News Cast 9/27


September 27, 2023

News Cast for September 27th:

Focus on the lake

Angler Scott Martin wants a financial commitment from the state and South Florida Water Management District to do projects in lake Okeechobee, not around it, and not near it, but inside it.

Martin said this has become a dire situation.

“We need $100 million for Lake Okeechobee inside the lake.  There is work to be done on the lake that would dramatically improve the water in the lake, allow the lake to filter its own water, and give small businesses around the lake a chance.  We are dying over here.”

The Governing Board will get reports from FEMA and the FAA on the possible impacts from the new storage and treatment area proposed west of Okeechobee.

It is called the Lower Kissimmee Stormwater Treatment Area.  It would use the former Rio Ranch land on 70 west just east of the Kissimmee River.

Nearby residents are concerned about flooding, possible new insurance costs, and impacts on planes using nearby airstrips and the county airport.

Executive Director Drew Bartlett said among the goals for 2024 are a new service center in Okeechobee.

“We are going to break ground on the new Okeechobee Field Station.  It will bring expanded capacity to manage all our new projects in Okeechobee county and all the projects north of Lake Okeechobee.”

The facility will include a backup operations center in case the main campus in West Palm Beach becomes incapacitated.

Other projects include a northern reservoir and other storage projects north of the lake.

A five-year prison term and $50,000 fine face a local man investigated in two drug cases last year by the Okeechobee Narcotics Task Force.

Leamsi Alvarado allegedly was involved with trafficking cocaine and selling marijuana.

Lawmen said a search warrant of a home on SE 33rd Terrace resulted in deputies finding $12,000 in cash, some narcotics, drug paraphernalia and two handguns.

Alvarado pled no contest to cocaine trafficking and other charges and will be sentenced October 16th.

A car jacking in Broward County impacted both Hendry and Glades County on Tuesday.

A Broward sheriff’s helicopter followed the stolen 2020 Mercedes Benz SUV all the way north into Moore Haven before the vehicle stopped in the middle of 27 five miles north of the county seat.

Victor Castillo was arrested by Hendry and Glades County deputies.  He was found to be armed with a nine-millimeter handgun.

Highlands County Commissioner’s goals for 2024 include improving drainage and streets, adding ambulance service in east and southern parts of the county, and improving water and sewer service to clean up the water before it enters Lake Okeechobee.

Chairman of the county commission Chris Campbell wants to see them attract larger employers that employ more than 50 people.

Another goal is selling the old hospital on US 27 in Sebring.