News Cast for March 7th:
Among arrests, 33 year old Damiana Cruz was charged with possession of controlled substances and introduction of contraband into the county jail, allegedly trying to bring in pills as a jail inmate she hadn’t been prescribed including oxycodone.
26 year old Eric Exantus was charged with possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. He’s accused of threatening two people with a handgun on North East 13th Avenue.
42 year old William Hair was charged with delivery of met amphetamine, drug paraphernalia and driving on a suspended license after traffic stop by the Okeechobee narcotics task force on North West 9th Street at 441.
Martin county deputies have a homicide to investigate in Booker Park near Indiantown. 18 year old Dylan McKelvey’s body was found by workers near the fire station on Wednesday. They did not release the cause of death.
Two Hendry county deputies were placed on administrative leave after they shot and killed a Labelle man late Wednesday on E Road. Witnesses told WINK News that the victim was seen holding a shotgun and saying he wouldn’t go to jail. Deputies say they pointed two guns at him. FDLE in Sebring is investigating.
Speckled Perch weekend has arrived. This year the Cattlemen’s Rodeo is back at the historic arena on 441 north. Rodeo announcer Jerry Todd on the WOKC morning show with Billy Dean said the Okeechobee rodeo is similar to the National Finals Rodeo. This year’s specialty act is the one armed bandit John Payne.
In the courts, 54 year old Don White of Buckhead Ridge received 20 days in jail and 11 months’ probation for two counts of battery, four charges were dropped or reduced in the plea deal. White was accused of felony battery and strangulation of an 83 year old elderly woman on Hunter Road in October of 2011.
Sports Cast for March 7th:
Okeechobee softball star Carisa LiCata says despite a so-so start by the team, she still thinks they can win the district title this year. She said there are new players on the team who are starting to jell together. She notes the team is much more dependent on situational hitting and defense this year with little homerun power, but that in a way that can be an advantage. LiCata has received a college scholarship to play for Florida Gulf coast University.
Rain washed away all of the sports action last night.
On the sports schedule tonight, boys’ baseball will travel to South Fork at 7 pm
OHS softball will host Jensen Beach at 7 pm.
JV Baseball will host South Fork at 6 pm.
Arrests for March 4th, 5th, and 6th
2 COUNTS-POSSESSION CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE W/O PRESCRIPTION
POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA WITH INTENT TO SELL
POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA
Christine Ericka Carter, age 24
2158 NW 38 Avenue
In custody-Bond to be set
POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA
Donald Matthew Ricks, age 38
650 NE 24 Avenue
In custody-$5,500.00 bond
Jacquelyn Joan Nolan, age 34
4870 Hwy 441 SE, Lot 3
In custody-$2,500.00 bond
POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA
OBSTRUCTION BY GIVING FALSE INFORMATION
RESISTING OFFICERS W/O VIOLENCE
William Leslie Thomas, age 49
1342 NW 42 Avenue
In custody-Bond to be set
POSSESSION OF CONTROLLD SUBSTANCE-BACLOFEN
INTRODUCTION CONTRABAND INTO CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
TWO COUNTS-POSSESSION PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION OUTSIDE PROPER CONTAINER
Damiana D. Cruz, age 43
3118 SE 37 Street
In custody-Bond to be set
DRIVING WHILE LICENSE SUSPENDED WITH KNOWLEDGE
POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA
William Padgett Hair, age 42
3450 NE 366 Trail
In custody-$6,000.00 bond
Eric Exantus, age 26
1291 NE 11 Street
In custody-Bond to be set
Steven Ryan Russo, age 18
3872 SE 12 Drive
In custody-$5,000.00 bond
Justin Wayne Cook, age 20
2053 E. Center Street
In custody-$25,000.00 bond
Governor Scott Presents Sergeant Stephen Gillman and Officers Sophia White, Jamie Fisher, and Timothy Smith with the “Medal of Heroism”
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – During today’s meeting of the Florida Cabinet, Governor Rick Scott recognized Sergeant Stephen Gillman and Officers Sophia White, Jamie Fisher, and Timothy Smith of Holmes Correctional Institution with the Medal of Heroism for their courageous actions. On August 18, 2013, an inmate abruptly attacked Sergeant Stephen Gillman during the noon meal at Holmes Correctional Institution in Bonifay. Officers White, Fisher, and Smith immediately responded to the assault as they observed Sergeant Gillman slashed in the head and back with a pick-style weapon by the inmate. The officers subdued the inmate and placed him in restraints.
The attack was a gang “hit” that had been put out on Sergeant Gillman because he identified a staff member for supplying tobacco and other contraband items to the inmates at the facility – resulting in the arrest of the employee.
