Local News

Charles Murphy News 8/24

News Cast for August 24th:

Jobless rates increased from 5.7 to 6 percent in Okeechobee and from 6.5 to 6.9 percent in Glades County between June and July. Last year Glades County had 8.2 percent and Okeechobee 6.9 percent unemployment. Glades ranked 6th among Florida counties, tied with Indian River, while Okeechobee was tied with Polk County for 15th highest in the state. Around the region, Hendry had 11.7 percent, Highlands 7.3 percent, Martin 5.1 percent, and St. Lucie 6.2 percent.

Firemen say about 120 thousand dollars in damage was done after a track hoe fire on North West 1 hundred and 44th Avenue Monday afternoon.  No injuries were reported.

Brian Melear was named the new CEO of Raulerson hospital in July.   He worked his way up as director of the operating room to nursing director and now CEO. He grew up on a dairy farm near Okeechobee in Martin County and took on health care as a second career. He said he knew he wanted to run the hospital the first day he was hired on. Melear says every member of the state does a great job and Okeechobee has an outstanding hospital.  He plans to increase services to the community, recruit more physicians and increase technology.

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Dr. John Christensen pled guilty to health care fraud in federal court last week.  He faces state charges of manslaughter in Palm Beach County for the death of two of his patients allegedly due to prescriptions he approved.  Okeechobee lawmen say Christensen had many patients from Okeechobee.

Press News Release Missing Endangered Adult Bulkley

Sports Cast for August 24th:

Moore Haven hopes for a winning season again this year after a 7-3 record last year. They had great attendance in summer workouts and 7 on 7 passing. They lost to Glades Day 20-0 in the exhibition game.

Coach Richard Roudybush said they have 30 on the roster and high hopes for the season. They continue to be in a tough district with First Baptist of Naples and Community School of Naples. They also added Okeechobee to the schedule in week three. He said he wanted to get local games on the schedule wherever possible.

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Moore Haven hosts St. Edwards, a 37-17 loser to Benjamin in their kickoff exhibition, on Friday night.

Florida health promotes breastfeeding during World breastfeeding Month

Florida health promotes breastfeeding during World breastfeeding Month

Tallahassee, Fla.—The Florida Department of Health in Okeechobee is highlighting the importance of breastfeeding during National Breastfeeding Month. Breastfeeding plays a critical role in healthy development from the very beginning of a child’s life.

“Breastfeeding is the gift that lasts a lifetime. The health benefits of breastfeeding are well recognized and extend well beyond basic nutrition. In addition to containing all the nutrients your baby needs in the first year of life, breast milk is packed with disease fighting substances that protect your baby from illness. Scientific studies have shown that breastfeeding is good for the mother’s health too.”

  • Tiffany L. Collins, M.S.A Okeechobee County Health Officer

Earlier this year, the department launched the Florida Healthy Babies initiative and has invested nearly two million dollars in helping hospitals around the state promote “Baby Steps to Baby Friendly” in order to support mothers in practicing exclusive breastfeeding for their infants. Breast milk contains antibodies that help protect infants from common childhood illnesses.

The Florida Department of Health in Okeechobee was recognized by the Florida Breastfeeding Coalition, a chapter of the United States Breastfeeding Committee and registered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with a Gold Level Certificate of the Florida Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Award on May, 24, 2016. This award was given due to the health department’s commitment to supporting their breastfeeding employees in turn supporting better health for mothers and babies.

On August 5th of this year, all the health department staff was encouraged to wear white or yellow to show support for breastfeeding moms.  Also, WIC will be showing breastfeeding videos in its lobby for this whole month. WIC will be having a meet and greet breastfeeding support group at the Okeechobee County Civic Center from 1-2:30 pm on August 25th. Breastfeeding moms and pregnant women are invited to attend. Breastfeeding staff plans to start a monthly support group in the future. For more information about this month’s or future breastfeeding events, you can call (863) 462-5809 or (863) 462-5715.

