Local News

DHSMV Promotes Child Passenger Safety Week

DHSMV Promotes Child Passenger Safety Week

~ Florida Highway Patrol stepping up enforcement for child passenger safety ~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In recognition of “Child Passenger Safety Week” proclaimed by Governor Rick Scott, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) reminds all motorists to properly restrain children in a vehicle and will focus on child passenger safety enforcement throughout the week. With an emphasis on keeping our children safe on the roadways, drivers should ensure that children are seated in the proper restraint for their age, size, and weight.

FHP has members that are car seat certified who can help identify the best child seat to fit a child, can ensure the seat is properly fitted in a car and can check that the seat is being used correctly every time. FHP offers free car seat checks and installations for motorists who bring their current car seat to local FHP Troop stations. Motorists are encouraged to contact their local troop station to make an appointment. More information can be found on the department website.


Charles Murphy News 9/16

News Cast for September 16th:

In the courts, 49-year-old Jacqueline Brown received six years in prison for robbing the First National Bank of Clewiston branch in Moore Haven on February 16th. Glades County deputies say Brown originally claimed she had been beaten up and robbed but later admitted she needed the money to pay off a drug debt due to her addiction to crack cocaine. She pled no contest to robbery without a firearm and grand theft.

Charges of methamphetamine possession were dropped against Lee Underhill of Okeechobee after an appellate court found the Okeechobee sheriff’s office violated his constitutional rights against illegal search and seizure.  The court ruled that the traffic stop for a seat belt violation was unreasonably long and prolonged when the sheriff dispatched a K-9 unit to the scene.  The court ruled the stop was unlawful because it took longer than the normal process to issue a traffic citation.

Audubon of Florida expects rural areas like ours to be used for water storage into the future.

Osceola County, Okeechobee County and rural parts of Highlands and St. Lucie counties have all been represented on applications for the rural and family lands program funding this year where the state purchases development rights on ranches. The US Department of Agriculture also has an easement program and the Northern Everglades Wildlife Refuge is another government program designed for preservation.

Sports Cast for September 16th:

Veyon Washington rushed for two touchdowns and Bud Pryor caught a  78 yard screen pass for a touchdown as Okeechobee held off Sebastian River 27-20 in junior varsity football action Thursday.

Larry Boswell ran for a five yard score as well for Okeechobee.

Jordan Jefferson returned an 85 yard kick return for a score and Javian Tomlinson caught a touchdown pass in the final seconds for Sebastian River.

Brahman Coach Jeff Whitlock says his team didn’t get down after Jefferson returned the opening kick for a Sharks touchdown.

Interview with Jeff Whitlock and Veyon Washington on Victory of Sebastian

Washington thanked his offensive line for blocks and also his QB, Larry Boswell, for deception on handoffs that made his job easier

The junior varsity is 2-1 on the season.

  • OHS football at Sebastian River 7 pm
  • Marco Island Academy at Moore Haven 7 pm
  • Pahokee football at Crescent City 7 pm
  • Glades Day Gators at Miami Country Day football 7 pm
  • Glades Central hosts Atlantic High at 7 pm

Saturday, September 17

  • OHS cross country at Spanish River invite

Gov. Scott: West Palm Beach Area Added More Than 12,000 New Jobs Over the Year

Gov. Scott: West Palm Beach Area Added More Than 12,000 New Jobs Over the Year

MYERS, Fla. — Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that the West Palm Beach area added 12,100 new private-sector jobs over the year in August. The area’s unemployment rate was 5.1 percent in August, declining by 0.4 percentage point in the last year. Florida businesses created 22,600 private-sector jobs across the state during August 2016, bringing the total number of jobs created since December 2010 to 1,191,900 jobs.

Governor Scott said, “With more than 12,000 new jobs added over the year, it is clear West Palm Beach families have more opportunities to find a great job. We will keep working to cut taxes and create more opportunities for businesses to grow jobs for our families.”
The industries with the most job growth over the year in the West Palm Beach area were professional and business services with 4,500 new jobs and education and health services with 3,500 new jobs. In August, the West Palm Beach area had 18,520 job openings, including 5,405 high-skill, high-wage STEM occupations.

