Local News

Charles Murphy News 4/17

News Cast for April 17th:

Highlands County commissioners have no objection to Lake Placid and Avon Park hauling their trash to Okeechobee’s landfill. Commission Chairman Don Elwell said a rate study of their landfill might be needed.

Avon Park is reportedly working with Waste Management for a transfer station and could accept trash from Hardee County that eventually would be trucked to Okeechobee, bringing more revenue to the landfill.

In the courts, Hendry county prosecutors dropped a charge of sexual battery on a child under 12 against Glades County resident Jeffrey Raulerson. He had been charged last Christmas Eve with two attacks on a child, allegedly using a knife. He denied all involvement.

Sex offender, 83 year old William Clark of Okeechobee received two years in prison and lifetime probation in Brevard County for lewd and lascivious molestation of a child under 12 in Palm Bay. The incident occurred in December of 2011. Clark pled guilty to the charge.

Advertising entrepreneur James Whelan will peddle twice around Lake Okeechobee this Saturday to raise money to build homes in Haiti. He will start in Clewiston early Saturday and will ride roughly 225 miles in 24 hours.

Whelan has ridden his bike across the country before to Canada and Alaska to raise money for various charities. The Caring house project has been building villages in Haiti since 2003. You can help out by going to www.chpf.org

Sports Cast for April 17th:

Kevin Coleman and Trenton Hickman had two run singles in a five run fifth inning as the Brahman baseball team defeated Lincoln Park Academy 8-1 at Tradition Field Wednesday.

Elijah Finney threw five strong innings to get the win for OHS.

He said he struggled a bit but was able to make pitches when he had to. Finney was picked up by some good defense by Paul Jackson and others during the game. He said he tries to encourage his fielders to play well. Kutter Crawford had three hits and Gabe Greseth added two hits for Okeechobee who finish the regular season at 12-10.

South fork scored twice in the top of the seventh inning to stun Okeechobee 7-6 in girls’ softball action last night at Districts ending the Lady Brahman season.

There are no sports events today involving Okeechobee High school teams.


Gulf recreational red snapper season set

Gulf recreational red snapper season set

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) set the Gulf recreational red snapper season in state waters April 16 at a meeting near Tallahassee. The season will be a total of 52 days in 2014 and will start the Saturday before Memorial Day (May 24 this year) and remain open through July 14, closing July 15.

Starting the season the Saturday before Memorial Day will provide recreational red snapper fishing through an important holiday weekend, helping attract more visitors and bringing economic benefits to our coastal communities.

The federal season is currently projected to be 11 days long, starting June 1 and remaining open through June 11. This season is subject to change depending on projections by NOAA Fisheries for when the recreational red snapper quota may be caught.

Florida state waters in the Gulf are from shore to 9 nautical miles. Federal waters extend from where state waters end, out to about 200 nautical miles.

The daily bag limit will remain 2 per person in state and federal waters.

To learn more about this agenda item, visit MyFWC.com/Commission and click on “Commission Meetings.” To learn more about recreational red snapper fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Gulf Snapper.”


YMCA Okeechobee Counselor Candidates

YMCA Okeechobee Counselor Candidates  (YMCA Okeechobee summer camp will be located at Sacred Heart Church in Okeechobee)

Must have experience with children 5-12 years old, attention to detail, great attitude, represent the YMCA and our Mission in a positive fashion

Must pass Level 2 FBI Background Check, Drug Test, and  Mandatory YMCA Training in May and June, CPR and First Aid Certified (may start process after being hired)

Please download the counselor application at www.ymcatreasurecoast.org and fax your application along with the YMCA Completed Test to 1-866-546-3450 attention Shawn Keil/YMCA Okeechobee Camp Counselor. You may also mail your application to the address below.

Great Seasonal Position – up to 40 hours per week for the summer- Pay is based on experience and starts at $8 – college students or college bound students welcome to apply- must be over 17

Phone calls will not be returned without application


Award-winning FWC Officer of the Year recognized at Commission meeting

Award-winning FWC Officer of the Year recognized at Commission meeting

Officer Lee Lawshe of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) received the 2014 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award among other prestigious awards he received this year.

