Local News

Okeechobee Centennial Interviews

Okeechobee Centennial Interviews

10.23.14 sunsetBelow is a list of interview done for Okeechobee’s 100th Birthday! Click on each link to listen to various interviews with people who have been in Okeechobee through it’s growth!

Mayor Kirk part 1

Mayor Kirk part 2

Dowling Watford.part 1

Dowling Watford.part 2

Clayton Williams part 1

Clayton Williams part 2

Magi Cable part 1

Magi Cable part 2

Magi Cable part 3

Betty Williamson Part 1

Betty Williamson Part 2

Betty Williamson Part 3

Jerry Bryant Part 1

Jerry Bryant Part 2

Jerry Bryant Part 3

Jerry Bryant Part 4

Interviews with Mr. Larson and Mr. Burdeshaw will be posted shortly!

Thanks for listening and thank you to all our interviewers!



Charles Murphy News 6/17

News Cast for June 17th:

The Okeechobee work camp recently opened, creating 94 jobs for the community. The near 2.8 million dollar annual budget will also impact the community. Up to 444 inmates will be housed there. Assistant Warden Derek Snyder has more on this issue.

Snyder 1

Snyder 2

Hot car deaths are common this time of year in Florida. Temperatures in vehicles rise quickly during the summer heat. Pam Oakes, an author, radio talk show host, businesswoman and ASE certified technician said it’s never a good idea to leave a child or pet in a hot car. One Okeechobee mother accidentally locked her young child in her vehicle in Whispering Pines last month.   Another mother left her child in a vehicle at the Family Dollar and was promptly arrested on a felony charge.

Oakes 1

Oakes 2

06 16 2015 Press News Release CORRECTION to Credit Card Fraud Subjects

Sports Cast for June 17th:

Chobee National basketball is busy this week with the first of three free youth basketball camps at Okeechobee High school. 35 kids showed up Monday for the age 7-10 camp which runs through Friday. Next week kids 11-13 can take part in the camp. The week of June 29 thru July 3rd, high school age kids can take part.

Basketball Coach Demetri Riles said the kids are excited to learn, have a lot of energy and have embraced playing and learning basketball. Riles said good basketball teams play the game all year and that makes a difference when the high school season comes around.

Riles 1

Riles said it’s been a good turnout. The Okeechobee children services council, Chaka Stars and volunteers have helped to make the event a success.

Riles 2

Rooney Secures Funding for Everglades Restoration, Florida Estuaries

Rooney Secures Funding for Everglades Restoration, Florida Estuaries

Washington, DC – The 2016 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee today includes funding for Everglades Restoration and Florida estuaries requested by U.S. Representative Tom Rooney (FL-17). Rooney, who serves on the Committee, said the bill saves taxpayer money by setting clear priorities, and includes critical provisions to promote American energy production, protect natural resources, and eliminate job-killing regulations.

“Everglades Restoration helps keep Florida beautiful, is critical to our ranches, and helps ensure clean drinking water,” Rooney said. “Getting this funding upfront will help save money in the long run, because restoring wetlands north of Lake Okeechobee is the most cost-effective way to reduce flooding into the Lake and prevent damaging water releases into coastal estuaries.”

The bill, which funds the Department of the Interior, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Forest Service, Indian Health Service and various related agencies, includes the following funding and language requests made by Rep. Rooney:

  • A direction for EPA to expedite and support the development and approval of potential cures and treatments for citrus greening disease.
  • A prohibition on the use of any funds to implement or enforce a new Obama Administration rule that would allow EPA to regulate bodies of water on private property, including ditches and farm ponds. Rooney pledged when the rule was finalized that he would fight to block any funding for the new regulations.
  • $16.8 million for the National Estuary Program, of which $600,000 will go to each of the estuaries of national significance in or near Florida’s 17th Congressional District: Charlotte Harbor, the Indian River Lagoon, and Tampa Bay.
  • $27.5 million for Land Acquisition at the Fish and Wildlife Service, which funds the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area.
  • A prohibition on the use of funds by the EPA or any other agency to regulate the lead content of ammunition or fishing tackle.
  • A limitation on any funds being used to issue new restrictions on hunting, fishing and recreational shooting.

In total, the bill cuts $246 million from 2015 spending levels, including a nine percent cut to EPA’s budget, and is $3 billion below the President’s request.

For a summary of the bill, please visit:


For the text of the bill, please visit:


For the bill report, please visit:


Free hunter safety course offered in Broward and Hendry counties

Free hunter safety course offered in Broward and Hendry counties

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is offering a free hunter safety Internet-completion course in Broward and Hendry counties.

  • Broward County: June 28 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m

Gun World of South Florida

1700 S. Powerline Road, Deerfield Beach

  • Hendry: June 27 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Shooting Range

700 Witt Road, Clewiston

Students must complete the Internet course before coming to class and bring a copy of the final report from the online portion of the course. The final report form does not have to be notarized.

An adult must accompany children under the age of 16 at all times. Students should bring a pencil and paper with them to take notes.

