Local News



Brian Sell

Okeechobee, Fla.—As you gather around the table with family and friends to share a meal and celebrate the holidays, the Florida Department of Health in Okeechobee reminds you to practice food safety to ensure a safe and healthy holiday season for everyone. Foodborne illnesses affect one in six people each year in the United States, but it is easily preventable.

Make sure food safety is at the top of your holiday list. – Tiffany L. Collins, Health Officer

The department recommends following these key steps to prevent foodborne illness during the holidays and year-round.

  • Do not prepare food for others if you have diarrhea or vomiting;
  • Keep your refrigerator below 40°F and refrigerate perishable items;
  • When transporting food to another location, keep it cold to minimize bacterial growth;
  • Pack food directly from the refrigerator into the cooler immediately before leaving home;
  • Make sure your cooking area is clean: wash hands, cutting boards, utensils and countertops often;
  • Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food;
  • Separate raw meats from other foods;
  • Use a food thermometer to ensure that foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature;
  • After everyone has enjoyed the meal, divide all remaining leftovers into smaller portions and store in shallow containers in the refrigerator within two hours of the meal;
  • Perishable food items that have been left out of the refrigerator for longer than two hours should be discarded; and
  • Reheat holiday leftovers to 165°F and allow dishes to sit for a few minutes afterwards so the heat can kill any bacteria.

For more information on how to keep your family safe from foodborne-illness this holiday season, visit http://www.foodsafety.gov/.

Charles Murphy News 12/5

News Cast for December 5th:

Illegal horse slaughter operations continue in South Florida much to the chagrin of the public. Animal rights advocates say horse meat trade in Florida is more common than many believe.

Congressional legislation has been proposed to give more protections to horses but have been stalled in Washington. Marty Irby with the Humane Society of the United States says horses are transported across state borders and the slaughter is animal cruelty. He says human consumption of horse meat is also dangerous.

The Safeguard American Food Exports Act continues to be debated in congress.

Cities from around South Florida approved the Lake Okeechobee regional compact at a meeting in Okeechobee last week.  The cities plan to create a comprehensive plan that addresses a number of environmental and economic challenges associated with discharges from Lake Okeechobee.

Some 164 cities are involved in the effort. Okeechobee city council will discuss the compact at the December 13th meeting.

Sports Cast for December 5th:

Brahman boys’ basketball split a pair of home games this weekend as they lost to Jensen Beach 63-62 on Friday and defeated Lake Worth Christian 90-27 on Saturday.

Baron Newland had 21 points including eight points in the fourth quarter as Jensen Beach rallied from a late six point deficit. He said his team never lost hope.


Shaquoy Ferrol had 26 points and J-quan Ferrol had 18 points and 15 rebounds for OHS.

Saturday the Brahmans blew out Lake Worth Christian as Demetrius Clark had 30 points.

Coach Demetre Riles says Friday’s loss taught his team a lesson. Shaquoy Ferrol and Tre Youmans both had 14 points for Okeechobee.


Lady brahman basketball lost to Lake Worth Christian 58-47.  Julia Smith had 13 points and Raeley Matthews had 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Defenders coach Micah McCoy said it was a big win for his tiny school.


Todays sports schedule

  • Girls basketball hosts Sebring, JV at 6, varsity to follow
  • Girls soccer hosts Port St. Lucie with JV at 4:30 and varsity to follow
  • Boys soccer visits South Fork at 6 pm
  • Boys basketball visits Fort Pierce Westwood with freshmen at 4, Jv at 4:30 and varsity at 7 pm.

Rooney on Trump’s National Security Nominations

Rooney on Trump’s National Security Nominations

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Tom Rooney (FL-17) issued the following statement after President-elect Donald Trump announced his nominations for Secretary of Defense, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Assistant to the President on National Security Affairs.

