News Cast for May 10th:
Okeechobee commissioners recently proclaimed our county as air-boat friendly. Jeff Brockway of the Lake Okeechobee Air boaters association says the air boaters are good for the economy.
On the arrest list today, 30 year old Lasabria Brown was charged with aggravated battery on a pregnant person. She allegedly slashed the tires of a vehicle, punched the pregnant female twice and bit the victim.
In the courts, 59 year old Walter Hopkins received 2 years’ probation and time served in jail, 144 days for four drug charges including possession of morphine and alprazolam. He was the subject of narcotics task force surveillance last December and was originally charged with trafficking in morphine.
Two men involved in a conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine were sentenced this month. 26 year old Corey Dubel plead no contest to lesser charges and received 125 days in the county jail. 32 year old Paul Cox was adjudicated guilty of a felony and sentenced to 30 months in prison.
Okeechobee Medical Reserve Corp. to hold Training
Okeechobee- Residents of Okeechobee County are encouraged to participate in a 2 day C.E.R.T (Citizen Emergency Response Team) training on May 18th and 25th from 9am to 1pm at 229 NW 9th Ave, Okeechobee Florida, Indian River State College, Okeechobee campus. This training is hosted by the Okeechobee Medical Reserve Corp. (MRC). CERT training is a comprehensive program including disaster medical, fire safety, and basic search and rescue. CERT training will teach participants how to:
1. Describe the types of hazards most likely to affect citizens during natural disasters including hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods.
2. Work as a team to apply basic fire suppression strategies, resources, and safety measures.
3. Identify planning and size-up requirements for potential search and rescue situations.
Participants who complete both days will be able to put what they have learned into action on Saturday, June 1st when MRC volunteers work along side first responders in a live drill.
Participants can include but are not limited to:
• Concerned Citizens
• Homeowners Associations
• Communities of Faith
• Scouting Organizations
• School faculty, staff, and students
• Amateur radio groups
To RSVP please call Brian Sell at 863-462-5865
News Cast for May 9th:
Among arrests today, 18 year old Fabian Howard was charged with burglary to a vehicle with a battery during an alleged domestic quarrel with a female on North West 4th Street.
Glades County commissioners last night were expected to approve an employment contract with Thomas Corbitt to become their new county manager. The county had offered a salary and benefit package of up to 1 hundred thousand dollars. Corbitt is a retired military officer.
The Okeechobee school board honored the Dodge and Chevrolet dealerships in town for their assistance in the AG mechanics program at Okeechobee High school. Teacher Jason Anderson says their donations help give the students’ hands on experience. There are between 20 and 28 students that take the course each year one of the more popular ones at the high school.
State legislators approved tighter punishment on those caught animal fighting in Florida and the bill awaits the governor’s approval.
Kate McFall with the National Humane Society said strengthening these laws will crack down on other criminal activity like gang activity and narcotics.
Sports Cast for May 9th:
OHS Football Coach Chris Branham is enthused about the turnout for spring football this year. He has been able to coax a few athletes from other sports to give football a try and likes what he sees so far. The team has a number of jobs open on both sides of the ball. The offensive line appears to be the only unit that is pretty set for the fall.
Branham said the big stories to follow are the skill positions on offense and who wins those jobs. EJ Neal, Dee Shockley, Cory Surls and Layton Thomas are competing for the QB job. Adrian Minondo, Khalil Smith, Daniel Nunez and Tyrone Joseph are in the battle for the tailback job. The defense is also converting to a 4-4 formation. The team is preparing for two intersquad scrimmages for 8th graders and for high school players on May 31st at Brahman Stadium.
Alexis Smith won the inaugural Law Day Essay Contest sponsored by Sneider Law. The contest was designed to help students understand and celebrate the American legal system. Law Day was established as a National day of acknowledgment in 1957 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The theme of the 1000 word essay assigned to students in Catherine Hyde’s Court Procedures Class at Okeechobee High School was “Realize The Dream, Equality For All”. Students were given a copy of Martin Luther King’s famous “I had a dream” speech and asked to write about their personal responsibility to promote equality. Sixteen students participated in the contest.
Smith received $400 for her first place finish. Alicia Boland won second place and a $300 prize while third place winner Ryan Hagan won $200.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District has announced plans to increase flows from Lake Okeechobee as part of its effort to manage water levels for the upcoming wet season.
The releases from the lake are scheduled to begin tomorrow (May 8). The maximum flow to the Caloosahatchee Estuary will be 1,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) as measured at W.P. Franklin Lock (S-79) near Fort Myers. Runoff from recent rains in the St. Lucie Canal will continue to pass through the St. Lucie Lock (S-80) near Stuart at a target maximum flow of 250 cfs. As flows drop below this point, water from the lake will be released to make up the difference.
The release is being conducted in accordance with the 2008 Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS), the master plan for water management of the lake. Today, the lake stage is 13.58 feet, which is within the Low Operational Sub-Band. Under current conditions, the Corps is authorized to release up to 3,000 cfs to the Caloosahatchee and 1,170 cfs to the St. Lucie. The releases are currently being held below those levels to minimize impacts to the environment.
