Local News

Charles Murphy News 3/21

News Cast for March 21st:

Among arrests..

55 year old Susan Ordemann of Okeechobee was charged with making a terroristic threat in New Jersey.  Towns River police indicate she was involved in an armed standoff with police three years ago and allegedly threatened to shoot cops.

24 year old Joshua Huskin was arrested after a reported car jacking in Highlands county and a high speed chase in Okeechobee County early Saturday. The Fort Pierce man was charged with grand theft auto, fleeing and eluding police and resisting arrest. The victim of the car jacking of the Lincoln sedan came to the scene to positively identify the suspect.  The chase reached speeds of 90 miles per hour and lasted about two miles, ending on State Route 70 west.

40 year old William Grzech was charged with grand theft for allegedly stealing a vacuum from a local retailer where he worked and then trying to sell it on the side for 1 hundred and 50 dollars.

Over 1 hundred thousand dollars in damage was done to a pavilion at Okee Tantie, most likely by an arsonist early Sunday. Okeechobee county fire rescue says no one was around and the pavilion was fully involved as they arrived just before 5 am. The State Fire Marshall is determining the cause and no one was injured. Sheriff deputies say a boater spotted a vehicle leaving the area fast before the fire became visible.

A human jaw bone was located by a boater near the boat ramp at Sportsmans Village in Moore Haven on Friday. Glades County Sheriff David Hardin says the medical examiner estimated the bone to be at least 75 years old. The bone appeared to be of a female

Sports Cast for March 21st:

Okeechobee had two basketball players sign to play college ball at Frank Phillips College in Borger, Texas. Shaquoy Ferrol says playing college ball is only part of his dream for the future.

His family moved here from the Virgin Islands two years ago.

His father, Frances Romain says he knew his son always had the ability. His mother Sheren Springer Romain says they moved to the United States to give her children more opportunities like this.

Also signing was Demetrius Clark.  We’ll talk to him and his father tomorrow.

Sports today include OHS tennis hosts Sebring at 3:45 pm.  OHS softball visits Jensen Beach with JV at 5 and varsity at 7 pm.  Moore Haven baseball hosts Everglades City at 5 and Moore Haven softball hosts Evangelical Christian at 6 pm.



The Florida Highway Patrol is in the process of closing State Road 70 in Highlands and Desoto County due to poor visibility in the area (smoke and fog)

SR 70 will be closed from Old State Road 8 to County Road 760. Motorists are asked to find an alternate route of travel. Updates will be provided as needed

Motorists are reminded of the following reduced visibility safe driving tips:

  • DRIVE WITH LIGHTS on low beam. High beams will only be reflected back off the fog and actually impair visibility even more. Your lights help other drivers see your vehicle, so be sure they all work. Keep your windshield and headlights clean, to reduce the glare and increase visibility.
  • SLOW DOWN – and watch your speedometer – before you enter a patch of fog. Be sure that you can stop within the distance that you can see. Fog creates a visual illusion of slow motion when you may actually be speeding. Speed is a major factor in fog-related crashes.
  • WATCH OUT for slow-moving and parked vehicles. Open you window a little and listen for traffic you cannot see.
  • REDUCE THE DISTRACTIONS in your vehicle. Turn off the radio and cell phone. Your full attention is required.
  • USE WIPERS AND DEFROSTERS liberally for maximum visibility. Sometimes it is difficult to determine if poor visibility is due to fog or moisture on the windshield.
  • USE THE RIGHT EDGE of the road or painted road markings as a guide.
  • BE PATIENT. Avoid passing and/or changing lanes.
  • SIGNAL TURNS well in advance and brake early as you approach a stop.
  • DO NOT STOP on a freeway or heavily traveled road. You could become the first link in a chain-reaction collision. If you must pull off the road, signal (people tend to follow tail lights when driving in fog), then carefully pull off as far as possible. After pulling off the road, turn on your hazard flashers (hazard lights should only be used when you pull over to show that you are parked on the side of the road). Move away from the vehicle.

Charles Murphy News 3/20

News Cast for March 20th:

A 78 year old Okeechobee man died Friday when he had some kind of medical issue and then caused a crash near the Mall at Wellington Green.

Howard Tommie was north bound on State Route 7, and failed to yield to a west bound vehicle driven by 58-year-old Dragica Badju of West Palm Beach. He suffered minor injuries. The accident occurred Friday afternoon around 4:15 pm

In the courts, 54-year-old Eugene Martinez of Moore Haven was sentenced to 42 months’ probation and restitution of over 2 thousand dollars to the state for alleged food stamp fraud.  He pled no contest but was not convicted of a crime in the plea deal.  47 people were victimized when Martinez allegedly used stolen EBT cards at Winn Dixie in LaBelle last year.