Anyone born on or after June 1, 1975, must pass an approved hunter safety course and have a hunting license to hunt alone (unsupervised). The FWC course satisfies hunter-safety training requirements for all other states and Canadian provinces.

People interested in attending this course can register online and obtain information about future hunter safety classes at MyFWC.com/HunterSafety or by calling the FWC’s South Region Office at 561-625-5122.

Governor Rick Scott Signs 17 Bills into Law

Governor Rick Scott Signs 17 Bills into Law

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott signed the following bills into law today:

HB 87                         Construction Defect Claims – This bill revises the construction defect claim process.

HB 157                      Fraud – This bill provides businesses and individuals with greater protections against identity theft, and helps individuals restore their identity and credit when identity theft has occurred.

HB 189                      Insurance Guaranty Associations – This bill revises the definition of “asset” to include “admissible asset” as it relates to Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA) assessments.

HB 201                      Diabetes Awareness Training for Law Enforcement Officers This bill provides continued training for law enforcement officers involved with individuals who are having a diabetic emergency.

HB 209                      Emergency Fire Rescue Services and Facilities Surtax – This bill revises requirements for counties to hold a referendum related to a fire protection surtax.

HB 273                      Insurer Notifications – This bill authorizes a policyholder of personal lines insurance to elect delivery of policy documents by electronic means.

HB 275                      Intrastate Crowdfunding – This bill exempts certain issuers and intermediaries from registration requirements relating to the offer or sale of certain securities.

HB 369                      Human Trafficking – This bill requires the display of human trafficking public awareness and reporting signs in certain locations.

HB 371                      Agency Inspectors General – This bill establishes additional qualifications and search criteria for agency inspectors general.

HB 373                      Public Accountancy – This bill revises provisions relating to licensure of public accounting firms.

HB 643                      Termination of a Condominium Association – This bill modifies the condominium termination process, including the rates at which certain condo unit owners are compensated.

HB 961                      Electronic Noticing of Trust Accounts – This bill authorizes posting to a secure electronic website or account as an additional permissible method of providing documents if the trustee receives written authorization from the beneficiary.

HB 1055                    Child Protection – This bill relates to the qualification and participation requirements of individuals on Children’s Medical Services and Child Protection Teams.

HB 1069                    Defendants in Specialized Courts – This bill defines problem solving courts as drug courts, veterans’ courts, and mental health courts, and allows a defendant or the court to transfer the case to a problem solving court in another county if agreed to by all parties.

HB 1127                    Insurance Fraud – This bill revises and provides criminal penalties for unlawful charges, and for operating or failing to report unlicensed clinics.

HB 1133                    Division of Insurance Agents and Agency Services – This bill revises the examination and pre-licensure education requirements for insurance agents and customer representatives.

HB 3519                    Relief/Joseph Stewart & Audrey Stewart/City of Jacksonville – This bill directs the City of Jacksonville to pay the settled amount to the Aubrey Javaris Stewart Special Needs Trust as compensation for injuries and damages Aubrey Stewart sustained as a result of the city’s negligence.

The transmittal letter can be found HERE.

Openings Available for June 30 Citizen’s Academy

Openings Available for June 30 Citizen’s Academy

Osceola County – The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office is accepting applications for the next Basic Citizen’s Academy program to begin Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Citizens meet every Tuesday evening from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. The 10-week program explores the duties of various divisions and units within the Sheriff’s Office such as traffic enforcement, patrol, judicial services, elder crimes, aviation, mounted patrol, intelligence, sex and child abuse crimes, domestic violence, gangs, the SWAT team, communications, forensics, community services and the drug unit.

Any Osceola County resident with an interest in law enforcement is encouraged to apply. All applicants are required to fill out an application and pass a background check. An application can also be downloaded at www.osceolasheriff.org or by calling (407) 348-1105.

Tobacco Free Florida Reports On Okeechobee Progress To Kiwanis Club

Tobacco Free Florida Reports On Okeechobee Progress To Kiwanis Club

Courtney Moyett (right) pictured with Kiwanis Presenter Mark Reynolds

Courtney Moyett (right) pictured with Kiwanis Presenter Mark Reynolds

Courtney Moyett with Tobacco Free Florida spoke at the latest Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee meeting. She spoke on the continues dangers of nicotine addiction within Okeechobee County for adults and youth. Ms. Moyett informed the club about Okeechobee School Board’s decision to make Okeechobee schools a tobacco free property and demonstrated the cost savings a business receives when they hire non-smokers over smokers. More information available at tobaccofreeflorida.com The Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee meets every Thursday at noon at Cowboys Restaurant. The goal of the club is to improve the lives of the youth in Okeechobee. Currently, the club is working on bringing a special needs park to Okeechobee. If you are interested in becoming a member of Kiwanis, ask any current member or attend a meeting.

Charles Murphy News 6/16

News Cast for June 16th:

An 18 year old dairy worker, in the country six months from Guatemala, drowned at the CM Rucks Dairy on North West 104th Avenue. Deputies say Gilberto Cax Chilel was working cows on horseback in a pond on the property and may have been thrown. Authorities say he didn’t know how to swim.

