Local News

Charles Murphy News 11/29

News Cast for November 29th:

1 and a half pounds of marijuana was seized in a traffic stop on North West 36th Street Saturday morning.  21 year old Baldemar Rodriguez is charged with felony possession of marijuana, and possession of cocaine.

A robbery victim was made to take off his pants and shirt in a bar parking lot early Sunday. He apparently knew the robber, who later was arrested at the victim’s home for causing a disturbance. 27 year old Sean McCarthy is facing burglary and robbery with a deadly weapon charges.

Highlands county deputies say 76 year old Patricia Howard of Okeechobee was a caregiver for a 91 year old Lorida man and made the man give her his Ford pickup and later deposited a near 53 thousand dollar life insurance policy into her own account. She was arrested last week on charges of exploitation of the elderly and a scheme to defraud.

Two Harlem men are behind bars on charges against a person that could cause death. Hendry county deputies say 26 year old Gerald Edwards and 27 year old Winston Trotman are suspects in the slaying of 28 year old Anthony Holder and four other shootings last Tuesday.

Donald Strenth took the oath of office at last nights Glades County commission meeting.  Tim Stanley and Weston Pryor were also sworn in for new terms.

Okeechobee welcomes in the Christmas holiday season tonight with the annual lighting ceremony in City Hall Park at 5:30 pm.   The event includes Christmas carols from the All County elementary chorus, refreshments, holiday music and a visit from Jolly Ole Saint Nick on a city fire truck.

Sports Cast for November 29th:

Kysell Richardson is looking forward to taking on more responsibility on the boys basketball team this year. The junior guard could see significant minutes in the backcourt this year.

Richardson says he’s a better player and more accountable

Richardson also likes the teams chances.  He admits a key will be playing together and sharing the ball.

A big game for the boys team tonight as they host  Martin County, freshman 4:30, JV 6 and varsity 7:30 pm

  • OHS girls soccer hosts Lake Placid 6:30 pm
  • OHS volleyball awards banquet at Nutmegs Café 6 pm
  • Osceola basketball hosts LaBelle 5/6:15 pm
  • YMS basketball hosts Clewiston Middle at 5/6:15 pm
  • PECS basketball hosts West Glades 4:30/5:45 pm

Wildfire Risk Increases as Rainfall Decreases

Wildfire Risk Increases as Rainfall Decreases

The recent drying trend has led to extremely favorable conditions for wildfires. The Florida Forest Service wants to encourage residents who live near nature to make their home safer from wildfire danger.

“Without rainfall, the sun’s radiant heat has dried out the dead leaf litter, making the fuel susceptible to ignition,” states Melissa Yunas, Wildfire Mitigation Specialist with the Florida Forest Service. “Dead leaves, sticks and twigs can be kindling to a wildfire. In order to mitigate the risk, remove the dead leaf litter that has accumulated on or around your home. The goal is to limit the amount of flammable vegetation surrounding your home.”

“Another goal in wildfire home protection”, Yunas explains, “is to increase the moisture content of the live vegetation around your home.” Grass is vulnerable to the lack of rainfall and can die relatively quickly, then ignite instantly. Every year the Florida Forest Service suppresses wildfires caused by lawn mower blades striking rocks while simply mowing the lawn. In order to mitigate this risk, water plants, trees, and grass regularly to increase the moisture in the plants. Another tip is to mow before 10 a.m. and never when it’s windy or excessively dry.

By keeping your yard lean, clean, and green you can reduce your wildfire risk today. Call your local Florida Forest Service to find out what the experts know about the best way to make your home and neighborhood safer from wildfire. Together we can save homes and lives before a wildfire starts.

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




After following up on leads and speaking with witnesses on scene, Hendry County Investigators have arrested 26 year old Gerald Tyrone Edwards and 27 year old Winston Trotman.

At this time both men are currently being held in the Hendry County Jail on charges of Crimes Against Person/Other Felony Commit Act Could Cause Death.

Edwards is currently being held on $1 million dollar bond.  Trotman is being held on $600,000.00 bond.

Neither man has been charged with the death of 28 year old Anthony Holder.  Investigators are continuing to follow up any and all leads.  Hendry County Sheriff’s Office continue to encourage anyone with any information to contact them at 863-674-5600 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477), where you may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000 if your tip leads to an arrest.

