News Cast for May 22nd:

Students shut off the phones

A new state law banning the use of student cell phone use during instruction will result in changes for Okeechobee students next year.

Assistant Superintendent Dylan Tedders said the administration is going to back up teachers on keeping cell phones off during class.

“Teachers are going to get backing.  It is an obstacle.  Students are always on their phones.  We have to limit it during instruction.”

Tedders said they hope they will reduce social media threats at school.

A recent state wide threat resulted in 38 percent of kids not going to school earlier this month

He says that meant those kids had to have tests rescheduled.

“Any threat is a disruption to the system.  Obviously were glad that the threat was a hoax.  You never wish that on any school district.  We go about daily trying to make our schools as safe as possible.  We remind students and parents that if they see something say something.  We have the fortify Florida app.  They can get the app and anonymous report anything they think is a threat or a danger to a school campus.”

Sean Downing is leaving his job at Osceola Middle School after 13 years.

The board honored 94 students, 26 teachers and club sponsors.

Clea Judilla of OHS was nominated as the Top STEM Sunshine State Scholar to represent Okeechobee.

The OHS FFA dairy team and the Osceola dairy team won state championships.  Yearling finished second

The Lady Brahman girl’s tennis team finished fourth in the state.

Seven employees were honored as they retire.  Combined years of service for the retirees was 198.  Four of them had served over 30 years, Karen McGee, Vickie Enfinger, Lynn Thomas and Jacinda Walsh.

Three West Palm Beach suspects felt the bite of the law and also bees during a chase near Yeehaw Junction.

The chase went from I -95 onto State Road 60 and the suspects bailed out into the woods.  K-9s located the suspects in the underbrush in chest deep mud.  As the deputies were bringing the suspects back to the patrol cars, a swam of bees attacked.  There was no report of serious injury.

Troopers had tried to stop the car in St. Lucie County.  Charges include resisting arrest and fleeing and eluding.  One suspect was wanted by INS.

The Glades Electric Cooperative voters re-elected three trustees, Brad Oxer of Venus, Fred Tagtmeier at Lorida and Angela Hodges at Okeechobee.

CEO Jeff Brewington reported 1,000 new customers in the past three years and expects even more growth.

He listed the Brighton casino, 70 new homes at the reservation and a project near Moore Haven as future growth for the utility.

The project includes an RV park and motel just north of the Moore Haven city limits.

The Indiantown Village Council was waiting at last report on a final security deal before issuing a permit for the popular Da Swamp Homecoming in Booker Park planned for this weekend, Memorial Day.

The sheriff has been working with the organizers on security.

Organizer TaJuan Stewart said the proposed costs were a shock.

“Now you’re asking tonight we have to pay the sheriffs department.  NO we haven’t paid.  $4,000 if you got it, you can give it to me, and I’d be turning it over to this man before he leaves tonight.”

Parking, garbage pickup and insurance concerns have been resolved.

Council member Carmine DiPaolo said the organizers just need to fill out the application and complete it

“Everything should be done, law enforcement should be hired, then the permit is issued and everyone goes and have a good time.  Coming back here time after time after time for the same thing and nothing be accomplished is a waste of our time, and my time is valuable too.”

Councilmember Janet Hernandez exploded about the lack of a permit being issued, stating the village is asking for too much.

“I don’t understand Mayor why you want to micromanage this event.  It seems like you just don’t want this event to happen.  I’m not cussing you out.  They already have everything there supposed to have and are in compliance.  What do you want them to do, bow down to you or something?”

DiPaolo said he was embarrassed by Hernandez’ outburst.

By Taylor