Local News

Commissioner Putnam Highlights Florida’s Forest Owners During National Arbor Day

Commissioner Putnam Highlights Florida’s Forest Owners During National Arbor Day

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In honor of National Arbor Day, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam celebrates Florida’s forest owners for their commitment to healthy forests and water resources. In a recent survey conducted by the Florida Forest Service, forest owners demonstrated 99 percent compliance with Florida’s Silviculture Best Management Practices, a program directed at maintaining water quality during forestry activities.

“Florida’s forest owners have a proven track record of responsible forest management,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “National Arbor Day is the perfect time to applaud forest owners for keeping Florida’s forests and water resources healthy while providing renewable resources.”

Trees help filter sediment and absorb nutrients from stormwater runoff before it enters streams, lakes and other water bodies. Recognizing the important link between healthy forests and water quality, Florida’s forest owners have dedicated themselves to maintaining a healthy balance between overall natural resource protection and forest resource use through the implementation of Florida’s Silviculture Best Management Practices.

“The 2015 Silviculture Best Management Practices Implementation Survey reported a high level of commitment to responsible forestry practices in Florida, which is a tribute to the quality of forest landowners, operators and professional foresters that make up the state’s forestry community,” said Jim Karels, Florida State Forester.

To view the 2015 Silviculture Best Management Practices Implementation Survey Report in its entirety, or to learn more about how Florida’s forest owners are protecting water quality and natural resources in Florida, visit FreshFromFlorida.com/BMP.

For more information about National Arbor Day, visit www.Arborday.org. To enroll a forest in Florida’s voluntary Wildlife Best Management program, visit http://bit.ly/1CCcmkK.

The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than one million acres of public forest land while protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire on more than 26 million acres. To learn more about Florida Forest Service programs, visit FloridaForestService.com

For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit FreshFromFlorida.com

Charles Murphy News 4/28

News Cast for April 28th:

Jarvirus Bradford of Clewiston was arrested in Lakeport by US Marshalls assisted by Glades county deputies

Jarvirus Bradford of Clewiston was arrested in Lakeport by US Marshalls assisted by Glades county deputies

Testimony ended with videotaped statements made by the principals charged in the William Curry murder Wednesday. Closing arguments and jury deliberations are scheduled this morning. Terrance Spivey is facing life in prison if convicted.  He disavowed all knowledge of the crime in his statement, only to later admit he went to the victim’s apartment to purchase flakka for half the price. Firearms experts traced the handgun to the bullets fired and a coroner testified Curry died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Prosecutors added a charge of attempted second degree murder against 27 year old Jeffery Courtney for a June 10th incident he allegedly fired a 38 caliber pistol toward the head of James Haywood at Dockside RV Park.  Deputies say the motive was a 60 dollar loan.

Among arrests, 73 year old Charles Martin was charged with sale and possession with intent to sell hydromorphone and held on 1 hundred thousand dollars bond in an Okeechobee Narcotics Task Force Operation.

An Okeechobee couple were charged with aggravated child abuse for allegedly whipping a 17-year-old girl with a computer power cord.  The 17 year old had 10 large wounds on her body according to city police.  The child said she lives with the local family but is not related and is made to do the dishes, clean the home, do laundry, and do the cooking and treated like a slave. 40-year-old Tisha Edouard and 35-year-old Leon Edouard have 10 children.

Work has begun to celebrate the county centennial in 2 thousand 17.  A recent workshop brought out public suggestions for the celebration.

Retired Judge and historian Bill Hendry said everyone should celebrate.

Hendry 1

Hendry 2

Historical society president Maggie Cable said the street part and gala will likely be tweaked for the county.

Cable 1

Cable 2


IR Fatal 4-27-16 CR-512 and 104 Ave Hit and Run

Highlands County Injury Crash

04 25 2015 Press News Release Death Investigation UPDATE

Sports Cast for April 28th:

IMG_1916The boys 4 by 800-meter relay team at Okeechobee High qualified for regional today at Miami Northwestern High. The team consists of Daniel Shelley, Hunter Sills, Gerardo Saucedo and Alex Hackett. Saucedo is confident the team will do well.

