Local News

3rd Annual Vero Beach Military History Expo to Host Traveling Vietnam Wall Jan 25-29, 2017

3rd Annual Vero Beach Military History Expo to Host Traveling Vietnam Wall Jan 25-29, 2017

VERO BEACH, FL (January 17, 2017) — The annual Vero Beach Military History Expo, slated for January 28-29, 2017, at the Indian River County Fairgrounds featuring WWII battle reenactments, a Civil War reenactment camp, weapons demonstrations, parachute drops, military vehicle displays, and excitement for the entire family, will also host this year The Traveling Vietnam Wall—the only Florida stop for The Wall that Heals.

Since its debut in 1996, more than two million people have visited The Wall That Heals sites in nearly 400 U.S. communities.  The exhibit includes a mobile education center comprised of photos of service members whose names are found on The Wall; letters and memorabilia left at The Wall in Washington, D.C.; a map of Vietnam, and a chronological overview of the conflict in Vietnam. The displays tell the story of the Vietnam War and the era surrounding the conflict, and are designed to put American experiences in Vietnam in a historical and cultural context.

“The Wall That Heals is a 300-foot half-scale replica of the actual Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The traveling display will be open and free to the public to visit 24-hours a day from January 25 (ETA 4 p.m.) through January 29,” said Mike Strickland, producer of the Vero Beach Military History Expo. “This national traveling memorial honors the more than three million Americans who served in the U.S. armed forces during the Vietnam War and its walls bear the names of the more than 58,000 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam. Vero Beach will be The Wall’s only Florida stop.”

In addition to The Traveling Vietnam Wall, the third annual Vero Beach Military History Expo presents ‘history in motion’, designed deliberately to instill a sense of pride and patriotism in all who visit. Action-packed military reenactments, complete with explosions, guns, soldiers, helicopters and a parachute drop-in, military surplus and gear swap meet, Kidz Boot Camp with obstacle course and not so scary drill instructors, classic car show featuring vehicles from pre-war, muscle to modern day, indoor gun show, military recruiters, veteran groups, arts and craft vendors, food and more will educate and entertain kids and adults of all ages.

The Military History Expo takes place Saturday, January 28, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, January 29, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission to the Military History Expo component is $8 for ages 14 and older; $4, ages 10-13; and under 10, free. The Indian River County Fairgrounds is located at 7955 58th Avenue, Vero Beach, FL.

A ceremonial police escort of The Wall will occur down U.S. Highway 1 on January 25, 2017 from Micco to Vero Beach. The procession will begin at 10 a.m. from 7960 U.S. Highway 1, Micco FL, with staging (8 a.m. to 10 a.m.) in the Winn Dixie Shopping Plaza. The procession will turn west off U.S. 1 onto S.R. 60 (20th Street) in Vero Beach, and then north on 58th Street for 7 miles until reaching the Indian River County Fairgrounds. Escort team members shall be comprised of veteran motorcycle clubs, The Road to Victory Military Museum vehicles, the Brevard and Indian River Sheriff’s Departments, and Sebastian and City of Vero Beach Police Departments. The procession will travel five miles below posted speed limits.

The full expo event schedule and ceremonial procession timeline of The Wall may be viewed at www.MilitaryHistoryExpo.com.

Charles Murphy News 1/17

News Cast for January 17th:

A trial began last week over the failed city of Destiny, a 41-thousand-acre project near Yeehaw Junction. The estate of subway chain co-founder Fred DeLuca and real estate developer Anthony Pugliese are blaming each other for the demise of the project. Pugliese pled to criminal fraud charges last year.  Allegedly stealing 1.2 million from Deluca. Both sides are seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation.  The trial is being heard in Palm Beach County. The community was trademarked America’s first eco sustainable city.

A 24-year-old cashier at Walmart was charged Sunday with taking nearly 68 hundred dollars from her employer. Okeechobee city police say Diana Faison faces 13 counts of petit theft and nine counts of grand theft. Her bond was 15 thousand 5 hundred dollars.

In the courts, 20 year old Kyle Abele of Ft. Pierce was sentenced to three years in prison and two years of probation and community service for stabbing a teenager at a mud bog in western St. Lucie County in June of 2 thousand 14.  Abele and the victim, Cody Maitland had problems in past.  Abele allegedly stabbed Maitland several times at the event on Carlton Road.  The state dropped attempted murder and Abele pled no contest to aggravated battery charges.