Florida Sheriffs Association Operation Pill Drop Safely Disposes of Nearly 7,000 Pounds of Unused Medication

Florida Sheriffs Association Operation Pill Drop Safely Disposes of Nearly 7,000 Pounds of Unused Medication

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (November 23, 2016) — Prescription pills are the most commonly used and abused drugs among 12 and 13-year-olds. In an effort to proactively combat this danger, the Florida Sheriffs Association Task Force, chaired by Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell, conducted a program called “Operation Pill Drop.” Between October 16 and November 12, 2016, this program encouraged citizens to properly and safely dispose of unwanted medications from their households that could otherwise be potentially dangerous if acquired by children or adults, while also providing an environmentally safe alternative to medication disposal. Through this effective fall operation, the Florida Sheriffs were successful in taking more than 6,600 pounds (3.3 tons) of prescription drugs during that time span.

“One of the critical concerns facing Florida today is drug abuse,” said Florida Sheriffs Association President, Sheriff Jerry Demings. “The prescription drug drop off boxes have been a huge success and the Florida Sheriffs Association is doing everything possible to make neighborhoods, schools, and communities drug-free and provide people with a convenient solution. It takes a team effort to stop prescription drug abuse and sheriffs’ offices around the state have really stepped up.”

Pill drop boxes allow residents to protect the environment as well. Through incineration as opposed to disposing medications in the trash or down the drain, the drop boxes provide a sustainable alternative. Other goals of this program are to provide awareness about prescription drug abuse, protect children from accidentally ingesting medications, educate the public on how to safely store medications, and take preventive measures in avoiding the theft of medication.

“In 2015, total drug-related deaths in Florida increased by 13.9 percent compared to 2014 and is steadily increasing as 2016 comes to an end,” said Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell, task force chair and chairman of Drug Free Charlotte County. “I believe that promoting drug addiction as a health problem will create opportunities to overcome addiction, and Operation Pill Drop aligns with this effort by removing thousands of pounds of prescription drugs before they could be misused.”

Operation Pill Drop took place in the following counties: Bay, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Columbia, Desoto, Duval, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Jackson, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Pinellas, Sarasota, St. Lucie and Volusia.

Charles Murphy News 11/28

News Cast for November 28th:

In the courts, 21 year old Brent Lee Gott was sentenced to five years probation for a traffic crash in Okeechobee on the Florida turnpike. Gott reported was driving with a  suspended license and fled the scene of the crash that injured his two passengers, Louis and Michael Russo. They were transported to Lawnwood Regional on February 28th of 2015 with serious injury.  Michael was in intensive care for a time. Gott pled no contest to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident with serious bodily injury.  Five other charges were dropped in the plea deal.

A freight train demolished an abandoned and reportedly stolen SUV on the CSX railroad tracks west of Okeechobee Friday. CSX officials said no one was hurt but the tracks had to be shut down for close to 8 hours for the cleanup and investigation. Sheriff deputies say the SUV had been reported stolen.  The train was headed from West Palm Beach to Winston, Florida when the crash occurred about 4 in the morning.

Donald Strenth will be sworn in as the newest member of the Glades County Board of County Commissioners at their meeting tonight at 6 pm.  Tim Stanley, will also take the oath of office for a second term on the board.  Strenth will represent the Lakeport and Palmdale areas of Glades County.

The Okeechobee school board decided to pull a change in the policy over reciting the pledge of allegiance. State law required districts to give parents the right to have their child be excused from the pledge. The school board policy will continue to follow state law.

Sports Cast for November 28th:

The Pahokee Blue Devils held off Madison County 21-19 to reach the state finals in Class 1A Friday night, 21-19. Rodney McKay scored on runs of one and 15 yards in the first half.


He says it was a great night for his team. Tyron Arnett also caught a touchdown pass from Tyrone Smith in the first half.


Coach Orson Walkes says the victory was big for a community that has struggled economically for several years.


Brahman boys soccer visits Centennial this afternoon with junior varsity at 5 pm and varsity to follow.

Lady Brahman basketball opens district play at Bayside tonight with junior varsity at 6 and varsity to follow.

Charles Murphy News 11/25

News Cast for November 25th:

Amanda Fuchswanz was sworn in as the newest Okeechobee School Board member and Malissa Morgan was elected chairman for another year at the reorganization meeting of the board this week. Fuchswanz says she looks forward to being a part of the board to improve our schools but admits it was a nerve racking experience. Morgan says she is glad her colleagues have the confidence in her to do the job of chairman

The top goal of the new year will be working to get state dollars to replace Okeechobee High School.

They hired a lobbyist, Larry Overton & Associates for 3 thousand dollars per month to help them do that.

In the courts, 33 year old Enedina Magana-Ibarra pled no contest to driving with a suspended license with death or serious bodily injury in the traffic death of her five year old daughter on Hilolo Road which occurred on December 23rd of 2 thousand 14.  Prosecutors dropped a charge of vehicular homicide.  She will face a maximum of five years in prison when she is sentenced on December 16th.