Governor Scott said, “It is an honor for me to present the Medal of Heroism to these brave officers. Their quick response helped prevent other individuals from getting harmed. Not only did they demonstrate their dedication to service and their commitment to public safety, but also kept their fellow correctional officers and inmates safe.”
Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Michael Crews said, “The swift action taken by Sergeant Gillman and Officers White, Fisher and Smith is a testament to their devotion and shows they acted to come to the aid of one of their own and not give a second thought to their own personal safety. Their selfless actions saved the life of their colleague and the lives of inmates. I applaud the response of these officers and appreciate the Governor for recognizing them with this most-deserved Medal.”
The Medal of Heroism is given to any law enforcement or correctional officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician or paramedic who has distinguished himself or herself by risking his or her life deliberately above and beyond the call of duty and must have engaged in hazardous or perilous activities to preserve lives with the knowledge that such activities might result in great personal harm.
Dade City angler lands state record brown bullhead catfish
Dade City resident Richard Clinton now holds the record for catching the largest brown bullhead catfish on rod and reel in Florida waters, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
On Feb. 12, Clinton was crappie fishing with his cousin on Lake Iola, a privately owned lake in Pasco County. At 9:30 a.m., something big latched onto his live minnow in 32 feet of water. When the fish surfaced, they saw that it was a huge brown bullhead.
“I was surprised at how strong the fish pulled once I hooked it,” Clinton said. “It fought harder than a 7-pound bass I also caught.”
The astonished Clinton believed his fish weighed significantly more than the existing state record, so he contacted FWC freshwater fishery biologist Eric Johnson at the agency’s Lakeland regional office.
The next day, Johnson officially certified the fish as a new state record brown bullhead. The fish weighed 7.02 pounds and was 22.25 inches in length with a girth of 15.5 inches. Unbelievably, it was just a few ounces shy of the world record.
The previous state record was a 5.72-pound brown bullhead caught by Robert Bengis on Cedar Creek in Duval County in 1995.
Per FWC state record fish certification rules, fish must be legally caught using active hook-and-line methods by an angler with a valid Florida fishing license or who is exempt from license requirements. An FWC biologist must verify the species and weigh it on a certified scale.
“I knew I had a big fish,” Clinton said. “I’m glad I was recognized for catching a state record brown bullhead.”
Brown bullhead catfish are native to the eastern United States and are similar in appearance to the yellow bullhead. According to the International Game Fish Association, the world record brown bullhead is a 7-pound, 6-ounce fish that Glenn Collacuro caught from Mahopac Lake in New York on Aug. 1, 2009.
The FWC also recognizes anglers who catch a memorable-size fish by giving them a Big Catch certificate. These certificates are issued for 33 different species of freshwater fish and are subject to less stringent guidelines than for record fish, allowing anglers to be recognized if the fish’s weight or length exceeds minimum standards.
House Regulatory Affairs Committee Unanimously Supports Commissioner Putnam’s Proposal to Protect Children From Identity Theft
K.I.D.S. Act Now Ready for Passage by Full House and Senate
Tallahassee, FL – The House Regulatory Affairs Committee today unanimously passed the Keeping I.D. Safe (K.I.D.S.) Act, a priority of Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam to keep Florida’s children safe from identity theft.
“This state will become only the second in the country to offer protection to our children from the growing threat of identity theft,” said Commissioner Putnam. “The K.I.D.S. Act will give parents a first line of defense to keep their kids’ identities safe. I would like to thank Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen for her leadership and the House Regulatory Affairs Committee for passing this important bill.”
More than 50,000 children in Florida become victims of identity theft every year and more than $100,000 million is stolen every year from children whose identities have been compromised. The K.I.D.S. Act requires consumer reporting agencies to establish and freeze a credit record for a minor upon request by the parent or guardian. By enabling parents to freeze their children’s credit record, they can effectively block others from using it.
The K.I.D.S. Act is sponsored by Sen. Nancy Detert (S.B. 242) in the Senate and Rep. Fitzenhagen (H.B. 151) in the House. Several consumer groups attended today’s committee in support of the bill, including the Junior League of Florida, the Junior League of Tallahassee, the Florida Police Chiefs Association, the Florida Bankers Association, the Consumer Data Industry Association, Associated Industries of Florida, the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program and local credit unions. The legislation has been approved by House and Senate committees and is now waiting to be heard on the House and Senate floors.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com.
Big ‘O’ Birding Festival offers exclusive tours; event kicks off Sunday
South Florida’s Lake Okeechobee region offers some outstanding wildlife-viewing opportunities, judging by the fact the Big “O” Birding Festival is celebrating its 13th year. The counties southwest of Florida’s largest freshwater lake are known for their remarkable bird diversity and charismatic species like the snail kite and roseate spoonbill.
