Local News

Senator Denise Grimsley Announces November Mobile Office Hours

Senator Denise Grimsley Announces November Mobile Office Hours

Lake Wales — Senator Denise Grimsley’s (R-Sebring) staff will hold “mobile office hours” during the month of November to assist constituents with state agency concerns and to gather public input on legislative issues.

“Our office is on the road to provide services in person for those who need help,” said Senator Grimsley.

The following are the mobile office hours for Senate District 21:

Polk County Mobile Office hours

Wednesday, November 16th

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Mulberry Public Library
1st Floor, Civic Center
905 NE 5th Street
Mulberry, FL  33860

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Bartow Public Library
2150 S. Broadway Ave.
Bartow, FL  33830

1:15 p.m.  – 2:15 p.m.
Fort Meade Community Center
10 SW 3rd Street
Fort Meade, FL  33841

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Latt Maxcy Memorial Library
15 North Magnolia Ave.
Frostproof, FL  33843

Okeechobee County Mobile Office hours

Monday, November 21st
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Okeechobee Chamber of Commerce
55 South Parrott Ave.
Okeechobee, FL  34974

Senator Grimsley, Deputy Majority Leader for the 2014-2016 legislative term and represents Senate District 21, which consists of Okeechobee, and parts of Highlands, Martin, Osceola, Polk, and St. Lucie counties. Senator Grimsley served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2004-2012 and was elected to the Senate in 2012.



~ Florida Highway Patrol welcomes 48 new Troopers to the road ~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, the 134th basic recruit class of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) graduated from the FHP Training Academy. These 48 new troopers join the more than 1,900 troopers who patrol Florida’s roads each day to provide safety and security to residents and visitors.

The FHP is currently recruiting. Those looking for an exciting career in law enforcement have endless possibilities within the ranks of the Patrol.  From Pensacola to the Florida Keys, FHP allows you to make a career where you call home. Opportunities and openings are statewide.  FHP is now hiring for the 136th basic recruit class starting February 2017. To learn more about Florida’s finest, visit www.BeATrooper.com or contact FHP’s Recruitment Office at 850-617-2307. Get connected with the FHP Training Academy via Facebook (Florida Highway Patrol Training Academy) or Instagram (@FHP_Recruiting).

Charles Murphy News 10/21

News Cast for October 21st:

The city planning board approved the addition of mental health treatment to a local alcohol and detox center located at 608 North East 2nd Avenue. The facility operated by South Florida Drug Detox has 32 beds.  It will now be allowed to keep patients as long as 60 days for treatment. The board did raise some concerns about security of the facility.  The clients enter the program voluntarily and are not allowed to have vehicles and can’t leave the facility without supervision.

IN the courts, 25 year old Gladys Perez pled no contest to possessing 25 pounds of marijuana in a vehicle stopped on the Florida turnpike in Okeechobee County on May 13th of 2 thousand 15.

Prosecutors dropped a charge of drug trafficking and reduced it to possession with intent to sell. Perez received one year in jail and two years’ probation. Earlier, her codefendant, 29-year-old Thomas Maldonado received three years in prison.

the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its 12th opportunity in six years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.    You can bring your pills for disposal to Flagler Park on Saturday from 8 am until noon.  (The DEA cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches.)  The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

These pills often play roles in accidental overdoses and poisonings.  Last year alone 4 hundred and 47 tons of pills were turned in in the US.

Sports Cast for October 21st:

The Brahman homecoming game has high stakes this year.

Okeechobee and Eau Gallie could be playing for the runner up spot in the district tonight. Okeechobee is 5-1 and Eau Gallie is 5-2 this season. The Commodores present a balanced offense with nearly 1 thousand yards in both passing and receiving this year. Brahman coach Chris Branham said he won’t be satisfied until his team’s plays their best game.


Glades Central defeated Seminole Ridge 41-30 last night to improve to 6-2 on the season. Demetrius Martin had four rushing touchdowns.

