Local News

Gilbert Chevrolet Honored With Prestigious Award (AUDIO INCLUDED)

Gilbert Chevrolet Honored With Prestigious Award (AUDIO INCLUDED)

MOE_May 2016 (2 of 1)

Representatives from Chevrolet were on hand last week to present Gilbert Chevrolet with their prestigious Mark Of Excellence Award for 2015.

Carlos Latour, the Zone Manager for South Florida Chevrolet presented Gilbert Chevrolet owner Christa Culbreth Luna with a plaque and congratulated the entire company on being one of just 445 dealerships nationally to earn the award.

Chevrolet has over 3000 dealerships across the nation and less than 15% met the standards required. Dealerships must meet certain criteria for several categories  such as sales, customer satisfaction, facilities and service.

The plaque presented reads:

Chevrolet honors our finest dealers who have committed themselves to unsurpassed performance and customer satisfaction. Gilbert Chevrolet Mark of Excellence 2015



Charles Murphy News 5/23

News Cast for May 23rd:

State representative Cary Pigman said he expects it’ll take several years before the school system can receive special funds to construct a new high school. He said the Moore Haven school replacement project took many years. Pigman predicts a similar time table for Okeechobee.  He said the schools should follow the recommendations of the state to improve drainage at the school and continue to work to receive the funds for the new high school.

Pigman 1

Pigman 2

A winning Fantasy 5 ticket was sold at the Ridge Market in Buckhead Ridge for Saturday night’s drawing.  There were 7 winners across the state.  The winning numbers were 3…4…7….34 and 35.

Winners for EES 4th grade at the Math Bowl

Winners for EES 4th grade at the Math Bowl

The annual 4-H Tropicana public speaking contest winners this year were Paisley Norman of North Elementary school for the fourth grade, Jasmine Desai of South Elementary School for the fifth grade and sixth grader Alex Maxwell of Osceola Middle School.  40 kids took part in the contest this year.

In the courts, 39 year old Christopher Dettmar was sentenced to five years in state prison for a plan to smuggle tobacco, and synthetic marijuana into fellow inmates at Moore Haven correctional facility.   Two other inmates were sentenced to probation.

The son of the Chairman of the Seminole Tribe was seriously injured in a crash in Hendry County on Sunday morning.  24 year old James Billie the second of Fort Denaud crashed a Ford pickup in Clewiston into a water filled canal near Trebol Street and Horse Club Avenue.


Hendry Co CR 833 Fatal 5-20-16

FHP Press Release – Highlands Co

Press Release – Hendry County

Sports Cast for May 23rd:

The South squad won the Mike Picano Senior All-Star game at Tradition Field Sunday, in a pitcher’s duel, 2-1.

Zeke Matthews of Okeechobee drove in the North squads only run with a sacrifice fly.   Matthews also earned a scholarship to play at Indian River State College next year. He said he’s looking forward to that challenge.

Matthews 1

Matthews was also awarded the Gold glove award at the Brahman baseball banquet as he played a solid center field this year.

Matthews 2

Other Brahmans in the game include head coach Eric Kindell, Armando Rodriguez, Jarred Morgan and Eli Finney.

Troy Martinez of Port St. Lucie was the game’s MVP with two innings of shutout relief. Bad weather continued to plaque the Brahman spring practice as lightning cancelled Friday’s scrimmage.

Moore Haven’s spring game was also stopped after a quarter against Benjamin.   Moore Haven led 7-0 on an 82 yard touchdown pass from John Cox to Eric Hunter.


Atlantic snook to close in state and federal waters

Atlantic snook to close in state and federal waters

The recreational harvest of snook in Atlantic state and federal waters will close on June 1.

Snook will reopen for harvest in Atlantic state and federal waters, including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River, on Sept. 1. Snook is also closed for harvest in Gulf of Mexico state and federal waters, including Everglades National Park and Monroe County, through Aug. 31, reopening Sept. 1.

Unique to the region, snook are one of the many reasons Florida is the Fishing Capital of the World. Seasonal harvest closures help conserve Florida’s valuable snook populations and improve the fishery for the future.

Snook can be caught and released during the closed season, but anglers should use proper handling methods to ensure the species’ abundance for anglers today and generations to come. To learn more and see a video about catch and release fishing and the best way to handle a fish, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater” then “Recreational Regulations” and “Fish Handling.”

Anglers can report their catch on the Snook & Gamefish Foundation’s website at Snookfoundation.org by clicking on the “Angler Action” link in the bar at the top of the page.

Learn more about recreational fishing at MyFWC.com/Fishing by clicking on “Saltwater” and “Recreational Regulations.”