Saucedo 1

Alex Hackett, a sophomore, just joined the track team this year.  He said the older runners have really helped him out.

Hackett 1

Sills said he’s gotten a lot of support from the student body.  He said the team pushes each other and knows that they can run a good race.

Sills 1

The Moore Haven track team also had several qualifiers, there meet is today at Dade Christian High School.

Charles Murphy News 4/27

News Cast for April 27th:

Testimony took all of Tuesday in the Terrance Spivey murder trial. He and two others were charged in 2 thousand 14 with trying to rob and then shooting to death 39-year-old William Curry at Nabs Apartments in Douglas Park. Spivey faces life in prison if convicted this week of first degree murder, armed robbery and other charges. His codefendants, Travis Spencer, and Latisha McBride have already been convicted.  Spencer received three life terms and McBride 22 years in prison. Jurors poured over 120 plus crime scene photos Tuesday afternoon.

An Okeechobee man on a fishing trip disappeared Monday in the Fort Drum area.  36-year-old Billy Herrin was the subject of a massive five-mile search over the past 48 hours around the 57 hundred block of North East 304th Street.

Two teens were charged after shooting a rifle near school.  Yearling Middle School and Peace Lutheran Church both were on lockdown Monday after 8 rifle shots were fired.  Construction workers were also close to the rifle fire.  The teens were charged with illegal discharge of a firearm in public.

Living history was celebrated at the Basinger cemetery this month for Confederate Memorial Day. Evergreen and Fort Drum cemeteries were also visited. 9 Confederate soldiers and 1 union solder are buried in Okeechobee. Commander Jim Odell of the Sons of Confederate Veterans says they try to preserve history with battle re-enactments and programs for schools. Local historian Dowling Watford says one Fort Drum veteran Abner Wright survived several major battles in Virginia during the war and later served the United States. Henry Parker’s grave was only recently discovered in Fort Drum.  He ran a trading post in Fort Drum.

Sports Cast for April 27th:

Daniel Shelley won the district championship in the one mile, or 16 hundred meters last week. He’ll represent Okeechobee tomorrow at the regional meet at Miami North Western.

Shelley injured his ankle last week but still was able to win the race. Shelley said some disappointment he felt after the cross country season helped him to work even harder for spring track.

RBI singles by Alina Dixon and Alyssa Rano in the bottom of the seventh inning led Admiral Farragut to a 2-1 victory over Moore Haven in the Class 3A softball regional semifinals yesterday in St. Petersburg.  All of the runs came with 2 out.  Moore Haven had eliminated Admiral Farragut last year to reach the Final 4.

South Fork defeated Dwyer 8-0 in Class 7A softball last night.

Commissioner Putnam Celebrates Florida Agriculture Literacy Day

Commissioner Putnam Celebrates Florida Agriculture Literacy Day

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam recognized the 13th annual Florida Agriculture Literacy Day today at the meeting of the Governor and Cabinet. Florida Agriculture Literacy Day is sponsored by Florida Agriculture in the Classroom Inc. (FAITC), a nonprofit organization that trains teachers and agriculture industry volunteers to educate students on the importance of agriculture.

“Florida Ag Literacy Day is a fun and entertaining way to bring agriculture into the classroom,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “It’s important to educate Florida’s next generation on where our food comes from and how important the agriculture industry is to all of us.”

This year’s Ag Literacy book, Drive Through Florida: Vegetables, is the second book in a new series of non-fiction books and highlights Florida’s robust vegetable industry. The book is geared toward children in kindergarten through fifth grade. Books and materials will be provided to readers for free thanks to FAITC which is funded by sales of the license plate known as the “Ag Tag,” and a donation from the Florida Farm Bureau’s Women’s Committee.