Florida’s statewide unemployment rate remained low at 4.7 percent, the lowest rate since November 2007. For the 53rd consecutive month, Florida’s annual job growth rate of 3.4 percent is also exceeding the nation’s rate of 1.9 percent. More than 33,058 Floridians were placed in jobs by CareerSource Palm Beach County and the state’s other 24 regional workforce boards.

To view the August 2016 employment data visit www.floridajobs.org/labor-market-information/labor-market-information-press-releases/monthly-press-releases.


Charles Murphy News 9/15

News Cast for September 15th:

The school board declared September as attendance awareness month amid a continued decline in school attendance. Last year chronic absentee rates, or students who missed over 21 days, increased to 12 percent of the population and 8 percent at the elementary schools.

This affects the students’ ability to read on grade level, and leads to more school dropouts. Director of Student Services Toni Wierman says some are due to illness. She said start times of school is not a big factor in the decline in attendance.

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Congressman Tom Rooney wants the congress to take back more control of how the US Army Corps of engineers spends their money.  He said congressmen are left to being cheerleaders for projects like the Herbert Hoover dike with little power to speed up the project

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One schedule doesn’t have all the dike improvements done until 20-twenty five. State charges were dropped in the cases of 35 year old Leon Edouard and 41 year old Tisha Edouard before their trial began.  City police charged the pair with aggravated child abuse on April 25th.  They claim a 17 year old girl was hospitalized with numerous impact wounds from an electric power cord.  Their report said the girl claimed she was treated as a slave by the family of 12. The now adult victim, 18 year old Gabrielle Doctor, testified under oath that she had lied to Police. She further testified that she had a friend inflict her wounds so she could leave home. Due to her testimony the criminal case against Leon and Tisha Edouard was no longer prosecutable and the charges had to be dropped.

Sports Cast for September 15th:

West Glades School defeated Yearling in an exciting volleyball match Wednesday, 25-23, 13-25, and 15-4. The Panthers jumped out to a 12-3 lead in the first game and survived a Yearling rally. Coach Nicole Bennett said her girls played well in two out of the three games. Callie Rucks had five kills, four digs and 12 service points for Yearling.  Madison Hargraves added eight digs, five service points and an assist.

On the sports schedule today

  • OHS swimming hosts Port St. Lucie 5 pm
  • OHS junior varsity football hosts Sebastian River 6 pm
  • OHS boys golf vs South Fork at Hammock Creek 3:30 pm
  • OHS volleyball at South Fork, JV 4:30 pm, varsity to follow
  • Moore Haven volleyball at Donahue Academy, JV 5:30, varsity to follow
  • Moore Haven JV football hosts Glades Day 6 pm
  • Moore Haven cross country hosts meet 5 pm
  • Yearling at Oslo volleyball and soccer 4:30 pm
  • OMS at Gifford, volleyball and soccer 4:30 pm

SFWMD Issues Orders to Protect West Palm Beach Preserve

SFWMD Issues Orders to Protect West Palm Beach Preserve

West Palm Beach, FL – This week, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) issued two administrative complaints and orders for corrective action to protect the Grassy Waters Preserve located in Palm Beach County. Water quality issues were brought to light there by the City of West Palm Beach during a Division of Administrative Hearings trial challenging the extension of State Road 7, City of West Palm Beach vs. Palm Beach County, Florida Department of Transportation, and South Florida Water Management District (Fla DOAH Case No: 16-001861).
The administrative complaint addresses the surface water management system located adjacent to Grassy Waters, which consists of two parts. The first section contains a series of lakes operated by Northern Palm Beach County Improvement District (Northern) in the Ibis community. The second portion of the system is a 364-acre area known as the Ibis Preserve that is permitted to retain water onsite.  This second area is owned by the City. Water flows from the Ibis lakes into the Ibis Preserve before entering the Grassy Waters Preserve.