A state corrections guard at Martin Correctional in Indiantown was arrested last week on charges of malicious battery on an inmate for allegedly pepper spraying an inmate in the face and body last November.

India Oatts, was seen on surveillance video walking into the cell with the chemical spray already in hand, standing a few seconds and leaving the cell. She had claimed she blacked out and that the inmate had threatened to assault her. Bond was 85 hundred dollars.

Sports Cast for March 20th:

Josie Griffin was named the Most Valuable Player for the Okeechobee girls soccer team this past season. Griffin was the team’s goal keeper and her leadership stability and athleticism helped the team’s defense.

She said the award was a complete surprise. Griffin says the record setting 11 wins this year was not due to defense, but the offense.

Griffin also was a standout in volleyball this year.

She plans to study political science at Florida Gulf Coast University and wants to be become a lawyer.

Two Brahman basketball players will announce college scholarships today, Shaquoy Ferrol and Demetrius Clark.

NO sports are scheduled in Okeechobee today

FWC encourages boaters to ‘Spring Aboard’ by taking a boater education class

FWC encourages boaters to ‘Spring Aboard’ by taking a boater education class

World-class fishing, crystal blue waters, endless sunshine – there’s so much about Florida’s waterways to enjoy. During the week of March 19-25, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) encourage all boaters to take part in the national “Spring Aboard” campaign by taking a boating safety course.

“We know that an educated boater is safer on the water. If a boat operator has taken a boating safety education course, the likelihood of their time spent on the water being a safe and enjoyable experience is much greater for them as well as their passengers,” said Stephanie Weatherington, president of NASBLA. “March is the perfect time to take a course before the summer boating season begins.”

Many course providers will offer incentives or course discounts for students who enroll in or complete a course during the “Spring Aboard” campaign. For a summary of Florida’s regulations and available courses, go to MyFWC.com/Boating.

“In Florida, boaters who were born on or after Jan. 1, 1980, are required to complete and pass a boater safety education course. But everyone interested in boating should take a course – it’s the smart thing to do,” said Maj. Robert Rowe, FWC’s Boating and Waterways section leader. “Boaters have many ways to get educated, from classroom courses offered by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadrons to online offerings available anytime day or night. There’s no reason to head out on the water without this knowledge.”

Florida boating accident statistics from 2015 indicate that, when the level of operator education was known, 72 percent of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had never received boating education instruction.


The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators is a national nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories. The association offers a variety of resources, including training, model acts, education standards and publications. Through a national network of thousands of professional educators, law enforcement officers and volunteers, NASBLA affects the lives of over 73.5 million American boaters

Charles Murphy News 3/17

News Cast for March 17th:

Over 1 hundred cyclists biked across Florida from Naples to Fort Pierce through Okeechobee to raise money for school kids so they can eat on weekends.

The Pan Florida Challenge for hungry kids benefits eight school districts including Glades and Okeechobee. Over 3 hundred thousand was raised over the weekend and last year’s campaign raised more than 1 million dollars for the food. Ride Organizer Rob Vigarito says people would be surprised how many students from first to fifth grade are going hungry on weekends.

A teen killer, 14 when he was arrested, was released from custody after spending 40 years behind bars in a Glades County for murder.  Ronnie Adams was involved in the killing of Louis Veltjes back in 1976 and was sentenced to life for second degree murder.  The courts ruled juvenile killers cannot receive life.  The victims’ son, Rusty Veltjes, was convicted in the murder, sentenced to life, but he died in prison.

Charges were dropped against prison nursing assistant Junia Petit who allegedly had sex with a convicted killer at Indiantown’s Martin correctional on two occasions last year.  26 year old Isaisu Ruiz is serving a 20 year term for second degree murder out of Miami Dade County.

Senate President Joe Negron and Democratic Leader Oscar Braynon will take part in a community discussion at 5 p.m. at  Pahokee High School, 900 Larrimore Road.

The reservoir proposed south of Lake Okeechobee will certainly be mentioned.

Moore Haven city voted to tear down the old Lundy Building downtown.  The cost roughly 1 hundred and 16 thousand dollars.  The demolition was planned any day. Vice Mayor David McGee says it is an eyesore in the community. The city is also looking to buy the Anne-Tique building downtown which has also fallen into disrepair.