Gov. Scott: Orlando Continues to Lead the State in Job Creation

Gov. Scott: Orlando Continues to Lead the State in Job Creation

ORLANDO, Fla. — Governor Rick Scott announced today that the Orlando area added 49,600 new private-sector jobs over the year in April, the highest number of new jobs among all Florida metro areas for four consecutive months. In addition, the Orlando area’s unemployment rate declined by 0.8 percentage point over the year to 4.1 percent in April. Governor Scott made the announcement at ODC Construction, Florida’s largest shell construction contractor. ODC recently moved into a new, larger facility in Orlando to continue to build on their growth.

Governor Scott said, “I am proud to announce that Orlando continues to lead the state in job creation, with more than 49,000 jobs created over the year. I was also excited to make today’s announcement at one of the many growing job creators in Florida, ODC Construction. ODC has created 400 jobs for local families and has more than tripled their workforce in just five years.”

ODC Construction CEO Isaac Lidsky said, “We’re honored to have Governor Scott with us today to cut the ribbon on our new headquarters, which will enable us to continue to grow with our valued customers as Florida thrives.”

The industries with the greatest job growth over the year in the Orlando area were leisure and hospitality with 12,900 new jobs; construction with 8,800 new jobs; and trade, transportation, and utilities with 8,100 new jobs. The Orlando area continues to have the second-highest job demand in Florida with 39,102 job openings, and the second-highest demand for high-wage, high-skill STEM occupations with 10,871 openings.

Since December 2010, 1,094,800 private-sector jobs have been created in Florida. Florida’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.8 percent in April, the state’s lowest in more than eight years. Florida businesses created 244,300 private-sector jobs over the year in April, exceeding the nation’s private-sector job growth rate for 49 consecutive months. Also, 35,386 Floridians were placed in jobs by CareerSource Central Florida and the state’s other 23 regional workforce boards.

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

Charles Murphy News 5/20

News Cast for May 20th:

Moore, Avontra Treon

Moore, Avontra Treon

Chris Hollyfield, a former WWE star, spoke to students on ways to fight bullying at school at the annual Dare graduation yesterday. Hollyfield wrestled as the little boogie man.  He knows students today wrestle with bullying and conflict at school. He urged the kids to speak out against bullying.

Chris Hollyfield at DARE graduation

City cops, sheriff deputies and the Florida fish and wildlife took part in the graduation. Lindsey Mann of FWC worked with kids on boating safety and using life jackets and also emphasized their mission to protect wildlife.

Lindsey Mann of FWC at Dare

Kid chefs from Rock Solid Christian Academy in Okeechobee took part in the gridiron cooking challenge hosted by the Miami Dolphins.   Everglades Elementary of Weston won the cooking challenge.

The Florida dairy council, dairy farmers, the NFL and publix came up with the challenged to encourage healthy foods and healthy lifestyles. Student chef Denny Baughman helped make fruit tacos for the Okeechobee kids and came away impressed with the skills of the other schools.

Baughman 1

Teacher Colleen Larson said the kids had plenty of practice to prepare the dish before the competition. The kids also got to meet Miami Dolphin defensive end Cameron Wake and several of the team’s cheerleaders.

Larson 1

Larson 2

05 19 2016 Press News Release Additional Warrants in Avon Park Shooting

Sports Cast for May 20th:

Dylan Ferneau took home the most valuable player award from the Okeechobee boys tennis banquet earlier this month. He called it one of the highlights of his senior season. Ferneau thanked his mother Darcy for her support and thanked his coach Morgan Ungerott for her guidance over the past four years. Ferneau said it was disappointing the team didn’t make it to regional this year.

Ferneau 1

Ferneau 2

The district champion went on to win the state championship. He was also a key runner on the cross country team. He intends to study at the University of Florida and study medicine.

The Brahman 8th grade football scrimmage was scrapped by a thunderstorm last night; the team will try a varsity practice scrimmage this afternoon open to the public at 5 pm.

Commissioner Adam H. Putnam Offers Tips to Prepare for Approaching 2016 Hurricane Season

Commissioner Adam H. Putnam Offers Tips to Prepare for Approaching 2016 Hurricane Season

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – During National Hurricane Preparedness Week, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam urges families across Florida to prepare for the 2016 hurricane season that begins June 1.

“With hurricane season fast approaching, the best defense you have is to plan early,” said Commissioner Adam H. Putnam. “Although Florida has not experienced a hurricane hit in more than 10 years, it’s critical to prepare your families and your homes in the case of a disaster.”

