Local News

Free Hunter Safety Class on 10/4 and 10/5

Free Hunter Safety Class on 10/4 and 10/5

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will host a free hunter safety course on Oct. 4, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. in Hendry County and on Oct. 5, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. in Palm Beach County.

Participants must successfully complete the online portion of the course prior to attending and bring the final Web report to the FWC course on Oct. 4. The form does not have to be notarized.

Students will learn about several topics, including hunting laws, safe gun handling and hunter ethics/responsibility before taking the final test. The course also includes live-firing instruction on a shooting range.

The Hendry County class will be held at the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Shooting Range, 700 Witt Road, La Belle. The Palm Beach County class will be held at the Everglades Youth Camp, J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area, 12100 Seminole Pratt Whitney Road, West Palm Beach.

Participants can sign up at MyFWC.com/HunterSafety or by calling the FWC’s South Region Office at 561-625-5122. Links to the online portion of the course and a statewide schedule of hunter safety classes are available at MyFWC.com/HunterSafety.

Parents or legal guardians must accompany children under 16 years of age to all classes. To participate in live-fire exercises, children under 18 years old must present a parental release form signed by a parent or legal guardian.

Anyone born on or after June 1, 1975, must pass an approved hunter safety course and have a hunting license to hunt alone (unsupervised).

Charles Murphy News 9/25

News Cast for September 25th:

20 thousand dollars in damage done to a Sprint wire box on 70 west at South West 67th Drive remains under investigation. Authorities are looking for a large pickup truck that was at the crime scene Saturday night around 11:45 pm which was seen on video running into the wire box on several occasions.

Officials added a charge of child abuse to the case of William Paull, charged already with the lewd and lascivious molestation of a six year old child.

21 year old Denzell Bivins of Sebring was charged with trying to smuggle cell phones to inmates at Okeechobee correctional where he works, he faces two felony charges. 12 cell phones were seized along with some marijuana allegedly found in his vehicle.

Jobless rates remained stagnant at 8.4 percent in Okeechobee during August. 1519 residents collected benefits. Glades County reported 9 point 1 percent unemployment a slight decline from July. One year ago Okeechobee’s jobless rate was 9.7 percent and Glades was 9.1 percent.

Around the region, St. Lucie had 8.7, Martin, 7 percent, Osceola, 7 percent, and Highlands, 8.6 percent.

The state continues to review many Okeechobee properties for the Florida Forever program. Land along Fish Eating Creek, a Kissimmee St. Johns River Connector, Tiger Cattle company, Triple Diamond, and the battlefield state park were all discussed this year.

Kelley Boree with the State Department of Environmental Protection explains the process noting all of the land owners are willing to sell fee simple or easements. Among the priority list this year were 109 thousand acres along Fish Eating Creek and the 22 hundred acre Tiger Cattle Company ranch.

Kelley Boree on florida forever projects

Durkin, Michael Scott

Durkin, Michael Scott

09 24 2014 Press News Release Deputy Injured in Traffic Stop

A traffic stop results in two arrests after a pound of marijuana was located in the vehicle on the Martin Grade. Martin County deputies charged 57 year old Philip Langston and 37 year old Robert Lee Pitts with felony charges. Some heroin and 78 hundred dollars in suspected drug cash was also seized.

Sports Cast for September 25th:

Demetrius Clarke returned an interception 84 yards for a score and Robert Futch and Angel Garcia added rushing touchdowns to lead Okeechobee to a 22-6 victory over Sebastian in Junior Varsity football last night. Clarke picked off a short pass from Sharks QB Darian Archer and ran almost untouched down the sideline for a score in the first half. Futch scored on a 52 yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

Angel Garcia and Demetrius Clark on JV win over Sebastian

Garcia capped the scoring with an 18 yard touchdown run in the final minute. He carried many of the 63 yards on that drive. Jarrett Faulkner had an interception and a 39 yard touchdown run by Malcolm Chambers was called back by penalty.

Coach Joe Smith said his team showed the abilities they naturally possess.

Joe Smith on victory over Sebastian

Osceola volleyball swept past Sebastian 25-14 and 25-16 yesterday. Delaney Jones had four aces and one assist. Ashley Snyder had two assists, two aces and three kills.

On the sports schedule, Clewiston volleyball visits Brighton Charter School at 5 pm, OHS Volleyball visits Sebring with JV at 6 with varsity to follow.

FWC addresses venomous reptile issue

FWC addresses venomous reptile issue

Ten venomous reptiles are now in a safe facility after the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) removed them from a man who wasn’t licensed to possess them.