“Retired Marine Corps Retired General James Mattis, Congressman Mike Pompeo and Retired Army Lieutenant General Mike Flynn all have the best experience and expertise to lead our national security apparatus,” Rooney said. “I have had the privilege to work with all three of these men and these appointments should show the American people and those abroad how serious this administration is about rebuilding our military, defeating terrorism and keeping us safe. I look forward to working with each of them again in the next Congress.”

Rooney is a former member of the House Armed Services Committee and currently serves on the House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies. He is also serving in his fourth term on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats. Finally, Rooney served as a Captain in the Army JAG Corps in the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas and taught Constitutional and Criminal Law at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

The Florida Highway Patrol Hosts Local Career Fair

The Florida Highway Patrol Hosts Local Career Fair

~ The FHP is looking for you to join Florida’s finest ~

West Palm Beach, Fla. – The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) is actively recruiting across the state and, this week in West Palm Beach, will be hosting a career fair for individuals interested in pursuing a career with the FHP as a Florida State Trooper or Duty Officer. The Career Fair will assist potential applicants in processing and screening for the application process.

The minimum qualifications to join the FHP are as follows:

  • United States Citizen;
  • High School graduate or equivalent;
  • Minimum of 19 years old at time of application (no maximum age restriction);
  • Valid driver license; and
  • One of the following – one year of law enforcement experience (sworn or non-sworn); two years of public contact experience; two years of active continuous U.S. military service with an honorable discharge; completed 30 semester or 45-quarter hours of college credit from an accredited college or university.

Location and date of Career Fair:

12/06/2016      4pm – 8pm Lake Worth Communications Center – Florida Turnpike Mile Marker 94 The Communications Center is located south of the Service Plaza behind the Florida  Highway Patrol stations. Please park south of the Communications Center.

Interested applicants with additional questions may reach out to Sgt. Mellow Scheetz in FHP’s recruitment section at (850) 617-2336 or visit www.BeATrooper.com.

Charles Murphy News 12/2

News Cast for November 2nd:

Traffic crashes rose by 14 percent in Okeechobee and by 11 percent in Glades County last year according to the annual report from the State Department of Motor Vehicles and Highway Safety. Fatal crashes dropped from 9 to 6 in Okeechobee but rose from 3 to 14 in Glades County. Crashes with teen drivers also rose, there were no fatalities but teen driver accidents did cause 37 injuries in Okeechobee.  Glades had one teen fatality and 18 injuries. Alcohol related crashes rose slightly in Okeechobee last year. Okeechobee also had 10 crashes involving pedestrians and 12 involving bicyclists. Commercial vehicle crash rates also rose with 11 fatalities in Glades and two in Okeechobee.

Thursday was World Aids Day and Okeechobee has had 1 hundred and 44 cases of Aids since the first awareness of the disease.  86 people have died from the disease according to our county. There are currently 63 adult cases of the disease being treated in Okeechobee.  The vast majority were believed to be caused by some kind of sexual activity.

An injured bald eagle was rescued at the Okeechobee county landfill and is now at Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. An enginer at the landfill found the bird and alerted the rehab center.  He apparently was in some kind of territory fight with two other eagles. Arnolds says the eagle is on its way to recovery.

Among arrests, 32 year old Charles Scott was charged with sale and possession with intent to sell methamphetamine near a school.  He was held on 1 hundred thousand dollars bond.  The Okeechobee narcotics task force claims he sold 50 dollars worth of methamphetamines at a home near Everglades Elementary on June 30th.



Sports Cast for November 2nd:

Lady Brahman soccer fell at home to Jensen Beach 4-1 last night.  The girls are (4-4) on the season.

Coach Eric Swant says Okeechobee usually is mercy ruled by the  Falcons so this was a solid effort. Ashton English scored the Lady Brahman goal.  Alani Garcia had the assist.


Clewiston held off Osceola 21-17 in girls middle school basketball Thursday.  Cornijah Odoms had seven points and Zanaya Tallach pulled down 14 rebounds. Joy Whipple had eight points and Anya Koivunen had 19 rebounds for Osceola.

