News Cast for March 5th:
A small child drowned late Tuesday afternoon near North West 46th Avenue Villas. The three year old left his home and went into a retention pond 2 hundred feet from the residence. CPR was attempted by Deputies and EMS but the child later died at Raulerson hospital.
Okeechobee freshman campus guidance counselor Brad Mims has resigned his job with the school. The school board is expected to accept the resignation next week. Mims was arrested earlier this year on multiple counts related to sending illicit photos to underage girls and use of a computer to lure minor girls.
The school board will hold a hearing looking to terminate teacher Catherine Jones next week. She is the Yearling middle School teacher allegedly impaired in her classroom.
Superintendent Ken Kenworthy admits these allegations were worrisome to the system. A complete and thorough investigation into the matter has been done according to the school system.
The FWC will consider a proposal that allows anglers to keep one bass over 16 inches in Lake Okeechobee. They received comments from anglers at a meeting in Okeechobee last week. Biologist Ralph Laprairie said bass populations are healthy with a lot of larger fish in Lake Okeechobee. Anglers could keep five bass per day, the four others could be any size.
Among arrests, 24 year old Christine Carter of North West 38th Avenue was charged with four drug felonies related to cocaine, marijuana and prescription pills by city police.
In the courts, a convicted sex offender was deemed incompetent to stand trial and committed to the care of the Department of Children and Families. 55 year old Danny Alexander had been charged last October 24th with failure to register and update his ID card. He spent 15 years behind bars for a sexual assault and robbery of a 20 year old Philadelphia girl convicted in 1985.
An 83 year old Okeechobee man accused of sexual assault on a child in Palm Bay is now in a health facility and missed his criminal trial. The court issued a warrant for failure to appear against William Clark, whose case has been pending since December of 2011.
Sports Cast for March 5th:
In high school baseball Vero Beach hammered Okeechobee last night 9-0. Senior Christian Crews in a recent interview admitted the team was young but he felt they were ready to compete and have a good season. Crews battled ankle and elbow problems in his career, undergoing elbow surgery last year. He said he continues to build arm strength and he feels as healthy as he’s been in his high school career. Crews played American Legion ball last summer in Okeechobee and said that experience really helped him to improve. He was the team’s leading hitter for average last year. He has earned accolades this year for defense in left field.
Crews father is Shawn Crews who played for the Brahmans in the mid 1990’s.
On the sports schedule today the tennis teams will travel to Jensen Beach for a match at 3:30 this afternoon.
News Cast for March 4th:
Okeechobee county commissioners are considering a lease on part of the AG Civic Center for the Okeechobee radio controlled plane and sports car center. Organizer Joe Papasso said they wouldn’t need a lot of infrastructure improvements and wouldn’t impede other activities at the park. He contends this is a competitive sport and is taken serious by participants. He said it would also help students with lessons about STEM subjects, science, technology, engineering and math.
Pine Creek would like the court to decide a dispute over their 2013 property tax assessment. They asset the 56 acre parcel is an agriculture operation and should have been given agriculture classification. The Value Adjustment Board decided otherwise last year and placed the value at 8 hundred and 44 thousand dollars.
Among arrests, 39 year old Judson Shurley of Okeechobee turned himself in on two counts of third degree grand theft on a Martin County warrant in Sebring. He was charged last year with the theft of cattle from the ranch he worked at in western Martin County.
46 year old Shawn Dietrich was charged with aggravated battery for allegedly attacking a man with a kitchen fork during a domestic dispute on Monday morning.
City firemen put out a blaze at 213 North West 5th Avenue Sunday afternoon; extensive damage was done to the apartment. The American Red Cross assisted the residents.
FHP worked an ATV accident that sent two young children to St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center Saturday afternoon in Basswood. Okeechobee sheriff investigators continue to investigate a dispute and reported altercation in Okeechobee little farms late Saturday and early Sunday, a 16 year old boy was struck by a pickup truck and was flown to Lawnwood in serious but stable condition.
Sports Cast for March 4th:
She said she felt great to earn this award. Raulerson said she didn’t stress as much about every shot and tried to relax on the course, and she feels that strategy paid dividends. Raulerson said the regional was a good experience. She still has one year left in high school. She expects the team to be strong again next year.