Sports Cast for March 17th:

Chuck Warren was happy with his first year as OHS boys bowling coach. He says the team struggled at times but also showed growth. The boys finished in seventh place at districts this year. Warren says he’d like to see the bowling team continue next year.

The boys and girls track team had several first place finishes at the Moore Haven meet.

Jajuan Cherry won both the 1 hundred and 2 hundred meters, Gage Ingram won the long jump and 4 hundred meters, Daniel Shelley won the mile and two mile and Gerardo Saucedo won the half mile.  For the girls Brook Julian won the 2 mile and Eve Walker won the shot put.

No sports planned this weekend.

Motorized Vehicles BEWARE of Wildfire Danger!

Motorized Vehicles BEWARE of Wildfire Danger!

As the grasses and vines with shallow roots green-up with the recent rainfall, the Florida Forest Service, Okeechobee District wants to remind residents to be vigilant with wildfire prevention. According to the Keetch-Byram Drought Index, inadequate rainfall has depleted the moisture content in deeper rooted fuels, such as shrubs and trees. Larger diameter trees will take a longer time to regain moisture compared to shallow rooted grasses. In addition, most of Florida’s native plants have oils and resins that contribute to the susceptibility for burning. Moderate drought has created a fuel condition that supports fires of longer duration and more extreme fire behavior than would normally be expected.

The Florida Forest Service, Okeechobee District is asking for your help in reducing vehicle caused wildfire starts.  Dead fuels, such as leaves, sticks and twigs, hold far less moisture and pulling off to the side of the road into dead vegetation can ignite a wildfire. The most common way is when the dead vegetation touches the vehicle exhaust system, including the catalytic converter which can reach up to 1,400 degrees. With the right weather conditions, all forms of motorized vehicles including cars, golf carts, motorcycles, airboats, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) or side by side (UTVs) can be fire starters.

Tips to Reduce Vehicle Wildfires

  1. A loose safety chain or muffler striking a rock or pavement will send a shower of sparks into dry vegetation. Ensure all parts of your vehicle are secure and not dragging.
  1. Driving on an exposed wheel rim throws sparks. Poorly lubricated wheel bearings can overheat and ignite, and worn out brakes can drop hot material into the grass. Take the time to check your tire pressure and look for indicators of wear and tear on a tire.
  1. Engine compartments can collect debris and ignite a spark. Worn-out catalytic converters can degrade and cast off extremely hot pieces of material. A faulty spark arrestor can shed hot metal. Take the time to maintain and clean exhaust systems and spark arresters.
  1. Avoid driving your vehicle off the road when it’s hot and dry because that will increase your chances of a fire starting from a vehicle. If you drive an off-road vehicle, such as an ATV/UTV or airboat, the sparks can fly out through the exhaust system. The key here is to equip the vehicle with spark arresters.
  1. Oil and transmission fluid are highly flammable and if you notice your vehicle leaking, then it’s time for a maintenance check.

The Florida Forest Service wants to remind you to have a fire extinguisher with you and know how to use it. Dead leaf litter/grass wildfires are very dangerous because they burn at an accelerated rate due to the fact that the fuel is so small and fine. If you do accidently ignite the grass on fire, call 911!

We can all make a difference in reducing human-caused fires during this dry season.

The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than 1 million acres of state forests, provides management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests, while protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire on more than 26 million acres. Learn more at FloridaForestService.com.

For questions about burn authorizations and wildfire prevention, please contact your local Florida Forest Service:

Martin County (772) 221-4045;    Saint Lucie County (772) 468-3915;  Indian River County (772) 778-5085;

Glades County (863) 674-4000;    Highlands County  (863) 655-6407;   Okeechobee County (863) 467-3221

Charles Murphy News 3/16

News Cast for March 16th:

A woman charged in a robbery of a truck driver in Okeechobee turned up murdered in Wildwood last month. Sumter county sheriff deputies say 35-year-old Barbara Lynn Grubb was found dead beside a road. Two weeks later deputies charged 21-year-old Terrance Williams with the crime.

Grubb and Michael Garcia were arrested last June 21st in a robbery in the Wal-mart parking lot.  Those charges were later dropped.

Hendry county deputies charged 21 year old Kaleb James with attempted murder of a cop in the shooting of Deputy Jayson Moorehead last week in Clewiston.  The deputy was conducting a business check with other deputies when he was shot in the arm.

The replica ships of the Nina and the Pinta won’t be coming across Lake Okeechobee this time.  Water levels aren’t high enough in the lake to travel down the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers from Fort Myers to Vero Beach.