“Lawshe stands out among the FWC’s 853 officers in the field and has proved to be an exemplary officer and an asset to the state’s citizens and natural resources,” said Col. Calvin Adams, director of the FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement, explaining why Lawshe was the FWC’s Officer of the Year and why he was recently selected to receive the Florida Wildlife Federation’s Wildlife Officer of the Year award and the State Law Enforcement Chiefs Association’s SLECA Officer of the Yearaward.

Today, the Shikar-Safari Club International named Lawshe its 2013 Wildlife Officer of the Year during the FWC Commission meeting at the Florida Public Safety Institute near Tallahassee.

“In 2013, his notable activities included rescuing a man missing for days in a swamp, apprehending a suspect during a manhunt, and catching people illegally harvesting redfish, trespassing and harming gopher tortoises,” Adams said. “He represents the best of what an FWC officer should be.”

Supervisors describe Lawshe, who works in St. Johns County, as a team player within the FWC and with its partner law enforcement agencies, taking what he calls a “helping hand” approach to his work, whether that is mentoring, doing outreach, joining manhunts or rescuing people.

He joined the FWC in 2008, coming to the agency from a family of outdoorsmen, from Airborne Ranger School and with awards for his tour in the Middle East in a Quick Reaction Force.

Shikar-Safari Club International is a conservation-based organization that presents awards annually to wildlife law enforcement officers in all states, provinces and territories in the United States and Canada. The annual award honors a state officer whose efforts show outstanding performance and achievement among sworn fish and wildlife law enforcement personnel.


Fresh From Florida Expands

“Fresh From Florida” Expands International Reach with New Partnership at Outback Steakhouse Locations in South Korea

South Korea is the Fastest Growing Trade Market for Florida Agricultural Exports

Tallahassee, FL – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam announced today a unique partnership with Outback Steakhouse restaurants in South Korea to promote “Fresh From Florida” grapefruit during their spring/summer menu.

“We are proud to announce this great partnership with an iconic American restaurant in a growing market,” said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “South Korea continues to be a great trade partner, especially in Florida grapefruit, and this unique venture will highlight Florida citrus in an exclusive menu item.”

There are currently 110 Outback locations in South Korea that will begin featuring a “Fresh From Florida” red grapefruit cocktail today. Since 2007, the volume of Florida grapefruit exports to South Korea has grown more than 400 percent to more than 358,000 cartons this year. From January through March, Florida is the source for more than 80 percent of all U.S. grapefruit exports, reaching almost $100 million in 2013.

Total exports of Florida products to Korea also continue to increase. In 2013, South Korea received more than $52.5 million worth of Florida agricultural products, ranking it Number 22 in the world. South Korea is currently the fastest growing major market for exports from Florida.

In addition to the Outback partnership, other international successes in Asia include:

  • South Korean distributor JinWon has expanded marketing efforts of fresh Florida grapefruit to 300 stores across Korea.
  • Okuwa grocery has agreed to promote fresh grapefruit in 173 grocery stores in Japan.
  • A partnership with Growers Synergy in Singapore provides Valencia oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes, juice and blueberry wine to 170 retail outlets.

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


FWC continues a strong presence in Lake Mary

FWC continues a strong presence in Lake Mary

Tuesday afternoon the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) captured an adult female bear near the scene of a recent attack.

FWC staff identified this bear early on as one that demonstrated it was habituated to people and food. This is the first opportunity the FWC has had to safely capture this bear. Based on its actions and the need to maintain public safety, the bear was put down.

FWC staff will remain in the area working with residents and local authorities.

The FWC reminds residents in this area to be aware of their surroundings and always supervise pets and children while outdoors. The FWC relies on residents to report threatening bear behavior. Residents should contact the FWC’s Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) to report any threatening bear activity.

If you encounter a bear at close range, remain standing upright and speak to the bear in a calm, assertive voice. Back up slowly toward a secure area, and be sure you are leaving the bear a clear escape route. Stop and hold your ground if your movement away seems to irritate instead of calm the bear. Do not run or play dead. If a black bear attacks you, fight back aggressively.

Also, citizens with any information regarding the intentional feeding of bears should contact the FWC’s Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922). If you supply relevant information you may be eligible for a reward and you can remain anonymous.