“South Florida has already received more than half of the precipitation expected for May in just the first week,” said Lt. Col. Tom Greco, Jacksonville District Deputy Commander for South Florida. “We are also looking at a forecast that calls for very wet conditions over the next three months. Given these circumstances, it is essential to begin increasing lake discharges to position ourselves for the wet season while minimizing environmental impacts.”
The Corps will closely monitor the releases and adjust flows as necessary to balance the competing needs and purposes of Lake Okeechobee. Public safety remains the Corps’ top priority.
For more information on water level and flows data for Lake Okeechobee, visit the Corps’ water management page at the Jacksonville District website:
News Cast for May 8th:
Okeechobee celebrated the new office of State Representative Cary Pigman Tuesday. The district 55 republican reported a busy legislative session. His priorities were health care and agriculture. He said the legislature also approved a 70 million dollar everglades bill and were able to get funded water projects that affect both Okeechobee and Glades County. Pigman also supported raises for teachers and state employees. The Governor is yet to approve the proposed budget.
Sheriff Paul May honored three deputies who rescued two small children from the clutches of an accused murderer on February 16th. Deputies Rob Coleman, Matt Crawford and Joe Gracie assisted Martin County as a high speed chase entered Okeechobee County and resulted in a wreck into a canal off 710 not far from Pioneer Estates.
A 2nd victim came forward in the sexual abuse case of 47 year old Brian Shaw of Kenansville. A 13 year old boy indicated Shaw inappropriately touched him 10 times as he accepted a ride home on Shaw’s ATV sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving last year. April 28th, a 13 year old girl claimed Shaw molested her in the same manner accepting a ride on his ATV.
Sports Cast for May 8th:
Gavin Liford won a hustle award for the Brahman boys’ basketball team at their awards banquet. The senior plans to attend Indian River State College in the fall. He played key minutes off the bench and always gave the team a burst of energy. He said he felt good about the team’s work this year. Liford was one of those players who always were noticed once he entered the game due to his hustle and hard work. Liford said he will have a lot of good memories about his two years on the basketball team.
Governor Rick Scott Appoints Thirteen to the Early Learning Coalitions
Tallahassee, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott today announced thirteen appointments to Early Learning Coalitions around the state.
Early Learning Coalition of Broward County
Michael Asseff, 39, of Hollywood, is principle and owner of Structured Asset Services, LLC. He fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning May 7, 2013, and ending April 30, 2016.
Laura Gambino, 49, of Cooper City, is the business development director for Waste Pro of Florida. She is reappointed for a term beginning May 7, 2013, and ending April 30, 2015.
Early Learning Coalition of Indian River, Martin, and Okeechobee Counties
Brandon Tucker, 37, of Palm City, is the owner of The Tucker Group, LLC. He fills a vacant seat and is appointed as chair for a term beginning May 7, 2013, and ending April 30, 2017.
Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County
Adam Hasner, 43, of Boca Raton, is the principle of Copernicus Concepts. He fills a vacant seat and is appointed as chair for a term beginning May 7, 2013, and ending April 30, 2017.
Michael Napoleone, 42, of Wellington, is an attorney with Richman Greer. He fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning May 7, 2013, and ending April 30, 2015.
Christina Worley, 50, of Palm Beach, is the managing member of Castle Wealth Management. She fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning May 7, 2013, and ending April 30, 2016.
Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County
Amy Farrington, 38, of Sarasota, is an attorney with Tuck Farrington, P.A. She fills a vacant seat and is appointed as chair for a term beginning May 7, 2013, and ending April 30, 2017.
Nicholas Feather, 35, of Sarasota, is a partner and financial consultant with Capstan Financial Consulting Group. He fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning May 7, 2013, and ending April 30, 2015.
Chris Kofler, 64, of Sarasota, is the president of Unisource. He is reappointed for a term beginning May 7, 2013, and ending April 30, 2016.
Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida
Gerald Poppe, 64, of Fort Myers, is the chief financial officer of Waterman Broadcasting Corporation of Florida. He fills a vacant seat and is appointed as chair for a term beginning May 7, 2013, and ending April 30, 2017.
Peter Seif, 45, of Fort Myers, is the president of Synergy Networks Inc. He fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning May 7, 2013, and ending April 30, 2016.
Early Learning Coalition of St. Lucie County
Jarrod Trefelner, 36, of Fort Pierce, is a business banker with PNC Banking. He fills a vacant seat and is appointed as chair for a term beginning May 7, 2013, and ending April 30, 2017.
Linda Sampson, 54, of Fort Pierce, is the owner of TLC Experts. She fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning May 7, 2013, and ending April 30, 2016.
Commissioner Putnam Joins Coca-Cola Company to Announce $2 Billion Investment in New Orange Groves in Florida
Commissioner Putnam Joins Coca-Cola Company to Announce $2 Billion Investment in New Orange Groves in Florida
Initiative Will Add 4,100 jobs, 25,000 Acres of Trees in Central Florida
Auburndale, FL – Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam and The Coca-Cola Company announced today a $2 billion investment in Florida’s citrus industry.