Among arrests, 24 year old Jeantavious Saintelus was charged with aggravated battery on a pregnant woman and child abuse by city police after a domestic incident at a local motel Sunday. He also allegedly pushed a two year old child. The woman apparently was bitten in the right shoulder.

42 year old Gregory Beal is charged with sexual battery on a 7 year old child and lewd and lascivious exhibition on a minor. Bond was set at 5 hundred thousand dollars.

The 15 year old girl, who left an Okeechobee at risk facility only to be recovered in Lantana last week, has apparently fled again. Destiny Souza was allegedly being prostituted for the week she was gone by 22 year old Avian Jackson, who was arrested by Boynton Beach police. Souza apparently walked away from a DCF temporary residence according to West Palm Beach media reports. The other teen was struck by a car and remains hospitalized.

Okeechobee county commissioners will consider proposals from three nonprofit groups interested in using the old Lottie Raulerson senior center complex.   The county also wants to find more storage place for records. Facilities Director Russell Rowland said state law requires records be kept for a certain amount of time. Rowland said a Veterans group, and a homeless shelter project has shown interest in the old senior center building.

Rowland 1

Rowland 2

06 15 2015 Press News Release Criminal Mischief Subjects

06 15 2015 Press News Release Credit Card Fraud Suspects

Sports Cast for June 16th:

Lexi Ward was the Brahman Award winner for the OHS softball team this year. The 4 year letter winner plans to study to become a speech pathologist in college.

She’d like to continue to play softball in college and is looking at some offers in Florida.

Ward 1

Ward said she really enjoyed her senior year at OHS. Ward noted she worked hard and showed leadership skills that are synonymous with the Brahman Award. Ward said being a leader on the team was gratifying for her.

Ward 2

Florida Sheriff’s Association Scholarship Winner Announced

Florida Sheriff’s Association Scholarship Winner Announced

SEBRING – Highlands County Sheriff Susan Benton is proud to announce that Highlands County resident Kasey Starling has won a $1000 college scholarship from the Florida Sheriff’s Association. One of 10 scholarships available statewide, Ms. Starling, 18 years of age, recently graduated with honors from Avon Park High School with a 4.8 grade point average. She is pursuing a career in criminal justice, enrolling at South Florida State College this fall.

Ms. Starling’s father, Lieutenant Keith Starling, has been a member of the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office for 25 years. When asked by Sheriff Benton what got her interested in the criminal justice field, Kasey responded, “I am always excited for new adventures and am looking forward to helping others in somewhat of a different way. I want to help others feel safe like I do when my dad is working. When he’s on the street, I know I’m safe. I want others to have that same feeling.” Responding to this comment, Lieutenant Starling said, “She doesn’t have to be out working midnight shift to be helping people in the law enforcement field.”

Sheriff Benton was excited to know that Kasey will be pursuing her criminal justice aspirations right here in Highlands County. “It’s great that our young people can get a four year degree in criminal justice now, just up the road at South Florida State College. They don’t have to go away in order to meet their educational goals anymore.”

Beginning in 8th grade and throughout high school, Kasey Starling has been active in Future Farmers of America, (FFA), showing hogs and more recently heifers. She has been successful in these endeavors, saving all her winnings toward college expenses. Dad Starling was thankful for the FFA experience. “The challenge of raising an animal is just one more aspect to learning responsibility. When they have to tend to the animal twice a day, feeding, grooming, and then showing these animals on weekends throughout the state; it’s a huge commitment.”

When asked what led her to choose criminal justice, Kasey said she originally was tending towards the medical profession and possibly veterinary school having had experience with animals growing up. “When dad explained the wide array of positions associated with criminal justice, not just patrolling the streets, I began to see how broad this field is and how there were many ways to be involved that were not part of uniform patrol. This is when I decided to pursue criminal justice with an eye toward forensics or possibly profiling or crime scene.”

Sheriff Benton thanked the Florida Sheriff’s Association for their foresight to invest in our youth by providing them with opportunities to pursue criminal justice degrees that they would otherwise not be able to afford. Additionally, Sheriff wished Kasey the best of success in her new endeavor and looks forward to tracking her progress and providing her a working laboratory toward her goals. Congratulations Kasey Starling!

Gov. Rick Scott Applauds Legislature & Calls Cell Phone and TV Tax Cut a Big Win for Florida Families

Gov. Rick Scott Applauds Legislature & Calls Cell Phone and TV Tax Cut a Big Win for Florida Families

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott applauded the Legislature for passing more than $400 million in tax cuts, mostly in reductions to the state’s cell phone and TV tax, and released the following statement:

Governor Rick Scott said, “Giving Floridians back more of the money they earn in tax cuts is the best thing we can do to keep Florida’s economy growing. Cutting Florida’s cell phone and TV tax is particularly important because it will save money for Florida families who pay a cell phone, satellite or cable TV bill. Florida’s budget had an over $1 billion budget surplus this year because of the hard work of Floridians, and this tax cut package will send more than $400 million back to the people who earned it. I applaud the Florida House and the Florida Senate for their work on this legislation and I look forward to working with them to keep cutting taxes next year and to keep Florida working.”

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