FWC investigators charged Brian Buchkowski, 28, of West Palm Beach with unlawful possession of the venomous reptiles and several other related violations. The snakes were being kept in unsafe containers, were not properly labeled, and he did not have the required bite protocol in place.

Each violation is a misdemeanor charge and punishable by up to $500 in fines and up to 60 days in jail.

The animals   ̶ five copperheads, three monocled cobras, a black and white spitting cobra and a white-lipped pit viper   ̶ were seized and placed with a licensed individual.

“Removing these reptiles was important to protect public safety and the well-being of the animals,” said Lt. Chris Harris, a supervisor in the FWC’s West Palm Beach office. “There are important captive wildlife rules that need to be followed, particularly where venomous reptiles are concerned. We’re fortunate no one was hurt and we were able to get them to a safe facility where they will be well cared for.”

For more information on how to properly possess captive wildlife in Florida, visit MyFWC.com/Wildlife and select “Captive Wildlife.” To report known or suspected violations, call 888-404-3922 or text Tip@MyFWC.com.

Governor Rick Scott Appoints Nita Denton to Nineteenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Governor Rick Scott Appoints Nita Denton to Nineteenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced the appointment of Nita Denton to the Nineteenth Circuit* Judicial Nominating Commission.

Denton, 59, of Stuart, is the Managing Attorney of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office. She succeeds Shaun Plymale and is appointed for a term beginning September 23, 2014, and ending July 1, 2018.

*Nineteenth Judicial Circuit – Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River, and Okeechobee Counties

What They’re Saying: State’s First Energy-Efficient Tax Holiday a Success

What They’re Saying: State’s First Energy-Efficient Tax Holiday a Success

Florida Businesses Show Increased Sales During Tax-Free Weekend Championed by Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam

Tallahassee, FL – Stores across Florida reported this weekend’s first energy-efficient sales tax holiday was a success with shoppers, who purchased items ranging from light bulbs to refrigerators and saved their tax money.

“This holiday saved thousands of dollars for Floridians,” said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “Not only did they save at the check-out counter, but they’ll also save energy, water and money on their utility bills over the long-term.”

Michael Chenard, Lowe’s: “Lowe’s is focused on helping customers save money by making their home more efficient. The sales tax holiday helps Lowe’s better serve our customers by making it easier for them to lower their utility bills and make improvements that fit their budget.”

Angel Aponte, Home Depot: “We are big fans of the ENERGY STAR sales tax holiday weekend. The timing of the holiday was perfect, and our associates made an event out of it.  Sales and foot traffic in our appliance department outpaced all other categories, which helped us deliver positive results on our sales plan for the week. Our customers were excited, and they took advantage of the holiday to save some of their hard-earned money. Our associates are always looking for ways to help our customers save money, and this was the weekend to do it.”

Lary Sinewitz, BrandsMart USA: “It was a wonderful weekend. Customers were very appreciative and excited for the opportunity to save. Many of our customers were buying whole appliance packages, replacing multiple appliances with ENERGY STAR appliances.”

Marian Wikenczy, Sears: “Overall we are pleased with the incremental business the event brought to our stores. Our customers that took advantage of the savings were very appreciative of the ENERGY STAR savings and excited to be making their purchases at this time. We look forward to seeing this event repeated in 2015.”

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

Charles Murphy News 9/24

News Cast for September 24th:

A 28 year old Citrus Springs man accidentally shot himself in the hand in Lakeport on Saturday. Glades County deputies say Caleb Frazier was holstering a 38 caliber handgun in a home off Lawhon Road when it discharged. He was treated at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center.

Accidental shooting

Civil citations have been recommended for careless driving causing death but no criminal charges for an Okeechobee deputy involved in a double fatality crash last December 2nd. State Attorney Bruce Harrison said the incident did not rise to the level of a crime. Two Okeechobee women were killed in the crash, 21 year olds Elizabeth Arellano Renteria and Hilda Marisol Medrano. Neither victim was wearing a seat belt. The lone survivor Isamar Sanchez Jaimes never did give a statement to Troopers investigating the case. Deputy Joseph Gracie was seriously injured. He was enroute to a domestic violence complaint. The crash report noted the airbag on his car did not deploy, he was not wearing a seat belt and had driven as fast at 96 miles per hour then slowed when the vehicle pulled in front of him, to about 87 miles per hour at the time of impact. The report found he was not using his emergency vehicle warning lights. Sheriff Paul May said he has been advised by attorneys not to comment due to pending litigation that alleges negligent training and wrongful death against the sheriff’s department.