According to the City, an accumulation of sediment in stormwater lakes in the Ibis community is causing excess nutrients such as phosphorus to flow into the Ibis retention area. These nutrients are not being effectively removed in the second part of the system owned by the City. The excess nutrients in turn are contributing to the growth of nuisance vegetation in the area where water is discharged from the City’s property into Grassy Waters Preserve.

During the hearing, the City presented evidence that the sediment and nutrient problem was caused by lack of routine maintenance in the Ibis community lakes, an issue that was previously unknown. Northern’s permit requires it to perform routine maintenance of the lakes. The administrative law judge suggested SFWMD take appropriate action to correct these issues.

The administrative complaints and orders for corrective action mean Northern and the City must develop and implement plans to correct these deficiencies.


Rooney Pitch to Conference: Let’s Take Back Control of Army Corps Funds

Rooney Pitch to Conference: Let’s Take Back Control of Army Corps Funds

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Rooney (FL-17) spoke today in front of the House Rules Committee and the Republican Conference to discuss his proposal to change the House Rules for the 115th Congress. Rooney’s proposal, introduced as H.Res.813, would amend the House Rules to exclude existing or proposed water resource development projects of the Army Corps of Engineers from the definition of a Congressional earmark. Congressionally-directed spending, better known as earmarking, has been banned in Congress since 2011.

“We had good intentions of reforming the system and reining in spending when we enacted the ban five years ago. After working in this system, I’ve realized that this ban hasn’t saved us money or solved our debt problems, rather it’s given the Administration more power over these funding decisions”, Rooney said. “Almost every Member of Congress has experienced the direct correlation between the earmark ban and our inability to influence control over the executive branch. This is especially frustrating when it comes to securing funding for important Army Corps projects in our districts.”

Rooney’s proposal is a simple first step to limit executive branch power and to restore Congress’ constitutional authority to direct funds to important flood control, dam safety and water infrastructure projects funded by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Rooney wants to change the House Rules so that funding for specific Army Corps projects is no longer considered an earmark. In his district alone, he could immediately help limit Manasota Key beach erosion and expedite desperately-needed repairs of the Herbert Hoover Dike. Nearly every member of Congress has Army Corps projects in their districts that likely face these same funding problems.

“The House needs to update its’ view on earmarks and take this small step to allow members to truly advocate on behalf of their districts by giving us back the power of the purse,” Rooney said. “We’ve ceded what James Madison regarded as our ‘most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people.’ Let’s take it back.”

Here you can see a video of Rooney’s opening statement and full testimony.


St. Lucie County Pleads Guilty to Distribution and Possession of Child Pornography

St. Lucie County Pleads Guilty to Distribution and Possession of Child Pornography

A St. Lucie County resident pled guilty yesterday to distributing and possessing child pornography.

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and William Snyder, Sheriff, Martin County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), made the announcement.

Michael Joseph Roth, 46, of Port St. Lucie, Florida, pled guilty before Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank J. Lynch Jr., in Fort Pierce, Florida to the charges of distribution and possession of material containing visual depictions of sexual exploitation of minors, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 2252(a)(2) and (b)(1) and 2252 (a)(4)(B) and (b)(2).   Roth faces a mandatory minimum of five years’ up to a twenty-year maximum term of imprisonment and a lifetime of supervised release.  In addition, Roth will be required to register as a sex offender.

According to Court records, including a stipulated factual basis in support of Roth’s guilty plea, on March 7, 2016, an undercover investigator (UC) with the Swiss Federal Police, utilizing a peer to peer file (P2P) sharing network established contact with user “Lindamom76”. “Lindamom76” shared material in four encrypted folders with the Swiss UC, by providing his password during a chat conversation.  As a result, the Swiss UC was able to download picture and video files depicting child pornography.  Law enforcement traced the internet protocol (IP) address of “Lindamom76” to Roth in Port Saint Lucie, Florida.

