Local News




WEEKI WACHEE, Fla. – The Florida Athletic Coaches Association is thrilled to announce the 2015 All Star Volleyball Classic on Sunday, Nov 22, 2015 at 10 a.m., at Weeki Wachee High School. The event will be sponsored by Badger Sportswear who will provide the All Star uniforms for the players. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $5.

Volleyball State Chairman Stephanie Martin from Ft. Myers High School welcomes two successful head volleyball coaches, Winter Springs’ Kimberly Vach and Ocala-Forest’s Jimmy Collins as All Star coaches. When athletes arrive on Saturday, Nov. 21, the 24 players will be divided into two equal teams during a practice session to compete in a five game volleyball match on Sunday morning. Please see the 2015 All Star Volleyball team below:

Daijah Washington Tallahassee-Leon Haley Coulter Manatee
Ashlyn Roberts Sneads Abby Zimroth Tampa Catholic
Alyssa Rudd Tallahassee-Chiles Payton Caffrey Winter Springs
Ashlyn Perry Lafayette Mary Grace Bates Lake Placid
Stephanie Nevarez-Rivera Jax-Wolfson Ansley Selander Sebring
Annie Collins Ocala-Forest Emily Hancock Seacrest Country Day
Kayla King Citrus Kiana Sawtelle Jensen Beach
Sara Swayze Spruce Creek Cailea Gibb Viera
Zoe Murchio Weeki Wachee Annamarie Huy Palm Harbor University
Bridgette Holland Oviedo Sahara Aqui Archbishop McCarthy
Anna Garrett Merritt Island Emily Moore Evangelical Christian
Fabiola Rosado McKeel Academy Caroline Flaharty Ft. Myers-Canterbury



Locally-Based Music Jam Productions presents its First Annual Southern Jam on Saturday January 30, 2016 at Sunset Cove Amphitheater in Boca Raton, Florida, featuring the exclusive Florida appearance of the legendary Kris Kristofferson, a 3-time GRAMMY winner with remarkable success as a country songwriter since the early 1970s, including “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” “Why Me Lord,” and “For the Good Times,” all chart-topping hits. By 1987, more than 450 artists had recorded Kristofferson’s compositions. He also is known for a flourishing career as a film actor in more than 70 films. In 1977 he won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in “A Star Is Born.” Heralded as an artist’s artist, Kristofferson has recorded 27 albums, including three with pals Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings as part of the Highwaymen. This is a very rare opportunity to see Kris Kristofferson.

Southern Jam 2016 also features 3-time GRAMMY Winner and 2015 winner of the Americana Award for Album of the Year, Lucinda Williams. Lucinda’s hits include “Drunken Angel,” “Changed the Locks,” “Reason to Cry” and “Sweet Old World” and just released a new album, Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, which won Album of the Year Award. Southern Jam 2016 also presents Nashville Music Award Artist of the Year and AMA Lifetime Achievement award for songwriting artist, John Hiatt with his band The Combo, who has several hits, including “Smashing a Perfectly Good Guitar”, as well as 3-time GRAMMY Winner Shawn Colvin, who had the smash hit “Sunny Came Home” and recently recording live with James Taylor. What an incredible line-up. Artists with nine GRAMMY awards, in addition to so many other awards, all on one stage.

With all this legendary talent on one stage at Southern Jam 2016, Music Jam Productions is ensuring to benefit 501(c)(3)’s The Wounded Warrior Project, Pet Haven Rescue and Hope From Harrison by selling raffle tickets for two acoustic guitars donated to the cause by Wolfe Guitars in Jupiter Florida. Each guitar will be autographed by the Southern Jam Artists. The persons holding the winning raffle ticket and present at Southern Jam 2016 will win the autographed guitars.

Southern Jam 2016 is general admission. Advance tickets are $65 plus a small service fee. Tickets at the gate are $75. Gates open at 2 PM with the live music from approximately 2:30 until 11 PM. Raffle tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20. Southern Jam Tickets and Raffle Tickets are available at www.musicjamproductions.com as well as select ticket outlets, including Music Jam Productions (525 Northlake Blvd Suite 4, NPB FL (561-844-0018)), Wolfe Guitars located at 2875 Jupiter Park Drive Suite 400 (561-746-2209), Pet Haven Rescue and Hope From Harrison For sponsorship opportunities contact pmaraist@musicjamproductions.com or at 561-844-0018.

Commissioner Putnam Announces Legislation to Protect Consumers From Skimmers at Gas Pumps

Commissioner Putnam Announces Legislation to Protect Consumers From Skimmers at Gas Pumps

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam announced the filing of legislation intended to help protect Floridians and visitors from skimmers, devices that steal credit card information, at gas pumps and to provide better tools to combat fraud at gas stations. Senator Anitere Flores and Representative Dana Young are sponsoring legislation in the Florida Senate and Florida House of Representatives, respectively. The number of consumers victimized by each skimmer varies between 100 and 5,000, with an average of $1,000 stolen from each victim. Each skimmer represents a $100,000 to $5,000,000 threat to the state of Florida and its consumers.

The proposed legislation protects consumers from identity theft at gas station pumps by:

  • Requiring self-service fuel dispensers to use certain security measures to prevent theft of consumer financial information;
  • Increasing enforcement authority against those who possess or traffic fraudulent credit cards;
  • Reclassifying the crime of unlawful conveyance of fuel, which increases the maximum sentence; and
  • Increasing the offense level of the crime; which affects the sentencing guidelines.

“We estimate that $1,000 is stolen from each victim of a skimmer, not to mention the immeasurable havoc that identity theft wreaks on people’s lives,” said Commissioner Adam H. Putnam. “This legislation will help protect Floridians and their hard-earned money from skimmers at the pump, as well as increase penalties for the crooks perpetrating these crimes. I thank Senator Flores and Representative Young for their leadership on this consumer protection initiative.”

“Our residents should not have to worry about identity theft when paying for gas at the pump and I look forward to supporting this legislation in the Florida Senate” said Senator Anitere Flores.

“By increasing security measures at gas pumps and increasing the penalties for criminals who prey on innocent consumers, this legislation will help protect Floridians and visitors from thieves who use skimmers to steal from our citizens,” said Representative Dana Young.

Skimmers are devices that illegally capture consumers’ credit or debit card information. Through elaborate schemes to defraud, a consumers’ information obtained by a skimmer is often used to make fraudulent purchases. The department has discovered and removed more than 150 skimmers at gas stations in Florida in the past year

In addition to routinely checking pumps for skimmers, the department worked to protect consumers by partnering with the Florida Petroleum Council and the Florida Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association earlier this year on an initiative intended to educate the industry about ways they can help protect consumers from skimmers. The Council and Association have distributed a one-page informational sheet to their members with helpful information, such as “what to know,” “how to help,” and “who to call,” in order to engage gas station employees in this consumer protection initiative. View the document [  181.10 KB ].

The department regularly inspects Florida’s nearly 8,000 gas stations and analyzes samples of petroleum products to ensure consumers are being offered quality products at a fair measure.

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

Charles Murphy News 11/19

News Cast for November 19th:

A 5 million dollar wrongful death and negligence lawsuit was filed by the family of Tyrell Taylor in Lee Circuit Court.

Attorney Kip Sinclair says they claim the organizers, Pushing DaiZies and the security firm they hired, Southwest Florida security were negligent in last month’s shooting.

Sinclair says Taylor’s family just wants to insure this kind of thing never happens again. No arrests have been made in the shooting.

Sinclair 1

Sinclair 2

Suncoast Mental Health services are ready to help Okeechobee patients with mental health counseling and services. CEO Art Ciasca says they serve four counties and have a local Okeechobee office. He spoke to the Okeechobee Kiwanis Club.

Suncoast Art Ciasca and Deb Pizzimenti

In the courts, Latisha McBride was sentenced to 18 years in prison and 2 years’ probation Wednesday for her role in the homicide of William Curry. The victim’s sister Donesha asked for the maximum sentence in an emotional plea to the judge. She said McBride didn’t get caught up in something, she got caught. She claimed she helped to plan the robbery and murder. Prosecutors say they have their suspicions but couldn’t prove it. McBride pled no contest to two counts of accessory after the fact. She apologized for her actions but claimed all she did was drive two injured men to the hospital for treatment and played no role in planning the crime.

23 year old Daniel Wacker pled no contest in Glades County to child abuse as prosecutors dropped two counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a 14 year old child. Wacker received two years prison and three years’ probation. He allegedly had sexual rendezvous with the child on the Brighton Indian Reservation over two years ago.

FHP Hendry Crash Press Release

Martin Fatal 11-17-15 US 1

Highlands County Fatal

Sports Cast for November 19th:

Marisol Solis had two goals and Okeechobee won their fourth soccer match of the year yesterday, 4-0, over Moore Haven. Diana Ordonez and Ashton English also had goals for Okeechobee.

Coach Lori Harper Kyle said the team played together and avenged an early season loss at Moore Haven. Solis said she got some good opportunities near the net and all the players backed each other up.

Lori Harper-Kyle and Marisol Solis on girls soccer win over Moore Haven

Chad Williams had a double with 15 points and 11 steals as Yearling boys hoops fell to Sebastian Middle 34-27 last night.

Yearling trailed by nine at half time but get the game close until the final moments.

Williams applauded his teammates but admitted they tired down the stretch.

Chad Williams and Mike Wharin on YMS basketball loss to Sebastian

Sebastian won the girls basketball game 28-6.

On the sports schedule today, boys soccer hosts Fort Pierce with JV at 4 pm and varsity at 6 pm. Girls’ basketball hosts Hardee tonight with JV at 6 and varsity at 7:30 pm. Moore Haven girls and boys hoops visit Evangelical Christian beginning at 5:30 pm. Yearling basketball visits Brighton starting at 4:30 and Osceola hosts Moore Haven middle school with games to begin at 4:30 pm.

Charles Murphy News 11/18

News Cast for November 18th:

Among arrests, 28 year old Shane Thomas was charged with raping a 14 year old girl after he smoked marijuana with him last week. The victim told school officials at her school Monday. Thomas was held on 80 thousand dollars bond for two counts of sexual battery on a child and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. A passenger in a semi-truck died Tuesday morning after a crash on 441 in Canal Point.

The highway patrol says the driver 70 year old Fernando Rivera of Casselberry was south bound and failed to negotiate the curve near lakeshore drive and lost control of the truck knocking out a power pole.   65 year old Luz Maldonado of Casselberry died at the scene.

Groveland Utilities has proposed a 6 thousand acre reservoir in Okeechobee County. It is part of a planning process to provide more drinking water supplies for the future in Orlando and Central Florida.

The St. Johns Water Management District and the South Florida Water Management District are both reviewing the possibility. Jeff Sumner with South Florida says it is still in the study stages. It also is located near the proposed site for the Florida Power and Light natural gas power plant.

The County commission Tuesday

  • Elected Frank Irby as chairman for another year and Terry Burroughs as 1st Vice Chairman.
  • Renewed their banking services contract with Seacoast National Bank for two years.
  • Honored Duck Ryles for 27 years of service to the County Road department.
  • Proclaimed this week as Farm City Week.
  • Approved the use of the Ag Center for the Ag Venture program on December 8th thru the 10th.

Press Release Hendry County

PB Fatal 11-17-15 US-441 TT

Sports Cast for November 18th:

WOKC sports photo girls soccer vs westwoodBrahman boys hoops held Clewiston to four points in the first half and went on to smother the Tigers 56-20 last night. Demetrius Clark had 19 points and five boards and Shaquoy Ferrol had 10 points and 13 rebounds. Antawyn Flud added eight steals and seven assists. Coach Demetri Riles said his team lifted up their game. The bench was productive again with Kysell Richardson with six points and three assists. He said a win over Clewiston is always big.

Zachary Kielbasa followed up a 14 point game at Glades day with solid minutes off the bench. He said he can provide some outside shooting and steady play this year.

The boys host Pahokee on Friday.

Lady Brahman soccer lost at South Fork yesterday 8-0.

Boys’ soccer tied Benjamin 0-0.

JV boys’ basketball defeated Clewiston 55-31.

Osceola girls’ hoops lost to Storm Grove 42-4. Anea Rolle had 12 points and 8 steals for the Sting Rays. LaFasia Smith had two points and eight rebounds for Osceola.

Storm Grove also won the boys game 44-15. Denitrik Whittaker and Veyon Washington both had five points for Osceola. Chris Peterson had 13 points and nine rebounds for Storm Grove.

Sports today include Girls soccer hosting Moore Haven at 4 pm. Yearling basketball opens at home against Sebastian with girls at 4:30 and boys to follow. Girls weight lifting travels to Treasure Coast to lift with the Titans, Port St. Lucie and Fort Pierce. Moore Haven middle school basketball travels to Clewiston girls at 5 and boys to follow.

Seminole Brighton Casino Looking to Make Spirits Bright During Upcoming Holiday Season

Seminole Brighton Casino Looking to Make Spirits Bright During Upcoming Holiday Season

BRIGHTON, Fla. (November 17, 2015) – Seminole Brighton Casino will be involved with a number of charity-related activities during the upcoming holiday season.

The casino will be assembling “Loving Our Heroes Care Packages” and is asking guests to please drop off items such as snacks (i.e. jerky, trail mix, granola bars, fruit snacks, crackers, chips, tuna, fruit cups and peanut butter), microwave items with their own bowl and toiletries. These items will be packaged up and sent to those deployed overseas this holiday season.

Through December 10, Seminole Brighton Casino will also be participating in “Snuggle Delivery.” The property will be accepting donations of dog and cat food, treats, toys, bedding and litter for the Highlands County Humane Society.

Additionally, the casino will be supporting The ARC (Ridge Area) via holiday parade sponsorships and a special Bingo Game. The ARC’s mission is to serve and advocate for individuals with developmental and other disabilities, so that they may have the opportunity to choose and realize their goals.

Seminole Brighton Casino will be sponsoring a float for The ARC in both the Sebring Holiday Parade on Friday, December 4 as well as the Okeechobee Holiday Parade on Saturday, December 5.

On Saturday, December 12 at 11:45 a.m., there will be an ARC Fundraiser Special Bingo Game ($2 per sheet). Pays $500! Bingo Packs start at $18 and 15 regular games can win up to $500 each. Plus, there will be five Jackpot Games with over $1,850 in possible prizes.

About Seminole Brighton Casino

Seminole Brighton Casino is a 27,000-square-foot casino with over 400 Las Vegas style slot machines, a six-table poker room, live action blackjack e-tables, high-stakes bingo action, and Josiah, a full service restaurant and lounge. The casino also has an area for those who prefer to play slot machines in a smoke-free environment. Its warm and friendly staff, ultra-modern air-conditioning system, clean atmosphere, and rewarding casino promotions are a welcome alternative to big city gaming. The Seminole Brighton Casino is located just west of Lake Okeechobee on the Brighton Seminole Reservation, 17735 Reservation Road, Okeechobee, Florida, 34974. For more information, call toll-free 800-360-9875 or 863-467-9998 or visit us online at www.seminolebrightoncasino.com or on www.facebook.com/seminolebrightoncasino

Charles Murphy News 11/17

News Cast for November 17th:

This little guy is a five-month-old cocker spaniel. His owner worked too much and was unable to give him the time he deserved. He is very sweet and ready for adoption and his new home today! Contact Okeechobee Animal Control (863)357-3225

This little guy is a five-month-old cocker spaniel. His owner worked too much and was unable to give him the time he deserved. He is very sweet and ready for adoption and his new home today! Contact Okeechobee Animal Control (863)357-3225

Two county firemen, Matthew Hopkins and Lt. Earl Wooten spent part of their summer helping other states battle large wildfires. Hopkins went to Louisiana while Wooten spent time in both California and Washington State.

Fire Chief Ralph Franklin applauded both men for coming to the aid of communities that needed them.

Wooten was a crew leader and saw a variety of landscapes and conditions for fighting fires, including colder temperatures around the Cascade mountain range. He said he was glad to help. Hopkins battled a forest fire in Louisiana and said he got some valuable training he can use on the job in Okeechobee. This was his first time at a fire like this.

Among arrests, 23 year old Michael Hoffer faces escape and cocaine charges after allegedly trying to run from deputies during a traffic stop.

Deputy’s tased the man after he asked to be removed from handcuffs, he fell to the ground and was knocked unconscious.

He was treated and released at Raulerson Hospital.

32 year old Ericka Guerrero Riojas was charged with identity theft and grand theft allegedly stealing nearly 12 thousand 3 hundred dollars from a coworkers bank account over a five month period.

ATV Crash Highlands Co-11-15-15

Sports Cast for November 17th:

Karina Diaz, Ashton English and Diana Ordonez had two goals apiece as Okeechobee defeated Fort Pierce Westwood by mercy rule 8-0 on Monday.

Okeechobee won their third match of the year to equal last year’s total.

Marisol Solis and Alyssa Bessenbacher also had goals for Okeechobee.

Coach Lori Harper Kyle said the girls were disappointed in their effort at Forest Hill last week, a 3-1 defeat, and wanted to do well at home.

Lori Harper-Kyle on win over FPW

Ordonez scored off a corner kick and after a scrum in front of the net just before the half. She said she was very excited to score.

Diana Ordonez on win over FPW

Bessenbacher scored off after a long run from midfield in the first half. She said the soccer team has shown a lot of improvement.

Alyssa Bessenbacher on win over FPW

On the scoreboard last night, Brahman boys’ hoops blasted Glades Day 83-38.   Lady Brahman basketball walloped Glades Day 47-11. They also defeated Port St. Lucie Friday 49-41. Moore Haven girls’ basketball behind 22 points from Sunni Bearden defeated South West Florida Christian 66-31. Moore Haven boys hoops lost to South West Florida Christian 80-72.

Charles Murphy News 11/16

News Cast for November 16th:

Career Source Heartland is busy trying to connect job seekers and employers in Okeechobee. They took over the office downtown from the Treasure Coast region in July and have been busy getting their staff together and servicing about 3 hundred job seekers per month. CEO Donna Doubleday says it has been steady. Last week a job fair was held at the civic center that was well attended. Doubleday says they need job seekers and there are more jobs available than people to fill them.

Glades County commissioners talked about the Glades Inn disposal this month. They will allow a continued motel or hotel, even extended stay of up to 6 months on site, and also a grocery store. Proposals will ask for the price offered, the business proposed and the timetable for getting the business in operation.

County manager Paul Carlisle confirmed he met with Guy Harvey Outpost officials last month to discuss Indian Prairie.   The company said it had some interest in operating the primitive campground on the site that was closed several years back. The company could provide airboat tours and an airboat launch was discussed.   Carlisle said the county is more focused on an airboat ramp at Alvin Ward Park that should open soon.

In the courts, the killer of an Okeechobee woman pled guilty and received two life sentences. 30 year old Eddie Scott shot to death 27 year old Julixa Espada and her boyfriend 26 year old Thomas Kloepfer in Boynton beach on December 30th of 2 thousand 11.   The three were roommates and had some kind of dispute. Scott apparently shot kloepfer first, and then killed Espada inside the residence. He had faced the death penalty if convicted; the defense claimed Scott was diagnosed as mentally retarded at the age of 10.

No one was hurt after a trailer fire at 2032 Gardner Drive in Lorida. A fund was set up at the Mid Florida Credit Union in Sebring to benefit the Ames Family, which has three small children, seven and younger. The Lorida fire company was unable to respond.