Sports Cast for January 17th:

Okeechobee boys’ soccer picked up a big district win with a 4-3 defeat of Dwyer on Friday. Brandon Leal had a goal in the second half. He said his team rose to the challenge

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Alberto Diaz had a goal and an assist and Javier Hernandez and Gabriel Hernandez added goals for Okeechobee.

Coach Lonnie Sears says the two teams are likely to meet again in the district tournament next week.

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On the sports schedule today, OHS boys soccer visits Vero Beach with JV at 4 and varsity to follow.  OHS girls basketball visits Heritage at 6 pm.  OHS girls soccer plays at the district tournament at Martin County at 6 pm.  Moore Haven boys and girls basketball travel to South West Florida Christian

Osceola Middle school will host West Glades with girls at 4:30 and boys at 5:45 pm.

Charles Murphy News 1/16

News Cast for January 16th:

Sound slinger, the promoter for the 2017 Okeechobee Music Festival is very optimistic about this year’s event. They have proposed bringing in 40 thousand music fans this year to Sunshine Grove on Dark Hammock Road. Chief Executive Officer Kevin Collinsworth recently spoke to the Okeechobee Kiwanis Club about their plans. The event will be held between March 2nd and 5th.  Full story is on WOKC.com/LocalNews.

Last week Okeechobee commissioners approved plans for traffic flow, a new entrance and mitigations on loud music at night that have bothered neighbors.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Junior holiday will include a day long series of events in Douglas Park at the Douglas Brown School.  Saturday a parade was held downtown.

New commission chairman in Glades County John Ahern says he’s proud to take on the job and has a number of goals for 2 thousand 17 which include attracting new businesses.

Sports Cast for January 16th:

Okeechobee boys hoops won two games at the Chobee National Tournament this weekend in blowouts.

Friday, Demetrius Clark had 21 points and Shaquoy Ferrol added 19 points and 10 rebounds as the Brahmans defeated IMG Academy 80-57. J-quan Ferrol had 13 points four blocks and six rebounds for OHS. He says the team played well in spots Friday

The game was tied until midway in the third quarter Friday.

Coach Demetre Riles said defensive intensity led Okeechobee on a 36-13 run to end the game

The Brahmans defeated Elite Academy on Saturday 78-44.

Okeechobee girls soccer set a school record for wins in a season with a  2-1 win Friday at Lake Placid.

The girls are 11-6-1 on the season.

No sports are scheduled today due to the Dr. martin Luther King Junior holiday.

Charles Murphy News 1/13

News Cast for January 13th:

Okeechobee county commissioners approved compromises on traffic patterns, an entrance road and noise concerns so the Okeechobee Music Festival can take place this year. There could be more time restraints on loud music in the late night and early morning. Commissioner Kelly Owens praised Sound slinger for working with the county. The promoters want to bring 40 thousand music fans to Okeechobee this March.

In other actions

  • County commissioners heard from angry night fishermen who are unable to use the fishing pier at lock 7 after midnight due to ongoing vandalism concerns.
  • Viking residents raised concerns about ongoing law enforcement crackdowns on trespassing and using roads with all terrain vehicles.  Some claim the off road vehicles are being seized now.
  • The commission welcomed the Bass Elite fishing series to Lake Okeechobee from February 23 thru the 26th and will pay a 40 thousand dollar host fee.
  • Continued to raise concerns about Berman Road and 70 east and safety problems there.  They will apply for special state road funds to resurface Berman south of route 70 in the Department of Transportation 2020-2021 work plan.
  • South Florida Water Managers announced they will be forced to close the S-127 at Buckhead Ridge for two weeks due to emergency repairs.  The lock will close on January 23rd and could reopen on February 7th.

Sports Cast for January 13th:

Adryauna Baker had 11 points and nine steals as Yearling jumped out to an early lead and defeated Oslo 28-19 in girls middle school basketball Thursday to earn their fourth win of the season. Jasmine Shanks added four points, five steals and five rebounds. Baker says it was all about effort and hustle

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Coach Erin Perman says a winning season is still possible for the Lady Bulls who broke a four game losing streak. Cornesha Wingfield added five rebounds, four points and three blocks for Yearling. Ratajah Davis had eight points for Oslo Pahokee has been asked to return the state championship in football amid allegations they used an ineligible player.

