WOKC News for May 1st

Farmers have a lot of needs

Sugar farmers, citrus growers, and ranchers were among the groups that gave public testimony at a listening session in Florida of the US House Agriculture Committee in Newberry.

Issues addressed included more funding for research and technology, more funding for the Farm Service Agencies to respond to farmers needs, and better trade deals.

Mike Elfenbine asked the house committee to support innovative technologies to make fertilizer more environmentally friendly.

Jim Handley of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association listed the groups priorities for the congress.

“Risk management programs, disaster programs, and conservation programs are vital to every segment of agriculture.  We have to sustain them to continue to be able to recover from extreme weather conditions.”

Roberto Ortiz with Florida Crystals wants more protection for the sugar industry.

“Somehow farmers in the Glades have a negative reputation even though the work we do every day is based on sustainability and conservation of our natural resources.  My ask of the house today is you oppose any changes that will weaken sugar policy.”

Farmers also want better and quicker response from the feds when natural disasters and hurricanes strike and ruin crops.

There is a full ballot for the Seminole Tribe elections next week.

Seven people want the job of chairman led by incumbent Marcellus Osceola, former Chiefs Jim Billie and Mitchell Cypress, Charles Osceola, Pete Osceola, Martha Tommie and Milo Osceola.

The President of the Board of Directors is sought by Helen Buster, James Holt the second, Moses Osceola, Tony Sanchez junior, Holly Tiger and Alfonso Tiger.

The Brighton tribal council seat is sought by incumbent Larry Howard, Louis Gopher, Justin Gopher, and Derrick Smith.

The Brighton Board of Directors Seat is sought by newcomers Ryna Micco, Norman Johns and Bryan Aldridge.

The election is scheduled for Monday, May 8th.

Highlands county hired a second in command.

Nicholas Sawyer was selected by County Administrator Laurie Hurner and confirmed by the commission.

Commissioner Kevin Roberts said he felt awkward confirming someone he didn’t know anything about.

Commissioner Don Elwell said its mostly a ceremonial thing.

“We are confirming that we trust those that did what they were supposed to do.  They did check the resume, call the references, and this confirmation is more of a show of unity for the commission that we welcome you, we thank you for being here, and we look forward to many, many years.”

Elwell said he has voted to confirm some employees that didn’t make it so far in the county employ.

The county also invested $1.5 million in new fire trucks and equipment.