To reach the goal of exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months, mothers need supportive maternity leave policies, flexible work hours, infant and child-care at or near the workplace, and private facilities for expressing and storing breastmilk. It takes time and practice to learn how to breastfeed, both for mother and baby, and to establish a good milk supply.

For more information about the Florida WIC program call 1-800-342-3556 or visit www.FloridaWIC.org. To learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding visit www.llli.org; or www.flbreastfeeding.org.

For more information about Baby Steps to Baby Friendly visit the Florida Healthiest Weight website.

For resources on breastfeeding and print outs for working moms, visit our activity page here

Charles Murphy News 8/23

News Cast for August 23rd:

OHS volleyball holds car wash to raise money

OHS volleyball holds car wash to raise money

The Federal Energy Regulatory commission approved permits for the Sable Trails natural gas pipeline last week. It’ll run through Okeechobee for approximately 22 miles. It will raise property tax revenues by 67 million over 60 years and also bring in an economic impact of 35 million during construction.

It will also serve the Okeechobee Clean Energy Center Natural Gas Power Plant. Florida Power and Light spokesperson Dave McDermitt said construction could occur quickly on the pipeline. The power plant itself has all state approvals needed but is waiting on a permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers before construction begins.

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A man chasing after another man with a knife ended up in the hospital for cutting himself and then went to jail when he returned to the scene.  Deputies say 41 year old Eric Jaramillo was under the influence of methamphetamine and may have been delusional.  He entered a home of complete strangers on South East 38th Avenue and made wild accusations the residents had killed his girlfriend.  Charges include aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

About 75 hundred dollars in property damage was done after a structure fire at 3525 SE 34th Avenue Friday afternoon. Okeechobee county fire rescue reported the fire started in a hot water heater that was being repaired.  No one was hurt. The Red Cross came to assist the family of Irene Lopez-Martinez.

St. Lucie Fatal 8-22-16 I-95 and MM 139

Highlands US 27 8-21-16

Press Release AP shooting 2016

Sports Cast for August 23rd:

Senior Makayla Myers is excited to get the volleyball season underway tonight as Okeechobee travels to Sebring. She said the team has a lot of height at the net and that should make things easier. She noted there are six seniors on the team this year so there is a lot of leadership on the court.

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She said you must always come to matches with the proper attitude. The JV match starts at 6 pm with the varsity match to follow.

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Moore Haven volleyball hosts ECS with JV 5 pm, varsity to follow.

Charles Murphy News 8/22

News Cast for August 22nd:

Monica Clark, Jerry Johnson, Mike O’Connor and Ray Worley qualified to run for city council by Friday’s deadline. Mayor Jim Kirk is retiring after 24 years on the council the last 22 as Mayor. Glades County deputies arrested an Okeechobee man who had taken up housekeeping at a Lakeport motel without the landlord’s knowledge or permission.

37-year-old Tyler Willis was reportedly staying at the Calusa Lodge on county route 721 with three other people, picking palmetto berries and staying rent free. Glades deputies say they also found a small amount of methamphetamine in the apartment. Charges included trespass, fraud and possession of methamphetamine. Viking residents are concerned about police crackdowns on their rights.

John Apastola said he wanted to live in a quiet area out in the country where they could ride ATV’s. He said outsiders are ruining it for everyone. He suggests a county permit for residents to ride ATV’s and prevention of those without a permit being allowed to camp, hunt and ride ATV’s out there.

Michael Vinson said the residents are taking the blame for outsiders that think the area is a state recreation area open to everyone.

Sports Cast for August 22nd:

Antawyn Fludd threw three touchdown passes and added two touchdown runs as Okeechobee walloped LaBelle 41-7 in the kickoff classic exhibition Friday night at Brahman Stadium. Fludd had 98 yards passing and 105 yards rushing in the game.

Lamar Williams had 129 rushing yards and a touchdown.

