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News Cast 4/24

News Cast for April 24th:

Okeechobee County Firefighters and Forest Service crews had a grass and brush fire to contend with Sunday. Crews were called to the 33 thousand block of NE 9th Avenue just before one o’clock and found a blaze that was burning about eight acres of brush. Crews got the blaze contained in just over a half hour with no injuries and no structure damages. Investigators say the fire was caused by lightning strikes in the area.

Okeechobee County Fire officials are reporting that there have been some burn ban signs posted in several areas throughout the county lately. Don’t believe these signs. Officials are reporting that there is no burn ban anyplace in the county at this time. Any further questions or concerns can be forwarded to the Okeechobee County Emergency Center or the Florida Forest Service.

A Lake Placid man is being charged with second degree murder following an incident late last month. Highlands County Sheriff’s deputies say 61 year old Carlos Lorenzo Gonzalez reportedly stabbed 31 year old Martin Martinez Zuniga in the chest and left him lying in the yard. Zuniga was taken to a nearby medical facility for treatment where he was treated for several days but he succumbed to his wounds a week later. As a result, Gonzalez’s charges were upgraded from attempted murder to second degree murder. Spokesperson Scott Dressel says it all started on an innocent note (Dressel-Gonzalez Murder Charge). Gonzalez has been held in Highlands County Jail without bond since the end of March.

A vehicle accident Sunday night left one person dead and an Arcadia man in critical condition. Florida Highway Patrol officers say 28 year old Filimon Alonso was riding his bike on SE Hillsborough Avenue in DeSoto County just before 8:30 when a car coming from behind hit Alonso from behind and also hit the other person who was killed on contact. That person’s name is being withheld at this time pending family notification. Alonso was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital for treatment. The accident is being investigated.

On the arrest report:

20 year old Isaac Adam-Kade Dickinson of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for violating probation on previous burglary charges. He’s being held without bond.

27 year old James Thomas Gainer of Okeechobee was arrested for burglary of an unoccupied home, trespassing and grand theft. His bond is set at just over $13 thousand dollars.

27 year old Juan Diego Sebastian-Jose of Okeechobee was arrested for driving without a license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a $250 dollar bond.

41 year old Dewey Alton Lightsey of Okeechobee was arrested for battery on his girlfriend and stealing her cell phone after a domestic dispute. His bond is set at $20 thousand dollars.

43 year old Danny Ray Austin of Okeechobee was arrested for violating the terms of his pre-trial release. He’s being held without bond.

38 year old Jason Allen Milner of Okeechobee was arrested for battery on his girlfriend during a domestic dispute. His bond is set at three thousand dollars.

37 year old Carlos Velasquez of Okeechobee was arrested for disorderly conduct following a fight with several people and had an outstanding warrant against him in Martin County for failure to appear in court. He’s being held without bond.


News Cast 4/23

News Cast for April 23rd:

Members of Okeechobee County law enforcement, fire rescue and other entities took part in the annual law enforcement torch run Friday, a fund raising event to benefit the athletes of the Special Olympics. Sheriff Noel Stephen says those who participated began at the sheriff’s office at 9am and carried the torch all the way to Publix supermarket on Parrott Avenue and handed the torch to one of the Special Olympics athletes. Stephen says the beautiful day made it that much more special and it’s a great way to remember those who are less fortunate. The torch run was culminated in a barbecue at Publix, with Sheriff Stephen cooking up lots of ribs.

Okeechobee County firefighters are investigating the cause of a fire that completely destroyed a truck and trailer Thursday afternoon. Crews were called to Highway 441 North and NE 208th Street just after 4:30 and found a Ford F-350 pickup truck completely covered in flames when they arrived. Crews needed nearly an hour to get the fire controlled, with some of the blaze spreading onto some nearby grass on the side of the road. Investigators say the driver, 50 year old Helver Zuniga of Orlando, was driving when the engine cut out and he noticed smoke coming from the air conditioner and engine compartment as he pulled over and tried to restart the truck. Zuniga and his passengers were not injured. Total damage to the truck and its contents was in excess of $50 thousand dollars.