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On the sports schedule today

Boys basketball hosts the Chobee Nation tournament his weekend.  Centennial meets Piper at 5 and OHS meets IMG academy at 7 tonight.  Five games will take place Saturday starting with Okeechobee girls basketball at noon and ending with OHS boys basketball to finish the day with Elite Academy.  OHS boys soccer hosts Dwyer with JV at 6 and varsity to follow

OHS wrestlers take part in the Sebring invitational this weekend.   OHS girls soccer visits Lake Placid tonight.   Moore Haven basketball and soccer hosts Seacrest country day this afternoon.

Survey Reveals US’s Top Five Nuisance Calls of 2016

Survey Reveals US’s Top Five Nuisance Calls of 2016

Almost nine out of ten people (89%) in America receive nuisance calls each month according to a recent survey which has also revealed the top five nuisance calls received in the US last year.

The YouGov survey commissioned by CPR Call Blocker, makers of the best selling call blocking device in the US, also revealed that 13 per cent of US adults have been a victim of a telephone scam. Of those who have been scammed, almost half (48 per cent) said they had lost between $100 and $10,000 as a result with four per cent having lost more than $10,000.

As we enter 2017, the survey also revealed the top five nuisance calls received by US adults last year are:

  1. Robocalls/automated messages (66 per cent)
  2. Credit card/loan arrangers (28 per cent)
  3. Charitable causes (23 per cent)
  4. Telephone/long distance call providers (11 per cent)
  5. Lottery/sweepstake providers (10 per cent)

While not all calls are scams, the shocking statistics show that organizations making these unwanted calls are ignoring consumers’ requests to be removed from call lists as 60 per cent claim to receive repeated calls from the same organization despite telling them to stop calling.

Almost a third (32 per cent) of Americans are receiving 20 or more unwanted calls a month, with almost a fifth (18 per cent) receiving 30 or more calls.

Kris Kicks of CPR Call Blocker said: “With nine out of ten people saying they receive unwanted calls each month, scam and nuisance calls continue to be a major problem for people in the US and its often the most vulnerable people in society who are falling victim to telephone scams.

“It is concerning to see the rise in robocalls which makes a shocking first appearance at number one this year – probably down to the hard-fought presidential campaign.”

CPR Call Blocker commissions the research annually to highlight the scale of unwanted calls across the US. Its range of call blockers offer an immediate solution to the problem. The device is plugged into home phones and allows consumers to cut off unwanted calls as they come in and permanently block them from calling again. Their latest model, CPR Call Blocker Shield, is already pre-programmed to block 2,000 known nuisance callers and gives consumers the option to add a further 1,500.

CPR Call Blocker is available from www.callblockerusa.com or www.amazon.com

Rooney, Deutch – Team Up To Protect Veterans

Rooney, Deutch – Team Up To Protect Veterans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Tom Rooney (R-FL) and Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL) teamed up to put a stop to financial predators defrauding veterans from their well-earned benefits by re-introducing the Preventing Crimes Against Veterans Act in the House of Representatives.

In recent years, financial predators have increasingly targeted veterans, particularly elderly veterans in low-income housing or Assisted Living Facilities, in an effort to defraud them out of their Veteran’s Affairs (VA) benefits. These criminals offer to help veterans with their cases at the VA and claim to get their benefits approved in record time, charging exorbitant fees that are often in the thousands of dollars. In the end, these scammers steal their money and offer them little or no assistance in return.

Under current law, it is illegal for anyone who is not an approved agent to charge a fee for helping a veteran with their VA claims. However there are no legal or financial repercussions for those who choose to blatantly violate this law. If enacted, the Preventing Crimes Against Veterans Act would levy a heavy fine, imprisonment of up to five years, or both, on any individual who chooses to break the law and defraud our veterans.