Kysell Richardson made a circus 30-yard catch to set up one touchdown and caught a 13-yard touchdown pass as well. He said the circus catch really inspired his teammates

Coach Chris Branham was pleased with the play of his defense which held LaBelle to 1 hundred and 23 total yards.  He said all the players did their assignments.

Tray Williams rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown for LaBelle.

This week Okeechobee will host Martin County in the regular season opener.

Moore Haven was held to 48 total yards as they lost at Glades Day 18-0 in their exhibition opener.

Two Suspects in Custody for Armed Burglary and Possible Attempted Murder Charges

Two Suspects in Custody for Armed Burglary and Possible Attempted Murder Charges

Osceola County (August 19, 2016) Today at approximately 2:01 p.m., Osceola County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a residence near Denver Drive and Topeka Avenue in Holopaw.

Upon arrival, deputies spoke with the homeowner who indicated he observed two suspects attempt to burglarize his residence. When the suspects saw the homeowner, they fired several shots at him before fleeing the area. Deputies responding to the area located the suspect’s vehicle driving on U.S 192, but the suspects failed to stop. With the assistance of the Aviation Unit, the suspects were located and apprehended at the end of Moss Park Road. One suspect was taken to a local hospital for a medical condition, not related to the incident, and the second suspect was taken into custody. No one was injured during the incident.

Armed Burglary and Attempted Murder charges are pending. The investigation is on-going at this time. Additional details including the suspects names and charges will be provided as they become available.

SFWMD Environmental Resource Permit Issued to All Aboard Florida Does Not Authorize Construction in Roadway Crossings

SFWMD Environmental Resource Permit Issued to All Aboard Florida Does Not Authorize Construction in Roadway Crossings

The South Florida Water Management District has approved an Environmental Resource Permit in response to All Aboard Florida’s application for Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie County segments of its proposed rail line. This permit addresses only stormwater management systems, not the construction or operation of the railway line.

There are 77 road crossings in All Aboard Florida’s proposed rail line between West Palm Beach and the St. Lucie/Indian River County line that fall within the SFWMD’s boundary and permitting responsibility. All Aboard Florida asserts that its anticipated work within these road crossings qualifies for a legal exemption from permitting review. However, under the circumstances presented in the permit application, the viability of the company’s assertion cannot be determined.

The permit issued by SFWMD does not authorize All Aboard Florida to perform any work within roadway crossings. The permit does not pertain to water crossings where the U.S. Coast Guard has exclusive jurisdiction.



~Florida Highway Patrol participating in national campaign August 19 – September 5~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) will concentrate its enforcement efforts on drunk driving over the next two weeks as part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign that begins today and runs through Labor Day. FHP will join law enforcement and highway safety agencies across the nation to remove impaired drivers from roadways in an effort to save lives.

Gov. Scott: West Palm Beach Area Added 17,000 Jobs Over the Year

Gov. Scott: West Palm Beach Area Added 17,000 Jobs Over the Year

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that the West Palm Beach area added 17,000 new private-sector jobs over the year in July. The area’s unemployment rate was 5.2 percent in July, declining by 0.4 percentage point in the last year. Florida businesses created 26,500 private-sector jobs across the state during July 2016, bringing the total number of jobs created since December 2010 to 1,160,700 jobs.

Governor Scott said, “With 17,000 new jobs added this year, it is clear that West Palm Beach’s businesses are creating new opportunities for families. By cutting taxes 55 times, including more than $1 billion in taxes cut over the last two years, we are making sure every Floridian has the opportunity to succeed.”
The industries with the largest job gains over the year in the West Palm Beach area were professional and business services with 4,500 new jobs; leisure and hospitality with 4,000 new jobs; and education and health services with 3,600 new jobs. The West Palm Beach area had 17,145 job openings in July, including 5,188 high-skill, high-wage STEM occupations.

The state’s unemployment rate remained at 4.7 percent in July, the lowest rate since November 2007. Florida’s annual job growth rate of 3.3 percent is also exceeding the nation’s rate of 1.9 percent, for the 52nd consecutive month. More than 31,340 Floridians were placed in jobs by CareerSource Palm Beach County and the state’s other 24 regional workforce boards.