A Labelle man was sentenced Friday to life in prison for the murder of his girlfriend nearly three and a half years ago. A Collier County court judge sentenced 27 year old Aaron Reyna to life in prison after he was convicted late last month of second degree murder of 29 year old Dana Fegueroa in October of 2014. Collier County prosecutors say Reyna shot Fegueroa four times, twice in the head, in their home after Reyna felt she “disrespected” him after he declined to give her a ride to work. Fegueroa yelled at Reyna before he got a gun and fatally shot her. Reyna was also convicted of two counts of shooting within a dwelling. He will serve 15 years each on those counts, which will run concurrent with each other but consecutive to the life sentence for the second degree murder charge.

A St. Cloud woman is in serious condition after a vehicle accident early Friday morning. Florida Highway Patrol officers say 29 year old Dorothy Crowell was driving a Chrysler Pacifica minivan south on US-27 near Sebring Lakes Boulevard in Sebring just after 7:30 when she hit another vehicle head on which was not clearly visible because of smoke in the area and was stopped because of a previous accident there. Crowell was taken to Highlands Regional Medical Center for treatment. There were no other injuries and the accident is being investigated.

On the arrest report:

19 year old Brian Patrick Groody of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for sexual battery with a weapon on an underage victim. His bond is set at $250 thousand dollars.

31 year old Ashley Moore of Okeechobee was arrested by police for battery and simple assault during a domestic dispute. She was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

18 year old Arturo Longoria of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on a warrant from Highlands County for lewd battery. He’s being held without bond.

27 year old Steven Allen Albritton of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on previous charges of burglary and trafficking in stolen property. He’s being held without bond.

30 year old Dion Eric McIntyre of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of cannabis resin after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five thousand dollar bond.


News Cast 4/20

News Cast for April 20th:

Yesterday morning, an Okeechobee area boy got a special award from the sheriff’s department as part of their Just-Us program, which recognizes young people for going above and beyond in an emergency situation. Five year old Anthony Matthew was honored for his behavior on the afternoon of April 9th when his mom was unresponsive after collapsing from a medical condition. Matthew called his dad at work, who called 911 for help to arrive and save his mom. Sheriff Noel Stephen says the kind of poise young Matthew showed was nothing short of amazing. The event was covered by several news outlets from outside the county. Matthew received a plaque, a one hundred dollar gift card and was deputized by Sheriff Stephen.

Stephen-Just Us Award 1

Stephen-Just Us Award 2

The Okeechobee City Council got to meet a very special dog at their meeting this past Tuesday night. The police department introduced a one year old Labrador retriever named Luna as part of the department’s new crime fighting K-9 unit. Officer Mike Jordan, who has worked with Luna since she was nine weeks old, says being a part of the new K-9 unit is like a dream come true for him professionally. Chief Bob Peterson says the new K-9 unit fit nicely into the department’s budget and didn’t cost the city any extra. Officer Jordan says a lot of Luna’s commands are in Dutch so as to not tip off any would be criminals.

Okeechobee K-9 Unit

Recently, the Okeechobee County Commissioners approved a measure to allow a staging area for Florida Power and Light on the Okeechobee Airport. The staging area will be located on Lot 16 and 17 in the Industrial Park area. Airport manager Kathy Scott says FPL crews are doing this all over the state; hardening of the lines and replacing poles and insulators to withstand Category 3 hurricane winds, to restore power quicker than normal when it gets knocked out. Scott says this agreement is a “hold harmless” agreement. Scott says the work should be underway shortly.

On the arrest report:

33 year old Thomas David Arnold of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for purchasing ammunition as a convicted felon. He was released after posting bond.

29 year old Alvin Eugene Crowell of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on previous drug possession charges. He’s being held without bond.

38 year old Stacey Lafawn Tyson of Okeechobee was arrested for violating conditions of his pre-trial release for domestic violence. His bond is set at a thousand dollars.

