Local News

Hunter safety courses offered in six counties

Hunter safety courses offered in six counties

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

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 Course

June 26 (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

June 4 (8 a.m. – 2 p.m.)

June 19 (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

June 11 (8 a.m. – 4 p.m.)

Palm Beach

June 11 (7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

Traditional Course

June 24 (6 p.m. – 10 p.m.) & June 25 (8 a.m. – 4 p.m.) & June 26 (6:30 a.m. – 9 a.m.)

The specific location 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.

Kiwanis Club Donates To Pregnancy Center Of Okeechobee (AUDIO INCLUDED)

Kiwanis Club Donates To Pregnancy Center Of Okeechobee (AUDIO INCLUDED)

Caption: From left to right: Kiwanis member Dowling Watford, Pregnancy Center representative Cheri Watford, Pregnancy Center volunteer Desire Penrod and Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee president Courtney Moyett presenting the Kiwanis Club donation to the Pregnancy Center of Okeechobee

Caption: From left to right: Kiwanis member Dowling Watford, Pregnancy Center representative Cheri Watford, Pregnancy Center volunteer Desire Penrod and Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee president Courtney Moyett presenting the Kiwanis Club donation to the Pregnancy Center of Okeechobee

The Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee held their annual Baby Shower to benefit the Pregnancy Center of Okeechobee at their May 19th meeting. The Club presented a check for $480 along with many baby supplies such as diapers, wipes, toys, clothing and more. The Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee, which works to improve the lives of youth in the county, has been holding this event for several years.

The Pregnancy Center of Okeechobee was founded in 2008 and exists to serve anyone involved in a difficult pregnancy situation.

The Goal of the Pregnancy Center of Okeechobee is to:

  • Provide education and support to people in our community as they make important decisions about pregnancy.
  • Create a safe, confidential and caring haven in which options can be provided for women experiencing an unexpected pregnancy.
  • Provide practical services related to pregnancy, childrearing, and relationships.

All services provided at the Pregnancy Center of Okeechobee are confidential and FREE. The Pregnancy Center of Okeechobee desires to serve the whole community, regardless of race, creed, age, economic status, or marital status.

Learn more about the Pregnancy Center of Okeechobee by logging onto okeepregcenter.com


Charles Murphy News 5/25

News Cast for May 25th:

Among arrests, 44 year old Wendy Madrigal was charged with stealing over 3 hundred and 1 thousand dollars from a local restaurant where she worked as payroll clerk.  The thefts took place between 2010 and 2013.  As a result she didn’t pay all the taxes the restaurant owed the state and federal government leading to fines and other penalties.  Charges include a scheme to defraud and first degree grand theft.

A 30 year old Okeechobee man caught up in a drug sting in Stuart.  Martin county deputies charge Perry Sallette with delivery of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine and introduction of contraband into the county jail.  Bond was 90 thousand dollars.  Officers were watching as Sallette allegedly sold a confidential source 2 hundred and 80 dollars’ worth of methamphetamine.

This is safe boating week in Okeechobee and throughout the nation.  Florida has a year round boating season while Memorial Day is the traditional kickoff for many other states.   The Okeechobee Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla began a free safe boating course this week.  They want to cut down on boating accidents on the lake and emphasize the use of life jackets. The Perry Cohen foundation provided funds for the class this commander Frank roan. Another class is planned on the third Saturday in June.

An assault was caught on surveillance cameras at the Indiantown Circle K on Warfield Boulevard.  Martin County deputies at 29 year old Oscar Dunzz hit the victim so hard that he broke two bones in the man’s face.  The victim was hospitalized at St. Mary’s.


Sports Cast for May 25th:

Wilson Barahona was the Most Valuable player for the boys’ soccer team, offensive MVP, and most assists.  Barahona also earned a college scholarship to play Division 2 Soccer at Alderson Broaddus University in Philippi, West Virginia. He said he appreciated everything that has happened.

Barahona 1

Barahona 2

Barahona said he tried to be a team player this year and improve his teammates. He helped Jose Jaimes have a team leading 25 goals this season. Okeechobee finished 14-3-2 this past season but did not make regional.

President Signs Larsen Bill To Support Healthy Estuaries

President Signs Larsen Bill To Support Healthy Estuaries

May 24, 2016 Issues: Environment

WASHINGTON, D.C.—A bipartisan bill to invest in estuary restoration that Reps. Rick Larsen, WA-02, and Frank LoBiondo, NJ-02, introduced was signed into law on Friday by President Obama. The legislation reauthorizes the National Estuary Program (NEP) through 2021, funding local efforts to restore and protect sensitive estuaries and their wildlife. Larsen hailed the bill’s signing into law as a bipartisan effort to keep our environment healthy.