To view the July 2016 employment data visit www.floridajobs.org/labor-market-information/labor-market-information-press-releases/monthly-press-releases.

Charles Murphy News 8/19

News Cast for August 19th:

Police Chief Denny Davis gave an emotional speech to his department this week when he attended his final city council meeting. Davis retires next Friday.  He plans to instruct at the law enforcement academy of Indian River State college, travel and relax with his family. Bob Peterson was named the interim police chief.

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A 15-million-dollar spending plan is being tossed around by Glades County commissioners this year. The spending would drop three percent while ad valorem taxes collected would rise two percent under the proposed plan. The reserve funds would also drop three percent. The EMS budget totals 1.1 million, animal control 63 thousand, 139 thousand for the health department, 295 thousand for local fire departments, 32 hundred for the Lakeport community association building and 83 hundred dollars for the Buckhead Ridge community center.

The mother of an autistic child went to extremes this week to slow down traffic on her residential street, North West 35th Drive. The mother partially filled two large water barrels and placed them in the middle of the street with signs like, slow down, and get off your phone. Deputies say the woman is afraid her children will be hit by speeding motorists.  She said two of her family pets have been killed. The county rejected requests for signage of an autistic child and speed bumps, she alleges.

Sports Cast for August 19th:

Okeechobee football returns for another year tonight with a kickoff classic against La Belle at 7 pm. Last year Okeechobee started the season with a 38-7 victory at La Belle.

Key players for the Brahmans this year include Bubba Fludd, who now has 13 scholarship offers from Division I schools, thousand yard rusher Lamar Williams, Juanyae Ford, Joseph Benjamin and Jajuan Cherry.   27 players will suit up for the Brahman varsity this year.

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La Belle is led by thousand-yard rusher Tray Williams, who scored 12 touchdowns last year. WOKC coverage begins at 6 pm tonight.

Moore Haven football travels to Glades Day at 7 pm.

OYFL will host the North East Rattlers for a slate of games tomorrow at the Okeechobee Sports Complex.

Charles Murphy News 8/18

News Cast for August 18th:

Car crashes have risen 49 percent in Glades County and by 92 percent in Okeechobee County over the past five years. The report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles showed 5 hundred and 99 crashes in Okeechobee last year. Glades County had 155 car crashes.

Glades had 14 fatalities last year while Okeechobee had six fatalities. Accidents with injury rose by 55 percent in the past five years in Okeechobee and by 58 percent in Glades County.

The South Florida Water Management district will consider six large tract water storage projects in this area to keep water out of the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers. Brighton Valley would use 82 hundred acres to store water out of Lake Istokpoga before it reaches Lake Okeechobee, the cost is 11.5 million. Latt Maxcy ranch in south west Osceola County could store water from the Kissimmee River on 30 thousand 5 hundred acres and will cost 10 point 6 million dollars.

Governor Rick Scott has approved nearly 48 million for new water storage projects.

The number of manatees killed by boats in Florida this year could set a record. 78 had been killed as of August 5th. The record for one year was set 7 years ago according to Katie Tripp with the Save the Manatee Club. She says lower fuel prices have prompted more people to be on the water, leading to more collisions this year.

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Sports Cast for August 18th:

IMG_2326OHS girls’ volleyball expect to field another strong team this year. Coach Taylor Padrick will show off the girls at the Purple White scrimmage and faculty game tonight at 6 pm.

She has 6 seniors on the team and seven returners to a team that lost only three regular season matches last year. The team lost at districts and missed out on regional for the first time in several seasons. Padrick hopes to avoid a repeat of that

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The district features defending state champion Jensen Beach and also South Fork which ousted Okeechobee last year.  She expects those three teams to compete again for the title. The home opener for girls’ volleyball will be September 8th against Harmony High of St. Cloud.

For video and a full schedule go to WOKC’s Facebook page.

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