The festival agenda offers birders and other wildlife watchers rare opportunities to join tours on private ranches, as well as on Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) wildlife management areas and other public lands and attractions. There are dozens of different tours available during the four-day event.
“Because this festival is small and each bus tour is limited to 20 people, the small groups ensure outstanding wildlife viewing,” said the FWC’s Mark Kiser.
The Big “O” Birding Festival, March 9-13 in LaBelle and surrounding areas, is hosted by the Hendry County Tourism Development Council. Headlining the event is legendary birder Greg Miller. Because space is limited for bus tours, it is advisable to register now. To see what tours are available and to register, go to the festival’s website: BigOBirdingFestival.com. The registration form lists all of the available tours.
Once again, the festival has invited FWC staff to inform participants and lead tours. Presenter/field trip leader Kiser is a biological scientist with the FWC’s Public Access and Wildlife Viewing Services office; he is the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail (GFBWT) coordinator.
While the Big “O” Festival highlights Hendry and Glades counties, participants in the area can check out other GFBWT locations in the area during their stay.
“It’s not every day you can see lots of amazing birds breeding in one place at the same time,” Kiser said, citing one tour he co-leads for the festival. “We’ll observe Florida burrowing owls sharing a pasture with a herd of Brangus cattle, and besides these pint-sized predators, we’ll also see nesting crested caracaras, Florida sandhill cranes, swallow-tailed kites and bald eagles – a testimony to the host ranchers’ superb stewardship efforts.”
“The Big “O” region certainly does not disappoint, as more than 300 bird species have been recorded in the area,” Kiser said. “The FWC has many wildlife management areas there, and our Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail program offers nine locations in Hendry and Glades counties alone.”
To learn more about the Big “O” Birding Festival and other area opportunities, including lodging, go to BigOBirdingFestival.com.
For more information on the FWC’s statewide and year-round wildlife viewing opportunities, go to MyFWC.com/Viewing.
Florida Forest Service Okeechobee District
(Serving Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River, Okeechobee, Highlands & Glades Counties)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Yard Debris Burning: Know the Law
Imagine you are outside with a rake and a water hose burning a small pile of yard debris on a cool, crisp day. You hear the phone ring inside and decide to take the call, thinking it will only take a moment and that your fire seems to be under control. In that moment though, a gust of wind comes and turns that non-threatening yard debris fire into a menacing wildfire that engulfs both your yard and your neighbor’s yard too. The adjacent homes, including yours, are now threatened because of your wildfire.
Please help to protect your land, your home and your neighbor’s home from the threat of wildfire. Keep your good fire from turning into a bad fire by practicing these safe outdoor burning tips:
- Never leave a fire unattended, and make sure it is out before you leave
- Keep a shovel and water hose handy
- Don’t burn on windy days or when the humidity is below 35%
- Your fire must be contained to an 8 foot diameter pile or non-combustible barrel and must be at least 25 feet from forests, 25 feet from your house, 50 feet from a paved public road and 150 feet from other occupied buildings
- If your fire escapes, you may be held liable for suppression costs and damage to the property of others
- Burning yard debris does not require an authorization from the Florida Forest Service, but you should check with your local city, county or Florida Forest Service officials to see if there are any restrictions in your area
|Date||County||Wildfire Location||Wildfire Size||Wildfire Cause|
|3/3/2014||Okeechobee||70E to 128th Ave||0.2 acres||Debris Burning|
|3/3/2014||Okeechobee||5600 BLK of NW 128th Ave||25 acres||Under Investigation|
|3/4/2014||Highlands||13 miles SE of the City of Placid Lakes, FL||55 acres||Debris Burning|
|3/4/2014||Okeechobee||NE 224th St||1 acre||Debris Burning|
|3/5/2014||Okeechobee||NW 254th St. & PeeVine||8.1 acres||Debris Burning|
|3/5/2014||Highlands||Longwood Rd off; Guitar Dr & Kenilworth Rd||2 acres||Debris Burning|
News Cast for March 6th:
Among arrests, 30 year old Hardie Driggers of Lakeport was picked up by Glades Deputies on a warrant that charges him with aggravated battery and other charges. The alleged incident occurred last April 27th. The victim received 15 stitches to his lip.
45 year old Joseph Yates of Lakeport was charged with grand theft and trespassing allegedly stealing a culvert on Tomato Grade Road owned by south Florida water management district. The culvert was scrapped at an Okeechobee salvage yard.
24 year old Jimmy Roberts of Moore Haven was charged with assault and burglary to a vehicle after an alleged domestic complaint in the Burger King parking lot last week.