Okeechobee will host the third meeting of the Lake Okeechobee learning collaborative next Wednesday.  It is supported by the Florida league of Mayors and Florida league of cities.  1 hundred and 64 cities formed the 19 county collaborative that discusses issues and challenges from lake Okeechobee.  It will be hosted by Indian River State College Wednesday at noon.

County firemen say 14 thousand dollars in property damage was done in Wednesdays fire at 2816 south east 38th avenue.  The fire started on the porch and burned the eaves and the front wall of the home

An ambulance driven y 73 year old William McDuffie of Moore Haven was involved in an accident on route 832 in Clewiston Wednesday.  Both McDuffie and the other driver, 41 year old Tracey Rounds of Clewiston suffered minor injury.

Osceola deputies investigating a fatal vehicle fire at 52 hundred Canoe Creek Road near Kenansville reported late Wednesday night.  they describe it as a suspicious death.

Sports Cast for November 25th:

Bruce Jahner begins his 20th year as OHS wrestling coach this year. He has a solid lineup of veterans in the lineup including district champ at 138 pounds, Drayton Billie. Jahner says he has had a good run.

Okeechobee did not have a state qualifier last year but Jahner is confident that will change this year

The first home wrestling match will be Wednesday, November 30th against Centennial.

On the sports schedule this weekend.

  • Pahokee hosts Madison County in state football semifinals 1A  7:30 pm  Blue Devil QB Tyrone Smith says he’s confidence in his team.
  • Moore Haven boys basketball at Lighting Turkey Shoot at Lehigh through Saturday games begin this morning at 9 am.

Charles Murphy News 11/23

News Cast for November 23rd:

There are six finalists for the position of Okeechobee police chief. Interim Chief Bob Peterson made the cut Tuesday along with detective Marty Faulkner, Palm Beach Sheriff’s Captain Paul Miles and out of state candidates Alfredo Ferrer of Miami Dade police, Jeffery Cavender a police chief in Illinois and Christopher Alexander of Franklinville, North Carolina. Mayor Jim Kirk says the salary offered is over 58 thousand dollars.

Interviews will be held on Monday, December 12th at 10 am.

Traffic will be heavy throughout Florida for the Thanksgiving holiday. Last year 84 people died in Florida and almost 10 thousand traffic crashes occurred. Lt. Greg Bueno of the Florida highway patrol says they want to lower that number this year.

They urge motorists to buckle up, avoid cell phone usage, not to drink and drive, plan ahead, take their time, and obey traffic laws so your holiday will be safe.

Deputies investigating a burglary at Treasure Island Laundry at 3651 highways 441 south east.  The door was busted open and some video games and gambling machines were broken into.

36 year old Jerrett Wilson was charged with child abuse for allegedly throwing an Xbox game system at a 12 year old injuring his leg.

Sports Cast for November 23rd:

Boys’ basketball broke away in the second half to a 66-45 trouncing of Seminole Ridge last night to improve to 2-0 on the season. Shaquoy Ferrol led the Brahmans with 30 points.  Demetrius Clark added 15 points and J-quan Ferrol had 11 points. Coach Demetre Riles says there are areas the team can improve in.

Boys soccer rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Martin County 3-2.

Giovanni Garcia had three assists, setting up Ezekiel Hernandez for the game winner with under a minute to play.

Coach Lonnie Sears says his team went for broke after tying the match and weren’t going to settle for a tie. There are no sports scheduled for today in Okeechobee.

Food For Families Donations

Food For Families Donations

November 21, 2016

Every year students bring cans and boxes of food to school to compete with each other for various prizes.  Schools may offer rewards to the class, grade, or pod that can collect the most number of items. Students and parents strategize when to bring a case of canned chicken or a pallet of ramen noodles in order to boost their count but not tip their hand to their competition.  It is all in good fun and for a good a cause.  Students across Okeechobee participated in the Food for Families annual food drive in order to provide much needed food supplies during the holiday season.  All of the food collected in Okeechobee is provided to persons who need assistance in Okeechobee.

This year 7,276 pounds of food was collected through the Food for Families Drive sponsored throughout the Treasure Coast area by WPTV and through the school system by Toni Wiersma, Director of Student Services.  Osceola Middle School led the charge with 1,592 collected pounds of food.  Second and third place were very close with Seminole Elementary not quite overtaking Everglades Elementary, collecting 1166 pounds and 1181 pounds respectively.   The contests are fun but the students most enjoy helping those individuals who might not have enough to eat on Thanksgiving Day.  Other schools participating were Central with 868 pounds, Freshman Campus with 805 pounds, North Elementary with 695 pounds, Yearling Middle with 562 pounds and South Elementary with 407 pounds.

