News Cast 8/23

News Cast for August 23rd:

Our Village will be closed this week. Please call 863-447-0473 if there is something you need urgently.
No peer support on Tuesday/Thursday.

Funny money, real drugs, found in home 

Okeechobee lawmen and the secret service find counterfeit cash, methamphetamines, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia as they arrest two suspects wanted in Georgia. 

They search a residence in the 1400 hundred block of 441 southeast and arrest Jason Beale, 46 and Rose Beale, 55, on trafficking in methamphetamines, possession of drug paraphernalia, forgery, forging bank bills, possession of forged notes and damaging bank bills. 

Lawmen said they seized 16 grams of methamphetamine, and over $2,200 in bogus bills. 

The couple was also wanted in Georgia on warrants for failure to appear in court.  

A deadly weekend on local roads 

A fatal crash occurred east of town on state route 70 east near Four Seasons Friday afternoon. 

Few details had been released by authorities. 

A seven month old child died in a crash on Canal Road near Belle Glade. 

Palm Beach Deputies said Erbin Gerardo Moya, 25 of Clewiston died in a rollover crash. 

Four people, including a six year old boy and two others from Lorida, died after a three vehicle crash on US 98 Sunday night near Tubbs Ranch road in Highlands County. 

Troopers said a west bound sedan driven by a 38 year old Lorida man crossed the center line, sideswiped an east bound sedan and then an east bound sport utility vehicle head on. 

Three people in the sedan died along with the driver of the SUV, a 68 year old Sebring man. 

COVID numbers continue to rise 

The Okeechobee Health Department reported  380 new cases of COVID 19 in the county last week.  There were 333 new vaccinations. 

The positive test rate in Okeechobee last week was 30.4%. 

Glades County reported 58 new cases and 100 new vaccinations. 

The positive test rate in Glades County was 34.5%. 

The latest report had 89 deaths in Okeechobee and 19 in Glades County from COVID-19 during the pandemic. 

Road improvements still in the plan 

The Florida Department of Transportation continues to look at road improvements in Okeechobee. 

Included in the work plan is resurfacing 9.9 miles on route 710 for $2 million and adding the bypass connector road onto 441 north. 

They also plan to add additional lanes on route 710 in 2026 and 2027. 

The long-range plan to 2045 includes a bypass around the city of Okeechobee that connects 710 to US 98 and 70 west. 

Pat Steed with the Heartland Regional Transportation Planning Organization said one thing that is impacting our roads is truck traffic.  She said truck traffic has consistently increased on rural roads across Florida. 

The state is also doing a study to improve access for bicyclists and pedestrians in Okeechobee. 

Large turnout expected for fire assessment 

The Glades County Board of County Commissioners are expected to approve the employment contract for new county manager Marcos Montes De Oca tonight. 

Montes De Oca said it’s a homecoming as he returns to Moore Haven. 

“I am really excited about getting this job.  It allows me to give back to Moore Haven that has given me so much.” 

The proposed salary is  $120,000 thousand per year. 

Commissioners were also expected to vote on a fire assessment tonight after a public hearing at the Doyle Conner Building. 

The residential assessment proposed is $120 per home. 

A large turnout is expected. 

Local ranches eyed by the state 

The state is looking at a less than fee simple purchase of two of the Adams Ranches. 

One in western St. Lucie County…the original ranch minus the residence, and the other west of Yeehaw Junction, the Lake Marian Ranch. 

Over 52 thousand acres of ranchland could be preserved. 

Attorney Keith Fountain said these purchases would connect lands in Okeechobee and Osceola counties. 

27,000 acres was donated in north Okeechobee and southern Osceola that was proposed to become the new city of Destiny. Fountain said the proposals would help wildlife like the Florida grasshopper sparrow and the Florida panther while also helping area waterways.