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News Cast for September 21st:

A Portland, Maine man will get a “second bite at the apple” in an Okeechobee County courtroom this morning. 42 year old Michael Lawrence Woodbury will appear before Judge Sherwood Bauer this morning in a Spencer hearing to present mitigating evidence, if he has any, to dissuade Judge Bauer from imposing the death penalty on Woodbury. Last July, a jury voted unanimously that Woodbury should be executed for the murder of his cellmate, Antoneeze Haynes of Broward County last year. Woodbury entered a guilty plea on the final day of a four day trial last May. Prosecutor Ashley Albright says he realizes if Judge Bauer imposes the death penalty, it probably won’t end there. The Spencer hearing begins at nine o’clock. After the hearing, there will be a formal sentencing hearing scheduled for a later date. Woodbury was already serving three life sentences for murders he was convicted of committing in 2007 in New Hampshire.

Spencer Hearing-Woodbury 1

Spencer Hearing-Woodbury 2

At their meeting this past Tuesday night, Okeechobee City Councilmembers presented two police officers with awards for their longevity and service to the city. One of the recipients, Sgt. Skip Eddings, a veteran officer for the last fifteen years, says he is proud of himself for receiving the award and being a member of the force. Eddings, a Tennessee native, says he became a police officer after other endeavors didn’t work out, including being a musician.

Eddings 1

Eddings 2

The other officer recognized was Sgt. Aurelio Almazan, a ten year veteran of the force. Almazan says it’s been a “fast ten years” and he says he loves being a police officer and wouldn’t change anything. Almazan says his favorite part of the job is the “family atmosphere”. Almazan, a California native, says he became interested in being a cop during his elementary school days when an officer came to his school to discuss the D.A.R.E. program.

Almazan 1

Almazan 2

One street in Okeechobee County will soon be getting some much needed lights. At their last meeting, County Commissioners approved the purchase of street lighting for eight school bus stops on NW 192nd Avenue, better known as Peavine Road. County Engineer John Howle says the lighting will cost about $10 thousand eight hundred dollars. The money to pay for the lighting will come from the county’s transportation trust fund reserves. Howle says the lighting should be installed by the beginning of November.

Howle-Street Lights

An Indiantown man is dead after a vehicle accident yesterday morning. Florida Highway Patrol officers say 26 year old Jason Taylor Rebele was driving a Mercury Grand Marquis sedan on a dirt road within the grounds of the Martin County Correctional Facility a little before eleven o’clock when he lost control of the vehicle as he was negotiating a left handed ninety degree curve and overcorrected to the right before driving off the road and into a water filled canal and overturning. FHP investigators say Rebele was stuck in his car and was not located for nearly two hours. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The accident is being investigated.

That was not the only one; FHP officers are also investigating a vehicle accident that claimed the life of a Fort Pierce man early yesterday morning. Investigators say 50 year old Paul Everett Heaton Junior was driving a Ford Focus sedan south on Highway 441 in Martin County when for unknown reasons he drove off the road onto the shoulder and overturned. The accident caused Heaton to be ejected from the vehicle. Heaton was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators say the time of the accident is undetermined but it likely happened sometime in the early morning daylight hours.

On the arrest report:

18 year old Christopher McGuire of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for battery on a fellow inmate at the True Core Level 10 Facility. His bond is set at five thousand dollars.

47 year old Enrique Alfonso Gonzales of Port St. Lucie was arrested for violating probation on past charges of petit theft. He’s being held without bond.

Okeechobee Community Events 9-20-18

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.