“We reintroduced this bill to ensure that anyone who seeks to financially exploit the men and women who have served our country, and cheat them out of their hard-earned VA benefits, will face a harsh punishment for their criminal actions,” said Congressman Rooney. “This bill will aid law enforcement as they crackdown on these despicable crimes, and will also protect veterans, and their families, from financial predators. I am determined to see this bill enacted into law in the 115th Congress and I’m confident with Congressman Deutch we can make that goal a reality.”

“I’m proud to re-introduce this legislation with my Florida colleague Congressman Rooney,” said Congressman Deutch. “After all they have given to our country, we cannot leave our veterans defenseless against scam artists. Confusion about benefits often leaves veterans and their families as open targets for fraud and abuse. This important measure will make these shameful acts a punishable offense to protect the well-deserved pensions of those who have protected us. With unanimous approval by the House of Representatives last Congress, I urge swift consideration of this bipartisan legislation by both chambers.”

Charles Murphy News 1/12

News Cast for January 12th:

Okeechobee County has priorities for road work, red lights, and help with Medicaid and workers’ compensation costs this year. Chairman Terry Burroughs urged support for a study to widen 70 west across the state. He also urged state support for a possible regional jail with Glades and Hendry County.

Superintendent of Schools Ken Kenworthy urged support for a new Okeechobee High School. They also want fewer state tests and 1 million dollars to help with transportation costs.

The city asked for a traffic light on 441 at 9th street and some support for storm water and drainage projects.

A senate committee learned storage all around Lake Okeechobee and in the lake itself are part of the solution to damaging fresh water releases to coastal areas.

725 billion gallons of fresh water left Lake Okeechobee last year. Lt. Colonel Jennifer Reynolds of the US Army Corps of Engineers said the lake can only handle so much water. Coastal areas were more concerned with economic impacts the 33 square mile algae bloom had last summer.

26-year-old Charles Farris was charged with dealing in stolen property and grand theft for allegedly taking 16 hundred dollars in equipment from a local lawn service company.

Sports Cast for January 12th:

Brahman wrestlers came back from a 12-point deficit to defeat Vero Beach last night, 42-30. Coach Bruce Jahner said the team was flat and didn’t do well at the lower weights. The Brahmans got pins from Blake Everett, Drayton Billie, Kallen Pinerio, Hunter Wagner and Justin Drawdy.

Osceola boys’ hoops continue to improve despite injuries.  They defeated Moore Haven 34-29 this week.

Jerome Roundtree led Okeechobee with 12 points.

Coach Justin Perman says teamwork and defense was the difference in this game. New point guard Devin Powers stepped in after an injury and provided steady play and ball handling.

He says there is more pressure on him to do well.

Brahman basketball defeats South Fork 60-55 Wednesday to improve to 11-3 on the season.

On the sports schedule today, Lady Brahman soccer visits John Carroll with JV at 4 and varsity to follow,  Moore Haven basketball hosts Evangelical Christian with a triple header starting at 4 pm, Yearling hosts Oslo for basketball at 4:30 pm and Osceola basketball visits LaBelle.



Tallahassee, Fla.—With the 2016-2017 flu season in full swing and influenza activity increasing across the state, it is critical that all Floridians get the flu vaccine to protect against infection and help prevent the spread of seasonal flu to others. It is never too late to get your flu shot. While most cases of flu are mild, there are exceptions. The department has confirmed the first two influenza-associated pediatric deaths of the 2016-2017 flu season in a 7 year-old and a 17 year-old.

“We are saddened by this news and our thoughts are with the family and friends of these children,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. Celeste Philip. “Although most people view the flu as a minimal threat, Floridians should take flu infection seriously as it can cause severe illness, even death, in some cases. Getting your flu shot is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu. If you have not yet received a flu shot, it is not too late.”

Flu activity is on the rise in Florida, particularly in groups at high risk for severe illness such as children, pregnant women, people with underlying chronic conditions and people over the age of 65. Visits to emergency departments for influenza are also increasing in these high risk groups. The department continues to urge residents to reduce their risk of severe illness from infection by getting vaccinated against influenza. This is especially important for individuals at high-risk for severe illness.

The annual flu vaccine is safe and is the most effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones. The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone six months and older, including pregnant women. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop protection against the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people get injectable flu shots. Nasal spray vaccine is not recommended for this flu season because of concerns about its effectiveness.

