News Cast for December 2nd:
Two young women were killed and a deputy critically injured early Sunday in an accident on route 70 east at North East 4th Avenue. 21 year old Elizabeth Arellano, the driver, and 21 year old Hilda Medrano were in a 2 thousand Ford Focus that attempted to turn left into the McDonalds parking lot and turned directly into the path of a west bound Okeechobee Deputy cruiser. 46 year old Deputy Joseph Gracie was flown to Lawnwood in critical condition. A second passenger in the Focus, 20 year old Isamar Jaimes was in critical condition at Raulerson Hospital.
Crime rates in the first six months of the year went down over 15 percent in Glades county but went up nearly 5 percent in Okeechobee County. Burglary and larceny was the most common crime. Okeechobee had eight forcible rapes, four robberies, two murders and 76 aggravated assaults. Glades County reported 219 arrests down 27 percent over last year’s numbers. Okeechobee had 1231 arrests, an increase of 20 percent over 2012 numbers.
The appeal of former basketball coach and social studies teacher Joel Huddleston failed last week before the 4th district court of appeals. The yearling middle school employee was sentenced to 15 years in prison and 15 years’ probation for inappropriately touching a 12 year old girl he was trying to adopt.
A 35 year old Okeechobee man, David Retalic, was charged with possession of methamphetamines after a retail theft complaint and the discovery of a rolling meth lab by St. Johns County Deputies.
Sports Cast for December 2nd:
Bethany Stuart is pleased with how her senior year as begun for girls basketball. While the team has been mostly competitive, Stuart has improved in her scoring, rebounding and defensive work for the Lady Brahmans. She said despite a lack of experience and explosive talent, she felt the girls have been making up for their shortcomings with effort. Stuart has scored in double figures in a couple games this year.
She said she is expected to grab a lot of rebounds and be the team leader. Stuart intends to enroll at IRSC next year and then attend the University of Florida. She wants to major in sports medicine and become an orthopedic surgeon.
On the sports schedule today, Girls basketball will host Clewiston at 5:30 pm. Lady Brahman soccer will host Martin County at 6 pm.
News Cast for November 29th:
Charges of organized fraud were dropped against 51 year old Billy Rolen, the former line supervisor for Glades Utilities services in Highlands County. He had been accused of fraudulently obtaining over 60 thousand dollars in a fraud involving FEMA grants from damage done by Hurricane Wilma. Three others were prosecuted in federal court including the former general manager in an alleged kickback scheme. Rolen’s case had been pending since 2 thousand 10 and was scheduled for a deferred prostitution, restitution agreement this month.
A 48 year old Kenansville man pled no contest to charges he molested a 13 year old girl in a wooded area of Osceola County on April 28th. A 2nd victim allegedly came forward after the arrest and 10 felony charges were ultimately filed against Brian Shaw. Nine of those charges were dropped in Osceola Court.
53 year old William Flanigan of Moore Haven was sentenced to 18 months’ probation for failure to register as a sex offender in Glades County. Authorities say Flanigan was living at Meadowlark Shores Campground. He was also wanted for two counts of failure to register in Oakland County, Michigan.
57 year old Ralph Wolfenbarger received 18 months in prison for possession of a controlled substance in Glades County. He was originally charged with trafficking back on March 4th.
Carol Reno of Okeechobee became the first woman to win a power boat racing series this year. She said it meant a lot to her. Reno was consistent throughout the year and was able to win one race. The boats travel 85 to 90 miles per hour average speed.
She thanked Everglades Seasoning, and her other sponsors.
Sports Cast for November 29th:
Devin Jimenez would like to follow up his defensive player of the year award last year with another district title and a state title for Okeechobee soccer this year. The Brahman boys are off to a great start this month with a record of 4-0.
Jimenez said he is very impressed with the talent level shown by his teammates so far. Jimenez says the younger players are really pushing the older players this year because they come in ready from day one. Jimenez has led a stronger defense this year.
Five Brahmans will play in the South Central Florida Football all-star game in Sebring next Saturday.
Adrian Minondo, Cody Walker, Cory Vickers, Khalil Smith and E.J Neal will play and Coach Chris Branham will serve as an assistant coach in the game at firemen’s field.
5 Tips For Smart Black Friday Shopping
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Offers Simple Tips For Smart Shopping During Black Friday
Tallahassee, FL – The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services offer five simple tips for smart shopping practices this Black Friday.
