News Cast for March 1st:

Finishing up the job

Okeechobee School Superintendent Ken Kenworthy spent his last day on the job Thursday.

He took a job for the Florida Insurance Trust.

This was part of his farewell message to the public.

“I certainly will miss this job. It is the only district I ever worked in. I am a little uneasy after working for 34 years in one place, then you retire, and work someplace else. I’m a little anxious about that. I’m looking forward to the new chapter. I love this district, we’ve accomplished great things here, but its time for me to turn over the reigns to someone else.”

Dylan Tedders was named the interim school superintendent and a search is ongoing for a successor.

A 48-year-old Okeechobee man lost his life in a crash on 441 north just past 364th Street on Wednesday night. Few details were released.

The Okeechobee County Technical Review Committee approved the site plan for Midtown Villages.

The developer gets more residential units 1,320, but will reduce commercial use by 21 acres.

The only commercial uses will be accessed off 441. They won’t four lane Charles Harvey Highway but plan to put in a round-a-bout at SE 18th Terrace and Charles Harvey.

The committee also approved some changes to two solar centers in north Okeechobee. The Honeybell Solar Center will be 638 acres and the Tangelo Solar Energy Center will be 748 acres. Both are located off NE 304th Street.

The Florida legislature is expected to pass a bill that would stop local regulations on heat stress.

No employers would be mandated to allow employees breaks for shade, rest, and water during hot days.

Ashley Gantt, a house representative, said climate change is real and the heat is here to stay.

“We know about climate change. It is hotter than when I was little growing up in Miami. This shows people in Florida that they don’t matter. I hope they show up at the voting polls and show that they do matter.”

Laura Munoz said her father worked for years in the fields of south Florida picking fruits and vegetables. She said he died due to heat related illness.

“He woke up every morning and did everything he could to take care of himself, water and ice. I believe my father deserved better. Were corporate profits worth his life?”

Moore Haven wraps up Chalo Nitka week with two days of festivities Friday and Saturday.

Today’s schedule includes the small fry fishing contest, the kid’s day at Chalo Nitka park, a midway from 5 to 11 pm and a ranch rodeo at the Bronson Arena at 7 pm.

Saturday, they have the all-day festival, the morning parade, the ranch rodeo at 7 and the country and western dance at Doyle Conner building at 9 pm.

The sheriff’s office promised more patrols during the weekend as they’ve been able to hire new deputies.

Sgt. Stacey Murray said they will also have observation towers and cameras at three locations.

“They will be in the area of the Doyle Conner building, the post office and the rodeo arena. There will be a 360 view with cameras.”

Last year they had a bad fight at the festival with several arrests made and at least two teenagers hospitalized.

10 alleged drug dealers are locked up after a joint investigation in Okeechobee and Highlands County.

Those charged include 40 year old Virgil Dixon, 29 year old Alphonso Morris, 44 year old Casey Casen, 51 year old Casey Boneau, 22 year old Andrew Jackson, 57 year old Shirley Ardley, 45 year old Earl Thomas, 44 year old Victor Mateo Lopez Garcia, and 29 year old Juan Jesus Ruiz. 49 year old Lashay Butler.

The Okeechobee County Sheriffs Office, the Highlands County Sheriffs Office and the Drug Enforcement Agency were among the agencies involved.

Sheriff Noel Stephen said these arrests stem from several ongoing narcotic investigations for charges ranging from sales of Cocaine, Methamphetamine, MDPV, and even Marijuana.