News Cast 9/21

News Cast for September 21st:

Vandals sought at schools 

Students destroyed bathroom pipes, damaged soap dispensers, and stole items from their teachers. 

No not in some big city, here in Okeechobee. 

Both Okeechobee and Glades School Officials reported damage in the Tik Tok devious licks challenge. 

Students posting online videos about vandalizing and stealing school property around the nation. 

Assistant Superintendent Dylan Tedders said the parents of students caught damaging school property are put at risk for having to pay for the damages. 

The pipe damage could end up costing thousands. 

“I don’t know how many parents out there can afford a couple of thousand dollars to fix school pipes.  You are putting your parents at risk.” 

Tedders said it appeared the pipes may have been kicks by students. 

“There are a couple of challenges out there that are kind of destructive.   

Glades school chief Dr. Beth Barfield described the damage in her district. 

“We had seat belts cut out of a school bus.  We had soap dispensers stolen.  The soap bags inside the dispensers were crammed down into the plumbing which backed everything up.”  Barfield said the district held an assembly at Moore Haven Junior Senior High School to report the activity.  She said the vast majority of students condemned this type of actions. 

“Our student body has responded by being very vocal about stating that they don’t feel this is right.  We are very proud of the schools we have in Moore Haven.  This was a very small percentage of students that were participating in this destruction.” 

4 NFL players can lease the Muck Tavern at the Pahokee marina. 

Jonathan Mann, Deonte Thompson, Pernell McVie and Travis Benjamin went in together on the project. 

City attorney Gary Brandenburg supported the players.  “I think these football players do deserve to have this opportunity to use the restaurants. They can serve as an example to the residents and the students in this community.” 

Mayor Keith Babb opposed the marina lease holder Robert Lambert.  He said he was not good for the city.  “Robert Lambert wanted a turnkey operation.  He wanted to own that marina and not have to spend one dime.  He asked for plates, spoons, forks, glasses, utensils, pots and pans.” 

Jobless rates dipped to 4.9 percent in Okeechobee and 4.7 percent in Glades County in August. 

Chief Economist for the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Addrienne Johnston said there were job gains in nine of the top 10 major job sectors in the state.  Around the region Hendry county had the highest rate in the state at 7.4 percent, Palm Beach was at 4.7 percent and Martin at 4 percent. 

Arrests of note 

A 38 year old Okeechobee man was told to leave a tavern after he threatened a bouncer for talking to his lady friend.  Randall Wood allegedly fought with deputies, punching one, and spitting on another.  He faces three felony charges of battery on law men and is in jail on $100,000 bond. 

An Okeechobee high school student may have suffered a broken leg after he tangled with a deputy on campus.  The incident report said the student started screaming and cursing at other students and at a faculty member.  When the deputy tried to stop the disruption he struggled with the deputy.  The deputy tried to take him down and the teen hit a bench and cut himself.  He claimed to be on weed.  Charges include disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. 

The sheriff released the video from the incident and said he supports the actions of the school resource deputy.

In the courts an Okeechobee man sentenced to nearly eight years in prison.  Cody Cooper pled no contest to sexual battery of a child between 12 and 17 charges.  The case allegeds Long term sexual abuse of a child started in 2005-2009.  Victim was 12 when the abuse began.  Earlier charge of lewd lascivious battery in unrelated case.  Sentenced to 94.5 months and 10 years sex offender probation.  

Kiwanis Park Accepts Match

The county accepted a donation from the Altobello Family Fund to bring a pump track to Kiwanis Park.  They will match 50 percent toward a grant on a possible $500,000 project.  Community services director Denise Whitehead said this would be a fine addition to the skateboard park.  She noted people of all ages use similar tracks around the country.  She predicted it would also draw people and even competitions to Okeechobee that would help our economy.