62 year old Ladonna G. Hunt and 36 year old Angela Helen Kukulka, both of Okeechobee, were arrested by police for possession of Xanax and Adderall without a prescription with intent to sell them after answering a battery call. Hunt’s bond is set at $15 thousand dollars and Kukulka’s is set at five thousand dollars.

47 year old Enrique Alfonso Gonzalez of Port St. Lucie was arrested for drunk driving after a traffic stop and subsequent failed sobriety test. His bond is set at five hundred dollars.


News Cast 4/19

News Cast for April 19th:

Yesterday, the Okeechobee County Chamber of Commerce held a luncheon at Indian River State College with a special guest to educate people on the issues of cyanobacteria, better known as blue green algae. Dail Laughinghouse, associate professor of phycology at the University of Florida, talked about the dangers of blue green algae and how it can get out of control if not monitored. It can also be deadly to fish and render bodies of water off limits for fishing and swimming. Laughinghouse says these blue green algae usually thrive in warmer weather. Laughinghouse, says the cause of the algae is too many nutrients going into the waters. Laughinghouse suggests more studies to better control the problem and eliminate it.

Laughinghouse 1

Laughinghouse 2

Okeechobee City Councilmembers accepted a proclamation at their meeting Tuesday night to make April Guardian Ad Litem Month. Representatives for the Guardian Ad Litem program for Okeechobee, Indian River and Martin Counties were on hand to accept the proclamation. The Guardian Ad Litems are volunteers who advocate for children in court who have been abused or neglected and spend time with them to help them on the road to normalcy. Wendy Rodriguez, child advocate manager and supervisor says the volunteers of the program are quite involved. Rodriguez says 44 percent of children are part of the Guardian Ad Litem program. More information is available at www.guardianadlitem.org.

Ad Litem 1

Ad Litem 1

A Ft. Pierce man and woman are in serious condition after a vehicle accident Tuesday. Florida Highway Patrol officers say 69 year old Charles Gables was driving a Dodge Journey SUV north on Kings Highway near Route 614 in St. Lucie County just after three o’clock. Officers say for unknown reasons, Gables then went off the road, onto the shoulder, eventually colliding head on with a utility pole, rotated, then collided with another utility pole, causing the SUV to go airborne and roll over and catch fire. Gables and his passenger 78 year-old Katherine Russ, were taken to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center for treatment. The accident is being investigated.

On the arrest report:

25 year old Courtney Taylor Billie Cypress of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia after warrants were out for her arrest and she was discovered hiding in someone’s car in a parking lot. 28 year old Sabrina Snyder, also of Okeechobee, was arrested as well for obstructing justice by allowing Cypress to hide in her car. Cypress’s bond is set at six thousand dollars and Snyder’s is set at a thousand dollars.

38 year old Stacey Lafawn Tyson of Okeechobee was arrested for felony battery. His bond is set at $25 thousand dollars.

39 year old Kurt Allen Kneuker of Okeechobee was arrested for an out of county warrant for violating probation. He’s being held without bond.

20 year old Megan Jean Choate of Okeechobee was arrested for intentionally threatening someone with violence. She was released after posting a one hundred dollar bond.

59 year old Tyrone Battle of St. Petersburg was arrested by police for driving on a suspended license for the second time after a traffic stop. His bond is set at five hundred dollars.


Fort Pierce Applebee’s Partners with Local Law Enforcement to Host Second Annual Tip-A-Cop Fundraiser for Special Olympics

Fort Pierce Applebee’s Partners with Local Law Enforcement to Host Second Annual Tip-A-Cop Fundraiser for Special Olympics

Fort Pierce Police Department to Participate in Fundraiser                                              

WHAT:                 Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar® has partnered with the Fort Pierce Police Department to host its second annual Tip-A-Cop fundraiser to benefit the Special Olympics. Local law enforcement officials will serve as “celebrity waiters” at Applebee’s, and 100-percent of their tips will be donated directly to the Special Olympics, which provides year-round sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities or closely related developmental disabilities.