Charles Murphy News 11/22

News Cast for November 22nd:

55 hundred dollars in property damage was reported after a fire at 6305 North East 9th Way in Four Seasons on Sunday evening. A space heater apparently was knocked over onto the carpet causing some fire damage but mostly smoke damage. The Red Cross came to the assistance of the family and there were no injuries.

A four lane project on state route 29 will include only a few miles in Glades County as you approach LaBelle. At first a study was underway to see if the road should be four laned for the entire length between Palmdale and LaBelle. Engineer Marty Peate told Glades Commissioners that studies showed that the road project was not warranted at this time.


Glades will see a sidewalk and a multi-use path for about three miles into the county past the West Glades K-8 school and a new draw bridge and new lanes will be built over the Caloosahatchee River.

Among arrests

  • 26 year old Damian Rivera-Oyola, was charged with felony battery and resisting arrest after allegedly beating a farm worker outside a local store after he accused him of stealing his cell phone.  A K-9 search occurred at Kings Trailer Park during the investigation.  He was later found at his residence on South West 2nd Street.
  • A 42 year old Okeechobee man charged with firing a gun during a domestic dispute near Fort Drum on Sunday. Chris Wilson was arrested eventually in martin County on aggravated assault charges.  A report said Wilson was arguing in a vehicle with a female and when she got out of the vehicle she heard one gunshot from a Taurus revolver.

Okeechobee city council to review applications for the police chief position at a special meeting this morning at 9 am at city hall.  24 people applied for the position, 12 of them from Okeechobee.

Sports Cast for November 22nd:

J-quan Ferrol had 21 points in his debut and older brother Shaquoy Ferrol had 15 points as Okeechobee raced past Glades Day 82-40 last night. The Brahmans scored 34 points in the first quarter. Shaquoy said it felt good to play with his brothers


Ferrol 2

Demetrius Clark added 15 points for Okeechobee J-quan said he enjoyed his first varsity game. The freshmen Brahmans won big 57-26

Alkeecia Clayton and Raeley Matthews led a fourth quarter comeback as Okeechobee defeated Jensen Beach 56-53 in girls basketball last night.

Okeechobee led 22-10 after the first quarter but fell behind 40-37 to start the fourth.

Coach Joe Smith says neither team quit. Natalie Thurlow led Jensen with 19 points.


Boys basketball hosts Seminole Ridge tonight, JV at 6 and the varsity to follow.

Charles Murphy News 11/21

News Cast for November 21st:

The White House Boys say they are unimpressed with the results of the Okeechobee sheriffs office investigation into the former Okeechobee school for boys. Clients there in the late 50sa nd 60s claimed sodomy, assaults, and even murders took place on campus. A search by the sheriffs office with trained dogs could not locate any graves one year ago. Jerry Cooper says ground penetrating radar would have been more successful in locating a rumored graveyard on the site. Cooper says a research project conducted by the Unviersity of South Florida at the Dozier School for boys used ground penetrating radar.  55 additional bodies were found there. It is unknown if any of the staff involved at the school are alive today.

Cooper 1

Cooper 2

Unemployment rates remained well above the state and national averages in our community in October.  Okeechobee had 5 point 8 percent tied for 14th highest among Florida counties with St. Lucie, Holmes and Polk County.  Glades County had 6 point 7 percent unemployment, sixth highest in the state. The Florida average is 4 point 9 percent and the nation, 4 point 7 percent.   Around the Big Lake, Palm Beach had 5 point 1 percent, Martin five percent, and Hendry 9 point 7 percent.

Sports Cast for November 21st:

The Lady Brahmans hope to rebound quickly after a 40 point loss to Martin County Thursday. Senior Shytria Ash says she’s confident the team will pick it up and have a good season. The girls are off for the Thanksgiving break.


Pahokee’s Blue Devils reached the state semifinals with a 48-27 victory over Trenton Friday, rallying from a 21-6 deficit.

Tight End Zatavian Morgan caught  a fourth down touchdown pass that spearheaded the rally. QB tyrone Smith threw for 276 yards and four scores. Pahokee will host Madison County on Friday night.


On the sports schedule tonight, freshman boys’ basketball hosts Glades Day at 5:30 and the varsity boys basketball team opens up with Glades Day at 7 pm.

OHS boy’s soccer will host Martin County with JV at 5 pm and the varsity to follow.

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