The boys’ tennis team lost to Morningside Academy yesterday. Only Lucas Penido was able to win a game in the four singles matches.
On the sport schedule today, boy’s baseball will visit Vero Beach with game time at 7 pm. JV boys’ baseball will host Avon Park at 6 pm.
Eagle High School 4-H Team Wins Florida State Championship
Brandon Branch and Hunter McPherson were the last boat out in the 42 boat filed for Saturday’s Florida SAF High School State Championship but that didn’t stop the talented pair from bringing in a whopping 24lb 4oz sack to win the SAF Florida State Championship on legendary Lake Toho. The big bag was anchored by the Lew’s big bass winner a 7lb 4 oz toad and a very respectable 6lb 10oz running mate that propelled to the smiling pair to outdistance the runner-up team of Corbin Smith and Stephen Soileau from the Osceola Angler group who had a very respectable 19lb 110z bag that was also anchored by a 6lb 7oz kicker. Branch and McPherson also claimed the Booyah Big Bag award for the day which is awarded to the team with the largest one day catch in the SAF State Championship series.
Finishing third was the team of Jeremy Morgan and Trevor Waltz from Bartow High School who also had an impressive 19lb 4oz bag that carried with it a 7lb 2oz beauty. The final regional qualifying spot went to Pine Ridge High School’s Trevor Brown and Nick Sutton who had 15lb 14oz’s to edge out 5th place finishers Tyler Woolcott and Parker Meadows from Spruce Creek High School who brought in 15lb 7oz to the Big Toho Marina weigh-in area.
“It’s a little hard to believe this but yesterday we pre-fished in the exact same spot where we caught the bulk of our fish today and we did not have a bite” cited McPherson. “Today we primarily used a Chatter Bait and for some reason they decided to bite” added Branch who also felt that the key to the team’s success was the fact that they didn’t give up on their primary spot. “We knew those fish were in that area so I’m sure glad we stuck with it and went back there first thing this morning” added the smiling pair.
The SAF State Championship series continues this week with the Anderson Open event on Lake Russell in South Carolina and the Louisiana High School State Championship in Natchitoches Louisiana.
Go to highschoolfishing.org and click on “State Championship” to see all the SAF events around the country.
Sheriff’s Office Confirms A Case of Scabies in the Jail
Over the last week there have been approximately six (6) inmates seen by medical staff with complaints of itching and some with skin rash. Lab tests had not confirmed scabies until Thursday, February 27, 2014. Yesterday a local dermatologist confirmed with one inmate the presence of scabies.
With medical confirmation, the Sheriff’s Office staff jumped into an aggressive prevention and control mode. We are following the protocol outlined by the Center of Disease Condrol (CDC), www.cdc.gov. The entire jail population will be provided an oral medication and all bedding, clothing and housing areas within the jail will be treated. The treatment will also be offered to all Sheriff’s Office members who have been exposed.
According to the CDC, scabies is a common condition found world-wide; it affects people of all races and social classes. Scabies can spread easily under crowded conditions where close body and skin contact is common. Institutions such as jails and prisons, nursing homes, or extended care facilities are often sites of scabies outbreaks.
According to Sheriff Susan Benton, the jail is housing approximately 400 inmates a day at the present time. “This is a huge undertaking. An operational plan has been developed and we should have the medication by today, Friday, February 28th. The first round of treatment and preventative sanitation should be completed by Monday, March 3, 2014. A second round of medication is required in two weeks.” “We have consulted with our medical team, an outside dermatologist and the Florida Health Department as well as all published protocols by the CDC. I decided to take the most aggressive approach and treat the entire facility out of an abundance of caution to avoid as much of a potential for cross-contamination as possible.”
The operational plan includes a treatment team, a cleaning team, a laundry team and a security team. With 400 inmates, the laundry needs alone are a huge task; 800 sheets, 400 blankets, towels and inmate uniforms. This will all be accomplished by utilizing off duty staff as the normal operations duties of the jail must also be maintained.
Sheriff Benton commits that the plan will be accomplished effectively, timely and professionally. “We are taking care of the exposure and ensure the community that the situation will be quickly remedied.” “Any inmate released within the last month and who feels they may have been exposed should consult their physician or the Highlands County Health Department.