Okeechobee County has hired RMPK of Jupiter to write parks and recreation grants. This year they could be eligible for 160 thousand in grants to improve facilities like the sports complex and Okee Tantee. Parks and Recreation Director Albie Scroggins says he thinks the county has a good chance to receive some of these grants. The county should know if they receive grants in late summer or by the end of the year.
An estimated 55 thousand dollars in property damage was done in a structure fire at 4122 South East 28th Street on March 4th. Theresa Carter and her four children escaped the blaze unharmed. The cause was believed to be electrical. County and city firemen responded just after 2:30 pm. They were able to rescue a puppy from the fire. The American Red Cross came to the assistance of the family.
No name was released of a three year old boy who wandered away from his home in 46t Avenue Villas and drowned in a retention pond on Tuesday. Deputies and EMS tried CPR to no avail in the death.
Sports Cast for March 6th:
Sonya Smith has stepped down as girls’ soccer coach. The team had their best season in many seasons this year. She said the team really achieved this year with five matches and a pair of ties. She said it was a difficult to tell the girls. Smith intends to go back to college and earn a master’s degree in mathematics in her spare time leaving no time for coaching. She said the team really met their potential this year.
Boys’ basketball Coach Shawn Hays has also tendered his resignation after three seasons and a search is underway to find a replacement.
Girl’s tennis lost to Jensen Beach on Wednesday 6-1. The doubles team of Kayla Orr and Kearstin Dorrance defeated Jen Samander and Katherine Donsooh 8-4. The most competitive singles matches involved Rachel Williams who lost to Maddie Harvey 8-4 and April Hogenkamp who lost to Jensen’s Laura Samandey 8-3.
Boys’ tennis lost to Jensen Beach 5-2. Dylan Ferneau won the lone singles match for the Brahmans 8-2 over Greg King. The doubles team of Cody Walker and Colt Root defeated Ben Gordon/Mike DiSanti 8-5.
On the sports schedule today, Lady Brahman softball will host Westwood at 4:30 for JV and 7 pm for varsity. JV boys’ baseball hosts Sebring at 6 pm. OHS tennis will host John Carroll at 3:30 pm.
Governor Rick Scott: Flood Insurance Hike Delay “Right Thing for Floridians”
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Governor Rick Scott made the following statement today on the passage of legislation to delay unfair flood insurance hikes for Florida families:
“The House’s action on this flood insurance fix tonight is an important win in our fight to undo the unfair flood insurance rate hikes that are hurting Florida families.
“Our state is grateful for the work of US House Speaker John Boehner and the bi-partisan coalition for the passage of this legislation. Since 1978, Florida homeowners have paid $16 billion – nearly four times what we have received in claim payments.
“This legislation will help to ensure the long-term viability of the NFIP by establishing a reasonable glidepath to rate adequacy without causing undue harm to its real estate market and continuing economic recovery.”
Last week Governor Scott met with President Obama to ask him to use executive authority to delay the unfair flood insurance premium increases. Governor Scott called on President Obama in October and Senators Nelson and Rubio in September to address the increases set to take place as part of the National Flood Insurance Program.
MURPHY: MAJOR WIN FOR OUR LOCAL WATERWAYS
U.S. Representative Patrick E. Murphy (FL-18) announced the President’s budget request for fiscal year 2015 released today includes $66 million for the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Program, including up to $38 million to finish phase 1 of the C-44 Indian River Lagoon South project and begin phase 2. Once completed, C-44 will reduce the harm to the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon by providing water storage and treatment areas. Currently the first phase of C-44, the most vital component of the Indian River Lagoon South project, is under construction. Funding for this project to move forward into its next and most important phase is especially crucial and today’s commitment from the Administration marks the first funding for phase 2 of this critical project, allowing it to continue moving forward. (Click here to view the FY15 Civil Works budget).
“In the current ‘no spending’ climate, it is very difficult to get any funding–let alone the full amount requested for a project. Today’s announcement was no small feat for advocates on the Treasure Coast. The diligence and persistence from our community elevated our waterways to national importance and gave leaders from both parties in Congress and the White House an understanding of the importance of C-44 to our local environment and our economy. This major win for our local waterways speaks to our community’s strength and unity in bringing much-needed attention to the ecological crisis in our backyard. The level of funding in today’s budget shows the Administration is now making this issue a priority. I will continue the fight for our waterways as the budget moves through Congress. All levels of government must continue to work together to keep this project moving forward. To the River Warriors and other community activists, River Kidz and other area students, our local officials, and every single person who traveled to D.C. back in October to speak out on this issue: this is your victory. Thank you for making this all possible.”