News Cast 9/8


September 8, 2023

News Cast for August 8th:

Two teenagers died this morning in a two-vehicle crash north of Okeechobee.

The Florida Highway Patrol said a 17 year old girl and a 15 year old male died in a 2006 Toyota Tacoma just before 7 am.

The other vehicle involved, a 2013 Ford Expedition, was driven by a 41 year old Okeechobee man.  He suffered serious injuries.

The report said the accident occurred on US-441 about .3 mile south of NE 72nd Circle.

The report said both vehicles were headed south bound.

The crash remains under investigation.

Arrest for school threat

A 12-year-old boy made threats during a live stream to shoot up Osceola Middle School and kill students, Okeechobee County Deputies said.

The youth has been charged with written threats to kill, do bodily injury or conduct a mass shooting or act of terrorism.

Superintendent of Schools Ken Kenworthy said he was glad the students came forward to report this.

“We conducted the threat assessment.  We were working with the sheriff early on.  Anyone mentioned specifically was contacted and parents informed about what happened.”

Kenworthy said you can’t make these kinds of comments any more.  He added they have to impact kids to make them realize that they can’t do these things.

“One thing I am proud of is students are getting more comfortable in reporting their peers when they do something like this that has the potential of ending up as violence at a school site.”

He said they have anonymous sites for tips, school resource officers, school staff who push if you see something say something and they are making progress.

The city of Okeechobee is moving forward with approval for the Park Street Commerce Center.

A special meeting is set for September 14th to vote on the final plans.

A storage facility, Culvers restaurant and a hotel are planned on 16 acres in the 1100 and 1200 blocks of NE Park Street.

Mayor Dowling Watford said they will also open up some new land for development by an extension of NE 13th Avenue.

Some 55 acres would be then available for development.

US Senator Rick Scott visits the Big Lake region today.

He is scheduled to speak at a celebration of agriculture event in Clewiston at lunch time.

Tonight, he addresses the Okeechobee Republican Club dinner at Scott Driver.

Highlands County will consider a suspension of mobile home permits.

They have issued 1,000 permits for new mobile homes in the past year.

Resident Jeff Kennedy said mobile homes do have an impact on the economy.   He said many of the residents are seasonal, live up north, and don’t have children in school.

“They are very nice parks.  They pay a lot of tax.  They pay school tax but have no burden on the schools.  They are very seasonal.  Some live here all year.  A lot of them go home in the summer and bring their money down in the winter and spend it here.”

The commission agreed to schedule a workshop to discuss the moratorium in the next two months.

The city of Moore Haven got their insurance check to repair the docks from the boat fire in March.

It will cost about $12,000.  They hired Taylor Electric and Fixation Station to do the work to repair the dock and electric.

Ridgdill and Sons out of Clewiston wins the bid to do the downtown improvement project for $1.66 million.

The city also moved to rezone two parcels at 499 and 599 Avenue C to medium density residential.

They have cited the property with code enforcement.

Luis Baez who leases the property said the former fueling station can’t become residences.

“Residents can’t be built and homes can be built on contaminated soil.  I don’t know what municipality would agree to that.”

Neighbor Daryl Jones urged Baez to clean up the property.

“It is just an eyesore and a mess.  You got rats that are unreal right now.  I think it is from all the boats being moved in there.”