Okeechobee city cops chased after a fleeing driver Tuesday morning in a chase from east of 441 into Deans Court and several residential streets.  Cops say the alleged driver, 20-year-old Omri Wrisper of Winter Garden drove through yards, an apartment complex, and finally crashed in a ditch on North West 10th Street.  He was charged with fleeing and attempting to elude, driving with a suspended license and resisting arrest.

Sports Cast for March 16th:

A four run first inning propelled Okeechobee to a 10-1 victory over the Kiski School from Pennsylvania Wednesday night. Sean Osceola pitched four solid innings and Baron Stuart drove in three runs for Okeechobee.

Coach Eric Kindell says the game gave his younger players some playing time and benefited each team.

Stuart says he feels good at the plate and he’s pleased that his teammates have been swinging the bats well.

Omar Ward hit a home run for the Cougars.

Okeechobee improved to 5-4 on the season.

There are no sports events today in Okeechobee due to spring break

Hunter safety courses offered in 6 counties -April Classes

Hunter safety courses offered in 6 counties

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is offering free hunter safety courses in six counties. (List follows.)

All firearms, ammunition and materials are provided free of charge. Students should bring a pen or pencil and paper. An adult must accompany children younger than 16 at all times.

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.

Internet-completion Courses


April 1 (7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

April 8 (8 a.m. – 4 p.m.)

April 23 (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.)


April 1 (8 a.m. – 2 p.m.)


April 23 (11 a.m. – 5 p.m.)


April 8 (8 a.m. – 4 p.m.)

Palm Beach

April 9 (8 a.m. – 4 p.m.)


Traditional Courses


April 28 (6 – 9 p.m.)

April 29 (8 a.m. – 4 p.m.)

April 30 (6:30 – 9 a.m.)

Palm Beach

April 8 – 9 (8 a.m. – 4 p.m.)

The specific locations for these classes will be given to those who register in advance. Those interested in attending a course can register online and obtain information about future hunter safety classes at MyFWC.com/HunterSafety or by calling the FWC’s regional office in West Palm Beach at 561-625-5122.

Charles Murphy News 3/15

News Cast for March 15th:

A 43-year-old Okeechobee man was charged with molesting two children over a period of years. Froylan Gonzalez-Garcia is charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation of children under 12.  The victim is now 11 and 14 years old.

A 36 year old Okeechobee man charged with burglary with an assault and battery, criminal mischief and other charges for an incident last November in Highlands County.

Matthew Tate was accused of battering a female and doing damage to a water pipe and a motorcycle on the property.

Glades County applied for a grant to improve Washington Park sewer and put in a small community park in the predominantly black neighborhood near Moore Haven. Commissioner Weston Pryor says it’s something that has been needed.

Immigration attorney Ricardo Skerritt says farm communities have lost a lot of Hispanic workers since the new administration took office. He says many have returned to their home country or moved out of state for fear of deportation. He says there will be an economic impact of the exodus.

Okeechobee schools report the number of Hispanic children is growing.  The enrollment rose by nearly 3 hundred in the past year to 26 hundred and 29 students.

Sports Cast for March 15th:

Nelson Wyatt won both the Okeechobee and Arcadia rodeos this past weekend. He won the team roping with Brad Culpepper and competed in tie down roping. He says they were pleased with his performance.

He has rodeod since he was eight years old.  He lives in Clanton, Alabama.  He has been in the pro rodeo for three years. He says he really enjoys the rodeo life.

Other winners this year included Tyler Pearson and Clint Thomas in steer wrestling, Wyatt Ortega in bareback riding, Jake Finlay in saddle bronc, Nathan Steinberg in tie-down roping, Brittney Drawdy in barrel racing, and Mike Adams in the bull riding.

On the sports schedule today, Brahman baseball hosts Kiski Academy from Saltsburg, Pennsylvania tonight at 7 pm.

Shooter’s Identity Released

Shooter’s Identity Released

Hendry County Sheriff’s Office is releasing the name of the man arrested in the March 9, shooting of a Hendry County Deputy.

The investigation revealed that Hendry County Deputy Moorehead and two other deputies were conducting a business check in the front of M&M Grocery at 944 Kentucky Ave., in Clewiston, Florida.  The Deputy had attempted to make contact with a man that fled upon the arrival of law enforcement.  During the follow-up investigation by Moorehead, shots rang out striking the deputy.

The Deputy suffered non-life threatening injuries from a gunshot wound to the left arm.  The Deputy has been released from the hospital.

Investigators arrested and charged 21 year old Kaleb James of Clewiston with Attempted Murder, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and Violation of Probation.  James is currently being held in the Hendry County Jail with no bond.

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