Nell Hays, CPS
Public Information Officer
Highlands County Sheriff’s Office
Sheriff Paul C. May wishes to release the following information:
It is with our great sadness that we announce the death of one of Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office’s most cherished employees. Special Deputy Marvin “Mickey” Mann Jr. passed away on 02/26/2014 at 8 PM at his home due to natural causes.
Special Deputy Mann has been a special deputy with our department since his retirement with the Martin County Sheriff’s Office in January of 2013. Special Deputy Mann has been in law enforcement over 53 years starting his service at the Palm Beach Police Department in 1960. His career lead him to the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office and then to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office where he achieved the rank of Undersheriff. In 2013 when he retired, he asked Sheriff Paul C. May if he could continue to serve the community where he currently lived in Ft. Drum. Sheriff Paul C. May was honored to have this wealth of law enforcement knowledge and made him a Special Deputy where he served as a volunteer conducting investigations and security checks in the Ft. Drum area.
We at the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Offices greatly mourn the loss of our friend and co-worker. He was greatly respected and admired. Sheriff Paul C. May said of the passing:
“In the Treasure Coast area, if there has ever been a law enforcement legend, it would truly be Mickey Mann. He was a cop’s cop, and a man’s man and he will be sorely missed by the entire law enforcement community.”
Services for Special Deputy Mann will be on Friday, March 7, 2014 at 11:00 AM. The services will be held at the Oakview Baptist Church located at 677 SW 32nd Street, Okeechobee, Florida. Sheriff Paul May will serve lunch for all attendees at the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (504 NW 4th Street, Okeechobee)
Any persons having questions or special arrangements may contact Captain Gary Bell at 863- 634- 1145 after Monday morning.
Detective Corporal Ted Van Deman (863- 763- 3117) will be the point of contact for honor guard personnel.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the theft of pickup truck tailgates has been rising over the past four years. Highlands County has recently seen the impact of this statistic having at least five such thefts which have occurred here since November of last year, four of which occurred during the same 24 hour time period.
Beginning on the night of February 14th and continuing through the morning of February 15th, Highlands County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to four different instances of tailgate theft. These crimes occurred from the Lake Josephine area south of Sebring, to the vicinity of south Avon Park. Late last year there was another report of a tailgate theft which occurred in Whispering Pines Mobile Home Park.
The NICB offers the following tips to prevent tailgate theft:
- If your model has an integrated lock, use it. If a tailgate can’t be opened, it can’t be stolen as easily. If you don’t have one, get one; they are relatively inexpensive.
- Park with the tailgate as close as you can to an object or a structure to prevent the tailgate from opening.
- Etch the truck’s vehicle identification number (VIN) or your own personal identification number into the tailgate. This will aid in its recovery and may prevent its theft in the first place.
Anyone who has experienced theft of a tailgate and has not reported the incident is encouraged to make a report with their local law enforcement agency. Deputies are also looking for leads as to who may be committing these thefts. Anyone with information on tailgate thefts is requested to call Detective Allison Hinkle at 863-402-7820. Anyone with information who wants to remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS(8477), contact us on the internet at www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com or simply scan the QR code at right. Anonymity is guaranteed!
Nell Hays, CPS
Public Information Officer
Highlands County Sheriff’s Office
Arrests for February 25th & 26th, March 3rd
INTRODUCTION-CONTRABAND INTO DETENTION FACILITY
Norma Mae Price, age 72
1659 Hwy 70 West, Lot 4
TWO COUNTS-SALE OF COCAINE W/I 1000’ FT OF PARK
TWO COUNTS-POSSESSION OF COCAINE WITH INTENT TO SELL W/I 1000’ FT OF PARK
Keenan Karl King, age 22
508 NW 11 Street
In custody-$225,000.00 BOND
DEALING IN STOLEN PROPERTY
Melanie Sue Olds, age 33
8740 NE 12 Lane
In custody-$20,000.00 bond
6-COUNTS-DEALING IN STOLEN PROPERTY
5-COUNTS-FALSE INFO TO PAWNBROKER MORE THAN $300
GIVING FALSE INFO TO SECONDARY METAL RECYCLER LESS THAN $300
Rolando Ryan Pena, age 27
1041 NW 39 Circle
In custody-$120,000.00 bond
Shawn Lynn Dietrich, age 46
8022 Hwy 441 SE
In custody-Bond to be set
PERJURY-MAKE FALSE AFFIDAVIT
Heather Marie Carroll, age 25
2029 Arbuckle Creek Road, Apt. 3
In custody-$5,000.00 bond
News Cast for March 3rd:
2013 was the worst year for the Manatee. 829 deaths were confirmed. Okeechobee had only 2 deaths, one with a watercraft collision, and Glades three deaths, two involving watercraft. Another problem was water quality on both coasts of Florida. Katie Tripp with the Save the Manatee Club says water quality in the Indian River lagoon was at critical levels. Several manatees died at the locks in Moore Haven in late 2012 due to mechanical problems and operator error. She said employees there became complacent.