WHERE:               Fort Pierce Applebee’s

                                4898 Okeechobee Road

Fort Pierce, FL 34947

WHEN:                 Friday, April 20, 2018

5:00PM – 8:30PM

VISUAL:               Members of the Fort Pierce Police Department serving as “celebrity waiters”

WHY:                    Tip-A-Cop is an annual fundraising event organized by The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, where law enforcement officers volunteer their time as “celebrity waiters” in restaurants and receive tips to raise funds for Special Olympics, the world’s largest sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities. Doherty Enterprises, the Applebee’s franchisee, is committed to giving back to the communities it serves. Each Doherty restaurant stays engaged in its neighborhood through participation in community events, donations, sponsorships and fundraisers to help local organization grow and flourish, as well as serving as a venue for parties, celebrations and events for local community members.


News Cast 4/18

News Cast for April 18th:

Much like the way the Okeechobee County Commissioners amended the budget to fund school resource officers as mandated by the state, the city council followed suit at their meeting last night. Councilmembers unanimously approved the amending of the budget to the tune of just over $130 thousand dollars to hire new officers and send two of their experienced officers to area schools to serve as SRO’s. Mayor Dowling Watford says this is an unfunded mandate by the state and hopefully it will not mean any tough decisions in the future. Veteran officers Kellie Margerum and Jack Boon will begin their duties as SRO’s on May 1st.

SRO-City Budget Amendment 1

SRO-City Budget Amendment 2

Okeechobee City Councilmembers and those in attendance got to meet one of the new school resource officers at last night’s meeting. Veteran Okeechobee Police Officer Jack Boon volunteered and will be assuming his new duties as an SRO beginning next month. Boon, an officer the past thirteen years, most recently worked in the detective bureau investigating internet crimes. Boon says while he’ll miss his previous detective work, he’s looking forward to his new challenge. Boon, a native of Oklahoma, was raised in northern California and worked as a teacher for five years before becoming a police officer. The other new SRO, Officer Kellie Margerum, was not in attendance at last night’s meeting due to recovery from surgery.

Boon-New SRO

This past Monday night, members of the Okeechobee Chapter of the Republican Party of Florida gathered at Cowboy’s BBQ for a meeting regarding the continued efforts of law enforcement and school board to keep schoolchildren safe from violent assaults like Parkland last February. The Guardian Program was an obvious big topic of discussion; with several in attendance speaking in favor of it. County School Superintendent Ken Kenworthy pointed out that the Guardian Program appears to be more popular among those in rural communities like Okeechobee. Among other community leaders in attendance were Sheriff Noel Stephen, School Board member Joe Arnold and Okeechobee County Commissioner David Hazellief.

Republican Party Meeting 1

Republican Party Meeting 2

Okeechobee County Commissioners approved a resolution at their meeting last week to bring together a local coordinating board to oversee the transportation disadvantaged program within Okeechobee and other counties. Mary Beth Soderstrom of the Heartland Regional Transportation Planning Organization brought the issue before the board. The program provides door to door transportation for those on a low to no income basis for life sustaining trips such as trips to the doctor, grocery store, etc. Soderstrom says she is quite satisfied with the commissioners’ approval. The counties involved in this program include Okeechobee, Hardee, Highlands and now DeSoto.

Soderstrom-TD Service Area Resolution

A Lehigh Acres man is in critical condition after a vehicle accident Monday night. Florida Highway Patrol officers say 51 year old Joseph Reul was riding a motorcycle east on Arron Drive, approaching Pendarvis Road in Highlands County just after 11pm when he applied the brakes and lost control  of the bike. The bike overturned and ended up on top of him. He was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital where he’s receiving treatment. The accident is under investigation.

On the arrest report:

28 year old Martin Elias Zepeda of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for failing to appear in court on previous charges of driving without a license. He was released after posting a thousand dollar bond.

20 year old Isaac Adam-Kade Dickerson of Okeechobee was arrested for battery after a domestic dispute. He was released after posting bond.

41 year old Expavious Ceon Mills of Vero Beach was arrested on a warrant from St. Lucie County for kidnapping and abduction after a traffic stop. His bond is set at $75 thousand dollars.

