News Cast 9/12


September 12, 2023

News Cast for September 12th:

September is Hunger Action Month!

(Pictured L to R) Chairman David Hazellief, Michael Thompson, Food Procurement Manager for the Treasure Coast Food Bank and Andrea Santos, Retail Store Donation Coordinator

Today, our Board presented a Proclamation to Michael Thompson, Food Procurement Manager for the Treasure Coast Food Bank and Andrea Santos, Retail Store Donation Coordinator designating the month of September 2023 as Hunger Action Month in Okeechobee County. We are proud partners with the Treasure Coast Food Bank, and Okeechobee County is committed to taking steps to raise awareness about the need to combat hunger in every part of our county and to provide additional resources that citizens of Okeechobee County need. – Okee County Government

County still fighting reservoir

The Okeechobee Board of County Commissioners are still trying to get on the agenda of the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board to discuss the Lower Kissimmee Stormwater Treatment project.

Neighbors have opposed the project due to flood insurance, overall flood risk, odors, attracting bugs and birds. and affects planes landing and taking off from nearby airstrips.

Commissioner Kelly Owens said the state is not fully committed to cleaning up the water because they never send enough money from Tallahassee to really change things.

“The highest and heaviest (nutrient) load is exactly that area that we keep saying, please help us, give us the funding, let us to do septic to sewer conversion.  We are saying we understand the cause and we are saying what the solution will be.  That would do a whole lot more to reduce the phosphorus load than the current suggested storage.”

Commissioner Terry Burroughs acquired photos of water entering Lake Okeechobee that he said shows septage coming into the lake from sewer treatment plants in Osceola and Orange County following Hurricane Ian.

“When we talk about water storage and capturing water.  When Ian took over the sewer plants in Orange and Osceola County and all that water came down to us, this should have been an indication to those in control up there that we should be looking at reservoirs and STA north of highway 60.”

The issue was not on the agenda of the September 14th governing board meeting.                                    

The Florida Department of Transportation will improve 10 miles of US 98 from the Okeechobee County line to County Road 621 in Highlands County starting next Monday, September 18.

Crews will resurface the road, widen some shoulders, reconstruct some pavement, and add guardrail and signs and pavement markings.

The project expected to be completed next summer. The crews will be closing lanes at times and using traffic signals.

The OUA said they are trying to work out something with the developers of Lakefront Estates.

The Glades County commission today considers a resolution of support for a grant application of $15.5 million so the OUA can expand and improve water and sewer service to Lakefront Estates and Buckhead Ridge.

1,400 hundred homes could be built along route 78.

The employment contract of Pahokee city manager Rodney Lucas is on tonight’s agenda.

The Mayor Keith Babb recently withdrew his support likely giving the commission the third vote needed for his termination.

“We are looking bad, I’m looking bad, as a community, and as a commission.  People are seeing all this.”

Resident Joshua Brown said the commission meetings and arguments are an embarrassment and prove officials can’t work together to improve Pahokee.

“Pahokee has been in the same shape that is has been in for years.  Some of us have been on this commission for years and we are still in the same shape.  My question is to the commission.  If you are running again, why are you running.  What have you done to benefit the citizens of Pahokee.”

Vice Mayor Clara Murvin said the disagreements and bickering during commission meetings impacted their efforts to get state funding for projects in Tallahassee this year.

A 1999 Chevrolet S10 slammed into the back of a semi-truck killing the driver of the pickup on 441 north of Canal Point early Monday morning, Palm Beach County Sheriff Deputies said.

A 40-year-old Canal Point man was killed.

Palm Beach deputies said the north bound semi had some mechanical issues and the driver was slowing to a stop.   The pickup failed to slow down in time and the front of the pickup collided with the rear of the 1996 Freightliner.

Deputies said the driver was flown by Trauma Hawk to St. Marys and died four hours later.

The report said the victim was not wearing his seat belt.

The truck driver, a 49 year old man from Hialeah, Ernesto Vega Franco, was not hurt. He was wearing his seat belt.

His name was not released.