Deputy related crash is done, no charges

A 33 year old Buckhead Ridge man was found lying off in an embankment off Cemetery Road after a motorcycle crash last week suffering from an arm injury and severe dehydration. Deputies said they did not know how long John McAdams had been in that location.



Accused rapist, 46 year old Conrad Thitchener was returned to Okeechobee from Dutchess County, New York this week to face felony charges; he kidnapped, battered and raped a West Palm Beach woman in Treasure Island. A governor’s warrant was obtained to extradite Mr. Thitchener back to Okeechobee from Poughkeepsie New York.

Thitchener Report

Sports Cast for September 24th:

Jose Santibanez won the Brahman Award for boys’ soccer this year. He will be back for his senior year this year and expects the boys’ team to have another strong season. Santibanez says he has worked out hard in the off season with many of the players and expects to take it to the next level. He said the Brahman award shows he is serious about this program.

OYFL teams earned forfeit victories Saturday as the Four Corners Bucs failed to show for five games scheduled due to transportation issues.

Girl’s golf was rained out at Port St. Lucie. Okeechobee girls bowling defeated Jensen Beach 7-0 on Monday. Jessica Olney bowled a 335 series for OHS.

Jensen won the boys match 5-2. Brian Chapman rolled a 387 series with a high game of 252.

On the sports schedule today, Brighton volleyball hosts Moore Haven JV at 4:30, Yearling visits Storm Grove for volleyball and soccer at 4:30, Osceola hosts Sebastian Middle for volleyball and soccer at 4:30, JV football tonight hosts Sebastian River at 6 pm. OHS boys’ golf faces Fort Pierce Central at Indian Hills at 3:30 pm

USF Researchers to Announce the Identification of Second Set of Dozier Remains

USF Researchers to Announce the Identification of Second Set of Dozier Remains

TAMPA, Fla. (Sept. 23, 2014) – A team from the University of South Florida conducting research at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys site will announce details regarding the identification of a second set of remains during a news conference at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 25 in the Galleria at the USF Research Park, 3802 Spectrum Boulevard, on the Tampa campus.

Associate Professor Erin Kimmerle also will provide updates on the status of the research on the Dozier property and the ongoing DNA collection/identification process.  U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Florida Senator Kelli Stargel will speak during the press conference.

Surviving family members will also speak at the event.

USF researchers are continuing to examine the now-closed state reform school, which was the subject of repeated abuse allegations, in an effort to identify dozens of students who were buried there in unmarked graves.

In August, USF researchers announced George Owen Smith, 14, was the first to be positively identified through a DNA match.

Parking will be available adjacent to the building and will be marked for the event.

For media outlets unable to attend, information and video clips will be posted on the USF website at www.usf.edu, following the press conference.

For further information, contact Lara Wade-Martinez at (813) 974-9060 or via cell at (813) 833-1498.


Charles Murphy News 9/23

News Cast for September 23rd:

Andrew Wheeler was ordered held without bond until trial at a bond reduction hearing Monday. The accused assaulter of an autistic child had wanted a bond reduction from 220 thousand. The state attorney argued that Wheeler had failed on probation and after a stint in juvenile prison and in adult prison, to live a law abiding life, and didn’t deserve any more chances. Prosecutor Ashley Albright said he intended to seek prison release reoffender status on Wheeler which means he could spend 30 years behind bars. Wheelers defense attorney claimed this was just a fight among teenagers that had been exploited by the media to gain ratings. He said Wheeler has always showed up for court dates and was not a risk to the community. He asked Wheeler questions about GPS monitoring

For a copy of the hearing, please email countrystore@wokc.com.

Among arrests, 19 year old Lenorth King was charged with battery on a fellow inmate at the county jail. King allegedly stole the victims’ pillow and then walloped him a few times when he tried to retrieve it.

A Change of plea was delayed in the Michael Exantus first degree murder case, he is charged with shooting to death Antone McQueen Hill in Douglas Park some 15 months ago.   The hearing was rescheduled for November 14th.

A sobriety checkpoint was conducted by the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office, along with members of the Okeechobee City Police Department and Florida Highway Patrol, on Friday, September 19, 2014 from 9:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. in the 500 block of Highway 70 East in Okeechobee. In all, 190 vehicles passed through the zone.  There was one arrest for DUI; three misdemeanor drug arrests; one arrest for a separate criminal offense; Twelve citations for non-moving/moving offenses; ten warnings issued; one Driving While License Suspended citation; two criminal citations for no valid driver’s license; three criminal citations issued for Possession of Marijuana Under (20) Grams, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Expired Tag for More than a Year; three warnings issued for various offenses and two citations issued for moving related offenses.