It is also essential to practice good hygiene by properly and frequently washing your hands to help prevent the spread of seasonal flu. Make it a habit to clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces in your home, school or office. You can take additional steps to ward off the flu by coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow and avoiding touching your face.

The flu vaccine is offered in many convenient locations, including doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, retail stores, pharmacies, health centers and by many employers and schools. Visit the department’s flu shot locater page to search for a flu vaccine location near you.

For further information regarding influenza surveillance information, messaging and guidance, visit the influenza homepage at http://www.floridahealth.gov/floridaflu.

About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.

Charles Murphy News 1/11

News Cast for January 11th:

Brown, Kevin

Among arrests:

  • 35 year old Leith Sullivan, a corrections guard at Okeechobee Correctional, lost his job after being arrested last week on charges of sexual battery on a child under 12. Bradford County deputies say Sullivan repeated had sex with a child over a four month period.
  • 27 year old James Cole of Canal Point was charged with loitering and prowling after several residential burglaires on the rim canal in Martin County. Deputies say they spotted Cole watching a home off 441 in the woods on Monday.  A screen had been removed from one of the windows. A burglary last Friday near this location led to the theft of 8 hundred dollars in cash and some valuable jewelry.
  • 60 year old Sherry Best was charged with bringing prescription medications into the jail when she was arrested on a warrant in December.  Jail nurses checked the prescription bottles and found amphetamine, alprozlam and other drugs she did not have a prescription for.
  • 28 year old Sara Ramirez was charged with grand theft from the Super Walmart. Okeechobee City police say Ramirez stole 470 dollars over a two week period in November and the thefts were caught by surveillance cameras.
  • 44 year old Marc Sparks of Okeechobee faces sentence in March for Indian River county charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, tampering with a witness and criminal mischief.

A judge has denied a motion to suppress incriminating statements Lisa Kramer gave to investigators in her DUI manslaughter case.  Clinton Griffin died in a crash in Treasure Island in September of 2015.

Deputies allege Kramer admitted to them that she had taken prescription medications.

Sports Cast for January 11th:

Alani Garcia scored late in the second half to earn a 1-1 tie for Okeechobee girls’ soccer against Glades Day last night. The Gators goal keeper Jaylyn Smith made several saves in the second half to preserve the tie. Okeechobee defender Denise Garcia says the game was physical and intense.

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The team remains one win short of tying the school record for wins in a season. Osceola girls’ basketball won their first game of the year, 26-13 over Moore haven last night.

Joy Whipple had seven points and seven rebounds for the Warriors. She says the team has shown improvement in each game

Anya Koivunen added six points and six rebounds for Osceola.  Jakhia Smith had eight points for Moore Haven.

Osceola Coach Eric Phillips says he thinks the team has taken to heart the benefits of hard work and practice

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On the sports schedule today, OHS wrestling hosts Vero Beach at 6 pm.  OHS boys soccer takes on Fort Pierce Central with JV at noon and varsity at 2 pm.  OHS boys basketball visits South Fork with freshmen at 4, jv at 5:30 and varsity at 7 pm.  Brighton basketball hosts LaBelle at 4:45.

Heroes come in all sizes St. Lucie County Fire District presents the Citizen Hero Award

Heroes come in all sizes St. Lucie County Fire District presents the Citizen Hero Award

St. Lucie County, FL – The St. Lucie County Fire Board will present a Citizen Hero Award to 2-1/2 year old Elena Betancourt for saving the life of her baby sister from drowning in the family pool.

The presentation will be on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at 3:00 pm, at the beginning for the Fire Board Meeting, held at the St. Lucie County Fire District Administration offices, 5160 NW Milner Drive, Port St. Lucie FL.

On the afternoon of December 9, 2016 units responded to a call that a 10 month old baby had been pulled from a swimming pool by her sister. Upon arrival crews were met at the rescue truck by a Port St. Lucie Police Officer who related the child had been in the water for an unknown period of time. Araceli Betancourt was immediately transported in very serious condition, but due to the heroic efforts of her sister survived and is doing well today.

When asked why she was wet on the day of the incident, wrapped in a blanket, Elena declared, “It’s because I know how to swim, so I jumped in the pool to help my sister.”

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