Falling victim of a retail scam or experiencing buyer’s remorse can ruin Floridians’ holiday spirit. Fortunately, there are measures Floridians can take to avoid retail scams and buyer’s remorse when shopping this holiday season.
Here are a few tips:
1. Comparison Shop
A “sale” price isn’t always the best price. Some companies may offer a sale price on the item you want for a limited time, while other stores may discount the same item every day.
2. Beware of Recalls
Before you go shopping, find out which toys or products have been recalled.
3. Know Your Rights
Recent changes to federal law prohibited gift card issuers from enforcing certain fees and expiration dates on gift cards.
4. Know Return Policies
Each retailer sets their own policies, so make sure to obtain their policy before you buy.
5. Keep Good Records
Keep receipts for your purchases and ask for a gift receipt to include with your gift.
For more information about smart holiday shopping, visit our website.
For more information on product recalls, visit www.recalls.gov.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com.
FLORIDA LOTTERY HOLIDAY CAMPAIGN CAPTURES THE MAGIC OF THE SEASON
TALLAHASSEE — In support of the Florida Lottery’s holiday Scratch-Off games, the Lottery is introducing a new campaign featuring magical Scratch-Off fairies which will be used across all advertising mediums, as well as social media.
In the television commercial, “Holly” and her Scratch-Off fairy friends fly around a home sprucing up holiday decorations with Lottery Scratch-Off tickets. During the 30-second spot, the fairies swirl through the air leaving a sparkling trail as they trim the tree, set dinner place cards and pass by an astounded nutcracker on the mantel. A nod to the origin of the music you hear, as the commercial is set to Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” from “The Nutcracker” ballet and includes original lyrics. The commercial was created and produced by the Florida Lottery’s advertising agency St. John & Partners, of Jacksonville.
“The whimsical fairies and nostalgic holiday music is perfectly suited to represent the magic of the season and the possibilities that come with playing Florida Lottery games,” said Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O’Connell. “Having the commercial set inside a home, the feeling you get when you hear the song along with the colors and imagery make for a truly beautiful commercial.”
The Scratch-Off fairies theme and music from the television commercial is also utilized in radio, print and digital advertisements. “Holly” has also taken over the Florida Lottery’s Facebook page as part of the holiday campaign. Holly is featured along with the Florida Lottery’s logo in a profile picture and will be posting messages on the Lottery’s page throughout the holiday season.
The Florida Lottery is offering six holiday-themed Scratch-Off games this year, featuring more than $150 million in prizes. The $10 game, $1,000,000 SEASON’S GREETINGS, includes more than $30 million in total cash prizes and is available in three different eye-catching colors. The $5 Scratch-Off game, HOLIDAY GIFT, has four colorful scenes, more than 1.4 million winning tickets and six top prizes of $250,000. The $2 game, CHOCOLATE COVERED 7’S, features vivid ticket art and a chocolate-scented ink that covers the play area. The other $2 games, both offering top prizes of $25,000 are SEASON’S GOLD and HO HO HO LOTTA CASH. Last but not least, for only $1, players have the chance to win up to $5,000 with HOLIDAY DELIGHT.
The Florida Lottery offers approximately 60 Scratch-Off games at any given time through vending machines or counter displays at more than 13,000 retailers statewide. Scratch-Off games are an important part of the Lottery’s portfolio of games, making up approximately 60 percent of ticket sales and generating more than $575 million for education in fiscal year 2012-13.
ABOUT THE FLORIDA LOTTERY
The Florida Lottery is responsible for contributing more than $25 billion to education and sending more than 650,000 students to college through the Bright Futures Scholarship Program. The Florida Lottery reinvests nearly 98 percent of its revenue back into Florida’s economy through prize payouts, commissions to more than 13,000 Florida retailers and transfers to education. Since 1988, Florida Lottery games have paid more than $40 billion in prizes and made more than 1,300 people millionaires. For more information, please visit www.flalottery.com.
5 Tips to Safely Prepare Food this Thanksgiving
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Offers Simple Tips to
Prevent Foodborne Illness
Tallahassee, FL – The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services offers five simple tips to safely prepare meals this Thanksgiving.
Each year, roughly one in six Americans, or 48 million people are affected by foodborne illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Fortunately, there are measures Floridians can take to avoid illness when preparing food at home.
With the potential for food poisoning increased during the holidays, it is especially important to remember safe food handling and preparation practices. Here are a few tips:
- Wash your hands, surfaces and utensils often during food preparation.