On the sports schedule


  • Pahokee football at Fort Meade Miners 7 pm
  • West Oaks Academy at Glades Day Gators 7 pm
  • Seminole Ridge football at Glades Central 7 pm
  • Clewiston football hosts Fort Myers 7:30 pm
  • Moore Haven football idle
  • Okeechobee football hosts Eau Gallie 7 pm


  • Glades Day volleyball district tournament continues
  • Cross country districts.

Charles Murphy News 10/20

News Cast for October 20th:

The S-193 lock at Taylor Creek will be reopened on October 27th after being closed for nearly a month due to repairs.

In the courts, 45 year old Javier Gomez Soto was sentenced to time served, 2 2 months in jail, after he pled no contest to felony battery.  He had been accused of sexual battery on a child under 12 in November of 2014.  That charge was no prossed.  The dairy worker was accused of molesting the child between 10 and 15 times over the period of one year.

A winning fantasy 5 ticket in Okeechobee last night, sold at Publix, the winning numbers 1, 7, 9, 12 and 16.

The three candidates for property appraiser debated whether the tax assessments in this county were accurate at a political forum earlier this week.

Sharon Wallace says more technology, and better training will verify that all taxpayers will pay their fair share.

Mickey Bandi says agriculture exemptions have been controversial but the office follows the law.

Steve Cates says improvements can be made in exemptions and he’d like reassessments every three years.

The election is Tuesday, November 8th.

Sports Cast for October 20th:

The boys swim team finished 8th at the district meet in Stuart. Martin County was the boy’s champion.

The Lady Brahmans were in 7th place.  Martin County was the team champion for girls.

Girls’ volleyball season is over as they lost in three straight to South Fork in the district semifinals for the second straight year, 25-20, 25-18, and 25-23.   Okeechobee ends the season 16-11.

Daniel Fulleda shot 84 in the regional golf meet and did not qualify for the state finals this year.

On the sports schedule tonight

  • Okeechobee JV football at Clewiston  7 pm
  • Moore Haven middle school football at Jupiter Christian 4 pm

The Homecoming parade, pep rally and bonfire are also held this evening.

Chad Williams returns to defend his offensive player of the year award for Yearling Middle School this year. He said although the Bulls won only one game last year, he enjoyed the season and winning this award.

County Fire Chief urges residents to remove Hurricane Shutters from their homes.

County Fire Chief urges residents to remove Hurricane Shutters from their homes.

Okeechobee County Fire Chief Ralph Franklin is urging residents to remove the hurricane shutter materials they installed for Hurricane Matthew from their homes.

Many residents during the recent threat of Hurricane Matthew installed various types of coverings over their windows to protect the home from wind and flying debris damage. However, leaving these up after the storm threat has passed, may create the inability to escape your home in the event of a fire.

Chief Franklin states that ‘these barriers used to prevent damage, can prevent you from escaping your home in the event of a fire, especially from the sleeping areas. Additionally, these also create a barrier to firefighters that may prevent or slow entry into the home in the event of a fire”.

Chief Franklin also states, “We are very appreciative of the fact that our citizen’s listen to local official about Hurricane Matthew and that they took protective actions to protect themselves and their homes. However, now that the storm has passed, it is highly encouraged that you remove the protective materials from your home in the interest of fire safety”.

For more information contact Okeechobee County Fire Rescue at 763-5544 from 8am – 5pm, Monday – Friday.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

On Saturday, October 22, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its 12th opportunity in six years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Bring your pills for disposal to Flagler Park. (The DEA cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches.) The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Last April, Americans turned in 447 tons (over 893,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at almost
5,400 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,200 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 11 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over
6.4 million pounds- about 3,200 tons-of pills.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines-flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash-both pose potential safety and health hazards.

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the October 22 Take
Back Day event, go to the DEA Diversion website or okeesheriff.com.