39 year old Austin Ehrhart Dale of Okeechobee was arrested for aggravated assault and battery on a law officer, reckless high speed driving and resisting arrest after a high speed chase. His bond is set at five thousand dollars.

44 year old Timothy O’Brian Crews of Houston, TX was arrested by police for possession of morphine, cannabis, driving without a license and contracting without a license after a warrant was issued. His bond is set at $43 thousand dollars.

37 year old Hemal Rohit Dave of Okeechobee was arrested for drunk and disorderly and illegally possessing a Wal-Mart shopping cart. His bond is set at five hundred dollars.


News Cast 4/17

News Cast for April 17th:

Florida Highway Patrol officers are investigating an accident that killed an Okeechobee man and critically injured a Bartow man early Sunday morning. Officers say 22 year old Diego Vega was driving a Chrysler 300 sedan on the wrong side of the road near the 11 thousand block of Route 441 just after one o’clock when an oncoming driver, 43 year old Jerome Storie, could not avoid Vega’s car and they collided head on. Vega was pronounced dead at the scene. Storie was airlifted to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center in Ft. Pierce for treatment.

On Saturday, representatives from Indian River State College paid a visit to Flagler Park to showcase the programs they are offering as part of their Education Showcase. IRSC spokesperson Russ Brown says some of those programs include online programs, specialized training for businesses and more. Brown says the one program that got a lot of attention was financial aid. Brown says he had an idea for this program at the beginning of the school year for those people who cannot make it to the campus in person but also to better reach a target audience that they may have overlooked. Brown says it was a great success with many visitors, plus the great weather contributing to its success.

Brown 1

Brown 2

This past Thursday, the issue of abused children was brought to the attention of Okeechobee County Commissioners as they accepted a proclamation designating April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Members of Child Abuse Training Life and Enrichment, better known as CASTLE, a non-profit group dedicated to preventing child abuse, were on hand to accept the proclamation. Attorney Debra Hooker, member of the CASTLE board of directors, says they also teach better methods of parenting, one of those methods involves in home parent education. Okeechobee City Councilmembers accepted the same proclamation at their last meeting earlier this month.

Hooker 1

Hooker 2

An Okeechobee man is being charged with aggravated assault on his girlfriend after an incident Sunday night. Sheriff’s deputies say earlier in the day, 43 year old Danny Ray Austin and his girlfriend were having an argument when he started punching the walls of their home and broke the bedroom door. He then took out a knife and threw it at her, barely missing her. His girlfriend ran and deputies eventually arrived and found Austin had been drinking during the incident and he was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. His bond has not been set.

An Okeechobee man was charged on a host of offenses following an incident early Saturday morning. Police stopped motorcyclist 53 year old Travis Nathan Sampson for driving recklessly and running a red light at the intersection of Route 70 West and NW 6th Avenue just after 12:30. Sampson identified himself as “Toby Allen Sampson” to police when asked for his name. Police then checked his identification and discovered his real name. Police arrested and booked Sampson into county jail on charges of driving on a suspended license, driving without a motorcycle endorsement and giving a false name to a law officer. He also has previous charges on his record for drunk driving. He was released after posting a thousand dollar bond.

On the arrest report:

19 year old Gabrielle Doctor of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for pawning stolen items. She was released after posting a five thousand dollar bond.

46 year old Michelle Ann Egan of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on an expired license for over six months after a traffic stop. She was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

37 year old Daniel Nesby of Okeechobee was arrested for battery on his wife after a domestic dispute. He was released after posting bond.

33 year old Evans Lewis Anthony of Okeechobee was arrested for lewd and lascivious acts on a child. He was released after posting a $50 thousand dollar bond.

29 year old Alvin Eugene Crowell, Junior of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license and violating probation. He’s being held without bond.

49 year old James Rufus Vanover of Okeechobee was arrested by police for trespassing. He was released after posting a thousand dollar bond.