- Keep raw foods away from cooked foods to avoid cross-contamination.
- Thaw frozen turkey in the refrigerator or under cold-running water. Never defrost the turkey at room temperature
- Cook food to the proper temperature. When cooking a turkey, use a thermometer to be sure you have cooked your turkey the proper safe temperature of 165 degrees.
- Cook the stuffing separate from the turkey to avoid bacterial growth.
For more information about how to safely prepare food, visit our website.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com.
Governor Scott announces additional license-free fishing days
Today, Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced that Friday, Nov. 29 will be a license-free freshwater fishing day, and Saturday, November 30 will be a saltwater license-free fishing day.
Governor Scott said, “License-free fishing days serve as a great opportunity for families to enjoy the incredible fishing opportunities that Florida has to offer. After the Thanksgiving holiday, families will be able to head to the water with their visiting guests and experience some of the best fishing in the world.”
Florida’s license-free fishing days are an opportunity for people to take advantage of Florida’s outstanding fishing. Florida’s recreational freshwater and saltwater fishing industry has an $8.9 billion economic impact and supports nearly 80,000 jobs. While providing recreational opportunities that encourage healthy, active-outdoor fun, these license-free fishing days also help grow the industry and promote conservation stewardship.
There are eight license-free fishing days per year, where the requirement to have a recreational fishing license is waived for residents and visitors. All other fishing and boating rules and regulations still apply (see MyFWC.com/Fishing for details).
Dec. 28 will be the last freshwater license-free fishing day for 2013.
Beginning in 2014, all eight license-free fishing days will fall on the same weekend days from year to year, allowing potential anglers to plan fishing trips in advance and businesses and nonprofit groups to plan events around these fishing license holidays. The recurring days will be:
- First Saturday and Sunday in June
- First Saturday in September
- Saturday following Thanksgiving
- First Saturday and Sunday in April
- Second Saturday and Sunday in June
The FWC offers several angler-recognition programs to help promote fishing and share memories. Freshwater anglers can go to TrophyCatchFlorida.com to be entered in a drawing for a bass boat and motor. If they catch, document and release a trophy largemouth bass over 8 pounds, they can submit a photo of the entire fish (head to tail) on a scale to claim great rewards—starting with a $50 gift card, custom T-shirt and certificate. For other recreational freshwater fishes (33 species included), a simple photo of a fish that exceeds the designated minimum length or weight will get them a Big Catch certificate and bragging rights on the website.
For saltwater anglers, the challenge is to catch a “slam” by catching three different species of saltwater fishes in the same day. Four different groupings of popular sport fish are included to promote the diversity of marine fisheries the state has to offer. For an application and to learn more about this program, which is conducted in collaboration with the International Game Fish Association, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing, then click saltwater and Grand Slams.
TrophyCatch boat giveaway winner announced
Five lucky anglers who signed up at TrophyCatchFlorida.com started celebrating the holidays early when their own special Santa delivered big, with a boat and motor, or fishing trip and gift cards.
TrophyCatch is a special reward-driven angler recognition program that encourages Florida anglers to take extra care to document and live-release largemouth bass heavier than 8 pounds. The program is conducted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and supported by corporate partners, who provide the incentives.
By simply registering, more than 4,000 anglers became eligible the first year in a drawing for a Phoenix 619 Pro bass boat powered by a Mercury 200SX outboard. In October, a random drawing was conducted to select five finalists for the boat and special consolation prizes. The finalists were announced by Teresa Johnson, Phoenix’s chief operating officer, along with Tom Champeau, director of the FWC’s Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management and KP Clements, TrophyCatch coordinator (see video at YouTube.Com/TrophyCatchFlorida).
Frank Ay, the grand-prize winner, originally learned about TrophyCatch through an email sent out by FWC (Note: Anglers can sign up for custom emails at MyFWC.com by selecting the red envelope in the top banner). Ay lives in North Lauderdale and works at Sy Katz Produce as an inspector, where his boss sympathizes with Ay’s bass fishing addiction. Ay is a member of Big Reel Bassmasters of Margate, which is known for its charity Ghosts & Goblins fishing event. Ay said his biggest largemouth bass was 10 pounds, 2 ounces. He caught it in a small pond in Coconut Creek.
