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News Cast for October 12th:

An Okeechobee man will be going to prison for a long time after a sentencing hearing in county court yesterday. 52 year old David Anthony Schwendenmann was sentenced to 25 years in prison for second degree murder of his wife, attempted manslaughter of a law officer, aggravated battery of a pregnant woman, robbery and fleeing a law officer. All of these charges are the result of an incident which took place on July 29th, 2016, resulting in Schwendenmann shooting and killing his then 31 year old wife Angela with a single shot from a 12 gauge shotgun. Schwendenmann was originally charged with first degree premeditated murder but at his trial last August, the jury could not come to a decision on that. Prosecutor Don Richardson says the first degree premeditated murder charge was changed to second degree in yesterday’s sentencing and it came as part of a deal with Schwendenmann. Schwendenmann must serve all 25 years of his sentence before he’s eligible for parole and based on his health, Richardson says it is doubtful Schwendenmann will be alive by the time he’s eligible for parole.

Schwendenmann Sentencing 1

Schwendenmann Sentencing 2

This month is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Okeechobee County Commissioners made it official at their meeting yesterday. Commissioners approved a proclamation making October Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Okeechobee. Executive Director of Martha’s House Jonathan Bean was on hand to accept the proclamation and he says he’s proud that the commissioners made this proclamation official because of how domestic violence is a big issue not just locally but nationally. Bean says Martha’s House has been helping domestic violence victims since 1985 and in that time, there is a lot more awareness and understanding of domestic violence but it’s gotten to be a more complicated issue. Bean says domestic violence is a leading cause of women ages 18 through 44 being treated in the emergency room. Martha’s House has treated six hundred people, 450 of them women and families in the last twelve months.

Bean-Domestic Violence Awareness Month 1

Bean-Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2

With the high population of aging war veterans in Okeechobee County, some of them needing transportation to get to and from the hospital to receive needed surgeries and other medical care because of their limited mobility, Okeechobee County Commissioner Bryant Culpepper has come up with a solution to help this situation which he brought to the attention of his fellow commissioners at yesterday’s meeting. Thanks to Debbie Clements from the 4-H Club, the county now has a 14 passenger van that Culpepper wants to surplus to the Warriors Club to assist in transporting veterans to the hospital to receive the care they need. Culpepper says this is a very personal issue with him. Culpepper says once the county surpluses the van to the Warrior Center, they can coordinate drivers for it. The issue will be brought back before the board as a formal item at a later meeting.

Veterans Van 1

Veterans Van 2

Okeechobee County Sheriff’s deputies have a local man in county jail on battery charges following a domestic dispute Wednesday night. Deputies responded to a welfare check on the four thousand block of SE 24th Street just before eight o’clock and were told by a witness that 36 year old Shawn Thomas Eckenwiler reportedly punched his grandfather in the face following an argument. Deputies say Eckenwiler’s grandfather had an eye swollen when they arrived and Eckenwiler was passed out on the couch. Eckenwiler was arrested and charged with battery and his bond has not been set at this time.

An Okeechobee woman is in county jail at this time for drug possession after a traffic stop Wednesday morning. Sheriff’s deputies stopped 31 year old Ashley Nicole Nelson as she was riding her bicycle on the twenty-seven hundred block of SE Highway 441 just before 11:30 because she was riding her bike in and out of the traffic lanes and had to stop her bike with her feet because she had no brakes. Deputies say Nelson had no identification on her and she kept looking away when speaking to deputies and kept putting her hands in her pockets. A search of Nelson turned up a pipe and she pulled a pill out of her pocket and attempted to step on it. It was determined to be hydrocodone. Nelson was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription. Her bond is set at five thousand dollars.

On the arrest report:

32 year old Ashley Nicole Rahm of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on a warrant from Putnam County, Georgia for burglary. She’s being held without bond.

27 year old Rachael Nicole Hennon of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation for previous drug offenses. She’s being held without bond.

20 year old Devin Scott Styles of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia after a traffic stop. He was released after posting bond.

34 year old Karla Jean Mosakowski of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past charges involving alcohol and not paying fines. She was released after posting a $25 hundred dollar bond.

38 year old Kellie Estelle Chapman of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past charges of drug possession. She was released after posting a $25 hundred dollar bond.

Okeechobee Community Events 10-8-18

Tai Chi at the Senior Center –  Okeechobee Senior Services will again be offering Tai Chi classes on Monday and Wednesday mornings from 9:30 – 10:30 at the Lottie Raulerson Senior Center. Tai Chi offers many potential benefits to seniors such as relieving the physical effects of stress, reducing bone loss in menopausal women, improving lower body and leg strength, reducing arthritis pain and reducing blood pressure. Tai Chi is also known to increase energy by releasing endorphins, increase mental capacity and concentration, improve balance and stability by strengthening the ankles and the knees, and promote faster recovery from strokes and heart attacks. This is a great opportunity to do something good for your mind, body and soul, and who knows, you may make some new friends along the way. These classes are offered to beginners and the experienced at no cost. The Lottie Raulerson Senior Center is located at 1690 NW 9th Avenue, just south of the IRSC campus. For further information, please call Senior Services at 863-462-5180.