Partnering with Cutrale Citrus Juices and Peace River Citrus Products, Coca-Cola’s investment will enable the growers to plant 25,000 acres of orange trees. Through this collaboration, Coca-Cola will procure all of the fruit produced by these trees over the next 20 years.
According to a study conducted by the Florida Department of Citrus, this initiative will create more than 4,100 jobs in Florida during a 25-year period. The total economic impact of Coca-Cola’s investment is estimated to be more than $10 billion over the next 25 years, or about $422 million each year.
“Citrus is synonymous with Florida, but the industry has faced many challenges in recent years, particularly the growing threat of citrus greening,” said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam. “With Coca-Cola’s generous investment toward 25,000 acres of new orange groves in Central Florida, the citrus industry and our state’s entire economy will benefit.”
Citrus greening is a bacterial disease that poses an existential threat to the state’s $9 billion citrus industry. The disease is spread by the Asian citrus psyllid and causes trees to produce misshapen and bitter fruit. Infected trees generally die within three to five years. The disease is present in every citrus-producing county in Florida and in more than half of the state’s groves. The Florida Legislature recently appropriate $9.5 million to support research and the fight against citrus greening across the state.
“The Coca-Cola Company is proud to be part of this investment in Florida and its citrus industry. A thriving Florida citrus industry is critical to helping us build our Simply and Minute Maid juice brands,” said Steve Cahillane, President, Coca-Cola Americas. “Through viable partnerships and meaningful investment with Cutrale and Peace River, we together will foster sustainable, responsible growth in Florida. This is good news for the state’s citrus industry, our business and the communities we serve.”
Coca-Cola has played an active role in the Florida citrus industry since purchasing Minute Maid in 1960. Today, the company operates 26 facilities in Florida, employing 6,100. In partnership with Cutrale Citrus Juices, Coca-Cola purchases nearly a third of all Florida oranges grown by more than 400 local growers.
Over the past five years, Coca-Cola has invested more than $400 million in its operations throughout the state. Most recently, the Auburndale facility, which produces Simply juices, underwent a significant expansion. Adding a new production line and increased warehouse space, this multi-million dollar project created 129 new jobs, bringing the total number of facility employees to more than 500.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com.
O.L. Raulerson Scholarship Photos and Results
Employees of the 1st Quarter 2013
Six employees were recognized for the first quarter of 2013. There are four categories for which employees may be recognized: administration employee, citizen volunteer, Detention Deputy and Law Enforcement. The recipients are as follows:
Administrative Employee – Amy Fisher
Citizen Volunteer – Chaplain Joe Bishop
Detention Deputy – D/D Karen Greene
Law Enforcement-Sgt. Rob Coleman, D/S Matt Crawford, D/S Joe Gracie
Amy Fisher was nominated by Captain Bell. “Amy has been a great asset to road patrol during the transition to the new Spillman system. She has put in countless hours and has answered all questions with help provided to everyone that has asked. She has definitely made the change a lot easier.”
Chaplain Joe Bishop was nominated by Juanita White, for Volunteer of the Quarter. “Joe is there no matter what time of the day or night, not only for his law enforcement family but for families that are victims of crimes. He never turns down a call. He lifts our spirits every Wednesday morning with his lessons on how to handle the times we live in today by using scenarios from the Bible and comparing them to the situation in our lives today. By doing this, he shows us how we can handle circumstances and stay true to God.”
Karen Greene was nominated by Lt. Scott Deloney, who stated, “Ms. Greene has displayed a positive attitude and is a hidden gem to the department. Karen is in charge of the laundry and makes sure it is passed out in a timely manner. In addition, she also assists me in selecting trustees. She is a great asset not just to me, but to the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office. She takes pride in her work and settles for nothing less.”
Sgt. Rob Coleman, D/S Matt Crawford and D/S Joe Gracie were all nominated for Deputy Sheriff of the Quarter by Captain Bell. On February 16, 2013, Martin County had a homicide and the suspect was in route to Okeechobee County, still armed. Law enforcement from both agencies pursued the suspect. The suspect’s vehicle landed in Henry Creek. The suspect would not comply with orders given. The listed deputies entered the water to gain control of the suspect and rescue two juvenile females, the suspect would not turn over to deputies. Subsequently, the suspect was apprehended and the juveniles were rescued unharmed. I know what it’s like to enter water to apprehend a suspect and I can assure you it is not pleasant. These deputies show that they have what it takes to carry out a mission and not complain . This is most certainly a job well done.”
Sheriff May said of these employees, “I am very proud of these employees. Day in and day out they perform their duties in an outstanding manner. I appreciate them dedicating themselves to Okeechobee County when most of them could go to an adjoining County and make more money. They never cease to amaze me on just how dedicated they are.”
Congratulations to all of the nominees and the recipients of these awards.
Michele Bell, Public information Officer