Wednesday April 28, 2021

Congratulations to the Clewiston High School Tigers as they announced that Kia Motors America is partnering with CHS, as part of their #acceleratethegood Program, and will be donating to help the Tiger football program. The Clewiston High School is the only one out of ten programs in the country, to receive this donation.

Hendry County School Superintendent Michael Swindle posted an open letter to his district: The letter read, in part, Florida lawmakers are currently considering harmful changes to the Bright Futures Scholarship Program. The HCSD opposes removing the promise to provide textbook funding stipends for students, who receive the Academic Scholars Award. Under this new bill, instead of paying 75 to 100 percent of college tuitions, the amount would vary depending on state budgeting year to year. Superintendent Swindle says our students work hard to get this scholarship and it’s, in many cases, their only way to post-secondary education. Swindle is urging members of his district to contact their legislators and oppose SB-86 and any proposed restrictions to the Bright Futures Program.

According to 24/7 Wall Street, the housing market has come back with vigor since home sales slumped over a year ago.  According to estimates from Zillow, between March 2020 and March 2021, the typical single-family American home appreciated in value by nearly $27,000, a 10.6% increase. It works a little differently locally though if you compare the trend to the national average. The study shows that in Belle Glade for example, home values are rising even faster than they are nationwide. The typical single-family home in Belle Glade was worth $157,694 as of March 2021, 17.2% more than what it was worth one year ago. One factor that can contribute to climbing home prices at a local level is demand. And demand for housing is often precipitated by a growing population. According to the most recent Census data, over the last one-year period, Belle Glade’s population increased by 1.5%. We’ve listed the 14 communities with populations of at least 10,000 in Florida where home values climbed the most in the last year. Chart is courtesy of 24/7 Wall Street.

Rank in statePlace1-yr. increase in typical home valueCurrent typical home value ($)1-yr. change in median incomeCurrent median household income ($)
4New Port Richey18.1%211,3442.1%35,384
5Asbury Lake18.1%375,0616.1%82,431
6Shady Hills17.8%256,9344.5%51,369
7East Lake-Orient Park17.7%182,8303.7%40,838
8Spring Hill17.6%210,8798.2%51,395
9Belle Glade17.2%157,694-2.3%24,322
11Egypt Lake-Leto16.2%245,6354.5%43,936
12Palm River-Clair Mel15.7%200,2738.3%47,856
13Avon Park15.3%143,1130.2%30,750
14Safety Harbor15.0%362,5897.3%78,026

So by now you’ve likely heard about the extension to the emergency order enacted by our governor. If you haven’t, Governor Ron DeSantis renewed the COVID-19 emergency order first issued in 2020, for an additional 60 days Tuesday afternoon. The order allows the governor to activate the National Guard and the state Emergency Operations Center if needed. Some communities have their mask-mandates tied to the state order which would have been lifted if the order was not extended. The original order also allows healthcare workers licensed in other states to practice in Florida during the emergency. Citing a ‘manageable trend in COVID-19 cases’ and ‘over 8.5 million vaccinated individuals… the state should prepare to resume non-emergency operations,’ according to the governor. The order also states that the impact of COVID-19, poses a continuing threat to the health, safety and welfare of the State of Florida and its residents; and an extension is necessary to ensure Florida schools remain open for the remainder of the school year and to protect Floridians from being required to produce a so-called vaccine passport as a condition of participating in everyday life.