Registration for the 2017 Spring Semester begins November 1 at all Indian River State College campuses.  The priority admissions deadline for the Spring Semester is November 21.  Students should submit official transcripts, complete New Student Orientation, and the Initial Advising Session.  Classes begin Monday, January 9 at IRSC’s five local campuses and online.

Anyone interested in attending college should apply for financial aid early by completing the Federal Application for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA).  Over 70% of new students at IRSC receive financial aid they don’t have to pay back.

IRSC will hold free Finding Cash for College workshops during the week of November 14 at 6:30 p.m. at all Treasure Coast campuses.  The workshops will be held on Monday, November 14 at the Treasure Coast Public Safety Training Complex in Fort Pierce and Dixon Hendry Campus in Okeechobee; Tuesday, November 15 at the Mueller Campus in Vero Beach; Wednesday, November 16 at the Pruitt Campus in Port St. Lucie and Thursday, November 17 at the Chastain Campus in Stuart.

High school seniors and area residents interested in attending IRSC for the 2017-2018 school year that begins in August 2017 can begin applying for scholarships through the IRSC Foundation on November 1.  Hundreds of different scholarships are available.  In addition, IRSC students who plan to graduate in May, June or August 2017 with plans to continue their education at a university may be eligible for transfer scholarships.  For more information call 772-462-4786 or visit www.irscfoundation.org.

IRSC is recognized statewide and nationally for quality, affordability and convenience and was recently selected as a Top Ten National Finalist for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.  The College is accredited by the prestigious Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, with transferability of course credits to other colleges and universities around the state and nation.  A quality education is ensured with small classes and personal attention from teachers and academic advisors.  IRSC is ranked as the 3rd most affordable college in the country by the U.S. Department of Education and provides easy accessibility with five campuses, community outreach locations and online courses.  IRSC offers over 100 programs including Quick Job Training, Associate Degrees and Bachelor’s Degrees designed to prepare students for good jobs and career advancement.

IRSC campuses are within a 20 minute drive for all Treasure Coast residents, including the Main Campus, 3209 Virginia Avenue, Fort Pierce; Chastain Campus, 2400 S.E. Salerno Road, Stuart; Dixon Hendry Campus, 2229 N.W. 9th Avenue, Okeechobee; Mueller Campus, 6155 College Lane, Vero Beach; and Pruitt Campus, 500 N.W. California Blvd., Port St. Lucie.

For more information, visit www.irsc.edu or call 1-866-792-4772.

Charles Murphy News 10/19

News Cast for October 19th:

The two candidates for Okeechobee Sheriff spoke about jail overcrowding, budgets, qualifications, training and their vision for the future at a political forum on Monday. Under Sheriff Noel Stephen says he has the qualifications to be the Sheriff.


Michael Hazellief says he wants more transparency, strategic planning and more training for deputies.


Fiscal responsibility and finding ways to reduce the costs of the county jail were other key topics at the forum.

Okeechobee city council approved rezoning of over 3 acres at 150 North East 13th Avenue for a new 71 thousand square foot medical office complex.

They also approved a 6 month moratorium on medical marijuana businesses in the event voters approve a constitutional amendment next month legalizing marijuana sales.  This gives the city time to enact new regulations on the sale of the narcotic.

Sports Cast for October 19th:

Okeechobee volleyball defeated Heritage in three games last night in the opening round of districts. Tonight they travel to Eau Gallie to take on nemesis South Fork who eliminated them last year. Andee Garcia says the Lady Brahmans really wanted to get further than they did last year when they lost in the district semifinals.

OHS bowlers lost to Jensen Beach yesterday.

The OYFL Mighty Mites lost in the first round of playoffs to Lake Placid 12-6 giving up a touchdown on the final play of the game.

The OYFL juniors will host a playoff game on Saturday against Sebring.

