Thursday July 21, 2022

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT TAKING SAFETY TO NEXT LEVEL

School starts in less than a month.

We all want our children to be safe while at school.

But it may surprise you to learn that one school district in our area is taking that to the next level.

When students go back to school in August, some teachers will bring with them more than just their lesson plan. Some teachers will also bring a handgun to school.

The Okeechobee County School District says it has a number of teachers who have a loaded firearm in their classroom and keep it on their person during the school day.

Ken Kenworthy of the Okeechobee County School District feels having an armed teacher in the classroom during the recent shooting spree in Uvalde, Texas, could’ve made a huge difference.

For security reasons, they won’t identify which teachers are armed or, how many teachers are armed or the schools they teach in.

The teachers who are armed sign up for the voluntary program and receive extensive firearms training from the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office, and the Sheriff’s Office also provides each teacher with a firearm and ammunition.

After that initial training, each year after they have to go through quarterly training with the sheriff’s office.

The armed teacher is considered a backup, because each school also has an armed school resource officer—an Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Deputy or an Okeechobee Police Officer—who is at the school each day.

The Okeechobee County School District is the only district in our area that has armed teachers in the classroom.

The Okeechobee County School District has been arming some of its teachers since the 2018-2019 school year and they say fortunately, the teachers have never had to draw their weapons on campus.

2 ARRESTED IN LEE COUNTY

Deputies in Lee County arrested Keith Johnson and his younger brother and charged them with six counts of burglary, six counts of theft and one count of grand theft auto.

Between Monday and Tuesday, LCSO responded to five care break-ins and one grand theft auto case in Lehigh Acres. Detectives spoke with each of the victims and found that they each had their car window smashed with a cinder block.

One of the victims had an Apple AirTag in a bag that had been stolen – which led detectives to the Johnson brothers’ home.

Detectives searched the house and found stolen items from the recent burglaries. They also later found the stolen car in the place where the Johnson brothers abandoned it and returned it to its rightful owner.

Keith Johnson was also charged with four counts of burglary and four counts of theft for more burglaries committed in June.

Sheriff Carmine Marceno said he commended the speed in which deputies were able to take suspects into custody.

DELMAR FARMS IN DANGER OF CLOSING

A Loxahatchee horse farm and animal sanctuary is falling on hard times and is in danger of shutting down by the end of the year if it doesn’t get a big boost.

Non-profit Delmar Farm takes care of dozens of rescued animals that otherwise would have nowhere to go.

Tucked away in Loxahatchee, about 60 animals live at Delmar Farm.

Delmar Farms cares for Horses, pigs, sheep goats and they even have mini horses and a miniature steer along with dogs

Delmar Farm owner Claudia Campbell lives there, as well, And says that farm life is in her blood.

Delmar Farm has grown over the years into a non-profit organization with volunteers on hand to help offer kids a unique first experience with these animals, who have a second chance at life. They are a sanctuary where recovering animals experience the joys of little hands and loving care for life.  By fostering compassion between children and animals, they ensure that future generations are equipped to be a voice for animals in need.” 

But running and funding this operation alone is becoming a heavy lift.

Campbell said she had to take out a mortgage a few years ago and can’t keep up.  Stating: with the tremendous inflation the hay, grain, vet care and everything they need to keep these animals happy and healthy is just getting so expensive. And it is exceeding what the farm is bringing in with the programs they provide

Campbell is hoping for a big donor or some continuous support to keep the farm up and running. Otherwise, the animals and their young fans may have no place to go.

Without additional funding, Campbell said the future of the animals at the farm is uncertain. If you’d like to help Delmar Farm, go to their website www.delmarfarm.org