Local News

Governor Scott, First Lady Ann Scott Joined by Jimbo Fisher and Jameis Winston to Visit Survivors and Families at Orlando Regional Medical Center

Governor Scott, First Lady Ann Scott Joined by Jimbo Fisher and Jameis Winston to Visit Survivors and Families at Orlando Regional Medical Center

ORLANDO, Fla. – Today, Governor Scott and First Lady Ann Scott were joined by Florida State University Head Football Coach Jimbo Fisher and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Quarterback Jameis Winston during a visit to Orlando Regional Medical Center to speak with survivors and their families.

Governor Scott said, “Coach Fisher, Jameis and all of the individuals who have traveled to Orlando to meet with these strong survivors and their families have displayed an incredible amount of love and kindness. With each visit, these survivors hear the support and hope that is pouring in from across the world, and we will continue to pray for their quick recovery.”

Jimbo Fisher is the head football coach for the Florida State University (FSU) Seminoles. Coach Fisher joined FSU in 2007 and was named head coach in 2010 following the retirement of legendary coach Bobby Bowden. Under the leadership of Coach Fisher, the Seminoles have claimed a national championship and have set the modern record for NFL draft picks with 29 picks over a three-year span. Off the field, Coach Fisher is a passionate advocate for research into Fanconi Anemia (FA), a rare medical condition. Following the diagnosis of Fisher’s son with FA, the coach established the Kidz 1st Fund to help fund research and raise awareness for Fanconi Anemia.

Jameis Winston is the starting quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a former Seminole athlete. At FSU, under the direction of Coach Fisher, Jameis led the Seminoles to an undefeated season and a victory over the Auburn Tigers in the 2013 National Championship. Jameis won the Heisman Trophy in 2013, becoming the youngest player ever to be honored with the prestigious award.

Charles Murphy News 6/22

News Cast for June 22nd:

IMG_0490A woman angry at a pitbull for killing her own dog shot the dog with birdshot, and injured a neighbor on the Viking Property Monday.  The dog that was shot ran off and hasn’t been located.  The victim was hit on the chest, arm and hand and had minor injury.

Among arrests, city police say they interrupted a woman who intended to go to the Okeechobee Health Care Facility and kill her mother early Tuesday.  Jacqueline Lacrone Castleberry was reported carrying a 9 mili meter handgun and nearly 75 hundred dollars in cash in her purse.  Cops also charged her with DUI as they located her in the Health Care parking lot.  Breath tests were point 34.

Several thousand dollars in property damage was reported after a structure fire at 3685 North West 8th Avenue at the home of Alice Watson in Whispering Pines Monday.  Okeechobee County firemen got mutual aid from the city fire department.  The home was 50 percent involved when firemen arrived.  There were no injuries reported.  The American Red Cross came to assist the family.  The cause was an overloaded extension cord and power strip.

Okeechobee still has a high rate of child abuse reports in the state.   DCF says 5 hundred and 31 investigations took place last year, and 94 so far this year through May.

IMG_0358Bob McPartland with the DCF District 19 said there has been little change in the past two years when Okeechobee had the highest rate of child abuse reports per thousand. McPartland said elder abuse is also a growing problem. Abuse calls can be made to 1-800-962-2873 or reported online at my   FL Families.com.

McPartland 1

McPartland 2

The Chamber of Commerce presented an award to the city of Okeechobee for helping to create 164 new jobs in the past year.

Economic Development Director John Gurney said the average wage was also impressive. He continues to work to recruit new businesses like the Town Center project on 441 south.  New agriculture industry like a bio mass electric generating plant and a new soybean processing facility.

Gurney 1

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Sports Cast for June 22nd:

Sarah Davis of Okeechobee qualified to represent the United States at the World Powerlifting championships in Poland this August. Davis won the USA Powerlifting National championships junior division in Colorado this spring.

She said she really has trained hard and been determined to excel in power lifting. Davis also finished second at the USA Powerlifting Collegiate championships in Rhode Island in April.

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She said representing her country will be a great moment in her life. Davis attends Texas A&M University and is an honors student in biological and agriculture engineering.

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Governor Scott, First Lady Thank Tim Tebow for Visiting Survivors and Families at ORMC

Governor Scott, First Lady Thank Tim Tebow for Visiting Survivors and Families at ORMC

ORLANDO, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott thanked Tim Tebow for visiting the Orlando Regional Medical Center to meet with survivors and their families following the Orlando terror attack last week at Pulse Nightclub.

Governor Rick Scott said, “Ann and I are grateful for the support of Tim Tebow and the many others who have taken time to meet with survivors and their families. Since graduating from the University of Florida, Tim has continuously worked to improve the lives of others through his foundation whose mission is to bring faith, hope and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need.”

Tim Tebow is an American football player who won national championships with the University of Florida Gators in 2006 and 2008. In 2007, Tebow became the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy. Tebow is an active philanthropist and launched the Tim Tebow Foundation in 2010. In 2013, Tebow was designated a “Great Floridian” by Governor Scott. The “Great Floridian” designation is given in recognition of the outstanding achievements of men and women who have made significant contributions to the progress and welfare of Florida.