Lady Warriors coach Eric Phillips says his team got off to a slow start.


Clewiston blasted Osceola in boys hoops 53-12.  Demarcus Crawford had 25 points for Clewiston.  Braelon Pelt led Osceola with seven points.

  • OHS boys basketball home against Jensen Beach freshmen 4:30, JV 6, varsity 7:30 pm
  • Moore Haven boys basketball at FBA  4 pm
  • Moore Haven girls soccer at FBA  5 pm
  • Moore Haven girls basketball at FBA 5:30 pm
  • Moore Haven boys basketball at FBA  7 pm
  • Moore Haven boys soccer at FBA 7 pm
  • Saturday a basketball triple header
  • OHS JV boys basketball hosts Lake Worth Christian at 1 pm
  • OHS girls basketball hosts Lake Worth Christian, varsity 2:30 pm
  • OHS boys basketball hosts Lake Worth Christian 4 pm
  • OHS girls weight lifting at Treasure Coast 2 pm
  • OHS wrestling at Sebastian River tournament 9 am

Rooney Autism Amendment Passes with NDAA

Rooney Autism Amendment Passes with NDAA

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Tom Rooney (FL-17) successfully included a provision in the final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2017 that will provide critical health care services for military families that have children with autism. The House performed its most important constitutional obligation to provide for the common defense when it passed the 2017 NDAA today by a vote of 375-34.

Rooney’s provision restores access to care for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in military families by reversing reductions in TRICARE reimbursement rates for providers of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). In April, the Defense Health Agency (DHA) implemented cuts to ABA reimbursement rates for providers of ABA services across the country. These cuts were imposed despite indications from military families across the country that they were experiencing ABA provider shortages; and in some locations, families had no access to providers at all. Rooney’s provision to reverse the DHA’s policy received wide bipartisan support, and once enacted, will ensure that military children with ASD are be able to obtain the services they and their families need and deserve.

“Having a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder shouldn’t make it harder for you to serve in the military,” Rooney said. “This amendment is a commonsense adjustment to an ill-informed policy that never should have been changed in the first place. I am pleased that the final compromise bill included my provision to ensure that our service members and veterans are able to access basic health care services for their children.”

The bill includes $619 billion to fund national defense programs, including $5.8 billion for operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Europe. Additionally, the bill includes provisions to:

Gives troops a raise: The bill fully funds the 2.1% pay raise our troops are entitled to under the law while blocking the president’s ability to reduce troop pay.

  • Keeps terrorists in GITMO: Continues the prohibition preventing the president from transferring any Guantanamo Bay detainees to United States soil.
  • Helps close the readiness gap: The bill corrects budget shortfalls that have impaired readiness and risked our troops’ security and increases funding to restore necessary troop levels and training hours and to modernize our land and sea-based weapons systems critical to deterring threats to the homeland.
  • Preventing erroneous bonus repayments: The bill establishes a 10-year statute of limitations on the collection of debt from a service member who wasn’t at fault for an overpayment of special pay or other allowance.



~ DHSMV and partners committed to preventing impaired driving on Florida’s roadways ~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As part of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ (DHSMV) Holiday Travel campaign, throughout December, the DHSMV will focus on preventing impaired driving on Florida’s roadways. Across the state, the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) will be educating motorists on the dangers of impaired driving while aggressively patrolling the state’s roadways to ensure everyone makes it to their destination safely.

In December 2015, there were 550 drug and/or alcohol-related crashes in Florida, a four percent decrease in the amount of drug and/or alcohol-related crashes that occurred in December 2014. To further reduce impaired driving crashes, the DHSMV is partnering with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), AAA – The Auto Club Group, Florida Sheriffs Association and Florida Police Chiefs Association to educate motorists on the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

The public is encouraged to report impaired drivers by dialing *FHP (*347). For more information, real time traffic conditions and additional travel tips and information, visit: https://www.flhsmv.gov/holidaytravel.

