News Cast for August 30th:

The impacts begin

Hurricane Idalia hit Taylor County as a category three storm with maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour.

It came on shore at 7:45 am at Keaton Beach.

200,000 were without power this morning.

There has already been reports of severe flooding from Pinellas County north along the Florida west coast.

There have also been 11 tornado warnings across the state this morning alone.

Jamie Rhome with the National Hurricane Center said there will be plenty of impacts over the next three days in the southeastern US.

“We have all the hazards in play.  We have the heavy winds in Florida and southern Georgia, storm surge in the Big Bend region, and a large swath of rainfall that will extend over several states in the southeastern United States.”

Taylor County issued mandatory evacuations for the entire county last night.  Over 500 people were transported by buses to shelters in Tallahassee.

100,000 lost power in southwest Florida last night and have already seen power restored.

The governor ordered in more fuel to serve Florida since disruptions occurred this week at the Port of Tampa.

Highlands and Osceola closed down schools and local government offices today.

There were few local impacts in Okeechobee reported.

A heat lamp is blamed for a fire that destroyed a portable that house animals at South Elementary School Sunday.

Okeechobee County Fire rescue responded at 6:30 pm and found smoke and flames showing from the structure.

They quickly tackled the blaze through the window and doors.

Fire Officials said the estimate of damage was $30,000.  All the animals died.

An electrical problem with the lamp was determined to be the cause of the fire.

Matthew Flores pled not guilty at his arraignment on murder charges in Wauchula Tuesday.

He was extradited back from North Carolina earlier this month.

Mr. Flores is a suspect in a shooting death here in Okeechobee.

The body of Gary Levin of Palm Beach Gardens was found north of highway 70 near the Agri-Civic Center in February.

The city of Okeechobee approved the preliminary plat for Mallard Landing.  The 44-acre development could add over 100 housing units to the city.  Some 91 lots are available for development.

The project is bordered by NW 3rd and 7th Avenues and NW 11th and 14th Streets.

City administrator Gary Ritter said the city likely will take over the drainage systems.

St. Lucie County moves onto the state a future land use map amendment for a race track community on route 70, a few miles from the Okeechobee County line.

629 acres could be developed with single family homes, other housing, the race car track, storage facility, maintenance facility, an off road track, a go kart track and other facilities.

Neighbor Mark Walters said at first residents were excited about the track.

“It is going to be a drag strip I can go out there and hang out and watch.  Then we learn its going to be private.  What?”

Lighting, noise and traffic are the neighbor’s main concerns.

Larry Leet said he feels the benefits outweigh the problems

“I see the revenue coming in as a huge benefit for the county.  I see benefits for jobs, colleges and education and schools, that out weigh anything else.”

Opponents said it will bring in urban sprawl as the project is well outside the urban services boundary.