PB Fatal 9-21-14 Update ID

Desoto Co SR 70 School Bus 9-22-14

Hendry Co CR 846 Bus 9-22-14 UPDATE

Martin Fatal update 9-17-14

SFWMD to Hold Public Hearing to Adopt Final Millage, FY2015 Budget

Sports Cast for September 23rd:

Osceola broke a long losing streak to Yearling with a 25-23 and 25-7 victory over the Lady Bulls at the Warriors gym Monday for their first win of the year. Alexi Morgan had six aces and two kills and Aubrey Hatway had four kills one assist and one block to lead the Warriors.

Hatway says the squad really focused and wanted to beat their cross town rivals.

Aubrie Hataway on Osceola volleyball win over YMS

Coach Lauren Throop, who played at Osceola, couldn’t recall when Osceola had last beaten Yearling, she said this performance came almost out of the blue. An ace by Mattie Garcia helped Osceola win the back and forth first game, which neither team led by more than three points. Yearling never threatened in the second game.

Lauren Throop on Osceola win over YMS

The soccer match was postponed until October due to rain.

On the sports schedule today, Moore Haven volleyball meets Canterbury at 7:30 pm, girls golf visits Port St. Lucie at the Saints Country Club, OHS bowlers visit South Fork, OHS swimmers hold a tri match at the sports complex against John Carroll and the Pine School at 5:30 pm, boys golf visits south Fork at Hammock Creek country club at 3:30 pm.


Exotic Pet Amnesty Day set for Oct. 4

Exotic Pet Amnesty Day set for Oct. 4

The second annual Exotic Pet Amnesty Day for Palm Beach County will be Oct. 4 at the former Garden Club building in Dreher Park, behind the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society and next to the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium (address: 4800 Dreher Trail North, West Palm Beach). The public is invited to surrender any exotic animals they have been keeping as pets – no penalties and no questions asked.

Surrendered animals will be accepted between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. These animals will be checked by a veterinarian and made available for adoption by experienced individuals who are capable of caring for them. Animals that will be accepted for surrender include reptiles, amphibians, mammals, birds, fish and invertebrates. Domestic animals will not be accepted.

Exotic Pet Amnesty Day is hosted by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (ECISMA) and the Zoo, and is sanctioned by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

The event is free and open to the public. Live animals will be on display, and experts from the FWC, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society will be on hand for conversations and questions about exotic pets.

The surrendered animals will be made available for adoption after 2 p.m. Exotic pet adopters must be experienced and must have already applied and been approved by the FWC. Would-be adopters must bring their acceptance letters with them. Adopter applications can be found at MyFWC.com/Nonnatives. Becoming an adopter is free.

For additional information about this event, call the FWC’s Exotic Species Hotline at 888-Ive-Got1 (888-483-4681). Exotic pet owners who cannot attend this event can call this number for assistance in finding a new home for their animal.

High-resolution images from the first Palm Beach County Pet Amnesty Day, courtesy Kelly Miller, are available at www.dropbox.com/sh/reua9eaqcuytggb/AABUpkletwSq-3ws_IFaf3PDa?dl=0.

For more information about adopting exotic pets, visit MyFWC.com/Nonnatives and click on “Exotic Pet Amnesty Program.”

For more information about the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society, visit www.palmbeachzoo.org.

Press Release from OCPD

Okeechobee City Police Department
50 SE 2nd Ave.
Okeechobee Fl 34974


On September 18, 2014 the following people were arrested in the Andrew Wheeler beating case of the juvenile.

Blake Conley Campbell 17 years of age was charged as Principal to 1st degree Child Abuse (1st degree Felony)and Cyber stalking/bullying (1st degree Misdemeanor). Blake Campbell videotaped the beating of the juvenile.

Brandie Ariel Dailey 16 years of age was charged as Principal to Child abuse (3rd degree Felony) invited the victim to the residence, Brandie called the other two boys to come to the residence, she watched the battery, did not seek help for the victim.

Keith Carnley Sr. 42 years of age was arrested for Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor. 1st degree Misdemeanor.

Andrew Wheeler appeared before the Honorable Judge Bauer today seeking a bond reduction. State Attorney Ashley Albright effectively argued that Wheeler should be detained with NO BOND.

Evadean Dailey appeared before the Honorable Judge Bauer today seeking a bond reduction. Her bond will remain the same at $100 ,000.

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