On May 20, 2016, law enforcement officers executed a federal search warrant at Roth’s residence and seized a laptop computer and a tower PC, containing the P2P software.  During an interview, Roth admitted that he used the P2P software and user name “Lindamom76.”

A forensic examination of the computer revealed Roth’s communications with the Swiss UC on March 7, 2016.  Additional chats were found wherein Roth, using an assumed identify of a mother of two teenage daughters, requested child pornography depicting incest, young girls, and pregnant teens.  In discovered chats with other P2P users, Roth discussed password requests in order to distribute, receive and trade images of child pornography.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, MCSO and the Swiss Federal Police for their work on this case.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carmen Lineberger.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.


Statement of Southern District of Florida U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer Regarding Investigation of Fire at Islamic Center

Statement of Southern District of Florida U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer Regarding Investigation of Fire at Islamic Center

Southern District of Florida U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer today released the following statement:

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Florida, the Civil Rights Division, the FBI and the ATF will continue to investigate the fire at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce for potential violations of federal law.  The Justice Department will continue to work to ensure that acts – and threats – of violence targeting houses of worship are fully and completely investigated.”


Charles Murphy News 9/14

News Cast for September 14th:

The Okeechobee county commission approved a 94.5-million-dollar budget last night without debate. The county plans to spend over 52.4 million and keep over 42 million in reserves. The millage rate was dropped to 8.1354 mills, a two percent decrease over last year. Chairman Frank Irby said the budget process was very transparent with several workshops but very little in the way of public comment. The final public hearing is September 22nd.

Irby

Culpepper

Glades County commissioners approved a lease with the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee counties that allows them open up offices at the Moore Haven fire station. Hope connections and as many as five other social service organizations could use the building.

Lisa Sands, United Way Director for Hendry and Glades, presented an award to the county employees and the property appraisers office for their generous support of their annual campaign. Sands says a grand opening will be held in the near future.

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Sports Cast for September 14th:

Ozzie Osceola took home the Yearling Award for boys’ basketball last year. While the team struggled with only one win, Osceola was a high light with his constant effort and hustle on the court. He said the award meant a lot to him. Osceola said he is determined to be a good basketball player in high school.

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OHS girls golf hosts Jensen Beach 3:30 pm

Yearling hosts West Glades volleyball 4:30 pm


Operations Update: SFWMD Taking Additional Measures to Relieve Water Conservation Area 3A Flooding

Operations Update: SFWMD Taking Additional Measures to Relieve Water Conservation Area 3A Flooding

Miami, FL – The South Florida Water Management District this week began taking additional operational measures to move more water south out of Water Conservation Area 3A to relieve the high water conditions in that natural area caused by recent rainfall.

The SFWMD is using the S-334 structure to move 250 cubic feet per second of clean water from the conservation area south through the C-111 South Dade Conveyance System that includes the C-111 Canal where some of it will be sent to Biscayne Bay.

In addition, water managers are also using the S-39, S-38 and S-31 structures to move excess water out of the conservation area to help relieve high water levels.

These operational step increase the amount of water that can be moved out of Water Conservation Area 3A by an additional 807.7 million gallons of water per day, until the water levels are returned to regulation levels.

“Water Conservation Area 3A is a critical part of the District’s system of cleaning and moving water south as well as a critical piece of the Everglades ecosystem,” said SFWMD Chief Engineer John Mitnik. “We will always utilize whatever feasible operational measures to relieve high water levels in this area for the benefit of the wildlife, the Everglades and the entire water management system.”

Currently, because of heavy rainfall throughout South Florida over the past month the water level in Water Conservation Area 3A is at approximately 10.7 feet. That is a half-foot above the prescribed regulation level for wildlife health and 1.5 feet higher than the water level was at this time last year.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has closed the conservation area to recreation because of the high water levels, which can cause wildlife drowning concerns. High water levels in this conservation area also hinder the District’s ability to move water south from Lake Okeechobee to reduce the need for the U.S. Army Corps to make releases to the coastal estuaries for flood protection after heavy rainfall events.


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