~FHP patrol cars will again feature “Arrive Alive” front license plates~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) today unveiled the newest version of its “Arrive Alive” license plate that will be featured as the front license plate of Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) vehicles. As the state’s authority in traffic safety, DHSMV has brought the plates back as a reminder to motorists to drive safely and arrive alive.

The “Arrive Alive” front license plates are part of the department’s “Arrive Alive” campaign, which dates back to 1970. FHP is promoting the campaign to reduce traffic related deaths and injuries by affixing the “Arrive Alive” license plates to the front of their patrol vehicles. The “Arrive Alive” campaign addresses proper highway speed, road manners, the importance of the use of seatbelts and much more.

Charles Murphy News 6/21

News Cast for June 21st:

3685 NW 8th avenue

NW 8th avenueAmong arrests, a house party attended by 75 people also had 13 kids in attendance on North West 37th Street on Saturday morning. Okeechobee deputies made sure all the adults left with sober drivers and charged the alleged host, 19-year-old Juan Lopez Diaz with misdemeanor allowing minors to consume alcohol during an open house party. Deputies suspect marijuana was also used.

The city wrapped up its Centennial celebration Tuesday with awards for volunteers and businesses that donated their time to the year long list of festivities.

A time capsule was enclosed near the entrance to city hall which includes local history books written by local residents, brochures on the centennial, information on famous Okeechobee residents like Lonnie Pryor and Reggie Rembert and other information. City administrator Marcos Montes De Oca said it was teamwork that made the event possible.

Montes De Oca 1

An Orlando man charged in a Kenansville crime where he allegedly entered a home on Lake Marian Road Sunday morning, grabbed her car keys and fled the area in her Ford Expedition.  Osceola deputies charged 33 year old Daniel Gomez Correa with burglary to an occupied dwelling, grand theft auto, fleeing and eluding and other charges.  A K-9 unit was able to subdue Correa after a short chase.

Suspect Arrested for Grand Theft Auto and Occupied Burglary

3685 NW 8th avenue

Sports Cast for June 21st:

Okeechobee basketball players have had a busy off season with several AAU and other basketball tournaments.

Okeechobee itself hosted two tournaments that brought in teams from across Florida to our area.

Jhovani Torres coached an incoming ninth grade team over the summer. He said these tournaments not only benefit the Chobee Nation program but the community as a whole.

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Torres said the players also benefit as they have won several games against quality opposition.

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The Chobee Nation program is hosting youth basketball camps throughout the month at the Okeechobee High School gymnasium.

FWC law enforcement to participate in Operation Dry Water, national crackdown on boating under the influence

FWC law enforcement to participate in Operation Dry Water, national crackdown on boating under the influence

As the summer recreational boating season gets into full swing, the FWC Law Enforcement Division is ramping up its enforcement efforts as part of a national crackdown on boating under the influence.

The annual three-day, heightened awareness and enforcement campaign, Operation Dry Water, focuses on deterring boaters from boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Law enforcement agencies nationwide will be out in force June 24-26, looking for boaters who choose to boat under the influence, and then removing them from the water. Increased awareness about the dangers of boating under the influence, along with officers focused on identifying impaired operators, aim to drastically reduce the number of accidents and deaths due to impaired boating.

“It is our job as law enforcement officers to identify and remove impaired boaters from the water so that everyone else can continue to have an enjoyable boating season and not become a victim of boating under the influence. Protecting the public goes to the heart of our mission,” said Maj. Richard Moore, FWC’s Boating and Waterways Section Leader. “Our agency is participating in Operation Dry Water, and joining thousands of law enforcement officers nationwide to decrease the number of accidents, injuries and deaths that come as a result of boaters who choose to drink and boat.”

In Florida it is illegal to operate a vessel with a BAC level of .08 or higher. The FWC wants to remind boaters to stay safe this summer by staying sober on the water. Alcohol use is one of the leading contributing factors in recreational boater deaths. During the national weekend of heightened awareness and high-visibility enforcement, boaters can expect to see an enhanced law enforcement presence and increased messaging about this dangerous and preventable crime

Suspect Arrested for Grand Theft Auto and Occupied Burglary

Suspect Arrested for Grand Theft Auto and Occupied Burglary

Osceola County (June 20, 2016) – On June 19 at approximately 9:24 a.m., Osceola County Sheriff’s deputies responded to 1355 Lake Marian Road in Kenansville. Upon arrival, deputies spoke with the homeowner who indicated she was home when she heard someone in her residence. She walked toward her dining room and saw an unknown male, later identified as Daniel Gomez-Correa take her car keys and leave the residence. He fled the area in her Ford Expedition.

Deputies in the area were able to locate the vehicle a short distance away. Correa attempted to flee the area, but with the assistance of the K-9 Unit, was apprehended and taken into custody. He was taken to a local hospital and treated for minor injuries.