30 year old Jamie Milne Crawford of Okeechobee was arrested for drunk driving and failing a sobriety test after a traffic stop. She was released after posting bond


News Cast 4/16

News Cast for April 16th:

Fire Station Number One in Okeechobee County will be getting much needed work done to its roof. County Commissioners Thursday awarded the project to Palm Beach based Therma-Seal Roof Systems, LLC to re-roof the fire station which sustained heavy damage during Hurricane Irma last fall. Facility Maintenance and Development Director Donnie Oden says this new roof will not be a shingle roof like before. The work, which includes some paint finish, will cost just over $123 thousand dollars. Oden says once the contract is signed with Therma-Seal Roof Systems, the work should begin about 60 days thereafter.

Oden-Fire Station Roof

 

Representatives from the All Florida Junior Rodeo paid a visit to the Okeechobee County Commissioners meeting Thursday to ask for help in mitigating the rising costs of EMT services at their events. These events, featuring performers ages five through fourteen, require EMT’s to be there. Agri-Civic Center Manager Matt Dorriety says the cost of EMT services has gone from $675 dollars last year to $1,675 dollars this year. Dorriety says reps from the All Florida Junior Rodeo might look to Tourist Development Council for help. Dorriety says the All Florida Junior Rodeo has two major events a year, with their next one at the Agri-Civic Center next month.

Dorriety-Rodeo EMT Fees 1

Dorriety-Rodeo EMT Fees 2

The Okeechobee County School Board got a presentation from Okeechobee High School sophomore Dayton Buxton at their meeting last week about the Citrus Grove Project she is working on. Buxton says the groves, across the street from the school, are in need of serious renovation and restoration, specifically in the drainage area, in order to bring it back to production standards. Buxton says this project is completely personal and a labor of love to her. Buxton says they are looking for grants for funding of this project, which has been in decay for at least five years.

Buxton 1

Buxton 2

On the arrest report:

19 year old Camryn Rae Cashwell of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for shoplifting and possession of alcohol by a minor after she was seen at a convenience store placing items into her bag without paying for them, including a can of beer. Her bond has not been set.

38 year old Frederick Charles Holecek of Okeechobee was arrested for drug possession at a gas station after a warrant was placed on him for failure to appear in court on previous drug charges. He’s being held without bond.

28 year old Cory Ray Jenkins of Okeechobee was arrested for driving without a license for the second time after a traffic stop. He’s being held without bond.

38 year old Stacey LaFawn Tyson of Okeechobee, already in county jail on prior charges, was arrested and charged again for battery on his attorney. His bond is set at $55 hundred dollars.

23 year old Dillon Albert Muir of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license with knowledge of it. His bond is set at a thousand dollars.

56 year old Jennie Moore Anderson of Okeechobee was arrested for drunk driving after she was at fault in an accident. She was released after posting bond.


News Cast 4/13

News Cast for April 13th:

Okeechobee County Commissioners yesterday granted a request by Sheriff Noel Stephen to amend his budget in order to fund five new school resource officers to staff county schools as mandated by the state in the wake of the Parkland tragedy in February. Stephen says while the funding of the new SRO’s was necessary, there is more work to be done as it pertains to this bill passed by the senate.  Stephen says he and the commissioners and school board all recognized the necessity for the children of this community. The sheriff’s budget was amended to the tune of just over $380 thousand dollars for this fiscal year.

Stephen-SRO Budget Amendment 1

Stephen-SRO Budget Amendment 2

The Okeechobee County Historical Society will be getting some new funding for the Peter Raulerson Log Cabin restoration project. County commissioners yesterday approved the donation by the Centennial Committee their remaining funds from their centennial celebration to the restoration project. Sharie Turgeon of the Centennial Committee, which was put together almost two years ago to celebrate the town’s first 100 years, says this project was a great way to memorialize Okeechobee’s first centennial. The Centennial’s remaining funds, plus their original start-up funds of $10 thousand dollars, equals just over $16 thousand dollars to the Raulerson Log Cabin project, which is going through renovations before being open to the public. Commissioners also approved the Centennial’s donation of promotional items to the Historical Society.