The effort to curb tobacco usage in Okeechobee continues. Dr. Barry Hummell with the Tobacco prevention and tobacco free partnership recently gave a speech to the Okeechobee Kiwanis Club. He says the biggest challenge is the electronic cigarette industry and their level of safety. Dr. Hummell says statistics show an increase in tobacco use among children.
An alleged shoplifter was caught with 329 various prescription pills including pain pills by city police. 36 year old Jillanna Gillum of South Point, Ohio was charged with nine drug felonies with bond at 67 thousand dollars.
22 year old Jaye Gary of Ft. Myers, a county jail inmate was charged with battery on another inmate, Bryan Adams, last week. Adams was treated at Raulerson hospital for injuries to his eye and nose.
Sports Cast for March 3rd:
Dillon Isom threw a two hitter and struck out nine and John Murphy hit a solo homerun to lead South Fork to a 2-1 victory over Okeechobee in high school baseball action Friday night.
Isom moved his pitches around, threw strikes and kept Okeechobee hitters off balance. He says that was his game plan. South Fork had come in with only one win on the season and needed a win badly. They also got a great pitching performance according to their coach Mike Harper..
For Okeechobee Elijah Finney threw a strong complete game as he limited the Bulldogs to only four hits. He struck out five and walked two. Paul Jackson scored the only run for Okeechobee on a passed ball. Coach Eric Kindell says he saw improvement and some fight in his players in the game.
On the sports schedule today boys tennis will host Morningside Academy at 3:30 pm at the Okeechobee sports complex.
Annual Environmental Report Highlights Restoration Progress, State of the South Florida Ecosystem
Water quality improvements are among the 2014 highlights
|On the Cover:
Stormwater Treatment Areas
These vast freshwater wetlands, located south of Lake Okeechobee, use “green” technology to reduce excess phosphorus from waters flowing to the Everglades. Their expansive, shallow waters and rich plant life also make them outstanding habitat for wading birds and other wildlife.
West Palm Beach, FL — The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) have released the 2014 South Florida Environmental Report detailing a year of science, engineering and environmental restoration progress to improve the Everglades, Lake Okeechobee, the Kissimmee Basin and South Florida coastal areas. The 2014 report marks the 16th year of unified, streamlined environmental reporting by the two agencies.
“With the support of Governor Rick Scott and his landmark $880 million Everglades water quality plan, we have accelerated projects designed to improve water quality and flow to the River of Grass,” said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. “That commitment continues in 2014, with Governor Scott’s $130 million recommendation to further Everglades restoration.”
Spanning three volumes, the 2014 South Florida Environmental Report unifies more than 75 individual documents. The volumes, plus a 27-page executive summary, provide extensive peer-reviewed research summaries, data analyses, financial updates and a searchable database of environmental projects.
“We continued to make progress during the last year to construct projects that improve Everglades water quality and increase water storage while also managing record rainfall,” said SFWMD Executive Director Blake Guillory. “The 2014 South Florida Environmental Report documents these efforts and our plans to move forward with the state’s Restoration Strategies initiative to benefit the entire South Florida environment.”
Highlights in the 2014 report include:
- Expanded network of Stormwater Treatment Areas (STAs) is cleansing water. With 57,000 acres of treatment wetlands operating, South Florida’s network of STAs treated 1.2 million acre-feet of water, achieving their best performance to date. Working together with best management and improved farming practices over nearly two decades, the treatment marshes have prevented approximately 4,270 metric tons of phosphorus from entering the Everglades.