The annual reading event is made possible by volunteer readers including Florida farmers, growers, ranchers, Florida Farm Bureau members, Florida Cattlemen and Cattlewomen members, FFA students and teachers, 4-H students and teachers, and University of Florida IFAS extension agents and master gardeners. More than 1,600 volunteer readers will read in 3,000 elementary classrooms to more than 70,000 students.

For more information on Ag Literacy Day and Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, please visit FlAgintheClassroom.com. For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit FreshFromFlorida.com.

Attempt to Locate


DOB:  01/29/80; 6’2”; 260 LBS.


OKEECHOBEE, FL  (Osceola County)


On April 25, 2016 the above subject was reported missing. He was last seen on Friday, April 22, 2016, in the 5700 block of NE 304 Street, Okeechobee County. Friends had dropped him off in the area to go fishing.

Based on information that Billy was in Okeechobee County when last seen, deputies utilized all terrain vehicles and the Sheriff’s Office Posse Unit to search the area all day on Monday, April 25, 2016, through the evening hours. On Tuesday, April 26, the search was resumed with additional resources from St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Wildlife Commission. At this time there is no reason to believe there was foul play involved in his disappearance, however Mr. Herrin has not been located. Mr. Herrin is a registered sex offender in Osceola County, Florida.

If you have any information regarding Mr. Herrin’s whereabouts, you are urged to contact Detective Ted Van Deman at (863)763-3117, ext. 5104, case #16S09657.


Michele Bell, PIO

Changes to alligator hunt application process

Changes to alligator hunt application process

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will soon be accepting applications for a chance to participate in its annual recreational alligator hunting season, which always runs Aug. 15 – Nov. 1. But there are some changes to the application process that hunters need to know.

The application period for the Phase I random drawing begins May 6 at 10 a.m. and runs through May 16. More than 5,000 alligator harvest permits will be available.

Hunters can submit their application with choices of up to 20 hunt areas and periods. A permit allows the harvest of two alligators on a designated harvest unit or in a county. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age by Aug. 15 and have a valid credit or debit card.

Applications may be submitted at any county tax collector’s office, license agent (most retail outlets that sell hunting and fishing supplies) and at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com. Applicants must provide their credit card information when they apply. This is a change to the process from previous years. There is also a cancellation feature, which allows applicants to update their hunt choices or credit card information.

Within three days of an application period closing, applicants should see an authorization on their credit card verifying there is a sufficient balance to cover the cost of the permit, however, this does not mean they were awarded a permit. Once the credit card authorization process is complete, the lottery drawing will be held. All successful applicants will be charged, while those who were unsuccessful will have the authorizations lifted from their credit cards.

Cost for the alligator trapping license/harvest permit and two hide validation CITES tags is $271.50 for Florida residents, $21.50 for those with a Florida Resident Persons with Disabilities Hunting and Fishing License, and $1,021.50 for nonresidents. The cost for applicants who already have an alligator trapping license is $61.50.

Any permits remaining after the first phase will be offered during the Phase II random drawing. Applications for Phase II can be submitted May 20-30. Those who were awarded a permit in Phase I may not apply during Phase II.

Remaining permits will be available in Phase III to anyone who did not draw a permit in either of the first two phases, and they may be applied for June 3-13.

If any permits remain after Phase III, there will be a fourth-phase issuance period beginning 10 a.m. on June 17 until all permits are sold. Anyone may apply during Phase IV, even if they were awarded a permit in one of the earlier phases, but there is a maximum of 10 permits allowed per person. Customers who are able to purchase additional permits will only be charged $61.50, regardless of residency or disability.

Successful applicants can expect to receive their alligator trapping license/harvest permit and two CITES alligator tags in the mail within six weeks of payment.

To educate participants on the how-to’s and rules and regulations of the hunt, the FWC offers free training and orientation sessions, which will be held at various locations throughout the state in mid-July and early August. Participants are not required to attend, but first-time alligator hunters are strongly encouraged to go.

Alligator trapping “agent” licenses can also be purchased for $51.50, regardless of residency. This license allows one to participate in a hunt, while assisting and being in the presence of someone who has an alligator trapping license/harvest permit. Youth (ages 15 and younger) are exempt from having to have an alligator trapping agent license. And those possessing a Florida Resident Persons with Disabilities Hunting and Fishing License are exempt from the cost of an agent license, but must still have it to assist in hunting alligators.

Alligator trapping licenses are nontransferable. All sales are final, and no refunds will be given. No other license is required to hunt alligators.

For more information on alligator hunting, go to MyFWC.com/Alligator.

Charles Murphy News 4/26

News Cast for April 26th:

James Long is accused of breaking a man's neck in a fight

James Long is accused of breaking a man’s neck in a fight

Among arrests 26 year old Gaspar Manuel of Indiantown was charged with unlawful sexual activity with minors.  He allegedly had a relationship with a 16 year old girl over a period of months.

38 year old Michael Spielman of Englewood was charged with DUI and child neglect after a traffic stop.  Deputies say his two children, ages 9 and 15 were in the vehicle.

23 year old Adrian Valdez Junior was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and discharging a firearm in public.   Two detectives were in the Four Seasons neighborhood and found Valdez in possession of the pistol near North East 64th Avenue.

A 30 year old local man is charged with breaking another mans neck in a fight.  James Long was charged with aggravated battery.  The victim, Jacob Bryan had to be taken to Martin Memorial North after he was hit from behind and then slammed onto the concrete.  He was to undergo surgery.

City police were able to solve a business burglary at 820 North West Park Street and believe they have their man in several burglaries along the railroad tracks in Okeechobee.  60 year old Melvin Thomas Junior faces charges of burglary, criminal mischief, petit theft and resisting arrest after a foot chase with city police late Saturday.

A high speed chase from Okeechobee to the Brighton reservation ended with a collision between a city patrol car and the suspect on route 721.  18 year old Tameron Wilcox of Davie faces fleeing and attempting to elude.  Speeds reached over 1 hundred miles per hour in the city limits, route 70 west and 721.  A passenger, 18 year old Deondre Frederic was charged with resisting arrest with violence and was tased.  Officer Aurelio Almazan was unhrt.

An estimated 15 thousand dollars in damage was done after a trailer fire at Davie Dairy on Berman Road Sunday afternoon.  Firemen rescued two guinea pigs in the home.   Damage was confined to the bedroom.  Jason Lowder was treated for smoke inhalation.  The Red Cross came to his assistance.

Community Safety Net & Glades County Public Safety

Press News Release Hit and Run Still Under Investigation

Move Over 2016 FDOT AAA Final

Unicorn Children’s Foundation WINS BIG with the Help of Hair by Scott & Co.

Sports Cast for April 26th:

Spring football practice kicked off Monday at Okeechobee High. Coach Chris Branham said the talent is there to have a good spring. Branham said the main questions this spring are keeping healthy, filling spots at linebacker and on the offensive and defensive lines and seeing which kids steps up to take spots

Branham 1

Branham expects a lot of college recruiters this spring talking to Bubba Fludd and Evan Neal. He said he’s not sure how much the kids will be distracted by those visits.

Branham 2

The Brahmans expected about 80 players at spring practice which will include a scrimmage game on May 13th versus John Carroll and the Purple White game on May 20th.

Moore Haven softball travels to Admiral Farragut tonight in St. Petersburg as they seek to return to the state’s final 4.  Moore Haven defeated Indian Rocks Christian in the quarterfinals 4-2.  First pitch is at 4:30 pm.

South Fork will host Dwyer in regional softball tonight at 7 pm.

Martin County won the baseball districts and will host West Boca Raton tomorrow night at 7pm.

South Fork travels to Dwyer in the other game.