Correa was charged with Occupied Burglary, Grand Theft Auto, Fleeing and Eluding, Resisting Without Violence, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Petit Theft and Tampering with Evidence. He is also a suspect in a carjacking which occurred in Orange County the day before this incident. Correa was booked into the Osceola County Jail with a $13,250 bond.

Daniel Gomez-Correa (5/10/83), 4717 South Texas Avenue, Orlando

Governor Scott, First Lady Thank Athletes for Visiting Survivors and Families at ORMC

Governor Scott, First Lady Thank Athletes for Visiting Survivors and Families at ORMC

Johnny Damon, Ricardo Kaká and Shaquille O’Neal visit patients

ORLANDO, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott were joined by Johnny Damon, Ricardo Kaká and Shaquille O’Neal during a visit to Orlando Regional Medical Center to meet with survivors and their families following the Orlando terror attack last week at Pulse Nightclub.  Governor Scott and the First Lady also presented the “Orlando Strong – Governor’s Medal of Unity” to the survivors, their families and hospital workers.

Governor Rick Scott said, “Ann and I thank these amazing athletes for bringing joy and encouragement to the survivors and their families who are recovering from the terrorist attack that occurred last weekend at Pulse Nightclub. Johnny Damon, Ricardo Kaká and Shaquille O’Neal join countless individuals and organizations from around the world who have come together to support the Orlando community.  I also want to thank the Orlando Regional Medical Center and their amazing staff who have worked around the clock to care for these individuals.  We are all inspired by the hope, love and courage displayed by these survivors during their recovery.”

First Lady Ann Scott said, “As a mother and a grandmother, I cannot imagine something like this happening to my family. It was incredibly moving to visit the memorial at the Dr. Philips Center today to pay my respects to those who were killed last week.  Rick and I are continuing to pray for the victims and hope those still in the hospital make a speedy recovery. I appreciate these athletes taking the time to meet with the survivors and their families as they recover.”

Johnny Damon is a professional baseball outfielder who has played for seven major league baseball teams over his more than 20-year career. Damon played for the Tampa Bay Rays during the 2011 season.

Ricardo Kaká is professional soccer player who currently plays for Orlando City Soccer Club as an attacking midfielder. Kaká signed with Orlando City on June 30, 2014.

Shaquille O’Neal began his professional career with the Orlando Magic. O’Neal was drafted first overall in the 1992 NBA draft and played center for the Magic until 1996. O’Neal also played center for the Miami Heat from 2004 to 2008

Sound, Peer-Reviewed Science Guides Florida Bear Management

Sound, Peer-Reviewed Science Guides Florida Bear Management

Nick Wiley, Executive Director

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

June 20, 2016


Several recent editorials present an incomplete picture of the science behind FWC’s comprehensive bear management program. We are highly confident in the cutting-edge, peer-reviewed scientific foundation supporting FWC staff recommendations regarding black bear management. The scientific methods we rely on have been proven repeatedly in bear populations across North America and further validated through substantial research in the Southeast and here in Florida. This robust body of science clearly supports that Florida’s comprehensive approach to bear management, which includes hunting, is effective and sustainable.

FWC invests considerable staff expertise in bear conservation programs and places great emphasis on using the best possible science. We employ 13 biological experts with more than 110 years of collective science and management experience directly focused on black bears. To verify that FWC is relying on sound science to guide our decision making, we recently invited the top bear scientists from across the nation to examine and review Florida’s bear management program. This expert panel, with over 170 years of combined experience directly involving bears, concluded that, “FWC is employing quality long-term data and scientific research to manage Florida’s black bears.” You can view their full supportive statement at MyFWC.com/bear.


After receiving extensive input from the public, FWC Commissioners will weigh FWC recommendations for a more conservative bear hunt with three other options, including postponing the bear hunt in 2016. You can learn more and provide input at MyFWC.com/bear.


Some reports have led people to believe that FWC has not done sound scientific research and makes hasty decisions about wildlife management. This could not be further from the truth. It is our responsibility to make recommendations based on the best available science, and that is exactly what we are doing.



ORLANDO, Fla. – Today, the Obama Administration rejected Governor Scott’s request for an Emergency Declaration under the Stafford Act following last week’s terror attack at Pulse Nightclub.  By denying this request, the federal government will not provide the $5 million in federal funds requested by Governor Scott to help with emergency response efforts, law enforcement response, emergency medical care, counseling services and other social services to assist victims.  The federal government, however, will allocate $253,000 to help pay for overtime for first responders.  Click HERE to see the request the Governor made last week to President Obama.  Click HERE to see the federal government’s denial letter.

Governor Rick Scott said, “It is incredibly disappointing that the Obama Administration denied our request for an Emergency Declaration.  Last week, a terrorist killed 49 people, and wounded many others, which was the deadliest shooting in U.S. history.  It is unthinkable that President Obama does not define this as an emergency.  We are committing every state resource possible to help the victims and the community heal and we expect the same from the federal government.”

Below are examples of emergency declarations that the federal government has approved:

·      Flint Water Crisis in 2016

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