- Restoration Strategies are being implemented. Work is underway on several key construction projects in the State of Florida and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s milestone agreement to achieve state water quality standards for the Everglades. This includes construction progress on two shallow reservoirs, known as flow equalization basins, that will help optimize the performance of the STAs and moving forward with science plan studies.
- Best Management Practices (BMPs) continue reducing nutrients. Working in conjunction with the STAs, the Everglades Agricultural Area delivered a 41-percent reduction this year when compared to the pre-BMP baseline time period. To the west, the C-139 Basin reduced phosphorus discharges to historic levels.
- Projects and initiatives are improving South Florida’s ecosystems. A host of restoration work was completed or moved forward in the past year, including a three-year update to the Lake Okeechobee Protection Plan and the start of DEP’s development of the Lake Okeechobee Basin Management Action Plan to help meet target phosphorus levels. Wading bird nesting on the lake was at its highest since 2006, while white ibis, great egrets and federally endangered wood storks led a moderate improvement in overall nesting throughout South Florida. Progress was also made on a suite of watershed construction projects to benefit the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries.
- Kissimmee River restoration continues to see success. The first three phases of Kissimmee River restoration have re-established flow to 24 miles of river channel and returned flow to more than 7,700 acres of floodplain.These highlights and numerous other efforts featured in the 2014 South Florida Environmental Report continue to provide the scientific foundation of agency programs and projects that year after year are improving the entire South Florida region. The 2014 report covers environmental information for Water Year 2013 (May 1, 2012, through April 30, 2013) and project/budgetary information for Fiscal Year 2013 (October 1, 2012, through September 30, 2013).
The 2014 South Florida Environmental Report is available to view or print at www.sfwmd.gov/sfer.
Raptor Recovering After Rescue in Everglades Water-Cleaning Wetland
Injured osprey was discovered during routine maintenance; taken to a wildlife facility
West Palm Beach, FL — Perched on a levee with an injured wing and alligators watching it from a canal below, the osprey could fly no more than two feet at a time.
South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) wildlife coordinator Brian Garrett had to act quickly to capture the injured raptor before the avian predator became reptile prey Thursday morning in western Palm Beach County.
With a well-timed grab at the edge of the canal, Garrett secured the adult bird. The large raptor, which appeared to be otherwise healthy, was transported from Stormwater Treatment Area 2 to the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter. The bird was being treated there Friday for a broken left wing.
“It’s a good day when you can go out and rescue one,” said Garrett. As a biologist for 17 years at the District, Garrett’s wildlife surveys and knowledge assist water and land managers in protecting and restoring wildlife species such the endangered Everglade snail kite, gopher tortoises and manatees.
The injured osprey will be rehabilitated, although it is too early to tell whether it will fly again, according to the sanctuary’s Executive Director David Hitzig. It was also unknown what caused the wing fracture, but it could have been anything from a collision with a tree to a hard water landing, he said.
“It’s got a lot of spunk,” Hitzig said. “Hopefully, the bird can be released back into the wild when it’s healed.”
Sanctuary officials said the type of fracture the osprey suffered typically takes six to eight weeks to heal. The bird, whose gender has not yet been determined, would then be transferred to a flight enclosure to evaluate its potential to be released back into the wild.
Raptor rescues are uncommon by District staff on SFWMD-managed lands.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever had to rescue a raptor in the field,” Garrett said.
While the rescue was rare, ospreys are the most common raptors on District public lands because the species are piscivores, meaning they almost exclusively hunt and consume fish. Thus, the birds require nearby bodies of water that contain plenty of fish on which to forage.
The District manages nearly 1.5 million acres of public land, including 57,000 acres of Stormwater Treatment Areas. The primary job of these wetlands is to improve Everglades water quality, but they have also become a haven for wildlife, especially birds, because of their prime habitat and availability of food.
Populations of ospreys in North America have experienced a dramatic comeback since the use of the pesticide DDT was banned in the United States during 1972. There were fewer than 8,000 breeding pairs of ospreys in 1981. By 1994 the number of osprey had risen to 14,246 pairs
For more information: