Local News

Charles Murphy News 8/26

News Cast for August 26th:

The alleged sexual assault of a 14 year old girl landed an Okeechobee county man in jail. 35 year old Merlin Lopez was held on 2 hundred thousand dollars bond.   The victim reported she had been assaulted on multiple occasions.

Glades County decided not to impose a fire assessment this year. Commissioner Tim Stanley says he didn’t see where hiring two new firemen would make much of a difference. He noted residents would like the improved fire protection but there would be a cost to that.

Polls opened at 7 am this morning across Okeechobee County for primary day.   Three races will be decided today. Cheryl Kirton is challenging incumbent Joe Arnold for a seat on the school board. Bobby Bennett is challenging Bryant Culpepper in District 2 for a spot on the Okeechobee County Commission. Also to be decided today is a republic primary for county commission between Terry Burroughs and Joey Hoover in District 4. Tune in to WOKC election coverage tonight after the polls close.

Indian River State College announced new vocational training programs for automotive technology, diesel mechanics, air conditioning, refrigeration and heating, nursing assistant, retail nursery operations, office skills and lawn care maintenance. The programs begin in September.

Among arrests 45 year old Carroll Cain was charged with possession of met amphetamines, driving on a suspended license, resisting arrest and battery on law enforcement after a traffic stop on North East 1st Street in Four Seasons. Cain allegedly exchanged blows with the Deputy and ran off on foot onto North East 4th Street and a pasture. A taser and pepper spray ultimately brought him under control.

In the courts, 21 year old Jorge Crespo of Okeechobee received three years in prison for a shooting outside El Flacco Del Sabor night club off Military Trail in West Palm Beach.   Crespo allegedly fired at least three shots from a shotgun at a vehicle on December 9th of 2012.   No one was hurt. Attempted murder charges were reduced to aggravated assault with a firearm.

Sports Cast for August 26th:

Lake Placid stunned the OYFL teams with a four game sweep at Brahman Stadium on Saturday.

The Green Dragon flag team won 21-0, the Mighty Mite won 26-0, the Pee Wee team, 25-12, and the Junior team 31-0. Juniors Coach Shawn Taylor said the program has dedicated itself to getting better through hard work and cooperation and it showed Saturday. Naquan Allen put an explanation point on the domination with a four touchdown game in the Juniors game, including a 66 yard interception return. He said he has played football for five years and is proud of the way his team played.

The only touchdowns for Okeechobee on the day came from Braison Crews and Leonides Castelanos in the Pee Wee contest.

Okeechobee travels to Lee County this Saturday.

Okeechobee bowling was swept by Martin County Monday, the girls 7-0 and the boys’ team lost 6-1. Megen Davis had the best day for the girls with a two game series of 3 hundred and 13 pins. She had the high game at 178. The boys got good performances from Austin Walker who rolled a 379. He had the high game at 193.

On the sports schedule today, OHS volleyball hosts Lincoln Park at 6:30 pm; Moore Haven volleyball hosts Evangelical Christian at 5 pm.

Limited harvest starts Sept. 1 for snook, a premier Florida fish

Limited harvest starts Sept. 1 for snook, a premier Florida fish

The recreational harvest season for Florida’s premier game fish, snook, opens Sept. 1 statewide. Unique to the region, snook are one of the many reasons Florida is the Fishing Capital of the World.

While the fishery is already more than 90 percent catch-and-release, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) encourages anglers to continue to use moderation when determining whether or not to take a snook home. Gulf snook populations were negatively impacted by a 2010 cold kill. Gulf snook numbers currently exceed FWC management goals but are still rebuilding to pre-cold-kill levels, which is one of the reasons why it is important to handle fish with care in this region and use moderation when determining whether or not to harvest one.

When releasing a snook, proper handling methods can help ensure the species’ abundance for anglers today and generations to come. To learn more about catch-and-release and the best way to handle a fish, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater” then “Recreational Regulations.”

Regular season closures are designed to help protect the species during vulnerable times such as cold weather and spawning. Snook are closed to harvest Dec. 1 through the end of February and May 1 through Aug. 31 in Gulf state and federal waters, including Monroe County and Everglades National Park. In Atlantic state and federal waters, including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River, snook is closed Dec. 15 through Jan. 31 and June 1 through Aug. 31.

Management measures such as the one-fish-per-person, per-day bag limit, annual closed seasons and size limits will help continue rebuilding snook populations on both coasts.

Minimum and maximum size limits help protect juvenile and older breeding fish within the population. In the Atlantic, snook must be not less than 28 inches and not more than 32 inches total length, which is measured from the most forward point of the head with the mouth closed to the farthest tip of the tail with the tail compressed or squeezed while the fish is lying on its side. In the Gulf, they must be not less than 28 inches and not more than 33 inches total length.

A snook permit as well as a recreational saltwater license is required unless the angler is exempt from having a license. Snook may be targeted or harvested with hook and line gear only. Snagging is prohibited.

It is illegal to buy or sell snook.

Anglers can report their catch on the Snook & Gamefish Foundation’s website at SnookFoundation.org by clicking on the Angler Action link. Researchers also ask anglers who harvest the fish to save their filleted carcasses and provide them to the FWC by dropping them off at a participating bait and tackle store. For the county-by-county list, go to MyFWC.com/Research and click on “Saltwater,” then “Snook” (under “Saltwater Fish”) and “Snook Anglers Asked to Help with Research.”

These carcasses provide biological data, including the size, age, maturity and sex of the catch. This information is important to the FWC in completing stock assessments on species such as snook. If you see a snook fishery violation, please call the Wildlife Alert Program at 888-404-FWCC (3922).

Visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing” and “Recreational Regulations” for more information on snook.

Public sightings of Florida panthers, bears going strong, helping FWC biologists

Public sightings of Florida panthers, bears going strong, helping FWC biologists

When someone catches sight of a panther or black bear and reports it to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the agency’s biologists may use that sighting to help research and manage those species.

Already, the public’s willingness to report where they see panthers and black bears in Florida is having a positive impact on what is known about where these large mammals live and reproduce in the state.

Based on two years of online public reporting of panther sightings and nearly one year of online reports of bear sightings, biologists know more about what areas of Florida provide viable habitat for these species.

A total of 1,537 Florida panther sightings were reported as of June 2014, of which 275 have been verified as panthers based on photos of the animal or its footprints. This includes the first verification of a panther sighted near the Green Swamp north of Interstate 4 in central Florida. Primarily, the verified panther sightings are in southwest Florida.

There also were a total of 2,257 Florida black bear sighting reports as of June 2014, with more than 500 of those reports containing uploaded photographs. Sightings of bears were reported in 59 of the state’s 67 counties.

The FWC continues collection of panther sightings at MyFWC.com/PantherSightings, and bear sightings at MyFWC.com/BearSightings. Here people can find information about the animals, including how to identify them, what to do or not do if they see one, and a Google map making it easy to pinpoint the sighting location.

“Someone’s excitement about seeing a Florida panther or black bear may translate into important scientific information if that sighting is reported to the FWC,” said Carol Knox, the FWC’s Imperiled Species Management section leader. “The FWC is pleased that so many people are making the effort to be citizen scientists and sharing their sightings of panthers and bears. By doing so, they are contributing to conservation of Florida’s largest land mammals.”

Soon, cooler weather will be on the way and more people will be resuming their outdoor pursuits.

“We hope people going outdoors to hunt, hike or pursue other recreational activities remember to share their bear sightings with us, particularly if it is a mother bear with cubs,” said FWC bear biologist Brian Scheick.

For a list of the many FWC wildlife sightings, surveys and hotlines in which citizen scientists are invited to participate, go to MyFWC.com/get-involved/citizen-science/.

Learn more about panthers at FloridaPantherNet.org and more about bears at MyFWC.com/Bear.

Local Wildland Firefighter Returns Home

Local Wildland Firefighter Returns Home

Okeechobee, FL – After twenty days of battling wildfires in Oregon, Florida Forest Service Ranger Seth Waugh  returned home Thursday, August 14, 2014 on a US Forest Service Airplane. Seth was a member of an elite twenty person type-two initial attack hand-crew that hiked the side of mountains into the forest toward a fire. His crew’s mission was to build firelines with hand tools (pulaskis, McLeods, shovels, and fusees) to stop the forward progression of the wildfire.

“The most challenging part of my assignment besides missing my family was expecting to get along and depend on 19 other people who I just meet,” Florida Forest Service Ranger Seth Waugh states. “On my return trip home, I realized that our group of strangers forged a bond of brotherhood by battling wildfires and working together as a team. The experience was very rewarding and the community appreciation was overwhelming.”

Seth’s team was assigned to three wildfires in Oregon: (1) Crater Lake National Park, Pumice Fire Complex (2) Initial attack for the Town of Chiloquin and (3) John Day, South Fork Fire Complex. “I learned so much from my short assignment,” states Seth, “working alongside other agencies, I have gained tips and techniques from other firefighters from around the nation”. Seth explains, “terrain was a challenge for me at first, hiking for miles up and down a mountain carrying forty pounds of equipment on my back. Adrenaline kicked in when we located and extinguished the blaze.”

Wildland Firefighters from around the world use a suppression tactic of fuel removal either with hand crews or bulldozers because water is a scarce resource during droughts. By eliminating the vegetation, firefighters remove the fuel source for the wildfire thus extinguishing the wildfire. Due to elevation and terrain, wildfires in the North West use hand crews with suppression hand tools to scrape away the vegetation to mineral soil. With Florida’s minimal elevation, State Wildland Firefighters use specialized firefighting bulldozers with plows to remove the fuel to dirt. Hand crews can quickly be overexerted with Florida’s heat, humidity and dense tropical vegetation; therefore since the 1920’s the main wildland firefighting tool in Florida has been a bulldozer with a plow.

Charles Murphy News 8/25

News Cast for August 25th:

Six candidates qualified for Okeechobee City Council Friday. Jim Baughman, Noel Chandler, Devin Maxwell, Gary Ritter, Dowling Watford and Ray Worley.   The city election is held in November. Three of the six candidates will be elected this time around.

Candidates Info

Social media has led to more bullying among students. Author Peggy Caruso says social media has also decreased traditional communication between children that led to problem solving face to face. Caruso advises parents to advise your child to resist the temptation to respond to a bully, and to save evidence while using online privacy tools to block bullies online.

The Florida Forest Service Okeechobee District has been promoting fire safety this summer thanks to Smokey Bears 70th birthday celebration.   Glades County and Okeechobee County commissioners approved resolutions this summer to honor the fire prevention awareness Smokey Bear has developed over the year. Forest Ranger Will Tyler says he appreciated being a part of this campaign. He advised people to set a perimeter around her house for protection. He said it is also important in Okeechobee to do mitigation work and that they also assist ranchers and farmers about controlled burns of vegetation.

PB Fatal 8-24-14 Corkscrew Blvd

Sports Cast for August 25th:

Okeechobee blew out Lake Placid 47-0 in the exhibition kickoff classic Friday night. Jajuan Cherry caught a 53 yard swing pass for a touchdown in the first quarter and added a 13 yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

Lamar Williams had an eight yard touchdown run in the first quarter and added a 47 yard run in the second quarter for Okeechobee.

Coach Chris Branham said he was impressed his team was enthusiastic throughout even though they had a big lead.

Jarrett Mills added two field goals of 28 and 36 yards while Devion Wigfall picked up a fumble and returned it 32 yards for a touchdown. Juan Yae Ford completed the scoring with a seven yard touchdown run. QB Brandon Shockley said he felt the offense executed well. Cherry said he wasn’t sure if his success in youth football would translate right away into high school football.

Okeechobee will host Glades Day School to kick off the regular season this Friday night.