Ay was surprised at a Big Reel Bassmasters club tournament on Lake Okeechobee on Nov. 24 by pro angler Bobby Lane, Champeau, Clements and television celebrity and producer Keith Alan, where he was awarded the $40,000 boat and outboard motor (see video at bit.ly/Phoenix-giveaway).
The four runners-up in the TrophyCatch registration giveaway were Rocco Cantalupo from Clearwater, Mark Frost from Melrose, Jason Haynes from Lady Lake and Andrew Walton from Toronto. The runners-up each won a trip to Bienville Plantation and $100 gift cards ($300 total) from FWC TrophyCatch partners, including Bass Pro Shops, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Rapala lures, as well as a Bass King T-shirt.
Every angler in a household should register separately, because Phoenix and Mercury will be giving another boat and motor to the lucky angler for season two (Oct. 1, 2013-Sep. 30, 2014). Whether registrants catch a fish or not, they are eligible for the drawing. If you are already registered, you do not need to register again. However, this year, for every bass you have verified in TrophyCatch, you’ll get 10 additional chances to win the boat. So register, go fishing and document your catches at TrophyCatchFlorida.com.
By submitting photos for verification online, anglers also become eligible for a custom certificate and decal, plus awards based on the bass’s weight. Lunker Club entrants (8-9.9 pounds) each receive a $50 Bass Pro Shops gift card and Bass King T-shirt. Trophy Club participants (10-12.9 pounds) earn a total of $150 worth of gift cards (Bass Pro Shops, Dick’s Sporting Goods and/or Rapala), plus a long-sleeve T-shirt.
To be entered into the Hall of Fame, anglers must catch, carefully document and release a bass weighing more than 13 pounds – but it’s worth it. Hall-of-Fame entrants also receive a free $500 fiberglass mount of their fish from New Waves Taxidermy, $200 in gift cards, a duffel bag full of Bass King apparel, a Glen Lau video library and other prizes worth a total of $1,000.
The biggest bass of the year, for the second season will again win a TrophyCatch championship ring, from the American Outdoor Fund.
‘Nuff said! Register, grab your license and rod-and-reel, make sure you have a scale and camera and go catch ’em—then release them and say proudly, “My Trophy Swims in Florida.”
News Cast for November 27th:
Jobless rates went down to 8.2 percent in Okeechobee during October. That is over 2 percent lower than the rate back in October of last year. The state average was 6.6 percent last month. Glades County had a rate of 7.8 percent. The rate last year in October was 8.8 percent. Around the region Hendry County had the highest rate at 12 percent, St. Lucie 8.8 percent, Hardee 8.2 percent, Indian River 8 percent, and Highlands 7.9 percent.
The Florida highway patrol will be cracking down on aggressive drivers, speeders and drunk and distracted drivers during this Thanksgiving Holiday the busiest travel period of the year.
Lt. Greg Bueno said rural areas also see an increase in traffic during the holidays. His advice is to take extra time and keep both hands on the wheel. All available troopers will be on the roads this weekend.
20 holiday dinners were handed out to needy seniors this week by Okeechobee senior services. Communities in schools were able to deliver 10 thanksgiving baskets to needy families thanks in part to students at Okeechobee Achievement Academy. Big Lake Missions Outreach will also be able to deliver thanksgiving dinners on Thursday.
Sports Cast for November 27th:
Kevin Grace had 12 points to lead three players in double figures as Treasure Coast dominated Okeechobee 65-46 in boys basketball action last night. Treasure Coast jumped out to an 18-7 lead after the first quarter and led by 19 points at the half.
Jacob Stewart and Roshell Thomas both had 12 points for the Brahmans. Brahman Coach Shawn Hays said Treasure Coast was simply a better basketball team. He said the team needs to develop some more scoring punch.
Treasure Coast Coach Brad Leyman said his team was intense and got contributions from all their players. He said he wanted his team to emphasize defense in this game.
Grace scored 8 points in the first quarter to get his team off to a good start. He said the team came out serious and more focused. Eddie Neal had six points and Chris Epps five points for Okeechobee.
Treasure Coast improved to 3-0 while Okeechobee fell to 2-2 on the season.
Okeechobee also lost the JV game 45-40. Treasure Coast outscored Okeechobee 16-7 in the decisive third quarter of the game.