Miss Rodeo Florida – Kelly Steinruck

1st Runner-Up – Whitney Hopkins

2nd Runner-Up – Samantha Raulerson

Horsemanship – Kelly Steinruck

Speech – Kelly Steinruck

Appearance – Kelly Steinruck

Personality – Kelly Steinruck

Miss Congeniality – Kelly Steinruck

Most Photogenic – Kelly Steinruck

Scrapbook – Kelly Steinruck

Miss Teen Rodeo Florida – Lacie Stark

1st Runner-Up – Aubrey Ann Grissom

2nd Runner-Up – Tara Holtzendorf

Horsemanship – Lacie Stark

Speech – Lacie Stark

Appearance – Lacie Stark

Miss Congeniality – Lacie Stark

Most Photogenic – Aubrey Ann Grissom

Miss Rodeo Florida Princess – Alexandra Skye

1st Runner-Up – Courtney Clair

2nd Runner-Up – Kelly Harper

3rd Runner-Up – Madisyn Kruse

Horsemanship – Alexandra Skye

Speech – Alexandra Skye

Most Photogenic – Courtney Clair

Miss Rodeo Florida Sweetheart– Brighten Mick

1st Runner-Up – Bailee Jeannin

2nd Runner-Up – Rylie Conner

Horsemanship – Brighten Mick

Speech – Bailee Jeannin

Miss Congeniality – Rylie Conner

Most Photogenic – Bailee Jeannin

Sports Cast for November 16th:

Shaquoy Ferrol had 18 points, and eight boards and Demetrius Clark added 14 points as Okeechobee held off a game Lake Placid 63-54 Friday night at the Brahman preseason classic.

Okeechobee took an early 18-5 lead but couldn’t shake Lake Placid who kept the game close to the final bell.

Dakkor Goldsmith had 14 points and Jay Callahan added 12 points for the Green Dragons.

Brahman Coach Demetri Riles said it was an emotional game with a lot of fouls called, Okeechobee lost two starters to fouls and two others had four fouls.

Point guard Bubba Fludd said he’d like to see the team keep the tempo up, play the basics, and hit the open man. Fludd had 11 assists and 8 points in the game. Lashawn Mosley added nine points and eight rebounds for Okeechobee.

Clewiston outlasted Moore Haven 53-46 in the other game overcoming a late Terrier lead.



~Implemented projects establish important foundation for continued restoration~

SANFORD, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will host a meeting on Nov. 19 to discuss the status of the restoration plan covering lakes Harney and Monroe, which are part of the St. Johns River system.

Representatives will provide an overview of the annual progress report for the restoration plan, discuss water-quality and biology trends in the basin, and discuss future plans and projects both in and around the BMAP area.

“The considerable progress we have made in this basin is a testimony to the environmental leadership and commitment of our stakeholders,” said Tom Frick, director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “We will continue our efforts with stakeholders to fully restore these waters.”

Significant pollutant reductions have been made for both total nitrogen and total phosphorous since the restoration plan was originally adopted in 2012. Stakeholders in this basin have identified and implemented a number of restoration projects and will continue to do so going forward.

For meeting details and more information on the restoration plan for lakes Harney and Monroe, click here.



Mary Ann Cabrera, MD earns HIV Specialist certification

Renay Rouse – Renay.Rouse@FLHealth.gov – 772-631-6008

Martin County, FL – Expanding its comprehensive treatment program for HIV/AIDS, the Florida Department of Health is now offering services in Martin and Okeechobee counties.

Recently earning an HIV Specialist certification from the American Academy of HIV Medicine, Dr. Mary Ann Cabrera is now providing treatment services in Stuart, Indiantown and Okeechobee. Dr. Cabrera is fluent in both English and Spanish and holds a Master’s degree in Public Health (MPH).

Dr. Cabrera joined the Florida Department of Health in 2008, working in St. Lucie, Palm Beach, Martin and now Okeechobee county.

Early access to care optimizes health outcomes for people living with HIV. New medications, treatment options and support help provide a healthier life for HIV patients.

HIV treatment appointments are available by calling 772-221-4000. For confidential HIV testing, call 772-221-4000 or 863-462-5819. Website information: http://martin.floridahealth.gov/index.html or http://okeechobee.floridahealth.gov/

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