News Cast 1/31

News Cast for January 31st:

Kasey McKane-Brown, a biology teacher at the Okeechobee Freshman Campus, was named Teacher of the Year at the Shooting for the Stars dinner.

The event was hosted by More2Life Ministries new facility on Cemetery Road and was catered by the FFA Clubs.

McKane-Brown was asked what her students will think of her award.

“I don’t know.  They were taking bets on whether I was going to win.  One student said she was my good luck charm.  She said if she passed a quiz I would win.  She passed the quiz but I wasn’t putting much stock in her gambling.”

McKane-Brown said there were a lot of great candidates this year.

“I was very surprised.  I did not think I was going to win this but I’m very honored.”

McKane-Brown thanked her colleagues for helping her to grow.  She noted she wants to build a strong bond with her students and takes an interest in them as a person.  She also had wanted to be an educator since she was a little girl.

Superintendent of Schools Ken Kenworthy saluted all the employees and said he’s proud of the work they do.

“We are blessed to live in a community that supports its schools.  I’d like to add the community is very blessed to have all of you.”

Other teachers nominated this year included Trisha Miller of Central, Yeymi Guerrero Lopez of Yearling, Christine Finch Huskey of Mental Health and Behavioral support, Amelia Lozano of South, Megan Brookhart of Everglades, Cassie Peaden of Seminole, Emily Streelman of North, Rosemary Moran of the Okeechobee Virtual School, Connie Rehkamp of Okeechobee Achievement Academy, Shannon Stripling of Osceola, and Tracie Mendez of Okeechobee High School.

An Okeechobee jury acquitted a 23 year old Douglas Park woman of attempted murder charges.

Breaira Smith was accused of shooting Oneisha Brown in the head with a 45-caliber handgun on May 28, 2021.

Brown survived and was among the witnesses at the trial.

A fatal crash reported Monday afternoon on Southwest 16th Avenue or Ferrell Road.

The sheriff’s office says traffic was impacted in the mid afternoon hours.

The Florida highway patrol is working the crash.

They reported a 41 year old Okeechobee man died in the crash.

The FHP said the crash occurred on SW 16th Avenue near SW 44th Lane.

The victim was riding a 2012 Yamaha R1 motorcycle and the second vehicle was a 2015 Chevrolet Malibu.

The 80 year old woman driving the Chevrolet was not injured.

The driver of the sedan tried to make a left turn into Palm Village Ranch and the motorcycle was attempting to pass at the same time.  The motorcyclist began to skid and struck the left side of the sedan.  The operator was thrown onto the grass.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Pahokee City Commission took some heat for the termination of Thelma Freeman from her job delivering meals to seniors.

Freeman said not getting told the reason for her termination angered her but also angers the public.

“That is why the animosity, the anger and the frustration comes up.  I’m being cordial and being pleasant, and I’m asking questions, and you sit there like a stump on the log and don’t answer questions.”

She claimed the city manager Rodney Lucas ordered the firing after she spoke out at a public meeting.

Lucas denied having anything to do with the termination noting she did not work directly for the city.

Mayor Keith Babb said the city needs to do a better job of being transparent and responding to resident questions and concerns at public meetings.

“I do agree, we shouldn’t allow questions to be asked and not answer any of them.  We need to work on that.  We need to find a way that we can do both, conduct city business and ask as many questions as possible.”

The city is also seeking grants from the state this year to make further repairs to the marina.

They also plan a ground breaking ceremony on March 31 to welcome a new housing project at the old hospital property.