Charles Murphy News 12/1

News Cast for December 1st:

A 20 year old Clewiston man, Johan Holder was arrested Tuesday for the homicide of 28 year old Anthony Holder in Harlem on November 22nd. Hendry county deputies say Holder was found lying in his backyard during a day of violence. 4 shootings were reported in the neighborhood.

The two en are not related.  The suspect faces first degree murder charges and is held without bond.

An accused killer plans to plead no contest to second degree murder charges in the shooting of 18 year old Dylan McKelvey in Indiantown on March 4th of 2 thousand 14.

TC Palm reports 28 year old Trayvon Jackson could serve fewer than 25 years under terms of the plea deal reached with the state.

A 24 year old Indiantown rancher is recovering from head and other injuries after being attacked by a bull in a pasture off the Martin Grade near Okeechobee Monday.

Justin White was thrown into a pond and trampled on his head and body.  He had a cell phone and was able to call 911.  Martin Deputies say they were forced to shoot the bull.

In the courts, charges of lewd and lascivious battery against a 12 year old child were dropped against 45 year old Jesse Goins of Okeechobee.  He was arrested in September.  The child claimed Goins had molested him over a one month period back in 2 thousand 8.

A three year prison sentence will be served by 26 year old Keelye Lockhart, charged with trafficking methamphetamines at the Okeechobee music festival last spring.  Deputies say they on foot patrols found a man smoking from a red pipe, investigated and found 38 grams of methamphetamines in a half gallon freezer bag.

Sports Cast for December 1st:

Okeechobee girls’ soccer defeated Lake Placid 4-2 as Ashton English had two goals. Coach Eric Swant still would like to see more effort from the girls.

Brahman wrestlers crush St. Lucie West last night 74-15. Austin Scee had a pin in the first round Lamar Williams won with a first round pin.  He says he has high hopes for this year

Justin Drawdy won by a technical fall early in the second round over Erik Martinez. He says he wanted to be aggressive.

The Brahmans also won the junior varsity match.

Girls basketball rallied from 11 points down at the half to defeat Moore Haven 54-50.  The Lady Brahmans defeated Sebring 61-31 on Monday.

On the schedule today

  • OHS girls soccer hosts Jensen Beach JV 5 pm, varsity 7 pm
  • Moore Haven boys basketball hosts SWFCA JV 4, varsity at 7 pm
  • Moore Haven girls soccer at ECS 7 pm
  • Osceola basketball hosts Clewiston 5/6:15 pm
  • Yearling basketball visits West Glades 4:30/5:45 pm

FWC releases videos to educate Floridians on how best to avoid conflicts with bears

FWC releases videos to educate Floridians on how best to avoid conflicts with bears

As part of a continuing effort to reduce conflicts with bears, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is releasing two new videos in the “Living with Florida Black Bears” series, designed to educate the public about how to safely coexist with bears in Florida.

The “Cause for a Call” video outlines when and how people can reduce conflicts with bears by taking simple steps such as securing trash and other attractants.

The “BearWise Communities” video describes how to make a neighborhood “BearWise.” BearWise communities work to coexist with bears. This video educates residents on when and how to report bear conflicts or sightings, and how to secure food items that attract bears to a neighborhood.

Unsecured trash and attractants, such as bird feeders, are the number one cause for bears coming into contact with people. This summer FWC researchers, in partnership with Dr. Joseph Clark, a leading black bear scientist, employed cutting-edge modeling to confirm that Florida’s robust black bear population is estimated to be over 4,000 bears. More bears in Florida means more chances for human-bear interaction, which can be dangerous.

The new videos are being added to the existing “Living with Florida Black Bears” series, which already includes the following videos:

  • How to Make Your Wildlife Feeders Bear-Resistant
  • How FWC Conducts Bear Population Estimates
  • A Day in the Life of a Florida Black Bear
  • How to Protect Pets and Livestock from Bears

The FWC plans to release more bear-related videos in the coming months. The short videos help meet the information needs of a busy public.