Charles Murphy News 8/22

News Cast for August 22nd:

DSCF0278In the courts, 46 year old Timothy Frake received 12 years in prison for an alleged robbery of an 85 year old man in his home on South West 9th Street last January 3rd. Frake also ran over the bicycle of an off duty Martin County Sheriffs Deputy in the Golden Corral parking lot in an attempt to elude capture. Frake pled guilty to charges of burglary to a dwelling with an assault or battery, battery, and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

40 year old Gerald Price received 12 years in prison for trafficking prescription pills and sale and delivery of oxycodone. The narcotics task force said they seized 150 pills, 32 grams worth, worth 16 hundred dollars from a residence on North East 6th Street in November of 2012. Price allegedly sold oxycodone to confidential informants. A second drug arrest occurred in September of last year.

The Kiwanis Club and two anonymous donors raised over 4 thousand dollars to give to the Real Life Children’s Ranch for school supplies this year. They’ve held a fund raiser for over 15 years and this was a record amount. Real Life Children’s Ranch Director Mark Meyers said he feels this encourages the children there to do better in school.

Among arrests, 41 year old Livan Ramos was charged with possession of 7 grams of met amphetamine after the report of a suspicious person standing alongside 710 at 1:30 in the morning on Thursday. Deputies said they found three knives on the suspect.

23 year old Juan Rebollo was charged with battery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and criminal mischief after an alleged confrontation with another man, allegedly damaging his vehicle.

Press News Release Alcohol Compliance Checks

St. Lucie Fatal Arrest Report

IR Fatal on 43rd Ave and 25th St. Report

Sports Cast for August 22nd:

Okeechobee Brahman football kicks off the 2014 season with their preseason classic tonight against the Lake Placid Green Dragons. The Brahmans feature a younger and inexperienced group with potential. They return only six starters from last year’s team due to graduation, transfers, and injuries.

The Brahmans will show off their new Pistol Wing T offense.   They will be without top threat Antawyn Fludd who is nursing an injury.

Brahman Coach Chris Branham says he’s also at a disadvantage because he knows almost nothing about Lake Placid. Branham said he hasn’t been able to watch any game tape on the Green Dragons who went 2-7 last year and have a new coach, Jason Robinson. Coach Branham said he doesn’t expect the defensive battle the two teams played last year in Lake Placid which Okeechobee won 8-6.

Kickoff tonight is at 7 pm.   The pregame shows begin at 6 pm tonight.

OYFL hosting Lake Placid tomorrow for youth football at Brahman Stadium starting at 9 am.



TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Lottery announces a new milestone of $27 billion in transfers to education since 1988.  In fiscal year 2014, the Lottery had record-breaking sales of more than $5.36 billion resulting in the transfer of $1.49 billion – more than $100 million a month to education.

Governor Rick Scott said, “This has been an outstanding year for the Florida Lottery, and for Florida’s students and schools.  Providing our children with a quality education will equip them with the necessary skills to succeed in life.  We are working to ensure our children are ready to compete in the new global economy.  Over the past 26 years, the Lottery has proven its commitment to education funding at every level, and this investment will benefit our children.”

For the twelfth consecutive year the Lottery has transferred more than $1 billion to education, and has continued to lead the 10 largest-selling lotteries in the nation in sales growth and growth in contributions to beneficiaries.

“I want to thank Governor Scott for his commitment to education.  Floridians can always count on the Lottery to remain focused on our mission to maximize revenues for the educational programs we fund,” said Secretary Cynthia O’Connell.  “In the coming year, we will continue to explore new product offerings that will help generate enthusiasm among our players and grow revenues for education in our state.”

Florida Lottery contributions represent approximately six percent of the state’s total education budget. Lottery education funds are appropriated by the Florida Legislature and are administered by the Florida Department of Education.


The Florida Lottery is responsible for contributing more than $27 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 $37 billion in prizes and made more than 1,300 people millionaires. For more information, please visit www.flalottery.com.



Will propose an increase in total state funding for education to over $19.6 billion

Governor Rick Scott said, “I am proud to announce that in the upcoming legislative session we will propose an increase in Florida’s per-pupil spending to the highest level in our state’s history. We already have the highest total spending in K-12 this year and gave every teacher the opportunity for a pay raise. Because we were able to get Florida’s economy back on track, revenues are now projected to stay at a strong enough rate to support historic investments in education.”

“Florida job growth, and the overall growth of Florida’s economy has made it possible for us invest record amounts in education.  The credit for our historic investment in education goes to the hard working people of Florida who make it all possible.”