Two Okeechobee men are in county jail on a host of drug charges after being stopped by narcotics officers Wednesday. Officers pursued and eventually stopped a car, driven by 32 year old Ruben Hernandez Junior on the 200 block of SE 126th Boulevard just after 3pm. Officers say they received information several times before that Hernandez and his partner, 46 year old Foye Eugene Crews were trafficking narcotics. Hernandez and Crews were ordered out of the car and a search turned up a napkin containing eighteen hydromorphone tablets, a bag of marijuana, a syringe and Adderall. Crews was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia and Hernandez was arrested for drug possession, paraphernalia and driving on a suspended license. Hernandez’s bond is set at $108 thousand dollars and Crews’ is set at six thousand dollars.

Okeechobee County firefighters had a brush fire to contend with Wednesday. Crews were called to the 22 hundred block of NW 128th Avenue just after five o’clock for a blaze that burned about one to two acres of heavy brush before crews got it controlled in about 45 minutes with no one getting hurt and no structure damages. Investigators say the fire burned mostly dead leaves and downed logs. The cause is being investigated.

The Science Olympiad team of Seminole Elementary School paid a visit to the Okeechobee County School Board meeting this week for some special recognition. Since December, Dr. Thelma Jackson, principal of Seminole Elementary, says they have been working on stem activities in an effort to get students more interested in the wonders of science, science technology, engineering and more. Dr. Jackson says the students got interested quickly in science as a whole. The Science Olympiad team, who got to work with doctors and nurses at Raulerson Hospital, will be participating in a state-wide competition in Orlando on April 21st.

Jackson 1

Jackson 2

Taylor Creek Bridge Improvements PR

On the arrest report:

63 year old Dewey Alton Lightsey of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for grand theft. He was released after posting a five thousand dollar bond.

40 year old Rita Maria Rios and 30 year old Xavier Torres-Ramos, both of Okeechobee, were arrested for possession of cocaine with intent to sell it near a place of worship. Their bonds are set at $110 thousand dollars apiece.

38 year old James Garfield Ball of Okeechobee was arrested for dealing in stolen property. His bond is set at $15 thousand dollars.

21 year old Tavares Whitehead Junior of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of cocaine with intent to sell it near a park. His bond is set at $150 thousand dollars.

27 year old Christian Trey Bockoras of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation. He’s being held without bond.

55 year old Trina Marion of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation. She’s being held without bond.


Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee Inducts Hall of Fame Class (Sound Included)

Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee Inducts Hall of Fame Class

(Sound Included)

2018 Inductees and family

2018 Hall of Fame Active Member pic

The Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee  inducted five members into it’s inaugural class on Thursday. April 12th in the fellowship hall of the Methodist Church. Active members Louis “Red” Larson, Jack Wolff and Don Kelly along with posthumous inductions for the late Dick Blair and Donna Enrico.  A progressive plaque was unveiled showing the Kiwanis logo along with name plates and induction year for each member. The club plans on adding members on an annual basis.

Dick Blair

Richard “Dick” Blair was raised in Painesville, Ohio. After marrying Marge in 1933, they operated a local restaurant called the “RichMar”.  He served in WWII with the Sea Bees in the Pacific Theater and, after the service, returned to Painesville where he owned a local restaurant.  He subsequently managed restaurants along the I90 interstate in Pennsylvania. In 1968, he and Marge moved to Okeechobee where he served as comptroller for Aid Labs for many years (Bernie Braz) and then worked in collections with Sun Bank before really retiring. Marge worked in the office at the “Boys School” for many years. He loved music and played trumpet in a small band in his younger years.  Dick sang in the choir at First United Methodist Church, was active in the Chamber, and loved his beautiful stag horned ferns. He was instrumental in organizing the Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast.

