City Administrator Gary Ritter said they resubmitted grant applications with the state and are awaiting word on several grants. 

“We have either received funding, were waiting approval for funding, or we have just applied.  Right now we have 12 grants out there.” 

Two Florida men were charged after a traffic stop in Okeechobee nets lawmen some 130 grams of methamphetamine. 

The Okeechobee Narcotics Task Force had been watching Timothy Backer of Arcadia who was wanted on warrants in DeSoto and Charlotte County. 

They stopped the vehicle on North East 26th Avenue and said they found marijuana, drug paraphernalia and a handgun. 

Also charged with drug trafficking was Frank Williams of North Fort Myers. 

Williams is a convicted felon.  His bond was $150,000. 

Backer was held on a bond of $130,000. 

The number of Florida dairy farms have dropped nearly 50 percent in the past seven years. 

Nationwide dairy herds are down 50 percent in the past 20 years. 

The congress has been looking for ways to keep the industry viable. 

New Hampshire congresswoman Annie Kuster said another problem is consolidation of dairies. 

Florida congresswoman Kat Cammack said dairy farms in Florida need more subsidies and support from Washington. 

“In the 1960s a dairy with 27 cows was enough to support a family of five.  To be successful today, Florida dairy farmers have to operate on a much larger scale with hundreds or even thousands of cows in order to survive these challenging times.” 

The number of dairy farms in Florida has declined from 130 in 2015, to 66 commercial dairies today.