“My mom taught me that a good education was the way out of poverty and I want all Floridians to have the opportunity to receive a great education and have their shot at the American Dream.  By increasing per pupil spending to historic levels next year, school districts will have more resources to provide Florida children the best education possible.”

The Governor’s proposal would equate to a total of over $19.6 billion, which means $7,176 per student – a $232 per student increase over this school year and a $50 increase over the 2007-08 per student funding level of $7,126, the previous record high level. Florida’s Revenue Estimating Conference for the General Revenue Fund met on August 7, 2014 and Floridians will see sustained revenues. Florida is projected to have a growth of nearly $1.1 billion over the latest 2014-15 revised forecast.

Press Release for Wheeler and Dailey Charges


Okeechobee Police Department

50 SE 2nd Avenue – Okeechobee Florida 34984

Phone: 863-763-5521

Facsimile: 863-763-3804

Public Information Officer Detective Bill Saum

Wednesday 8/20/2014 PRESS RELEASE



On this date Evadean Lydecker Dailey of Okeechobee was arrested by Detective Sgt Bettye Taylor and charged with the following:

Aggravated Child Abuse – First Degree Felony 827.03

Child Abuse – Third Degree Felony 827.03

Child Neglect Without Great Bodily Harm – Third Degree Felony 827.03

Dailey’s total bond was set at $100,000.00



On this date Andrew Wheeler of Okeechobee was arrested on an additional charge of:

Aggravated Child Abuse-First Degree Felony State Statute 827.03

This charge was filed by State Attorney Ashley Albright after additional investigation and interviews of witnesses were conducted by Detective Sgt Bettye Taylor of the Okeechobee Police Department into the beating of a 16 year old juvenile at a house party.

Wheeler’s bond was set at $200,000.00

Detective Bill Saum, PIO


Charles Murphy News 8/21

News Cast for August 21st:

The State Attorney filed aggravated child abuse charges against two people allegedly involved in the beating of a 16 year old Okeechobee teen that has autism. 18 year old Andrew Wheeler was held on 2 hundred thousand dollars bond. Evadene Lydecker was held on 1 hundred thousand dollars bond. State Attorneys have also ruled out hate crime charges. The crimes carry punishments of up to 15 years in prison.

Jill Holcomb is the new school board member in District 5. She ran unopposed for the seat that is being vacated by the retirement of David Williams.

Holcomb’s father Roland Clercuzio and mom Joyce were educators for nearly 30 years in the Okeechobee school system with Roland the longtime principal at North Elementary School.

Holcomb says her family talked about education a lot and that sparked her interest. Holcomb has two small children at North Elementary school and has also worked three years as a teacher at Okeechobee high school and five years as a professor at Indian River State College.

In the courts, 54 year old Don White was sentenced to two years’ probation for allegedly stalking his neighbors, charges of stalking were dropped, he was convicted of tampering with evidence. White received 11 months’ probation for allegedly attacking an 83 year old woman back in 2011.

27 year old Jeremy Jones received 18 months in prison for felony battery in a plea deal. He was originally charged with sexual battery, kidnapping and other charges for allegedly brutally beating a woman with a tire iron, pouring cleaning chemicals on her and raping her in a vehicle at the Okeechobee sports complex.

21 year old Trederrick Williams of Moore Haven received two years’ probation for tampering with evidence for allegedly threatening victims of a burglary with an assault. He is a refuted member of the Youth gangster gang.

Sports Cast for August 21st:

Bruce Conrad is excited about the Lady Brahman golf team and their chances this year. The team made their first ever regional tournament last year at Plantation but did lose four seniors to graduation. Conrad said he still has some talent coming back.

Conrad said the team will also play four home matches at the KOA golf course to start the year. He predicted two Treasure Coast teams will be the girl’s top competition.

Leaders on the team will be seniors Hannah Raulerson and Cameron White. Other veterans include Meredith Hlliard, Fernanda Grisales and Natalee Trimble.

The first home match is August 28th at 3:30 pm against John Carroll

« Previous PageNext Page »