Charles Murphy News 4/16

News Cast for April 16th:

The county and sheriff Paul May gave 20 minute presentations before staff members of the governor and cabinet Tuesday during a 90 minute hearing on their budget impasse.  The two sides are 1.7 million apart. The group continues to request a local solution but that appears unlikely.  A ruling could be made on May 7th and ratified by the Governor and Cabinet on May 13th.

Under Sheriff Noel Stephen said both sides gave strong cases to the group, including the county. Stephen says the Sheriff has cut to the bone and has no other areas to cut except jobs.

It appears the Glades Detention Center may stay open another year, private investors are considering dipping into reserve funds to keep the facility open. If closed, the Sheriff’s office would lose about 1 hundred employees and would move back into the old county jail in the city of Moore Haven.

A 36 year old Lorida man, Rocky Ladson was charged with battering a woman at a Lorida RV Park and with robbery and false imprisonment after an alleged disturbance on March 11th.

44 year old Cynthia Tommie was arrested by city police for allegedly possession over 8 grams of crack cocaine.

25 year old John McNeil was charged with possession with the intent to sell cocaine, resisting arrest and sale of cocaine after deputies tried to serve an arrest warrant on him in Douglas Park Monday evening.

36 year old Christopher Longano of West Palm Beach and 32 year old Charles Buchanon was charged with the theft of a light pole on 441 south east, the pole is worth 5 thousand dollars.

37 year old John Salmons was charged with dealing in stolen property and giving false information to a metal recycler.  He allegedly stole 24 hundred dollars in wiring from a construction site on the Brighton Indian reservation and sold it at an Okeechobee scrap yard.

Sports Cast for April 16th:

Catcher Gabe Greseth prepares for the pitch from Kutter Crawford at senior night Tuesday. Senior dads, Neal Crawford (right)  and Shawn Crews threw out the ceremonnial first pitches at the Brahman game Tuesday. Armando Rodriguez keeps the runner close, Tony Womack at first base. Paul Jackson dives back to the bag as Levi Osceola takes the throw.Kutter Crawford threw six strong innings and added two doubles in the game as Okeechobee defeated Desoto to celebrate senior night 8-1 last night.

Layton Thomas drove in three runs and Jarred Morgan added a two run single for the Brahmans.

Crawford said he felt some pressure to perform at his senior night but tried to focus and battle the Bulldog hitters. Fellow senior Christian Crews came on to pitch a scoreless seventh inning for the Brahmans and also scored a run for Okeechobee.

He said the team fought hard after a disappointing loss on Monday. Paul Jackson added an RBI single for the Brahmans.

On the sports schedule today, girls’ softball battles South Fork at their district tournament tonight at Jensen Beach at 5 pm.   Brahman baseball ends the regular season at Lincoln Park with a matinee today at 3 pm at Tradition Field.


Charles Murphy News 4/15

News Cast for April 15th:

Two people jailed after a drug raid at 2712 South East 47th Terrace, 28 year old Richard Chapman and 33 year old Scharlett Yates, after authorities allegedly locate 17 Xanax pills and drug paraphernalia.

Four were jailed after a narcotics task force raid at 3421 South East 28th Street, charged with felonies are 30 year old Joshua Raynor, 32 year old Janet Raynor, 33 year old Justin Hoover and 30 year old Jimmy Cox.  Drug paraphernalia, prescription pills and methamphetamines were allegedly located in the home.

The South Florida Water Management District endorsed the 1.9 billion dollar Central Everglades Planning Project.  More water will flow south into the Everglades and away from the Coast.

Jane Graham with Audubon of Florida called it an historic day. The move helps receive federal funding and both the state and federal government are asked to pay 50 percent of the costs.

Water Management Board member Daniel O’Keefe said he wanted to make sure this report doesn’t lead to violations of the clean water act and legal problems for the district..

Among arrests, 53 year old Jim Terry of Sebring is charged with four separate cases of grand theft and fraud.  The owner of Jim Terry Pools is alleged to have defrauded a Lorida family, taking several thousand and not installing a pool.

A man accused of embezzling nearly 1 million dollars from the Center for Independent living of South west Florida, 37 year old Robert Bruist, was convicted at trial and faces up to 65 years in state prison.  The agency closed in 2012 and helped serve the disabled in Glades and Hendry counties.

Highlands County commissioners expect to discuss whether Lake Placid and Avon Park have the right to send their household trash to Okeechobee at their business meeting today.

