News Cast 6/11

News Cast for June 11th:

8 people busted after investigation into drugs and guns 

A search on NE 336th Street turned up stolen guns, cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, an illegal shotgun, fentanyl and pills. 

Okeechobee deputies worked with various federal agencies in the search Thursday morning. 

Two suspects were found hiding inside a trapped door. 

They also searched a vehicle on the property. 

Facing various charges are Eliceo Mendoza,  36, Telitha Edinger, 31,  Thomas McGill, 40,  Robert Koff Junior, 25,  Ynez Gonzales, 30, and Danielle Harmon, 36. 

No critical race theory in Okeechobee schools

Okeechobee’s school board was asked questions about critical race theory, transgender bathrooms, and whether they will follow the ban on transgender athletes this fall.

Superintendent Ken Kenworthy said there are no plans to teach critical race theory.

“I’ve asked about project 1619 and I got a resounding no.  Those things will not be included in the standard revisions spearheaded by the Department of Education.  There won’t be any change for us.”

The Florida Board of Education voted to ban critical race theory in the classroom.

Kenworthy said there are transgender bathrooms at local schools.  He said that follows a Supreme Court ruling.

He added they will follow the ban on transgender athletes playing girls sports.

Local head of the republican party Jim Craig addressed the Okeechobee school board.

He said he thinks local school boards have more power than they let on and aren’t always governed by the courts or the state.

“I don’t believe all of that.  I think the school board has an awful lot of say.  The state republican party talked about how important school boards are.  There are regulations you have to follow but the school board has a lot of power.  If they wanted to put in critical race theory they could.  I’m very happy that they did not.”

Glades BOCC talks water, state help

The ceremony to welcome the Sam Griffin observation tower in Lakeport planned for Saturday, June 12 at 9 am at Harney Pond.

A gun shooting range approved by Glades County planners for land just north of the Seminole Indian Reservation on 196th Street.

Glades County also received a $900,000 grant to build a fire and ems station north of LaBelle.

They also approved some land swaps with Lykes Bros. for the new station site.

The county also pushed for more time before plans for the Lake Okeechobee regulation schedule are finalized.

Chairman Tim Stanley recently met with officials in West Palm Beach.  They are trying to get the support of Congressman Lois Frankel for a 90 day extension.

He said more land will be taken by water management located west of Buckhead Ridge for water storage.

“Paradise Run will be restored into a natural marsh.  They will build a storm water treatment area next store to that.  The governor signed a bill that supports the STA.  I’m not sure if that is the original plan or a new plan to put in a bunch of underground storage wells.”

Watch your pools and the summer heat

Okeechobee’s soon to be Police Chief Donald Hagan wants to prevent drownings and deaths in hot vehicles this summer.

He is urging people to be careful with the summer heat.

“Locking your animals and children in the car with the car running can be dangerous.  What if the car shuts off or something happens.  The key is to not leave animals and children in the car. In the summer it can get really bad.”

Hagan said they would like parents to keep a close eye on kids around their backyard pools.

Pahokee city commission helps Elite Track team

The Pahokee City Commission adopted a memorandum of understanding with Pahokee Elite Track so they can use the Pahokee High School Track.

Coach Jerome Johnson complained that it took too long to get the agreement done.

“We were off the road for six weeks.  This is about our kids.  We’ve been running on the lake looking at gators and snakes.  There has to be somebody that prioritized the situation.  Its terrible.”

Pahokee Mayor Keith Babbs encouraged his commission to consider another annexation study that includes annexing Canal Point and other properties into the city.

“I would like this commission at some point, sooner than later, to look at annexing properties and areas into our city.”

Babbs said it would mean an additional revenue stream for the city, a larger population in the Census count that will help with federal aid, and also improve services to  citizens.