WOKC News Report for Wednesday, December 14th 2022 (AUDIO INCLUDED)

Charles Murphy’s December 14t Newscast

Post office having busy holiday season

The Okeechobee and other post offices expect a significant increase in Christmas packages this year.

The postal service has hired 200 more workers in South Florida to handle the rush this year.

Spokesperson Debbie Fetterly said you can do a lot of things online now to save time.

“We are ready for the holidays.  We want customers to come to the post office.  We have free services click and ship where you can print your own labels and arrange for carrier pickup.  That is helpful and its free.”

“Our employees are very dedicated throughout the year and we love the holidays.  Our theme this year is we are holiday ready.”

The deadline to guarantee delivery in time for Christmas are coming up.

-Saturday December 17 is for greeting cards and first class mail

-Monday, December 19 is for priority mail

-Friday, December 23 is for Priority Mail Express.

South Florida Water Managers hit a snag with ASR storage wells.

The US Army Corps of engineers has delayed a report on the wells listing considerable concern about arsenic in the aquifer and high costs of maintenance and operation of these wells.

That could mean no federal funding in the 2022 water bill now before congress.

The district continues to work on northern storage.

Governing Board Member Ben Butler said staff worked together for the common good during the hurricanes.

He said they need to find storage areas north of Lake Okeechobee.

“We need to keep pressing for storage.  We have a few things in the pipeline were working on but we need more storage.”

Highlands county just completed some safety improvements on 9-mile grade, route 721 north.

They included improved lighting, flashing lights on stop signs and rumble strips to warn motorists of an upcoming intersection.

The county also is supporting the widening of state road 70 to four lanes across the state.

County Administrator Laurie Hurner said it is a dangerous highway and they hear a lot of concerns about residents who drive that road.

“Safety, lighting, all those kinds of things are needed.  It is a state roadway so we are constantly in contact with FDOT with many, many projects.  We work very hard to infuse highway 70 into our conversations with the state.”

She expects continued growth eastward from the US 27 corridor.  She noted the state plans to four lane several miles of US 98 between Sebring and Lorida in the near future.

She also expects more citrus groves to be sold for housing developments.

“I would love to see it stay the way it is but that is impossible.  People are moving inland and wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle.  I’d love to see it say in agriculture forever but we have to look at different things coming into our area along with new citizens.”

Florida Power and Light broke ground at the Okeechobee Clean Energy Center for the company’s Cavendish NextGen Hydrogen Hub, Florida’s first-of-its-kind ‘green hydrogen’ facility this morning.

State and local officials were expected to attend the event.