“The President signing this important legislation will ensure local communities can continue protecting and restoring estuaries. This is a major victory for clean water and healthy habitats today and long into the future.

“The Puget Sound is the second largest estuary in the country, and the Pacific Northwest depends on it for a healthy environment and a strong economy. Unique habitats where rivers meet the ocean support many species of fish, birds and other wildlife. Healthy estuaries also sustain economic activity like fishing, tourism and outdoor recreation.

“I thank Representative LoBiondo for working with me to make sure this important legislation which benefits our environment and economy crossed the finish line,” Rep. Larsen said.

Larsen has a long record of support for restoring local estuaries, like the Qwuloolt Estuary Restoration Project. When finished, this project will be one of the largest tidal marsh restoration projects ever completed in Washington state.

Funding from the National Estuary Program, which is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, supports the comprehensive plan for Puget Sound recovery through the Puget Sound Partnership.



Motorcyclist fatalities increased 23% between 2014 and 2015

TAMPA, Fla. (May 25, 2016) — Drivers should expect to see more motorcyclists on Florida roadways as the weather heats up and motorists enjoy some of the lowest summertime gas prices in over a decade.

Motorcycle fatalities rose from 449 to 554 in Florida between 2014 and 2015, a more than 23 percent increase, according to preliminary data from Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Motorcyclists accounted for one-fifth (19%) of motor vehicle fatalities in the state, while only accounting for about three percent of registered vehicles.

According to a recent AAA Consumer Pulse™ survey, nearly one in six motorcyclists (16%) do not have motorcycle insurance. Click here for the complete survey. The estimated economic cost to society of each motorcycle fatality is $1.48 million, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Economic costs include lost productivity, medical, legal, court, emergency services and insurance costs, property damage, and workplace losses.

“Since the repeal of the helmet law in Florida, motorcycle fatalities have more than doubled,” said Karen Morgan, Public Policy Manager, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “While helmet laws are a controversial issue, AAA strongly supports helmet laws, – bottom line helmets save lives.”

The AAA Consumer Pulse™ survey also found that one-third (32%) of Florida motorcyclists do not think they should be required to wear a helmet when riding. Last year over half (50.4%) of motorcyclists in Florida were observed not wearing a helmet while riding, according to a study by the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) University of South Florida. Helmets have been proven to be 37 percent effective in preventing motorcycle fatalities in a crash, according NHTSA. In other words, for every 100 motorcycle riders killed in crashes while not wearing a helmet, 37 of them could have been saved had all 100 worn helmets.

“Bikers should do everything possible to make themselves visible to motorists while riding,” said Josh Carrasco, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Motorists need to keep their attention on the task of driving and be alert for increased motorcycle traffic. Motorcyclists can increase their visibility by riding with their lights on or adding reflective gear to their bike.”

May is motorcycle safety month. AAA recommends the following safety tips for both motorists and motorcycle riders:

Safety Tips for Motorists:

  • Respect motorcycle riders. Motorcycles have the same privileges as an automobile, so be sure to give them ample room.
  • Look and Listen. Even if a motorcycle is loud, don’t expect to hear it. Actively look for motorcycles in traffic.
  • Leave Room. Leave plenty of room between your vehicle and a motorcycle. Uneven terrain, wet roads, and heavy traffic often require a motorcycle rider to react and maneuver differently than automobiles.
  • Be aware. Take extra caution when making a left-hand turn, because most automobile-versus-motorcycle crashes occur during left-hand turns.
  • Don’t drive distracted. A driver who takes their eyes off the road for two seconds doubles their risk of getting into a crash.

Safety Tips for Motorcyclists:

  • Wear safety gear. Helmets that meet a high protection standard, eye wear, closed-toe footwear and protective clothing reduce your risk of injury or death in a crash. Remember, the only thing between you and the ground is your protective gear
  • Be visible. Keep headlights, marker and taillights on at dusk and dark or rainy weather. Wear bright clothing or put reflective strips on your bike to be more visible to other motorists. Avoid being in the blind spots of cars and trucks by following three to four seconds behind the vehicle in front of you.
  • Use sound judgment. Avoid weaving between lanes while riding. Be sure to use your signals and stick to the speed limit.
  • Get proper training. Completing a motorcycle safety course can not only make you a better rider, but save you money on your motorcycle insurance.

About AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey
The AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey was conducted online among motorcycle owners in Florida from January 29, 2016 – February 9, 2016. A total of 228 residents completed the survey. The survey has a margin of error of ± 6.5 percentage points.

About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America.  ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to over 9 million members across eleven states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana.  ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 56 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.

Former Port St. Lucie Police Officer Sentenced to Life in Prison for Child Exploitation

Former Port St. Lucie Police Officer Sentenced to Life in Prison for Child Exploitation

A former police officer with the Port St. Lucie Police Department was sentenced yesterday to life in prison by United States District Judge Robin L. Rosenberg in Fort Pierce, Florida.  He had previously pled guilty to multiple federal child exploitation charges.

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Robert C. Hutchinson, Acting Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office, and John A. Bolduc, Chief, Port St. Lucie Police Department, made the announcement.

Michael Edwin Harding, 28, of Port St. Lucie, was sentenced to life in prison for the charge of attempt to coerce and entice a minor to engage in sexual activity, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2422(b); 240 months for each count of distributing material involving sexual exploitation of minors, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252(a)(2); 240 months for possession of material involving sexual exploitation of minors, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252(a)(4)(B); and 360 months for producing child pornography, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2251(a)(e).  All of the sentences imposed will run concurrently.  Additionally, the court imposed a lifetime term of supervised release and Harding will be required to register as a sex offender.

According to filed documents and statements made in court, Harding distributed videos and still images involving the sexual exploitation of minors on three separate dates.  Between July 23, 2015, and August 4, 2015, Michael Harding posted multiple images and videos to a chat room on a popular social media application.  The still images and videos depicted minor children engaging in sexually explicit acts.  The images posted to the chat room were discovered during a forensic examination of a cell phone owned by Harding.

During the execution of a search warrant at Harding’s house, HSI agents located electronic devices and thumb drives containing hundreds of videos and still images depicting the sexual exploitation of minors.  A large number of the images and videos depicted prepubescent minors engaging in sexual acts with adults.

Additionally, Harding attempted to coerce and entice a minor to engage in sexual activity over the internet.  Chat messages recovered from Harding’s cell phone memorialized a conversation between the defendant and another individual, wherein they claimed to have custody of minor children whom they offered to exchange for their own sexual gratification.

Harding also produced child pornography by using his cell phone to create a video depicting his sexually explicit contact with a child under the age of 12.  The video was discovered on Harding’s cell phone during a computer forensic examination.

This case is part of Operation Predator, an international law enforcement initiative, led by ICE-HSI, to combat the sexual exploitation of children.  Through this collaborative effort, law enforcement strives to protect children from sexual predators, including individuals who travel overseas in order to engage in sexual conduct with minors, individuals who possess, trade and produce child pornography, criminal alien sex offenders, and sex traffickers of children.  Anyone with information about suspected child exploitation is encouraged to call 1‑866‑872-4973.  For additional information regarding the initiative and resources, visit www.ice.gov.


Mr. Ferrer commended ICE-HSI for their investigative efforts and the Port St. Lucie Police Department for their assistance with this investigation.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Daniel E. Funk and Russell R. Killinger.


A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Hicks Speaks To Kiwanis Club About The R.O.C (AUDIO INCLUDED)

Hicks Speaks To Kiwanis Club About The R.O.C (AUDIO INCLUDED)

From left to right: Kiwanis member Red Larson, Jacob Hicks and Kiwanis Club president Courtney Moyett

From left to right: Kiwanis member Red Larson, Jacob Hicks and Kiwanis Club president Courtney Moyett

Jacob Hicks recently spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee recently about his position at The First Baptist Church of Okeechobee. Hicks is the Pastor of children and recreation for the church and one of his primary duties is coordinating activities at the Recreation Outreach Center otherwise known as “The ROC”

Over the course of the year, the ROC hosts many activities for all people including Vacation Bible School, Upwards Basketball, SR adult fitness classes. Hicks says the church is always open to new ways to use the facility.

Hicks feels the ROC does a lot to help bring families together and love the Lord.

The presentation matched up well with the Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee’s mission to improve the lives of the youth in Okeechobee. The Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee is a service group that raises money and donations for youth organizations in Okeechobee County. They meet every Thursday at noon in the backroom at Cowboy’s restaurant. Anyone interested in becoming a member or learning more about the club is welcome to attend.