MAKE YOUR TRIP ‘OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS’ A SAFE ONE
~ Troopers aim to prevent crashes during the holiday ~
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends to spend time together and give thanks for the blessings they enjoy. It is also one of the busiest travel periods of the year. To help ensure motorists make it to their destinations safely, the Florida Highway Patrol will increase its presence on Florida’s roads throughout the four day holiday weekend starting Nov. 28. FHP, with the help of its auxiliary and reserve troopers, will be participating in the nationwide effort known as Operation CARE (Combined Accident Reduction Effort). This year’s Operation CARE will focus on impaired driving, speeding, following too closely and other aggressive diving behaviors during the holiday weekend. Troopers will also conduct strict enforcement of safety belt and child restraint laws.
“The Patrol wishes everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday,” said Col. David Brierton, director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “In an effort to keep motorists safe, troopers will be concentrating their enforcement efforts on impaired driving, unlawful speed, aggressive driving, and those who fail to buckle up.”
During last year’s Thanksgiving holiday period, FHP troopers issued more than 9,300 citations for traffic related violations. Of those, 4,039 drivers were cited for speeding, 657 for safety belt violations, and 145 drivers were arrested for Driving Under the Influence. FHP troopers also provided roadside assistance to more than 2,300 motorists.
FHP offers the following tips to help you and your family arrive at your destination safely:
- Buckle up…every time. A seatbelt is your vehicle’s most important safety feature.
- Obey all speed limits, bearing in mind that traffic congestion may require driving more slowly.
- Drive sober and remember, buzzed driving is drunk driving.
- Don’t drive distracted: Anything that takes your full attention off of the road, even for a second, could be deadly. This includes texting, changing the radio station, talking to passengers, etc.
- Get plenty of rest before setting out on a long trip.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles provides highway safety and security through excellence in service, education and enforcement. The Department is leading the way to a safer Florida through the efficient and professional execution of its core mission: the issuance of driver licenses, vehicle tags and titles and operation of the Florida Highway Patrol. To learn more about DHSMV and the services offered, visit www.flhsmv.gov, follow us on YouTube at FLHSMV, Instagram at FLHSMV, Twitter @FLHSMV or find us on Facebook.
News Cast for November 26th:
Among arrests today, 23 year old Edgar Quintero of Indiantown was charged with aggravated assault with a firearm in Stuart. He allegedly pulled a gun on a resident who complained about him smoking marijuana on a stairway at an apartment building.
48 year old William Mullens was charged with four counts of lewd and lascivious molestation and four counts of child abuse. He allegedly inappropriately touched four girls ages 13 to 15 over a period of time.
23 year old Stuart Davis was charged with four felony charges including procuring a person under 18 for prostitution and solicitation to commit prostitution. Two girls, ages 12 and 15 said they spotted Davis in a green sedan crawling in Whispering Pines. He allegedly passed them on the side of the road several times and once stopped and offered them 70 dollars for sex. Deputies say Davis blamed an addiction to synthetic marijuana for the incident.
A 17 year old was charged with aggravated battery last week for allegedly injuring a pedestrian in Deans Court and held on 50 thousand dollar bond.
26 year old Steven Alderete was charged with false imprisonment and battery after an alleged domestic dispute.
Glades County is conducting a fire study to see if it is feasible to create a new taxing unit to fire full time firemen. They would like to expand the department from two to 6 members to give better fire protection to the community. Government Services Group will conduct the study. EMS Director Bob Jones said this tax would affect all homeowners including those with property tax exemptions. He said right now the county has 37 volunteer firemen but many of them work during the day and that reduces response time to fires. He said the two firemen now do state mandated inspections and maintain and upkeep equipment and are assigned to various stations around the county.
Sports Cast for November 26th:
Cody Griffith has high hopes that he’ll lead the Brahman wrestling team to the state tournament this year. He has been wrestling since he was six years old and was named captain of the team this year. Griffith says that role can be a daunting task for a young person. Griffith takes the role seriously as he tries to help the younger wrestlers on a daily basis at practice Griffith is an alumnus of the Okeechobee wrestling club.
Griffith has made it to regional a couple times and admits he’s frustrated by not being able to get to state. He said he must improve his confidence to be able to make it. He will wrestle at 138 pounds this year.
Brahman boys’ basketball loss at Lincoln Park Academy last night 57-50. Jacob Stewart had 17 points and Eddie Neal added 10 points, six rebounds and five assists. Fred Bradley had 12 points off the bench.
Lincoln Park outscored Okeechobee 21-12 in the final quarter to win the game.
On the sports schedule today, boys’ basketball will host Treasure Coast with JV at 5:30 and varsity to follow around 7 pm.