News Cast 2/12


February 12, 2024

News Cast for February 12th:

Corp. Michael Cayley Kaine Sarros Sheriff Noel Stephen at award ceremony

He’s a life saver

Corporal Michael Cauley was honored for going above and beyond to save a life on December 18th.

He received a life saving award after he responded off duty to a serious motorcycle crash on route 70 east.

Chief Deputy Michael Hazellief said Cauley was thanked in person at the awards luncheon.

“He understood the importance of responding quickly in accidents where every second counts, and he acted without hesitation.”

Kaine Sarros lost a leg in the tragic accident.

Sheriff Noel Stephen said he wants to tell his deputies and employees when possible and this award was something to remember. He appreciated the family showing up to thank Corp. Cauley.

“That is overwhelming. It says thank you for going above and beyond. The award is absolutely great.”

Okeechobee City Hall flags flew at half mast last week after the passing of public works director David Allen. He died at his home on Feb. 2.

Mayor Dowling Watford said it was a tough loss for the city family.

“The city has suffered another tragic loss to our city family with the loss of David Allen. We have plagues and a black ribbon on his name plate. We are just heart broken over this loss.”

The city also brought in grief counselors to talk to staff if they were having any difficulties dealing with his death. Allen worked for the city for over 11 years.

The council on a positive note honored the service of Lt. Belen Reyna at the police department. He has worked for the police department for 20 years.

The funeral service for Trooper Zachary Fink of the Florida Highway Patrol will be held this morning at 11 am. He died in a crash with a tractor trailer while pursuing a felon driving in the wrong direction on I-95 on Feb. 2nd.

The Martin County Board of County Commissioners voted to preserve land south and east of Indiantown.

Carla Segura said 245 properties and 252 acres will be purchased for $2.5 million.

She said staff negotiated the price for parcels in Palm Beach Heights and Palmar. They also used impact fees and conservation funds for the purchase.

Glades County Youth Livestock received a near $800,000 grant to make upgrades to the Doyle Conner building in Moore Haven.

The improvements include a cooking classroom, a sewing classroom, renovations to the doors, and other improvements.

Fox Brown Road at the Martin Grade closed down for a couple hours last night by a serious crash. There were two vehicles involved and there was one serious injury reported in the crash.

Martin County Fire Rescue said one vehicle was found in a ditch and the second vehicle across the road as they arrived just after 7 pm.

For Immediate Release
On Friday, February 2nd, nearly 1000 students from Okeechobee County Schools attended a
Career Expo event at IRSC Dixon Hendry Campus. Students in 5th, 8th, and 10th grade were
afforded the opportunity to meet and hear from professionals in the 17 Career Clusters. Over
40 professionals from Okeechobee and surrounding areas currently employed in the profession
talked to the students about the various aspects of their careers including education
requirements, work environment, career opportunities and much more. Students in 8th and 10th
grades were able to choose the career they were interested in and attended those presentations
in three separate rotations. Students in the 5th grade had the opportunity to hear from most all
professionals. “It was extremely encouraging to see the time and resources that local
businesses are willing to invest in career exploration for our youth” stated Alex Tijerina, Director
of Existing Industry for OCEDC and Career Expo planning committee member. Students
learned about careers from Engineering/Construction to Automotive Technician to Piloting to
Law Enforcement and Firefighting to Graphic and Video Design to Finance and Business to
Logistics to Veterinary Services to Manufacturing to Health Science to Teaching to Culinary to
Entrepreneurship to Cosmetology to Gaming and more throughout the day. “Connecting
Okeechobee students with the local business community is a necessary step in cultivating our
future workforce. This is where soft skills and leadership traits can be modeled for our young
people to observe, and then aspire to become.” stated Kaylee King, President for OCEDC and
Career Expo planning committee member.
In preparation for the event, students were asked to complete Career Research activities in
XELLO, a career planning platform available to all Okeechobee County School students. “Anytime
we have the opportunity for students to learn more about careers and start planning for a career,
we are taking a step in the right direction,” stated one of the organizers of the event Daryl Roehm,
CTE Coordinator with Okeechobee County Schools. “We currently offer 10 Career and Technical
Education programs within our district and are looking to add six more for the 2024-2025 school
year. Completing these CTE programs will propel students into the workplace and/or postsecondary education”.
Special Thanks goes to all the professionals that took the full day to speak with students. Their
dedication to our students is tremendous. Participating partners: Tabitha Trent and Heather
Hancock from South State Bank, Leslie Lundy from Walpole, Inc., Tom Kindred from SBDC, Kris
Angsuwan, Rene Suarez, and James Sarros from Gilbert Family of Companies, Jared Stewart
Palm Beach Atlantic College, Jill Hornung, Kasey McKane Brown, and Laurie Vick from
Okeechobee County Schools, Alexi Morgan from Simply Styled, Denise Whitehead from
Okeechobee County Parks & Recreation, Justin Hazellief and many members from Okeechobee
County Fire Rescue, Jack Nash and many members from Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office,
Mark Bragel from Brown Cow Sweetery, Chloe Willingham from Okeechobee County Agri-Civic
Center, Josh Tellinghuisen from HealthTrust, Paul Varillas, and Demi Vasquez from HCA
Raulerson Hospital, Dr. Tia Spugnardi from Okeechobee Veterinary, Robert Orr from Sugar Cane
Growers Cooperative, Wes Abney from Abney Building and Consultants, Steve Dobbs from
Dobb’s Enterprises, Ricardo Nassar and Alex Mencher from Westlake Royal Roofing LLC, Travis
and Jacalyn Schooley, Dustin Emily, and Danielle Speck from 1UP Aviation, John Perviss from
Florida Detroit Diesel Allison.
The event was made possible with the help of Okeechobee County Schools, Okeechobee County
Schools Transportation Department, Indian River State College, Okeechobee County Economic
Development Corporation, Education Foundation of Okeechobee, and Okeechobee County
Retired Educators.