News Cast for June 27th:

The Okeechobee County School Board honored teacher Jessie Steven Smith for saving a life at South Elementary in May.

The incident happened at the fifth grade graduation party when a student choked on a piece of chicken.

“He turned around in the hallway, his eyes were rolling back in his head, he’s flushed and he says he can’t breathe.  He started to fall down, it was quick action, I’m thankful that he is okay.  I wish he was here tonight.  I wish him good thing this summer.   I am just thankful that I was there.”

“As an educator when the bell rings in the morning your head is on a swivel until the afternoon bell.  It was just a natural reaction.  I’ve been trained in CPR.  I never had an opportunity to use it.  I hope I never have to use it again.  You don’t think you just act when those things happen right in front of you.”

Smith said the student was okay, his parents were grateful and everything worked out for all involved. 

The school board also honored South Elementary student Addison Ling as the top reader in the district this year.  She read 647 books during the school year.

The board also honored Robert Tijerina who retired after 35 years of service in the maintenance department.

The board also voted to expel an 8th grade student at Osceola Middle School who made threats at school.  The child was expelled for the first semester of the 2023-2024 school year.

The Blue Green Algae Task Force met in Southwest Florida to discuss ways to reduce nutrients from entering the waters of Florida.

Dr. Mike Parsons said too many nutrients are entering the water causing algal blooms.

The group wants to have more monitoring of agriculture, storm water runoff and waste water treatment.

Dr. Parsons said there will be pollution from farms.

“We know agriculture due to the nature of the business through fertilizer or also related to livestock there is going to be nutrients from waste and feed.  We would expect them to be elevated.”

Some want closer monitoring of sod farms and lawn fertilizer use.

DEP Secretary Shawn Hamilton said 20 percent of the nutrients in the water come from agriculture.  He said fixing septic around Lake Okeechobee will help.

“We know septic is a large contributor of the loading that goes into that particular basin.”

A new law will require septic systems to be updated by 2030.

Glades County Commissioners learned there has been more illegal ATV, dirt bike and golf cart activity this summer.

Chief Deputy Duane Pottorff said it is the department policy not to chase ATVs.  He said they rather try to talk to parents to curtail the activity.

He said they had impounded at least three all terrain vehicles since school let out.

Resident Philip Kelly said ATVs have been damaging private property and that the bikers are belligerent and defiant and want to fight when they are told to get off the property.

By Taylor