CLICK THIS LINK TO LISTEN TO MARGE BLAIR TALK ABOUT HER LATE FATHER’S INDUCTION TO THE KIWANIS CLUB OF OKEECHOBEE HALL OF HAME

CLICK THIS LINK TO LISTEN TO RIKKI BLAIR TALK ABOUT HER LATE FATHER’S INDUCTION TO THE KIWANIS CLUB OF OKEECHOBEE HALL OF HAME

Donna Enrico

Donna Gail Enrico was raised in Centralia, Ill. and move to Okeechobee in 1972 with her husband Jim Enrico when the family dairy farm was relocated here. Donna and Jim were very active in the community and especially athletics at the High School. They had four children, Tony, Paul, Myla, and Jon.  Jim was a Kiwanian where he served as program chairman, and was a huge supporter of OHS sports, serving as president of the OHS Athletic Booster Club for years and always attending his sons’ football games. After Jim’s passing, Donna became the first woman member of the Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee. Donna served on the School Board from 1980-2002, loved to play golf, and remained a member even after moving to Melbourne to care for her Mother. Donna Enrico, first female member of the Club and our Hall of Fame.

CLICK THIS LINK TO LISTEN TO TONY ENRICO TALK ABOUT HIS LATE MOTHER’S INDUCTION INTO THE KIWANIS CLUB OF OKEECHOBEE HALL OF FAME

Don Kelly 

Don Kelly was raised in Rochester, NY, graduated from Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State) and went to work on a ranch in Ohio. Tiring of the cold and snow, he moved to Florida in 1972 to manage Rocking K Ranch. He then  worked at Barnett Bank as an Ag Loan Officer, and just retired from Syfrett Ranch. Don has two sons, Tim and the late Charles, (3) grandchildren, and (4) great-grandchildren. Don is one of only two of our members who have been honored with the Hixson Award for outstanding service to the Club. He was the pancake batter and coffee man for the pancake breakfast for 27 years. Don Kelly, a quiet and “behind the scenes” member of our club.

CLICK THIS LINK TO LISTEN TO DON KELLY TALK ABOUT HIS INDUCTION INTO THE KIWANIS CLUB OF OKEECHOBEE HALL OF FAME

Jack Wolff

Jack Wolff is a charter member of the Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee from 1971. Jack is a native of Okeechobee and remains active in the club attending every meeting and event. For years, Jack donated the orange juice from his orange groves for the Kiwanis Club pancake breakfast.

CLICK THIS LINK TO LISTEN TO JACK WOLFF TALK ABOUT HIS INDUCTION INTO THE KIWANIS CLUB OF OKEECHOBEE HALL OF FAME

RED LARSON

Louis E. “Red” Larson was born in SD in 1924 and the family moved to Hollywood, FL in 1932. Red bought his 1st cow “Bess” in 1938 (14 years old) for $65. When WWII broke out, Red joined the Army Air Corps and became a pilot, flying B-26’s. After the war, Red had offers from commercial airlines, but wanted to follow his passion of dairy farming. He married Reda in 1947 and, with several different partners, began building his dairy business. They lived off of Reda’s salary from working in the banking industry and invested Red’s income into buying more cows. After selling their land in Davie, they moved to Delray, and then to Okeechobee in the late 60’s, becoming the largest family-owned dairy farm in the state of FL. Red joined Kiwanis in Davie in 1949, and then the Boynton Beach Club while in Delray. In 1971 Red was a charter member of the Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee. He held the position of Pres. in all three clubs.

Red is a member of the Agriculture Hall Fame for UF and the state of FL, has the Red Larson Dairy Science Building at UF named in his honor, has been named National and International Dairyman of the Year, and past member of the IRSC Foundation Board of Trustees (he still supports scholarships for first responders). Red is one of three Life Members of our Club.

Red is always quick to give credit for his success to his partners over the years, his family and many friends, and Kiwanis friends. Red says he is most proud of his family, daughters Kathy and Barbara, sons Woody and John and 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren (with 2 more on the way)!

Red Larson, charter member of the Club and of our Hall of Fame.

CLICK THIS LINK TO HEAR RED LARSON TALK ABOUT HIS INDUCTION INTO THE KIWANIS CLUB OF OKEECHOBEE HALL OF FAME


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