TCPalm: Martin County's top stories of 2018: Lake Okeechobee discharges, toxic algae, Brightline

Article Posted on December 20, 2018

By: Maureen Kenyon, Treasure Coast Newspapers

It was a year of change on the Treasure Coast.

As a result of one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history, all campuses on the Treasure Coast now have armed protection.

A world-renowned health provider is poised to take over two Treasure Coast hospitals.

After Indiantown voted "yes" to become a village in 2017, Hobe Sound voted "no" -- resoundingly -- in 2018.

Three medical marijuana dispensaries are now open — two in St. Lucie County and one in Indian River County — two years after Floridians voted "yes" on Amendment 2, the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative. Sebastian and Martin County also OK'd dispensaries in June.

Florida — and the Treasure Coast — again were at the forefront of an election recount when the races for senator, governor and commissioner of agriculture were too close to call Nov. 6.

From June to October, discharges from Lake Okeechobee resulted in another summer of toxic blue-green algae poisoning the St. Lucie River. But on Oct. 23, President Donald Trump signed the Federal Water Resources Development Act that, among other water projects, includes building a reservoir south of the lake — here's a thorough timeline of events — that will cut discharges to the St. Lucie River.

These stories, and many others, were the biggest ones of 2018 that shaped the lives of residents in Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin counties. Many of the stories also shaped policy and will continue to define and guide the future of those living on the Treasure Coast…

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