The Sheriff and Okeechobee county officials are in Tallahassee today arguing about the Sheriff’s budget, the two sides are 1.7 million dollars apart.

Press Release SR 70 and Kissimmee River

Sports Cast for April 15th:

Martin County jumped out to a five run lead in the first and went on to defeat Okeechobee 12-0 in high school baseball action last night.

The Brahmans dropped back to the .500 mark on the season.

Kyle McGlaughlin pitched a strong game for the Tigers. Martin County improved to 14-8.

Senior Tabatha Henry won her fourth consecutive Most Valuable runner award for the Lady Brahman cross country team this past season. Henry won the district meet and again qualified for state.  She recently signed an athletic scholarship with the University of Central Florida.

Henry says it was emotional to take home the award during her senior year. Henry said she will miss her Lady Brahman teammates next year.  She does have high hopes for them and thinks she left them a good example to follow.

On the sports schedule today, OHS baseball will hold their senior night game against Arcadia Desoto with first pitch at 7 pm.


SFWMD Plans Lake Kissimmee Navigation Lock Maintenance

SFWMD Plans Lake Kissimmee Navigation Lock Maintenance

Service for smaller recreational craft to continue

WHAT:          The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) navigation lock at the S-65 flood control structure, located at the south end of Lake Kissimmee at State Road 60, will be partially shut down for maintenance work beginning Monday, April 14. Routine maintenance on the mechanisms that open and close the gates will help ensure the structure operates as designed for many years to come.

Because only one set of lock gates will be affected at any one time, smaller craft, less than 15-feet wide, will continue to lock through from the Kissimmee River to Lake Kissimmee and vice versa.

WHEN:          Work is scheduled to begin April 14 and be complete by May 13.

CONTACT:  For more information, contact Bill Graf at wgraf@sfwmd.gov, or (407) 858-6100, ext. 3837


SFWMD Recognizes April as Water Conservation Month

SFWMD Recognizes April as Water Conservation Month

April is historically a dry month

West Palm Beach, FL — Highlighting an ongoing commitment to protecting South Florida’s water resources, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) is observing April as Water Conservation Month.

“Water conservation remains one of our most effective strategies to achieve our mission to protect the regional water supply for residents, visitors and the environment,” said SFWMD Executive Director Blake Guillory. “Each year during the dry season, we remind residents and businesses that a year-round water conservation ethic will help achieve that goal.”

For 16 consecutive years, Florida has recognized Water Conservation Month in April, the height of the South Florida dry season. While the District is not currently in a water shortage or drought, a portion of the region has been in a drought at some point in nine of the last 14 years. A long-term commitment to water conservation helps to minimize the impact of dry times.

Dry Season Rainfall Update

Evapotranspiration, the loss of water from the ground and growing plants, increases in April, speeding the decline of surface water levels.

Overall, District-wide rainfall across 16 counties was near average from November 1, 2013, through April 10, with 11.07 inches, representing 90 percent of average. Areas from the Upper Kissimmee Basin to the Southwest Coast were drier with below-average rainfall, ranging from 74 percent to 83 percent of average.

Martin, St. Lucie and Palm Beach counties saw near-average rain while Broward and Miami-Dade counties experienced wet conditions with above-average rainfall.

Basic water conservation practices include:

  • Replacing aerators in kitchen and bathroom sinks with models rated for 1.5 gallons per minute or less
  • Watering the lawn based on its actual needs and following the District’s year-round landscape irrigation water conservation measures and/or local ordinances
  • Installing low-flow appliances, such as a dishwasher or energy-efficient washing machine
  • Installing low-flow water fixtures, such as showerheads

Water Conservation is a Year-Round Ethic

Water conservation is essential year-round for addressing the impacts of weather extremes and growing demands on a limited water supply needed by South Florida’s 7.9 million residents, economy and environment.

Water conservation can be practiced indoors and outside. Examples include installing a low-flow aerator on your sink, watering the lawn based on its actual needs or installing low-flow appliances.

When water shortage orders are not in place, the District follows Year-Round Water Conservation Measures that target outdoor irrigation, which accounts for up to half of the water used per person per day in South Florida. The Year-Round Landscape Irrigation Rule is just one of many initiatives implemented under the District’s Comprehensive Water Conservation Program.

For more information:


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