On the sports schedule today:

  • Port St. Lucie bowling at Okeechobee 3:30 pm
  • OHS volleyball tournament at Eau Gallie
  • OHS swimming districts at Sailfish Splash

Screwworm Detected on Additional Florida Keys

Screwworm Detected on Additional Florida Keys

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.–Following the first announcement on Oct. 3, 2016 of the confirmation of New World screwworms in Big Pine Key, Florida, the United States Department of Agriculture and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services today announced that the screwworm has also been detected on the keys listed below, which are all west of Big Pine and No Name keys and in close proximity. Additional detections are not unexpected, as enhanced surveillance efforts are underway.

  • Big Torch Key: adult screwworm flies detected.
  • Middle Torch Key: adult screwworm flies detected.
  • Little Torch Key: adult screwworm flies detected.
  • Cudjoe: adult screwworm flies detected.
  • Ramrod: adult screwworm flies detected.
  • Summerland: adult screwworm flies detected and screwworm-infested Key deer observed.

New World screwworms are fly larvae (maggots) that can infest livestock and other warm-blooded animals, including, in rare cases, people. They most often enter an animal through an open wound and feed on the animal’s living flesh.

This is the first local infestation in the United States in more than 30 years. On Oct. 3, 2016,

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam declared an agricultural state of emergency in Monroe County, Florida, which can be accessed here.

Eradication efforts include:

  • An Animal Health Check Point at Mile Marker 106 in Key Largo. This animal health checkpoint is a crucial part of ensuring animal health and protecting Florida from the spread of this pest. All animals are briefly checked to ensure they do not have screwworm. Early detection of screwworms can be successfully treated in pets and livestock. Eight-hundred-eighty-three animals have been checked to date, and none has been positive for screwworm;
  • The release of sterile flies, a scientifically proven method to achieve screwworm eradication, began on Tuesday, Oct. 11;
  • The USDA continues to increase production and evaluate additional sites for release;
  • Enhanced surveillance to determine the scope of the screwworm infestation; and
  • Extensive public outreach in order to engage the public in early detection of the screwworm.

Residents who have warm-blooded animals (pets, livestock, etc.) should watch their animals carefully and seek veterinary care for open wounds, then report any potential cases to 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352) or non-Florida residents should call (850) 410-3800.

Medicare Open Enrollment Begins October 15th

Need Help Figuring It Out? Attend our Free Medicare Enrollment Event in Okeechobee October 28th

[OKEECHOBEE] – Many people, including those new to Medicare, are uncertain about their Medicare options and the processes for enrollment. Medicare’s Annual Election Period is October 15 through December 7 and the local Area Agency on Aging has a specific program through the Florida Department of Elder Affairs to help seniors understand their options and make the best choice for them.

The program, called SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) has trained volunteers to give free and unbiased Medicare counseling to Florida’s seniors. Our program provides educational presentations, informational materials, and an opportunity to speak one-on-one with a trained Medicare counselor.

We are encouraging Medicare beneficiaries to make a plan—review your costs and coverage and take the necessary steps to ensure your healthcare needs are met in 2017. Medicare beneficiaries are faced with an overwhelming array of healthcare choices and may need guidance on Medicare issues, supplemental policies, prescription resources, and advantage plans. In Okeechobee County over 7,500 (over 22 percent) are Medicare beneficiaries; SHINE is a vital resource.

SHINE has a special opportunity to assist all Medicare beneficiaries during the Medicare Annual Election Period to compare and, if necessary, enroll in Medicare health or prescription drug plans. We are hosting a Medicare Annual Election Enrollment event where individuals may receive in-person assistance and get more information about the Annual Election Period. The event will take place on Friday, October 28th at Okeechobee Senior Services, 1690 NW 9th Ave, Okeechobee, FL 34972, from noon to 3pm. To get an hour appointment with a SHINE counselor please call 1-866-684-5885.

Interested individuals are invited to visit our website at www.FloridaSHINE.org for a listing of other local events.

Call the Area Agency on Aging’s Helpline toll-free at 1-866-684-5885 and ask to make an appointment with a certified SHINE counselor. Appointments for the Annual Election Period can be scheduled as early as October 1st.”

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