Charles Murphy News 4/25

News Cast for April 25th:

Okeechobee’s health rankings slipped a bit in 2015 with the county ranking 62nd out of 67 counties in health outcomes.  The report said 22 percent of residents reported poor or fair health.  22 percent were smokers, 31percent of adults were obese, and 30 percent didn’t get enough exercise.  There were 68 births to teen mothers last year.  The community also were lacking in primary care physicians, dentists, and mental health counseling. 35 percent of children lived below the poverty level.  49 percent of children lived in single parent households. Health Department Director Tiffany Collins said they work with stakeholders and the community to improve their community health action plan.

Collins 1

Collins 2

Glades County ranked 47th out of 67 counties in Florida.  18 percent of adults were smokers, and 34 percent were obese.  They had 43 teen births last year, and 29 percent of children were living in poverty and 49 percent lived in single parent households.

Among arrests, 31 year old James Prince of Okeechobee was charged as a fugitive from justice from Indiana.  Indian River county deputies arrested him after a traffic stop found some cocaine, and Prince driving with a suspended license.  They also found the warrant from Indiana for violation of probation charges.

A suspicious man walking in a gated community, Beach Club colony, in Jensen Beach, was arrested on drug charges last Thursday.  34 year old Phillip Hoy of Okeechobee allegedly ran off when a resident approached him.  St. Lucie deputies say they found methamphetamine and prescription pills.

In the courts a 33 year old Okeechobee man received 15 days of house arrest and six months’ probation for shop lifting sex toys from the Vero Beach mall.  He pled no contest to misdemeanor petit theft and claimed he was too embarrassed to pay for the items.


Press News Release Operation Medicine Cabinet

Press News Release APL Burglaries

Truck donated to Okeechobee Correctional Institution 2016

Death Investigation Lake Placid 4.21.2016

Sports Cast for April 25th:

Cheyenne Nunez signs with FGCUThe Brahman Award winner for boys’ cross country this year was Brendon Patterson. The senior provided steady times and leadership for the team. Patterson said he felt inspired this year and really appreciated this award. The cross country team is the only boys team this year to win a district title. They made it all the way to states in Tallahassee.

Patterson 1

Patterson said he will always remember that day. He plans to seek a degree in physical therapy from Indian River State College.

Patterson 2

Spring football practice begins at Okeechobee and Moore Haven today. Okeechobee will play a spring game against John Carroll on Friday, May 13th.

Moore Haven will visit the Benjamin School on May 19th.

Commissioner Putnam Seeking Nominations for Woman of the Year in Agriculture

Commissioner Putnam Seeking Nominations for Woman of the Year in Agriculture

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam is now accepting nominations for the 2016 “Woman of the Year in Agriculture” award. The deadline for submitting nominations is June 1, 2016.

Since 1985, the “Woman of the Year in Agriculture” award has recognized women who have made outstanding contributions to Florida agriculture. Recipients have included women from all areas of the industry.

“Women play a crucial role in shaping and growing Florida’s agriculture industry,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “I am honored to have the opportunity to bring some well-deserved recognition to Florida’s women in agriculture.”

Nominations may be submitted electronically by accessing the application located on the Woman of the Year in Agriculture page.  Nominations may also be sent via U.S. mail or fax by printing and completing the nomination form and sending it to the Florida Department of Agriculture, Attn: Pa, Fuller, 170 Century Boulevard, Bartow, Fla. 33380; Fax 863-578-1988, pam.fuller@freshfromflorida.com.

For more information about the “Woman of the Year in Agriculture” award and past award winners, visit our website. For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit FreshFromFlorida.com.

Senator Denise Grimsley Announces May Mobile Office Hours

Senator Denise Grimsley Announces May Mobile Office Hours

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

“If you or someone you know needs help, this is an opportunity to speak with my professional staff.  Our office is traveling to provide constituent services for those who need assistance.” said Senator Grimsley.

Okeechobee County Mobile Office hours


 Monday, May 16th

10:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.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 consist 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.

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