To view the “Living with Florida Black Bears” video series, visit MyFWC.com/Bear and click on “Brochures & Other Materials.”

In addition to educational efforts, the FWC is providing financial assistance to local communities so residents and businesses can take actions to reduce human-bear conflicts. To ensure Floridians have the resources necessary to properly secure their garbage, the FWC is currently working to distribute $825,000 to communities to become more BearWise by funding bear-resistant equipment and other methods to reduce conflicts. These efforts are in addition to our already robust Bear Management Program, which includes over 100 staff working year-round to educate people about bears and respond to human-bear conflicts. Read more at MyFWC.com/news and click on “News Releases,” “Oct. 2016” and scroll to “FWC receives 19 proposals…”

To learn how to become BearWise, visit MyFWC.com/Bear and click on “BearWise Communities” on the left side of the page.

Charles Murphy News 11/30

News Cast for November 30th:

Charges of grand theft in a cattle rustling case were dropped against 36-year-old Robert Lanier of Okeechobee in DeSoto County. He had been accused of stealing 18 calves from Hilliard Brothers of Florida Ranch in Clewiston back in June of 2 thousand 14 and with selling them at the Arcadia livestock market. He was released from custody November 22nd.

The Okeechobee wild fire risk is up due to the higher winds and a lack of rainfall. The Florida Forest Service encourages home owners to protect their home by keeping a buffer between the structure and vegetation. They also urge you to keep your plants moist and try to mow earlier in the day to avoid sparks.

Among arrests, 26 year old John Cassel of Sebring was charged with leading Highlands County deputies on a high speed chase from Avon Park to Lorida, after allegedly shoplifting some cigarettes and a drink from a convenience store.  The chase reached speeds of 90 miles per hour on Arbuckle Creek Road before it ended.  A K-9 unit chased after Cassel near the Lorida school house.  He also faces methamphetamine possession charges.

An Okeechobee K-9 did its job as it caught an alleged car burglar on South East 27th Street on Tuesday morning.  21 year old Jordan Price faces a felony charge.

50 year old Steven Price of Okeechobee was charged with aggravated assault, assault, resisting arrest, and battery after a confrontation with a  bouncer and bartenders at a Port Salerno Bar on Sunday night.  The suspect allegedly threw a drink in the bouncers face and then threw a 2 by 4 at him.

The Commission  Tuesday

  • Agreed to a 244 thousand dollar grant agreement to help fund the Towns of Okeechobee low income housing project.  The near 5 million dollar rental project catering to younger families.  The project would build a 26 unit, three bedroom town houses.
  • Approved the replacement of two chillers at the county jail for 194 thousand dollars plus.
  • Discussed whether to hire a county engineer to save money on engineering costs.

Sports Cast for November 30th:

Okeechobee boys’ basketball beat Martin County 91-86 in double overtime Tuesday night

Demetrius Clark had 31 and Shack Ferrol had 28.

Stephon Noel had 26 points (15 in the third quarter) for Martin County. Clark says he was proud to be apart of this big win

Okeechobee overcame a 10 point deficit in the first quarter with a 16-2 run of their own.

Martin County rallied from 12 down in the second half. Free throws by Clark, Bubba Fludd and Ferrol the win for the Brahmans. Coach Demetre Riles says this is a quality win for his program.

Yearling girls basketball used stingy defense to defeat Clewiston Tuesday 25-9. Jasmine Shanks had 11 points and eight steals. She said it was a good start against a quality team


Osceola basketball defeated LaBelle.

On the sports schedule today

  • OHS wrestling hosts Centennial at 6 pm
  • OHS girls weight lifting at Ft. Pierce Central 2 pm
  • OHS girls basketball at Moore haven 6 pm
  • PECS basketball hosts Moore Haven Middle 4:30/5:45 pm

Next Page »