Convicted Sexual Predator Tyrone Edison Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison

Convicted Sexual Predator Tyrone Edison Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison

Monday, May 9, 2016

Ken J. Mascara

Sheriff of St. Lucie County, FL

Contact: Bryan Beaty

Public Information Officer



News Release: 2016-39

Date and Time: Monday, May 9, 2016 ~ 4 p.m.

Headline: Convicted Sexual Predator Tyrone Edison Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison

Sheriff Ken Mascara announced today that Tyrone Edison, 36, was sentenced in circuit court to serve 40 years in prison.

According to Sheriff Mascara, Edison was arrested in August of 2014 on 13 counts of sex-related crimes. Eight victims between the ages of 11 and 15 were identified during the investigation.

Edison was sentenced to 40 years in state prison. Upon release, he will serve a lifetime probation sentence and will be a registered sexual predator, said Mascara.

“Finality like today bring the criminal justice system full circle,” said Sheriff Ken J. Mascara. “It’s reassuring to know that a monster like Edison will no longer be able to victimize anyone else and that for the rest of his life, he will have some of the harshest stipulations placed on him as a registered sexual predator.”

Charles Murphy News 5/24

News Cast for May 24th:

Winners.EES.4th Grade.jpgAmong arrests, 30 year old Terry McQueen was charged with fleeing and eluding police, and driving on a suspended license after a high speed chase Saturday.  He was caught near North East 28th Avenue hiding in a ditch.  Sheriff deputies say they seized 7 grams of methamphetamine found near the suspects’ vehicle.

Glen Davis was sentenced to 20 years behind bars for aggravated assault with a firearm.  The 65 year old earned a new trial for a shooting in December of 2 thousand 11 at a city residence.  Ira Williams was shot in the head but survived.

43 year old Kathleen Castranova was charged with firing a 12 gauge shotgun during a domestic dispute, she was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Everglades elementary swept the elementary math bowl competition last Friday.  It is put on annually by the schools and the Okeechobee council of teachers of mathematics. Teacher Melissa Reno said the kids studied a lot to get ready for the contest. Each of the children received prizes, accolades at school and a free lunch at Golden Corral.

Reno 1

Reno 2

Reno 3

Pat McCoy was named the new Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services for Okeechobee Schools. She moves from North Elementary where she was principal for 14 years.  She said it’ll be tough to leave the school. McCoy praised the staff and faculty at North for helping her to become the leader she is today.

McCoy 1

McCoy 2

A hit and run driver caused a three vehicle accident in Buckhead Ridge Monday morning. 35-year-old Charles McCoy of Moore Haven was transported to Raulerson hospital with serious injury. The highway patrol says a blue older model Buick Century cut him off on state route 78 at Buckhead Ridge Road, McCoy went off the road in a Cadillac, returned to the road and hit the trailer of a semi driven by 53-year-old Enrique Martinez of Miami.

Glades Co SR 78 Hit and Run 5-23-16

Sports Cast for May 24th:

Hannah Collier was the Brahman Award winner for the girls weight lifting team this year. She said she definitely appreciated this trophy

Collier 1

Collier said she started weight lifting to help her with her strength and her softball skills. She will attend Indian River State College on scholarship to play softball. She said she is ready for college ball.

Collier 2

She played travel ball for the Firestix and also Light Speed 18 U and Cruisers Elite on the Treasure Coast.

Hannah plans to be a physical therapist and earn a Masters Degree.

Gilbert Chevrolet Honored With Prestigious Award (AUDIO INCLUDED)

Gilbert Chevrolet Honored With Prestigious Award (AUDIO INCLUDED)

MOE_May 2016 (2 of 1)

Representatives from Chevrolet were on hand last week to present Gilbert Chevrolet with their prestigious Mark Of Excellence Award for 2015.

Carlos Latour, the Zone Manager for South Florida Chevrolet presented Gilbert Chevrolet owner Christa Culbreth Luna with a plaque and congratulated the entire company on being one of just 445 dealerships nationally to earn the award.

Chevrolet has over 3000 dealerships across the nation and less than 15% met the standards required. Dealerships must meet certain criteria for several categories  such as sales, customer satisfaction, facilities and service.

The plaque presented reads:

Chevrolet honors our finest dealers who have committed themselves to unsurpassed performance and customer satisfaction. Gilbert Chevrolet Mark of Excellence 2015



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