  • Have a Plan: Know what you and your family will do in an emergency. Have supplies ready to go and have locations and directions mapped out. Make sure everyone in your house knows the plan.
  • Prepare a Kit: Keep a kit ready to go with emergency supplies. This should include a three-day supply of water and food for each family member, blankets and sleeping bags, first-aid kid, battery powered radio, changes of clothing, emergency tools, flashlights and extra batteries, credit cards and spare cash, prescription and other medications, pet necessities, a list of important phone numbers, chargers for electronic devices if there is power available, and special items for infants, elderly or disabled household members.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date on the latest weather information. Watch local news and weather, listen to a weather radio or keep updated on your computer or smartphone.
  • Find Shelter: Research the location of hurricane shelters before the season starts. Know if you can take a pet or not. Ensure any livestock or other animals have at least a three-day supply of food and water.

In addition to these tips, keeping your food and water supply safe is one of the most important things you can do during a disaster.

  • Keep an appliance thermometer in your fridge and freezer so you can get an accurate temperature reading even if the power is off. A freezer should be at or below 0°F and the fridge at 40°F.
  • Store food on shelves high enough so they will not be contaminated in case of flood.
  • Have coolers on hand to keep food cold if the power is out more than four hours. Keep the fridge and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
  • Discard perishables, such as meat, fish, cheese, milk, eggs, leftovers and deli items, if the power is out more than four hours.
  • Use bottled water if you are concerned about your water supply. If you don’t have bottled water, boil water and let it cool before storing to drink.

During an emergency, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is responsible for providing necessary food and water supplies and supporting protection of animals and pets. In addition, the department’s Florida Forest Service, made up of a vast network of personnel and equipment, assists emergency responders in ensuring Floridians are safe and that they receive the necessary supplies during an emergency.

For more information and tips on hurricane preparedness, visit the National Weather Service’s website.

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

2015 boating accident statistics provide an opportunity for boating safety reminders

2015 boating accident statistics provide an opportunity for boating safety reminders

With the release of the 2015 Boating Accident Statistical Report, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) encourages boaters to focus on simple, effective steps that make boating safer.

“Many of the accidents in this report could have been prevented if the boat operators had paid attention to everything going on around their vessel, maintained a proper lookout and if everyone had been wearing a life jacket,” said Capt. Tom Shipp, FWC Boating and Waterways Section.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is responsible for reviewing, analyzing and compiling boating accident data for the state. Its statistical report details boating accidents and their causes. The theme of accident-related messages from FWC staff is clear: officers want to help keep Florida’s beautiful waterways a safe place to boat.

“Often, accidents can be prevented by more careful operation,” said Lt. Seth Wagner, FWC Boating and Waterways Section. “It is critical for operators to maintain a proper lookout and focus on what is going on around their boat at all times.”

Nearly half of boating accidents in 2015 involved collisions and 34 percent of all collisions were due to inattention or the operator failing to maintain a proper look-out.

“The leading type of accident continues to be boaters colliding with other boats or objects,” Wagner said. “With the number of boaters in our beautiful state, it’s important to pay close attention to everything that’s going on around you.”

Florida had 737 boating accidents in 2015. That is 103 more accidents as compared to 2014, however, there was a 25 percent decrease in fatalities. A total of 55 people lost their lives last year in boating accidents. Falls overboard have been the leading type of fatal accident since 2003 with drowning as the leading cause of death and 87 percent of these victims were not wearing a life jacket.

Today’s boaters can choose from several models of light and comfortable, inflatable belt-pack or over-the-shoulder life jackets that can be worn while fishing or enjoying the sun. The message is clear, ‘Life Jackets Save Lives.’

For a copy of the 2015 Boating Accident Statistical Report, visit MyFWC.com/Boating and select “Safety and Education” and “Boating Accidents.”

Charles Murphy News 5/19

News Cast for May 19th:



3 thousand dollars was scammed from a local couple, the third case involving a spiritual cleanser working out of a local flea market. This time the lady told the couple she could clean the money for them which would bring them good luck.

31 year old Okeechobee man, Johnathan Rogers was charged with video voyeurism at the University Square Mall in Tampa.  Hillsborough County deputies say Rogers was using his cell phone to record female shoppers inappropriately in Sears and Macy’s.

33-year-old Josue Mendosa of Okeechobee was charged with sexual battery of a child under 12. He allegedly claimed the devil was making him molest the child.  Detectives say the pattern of abuse lasted for around 3 years.

27 year old Gabriel Padgett was charged with kidnapping, child abuse and battery after a domestic dispute.  He allegedly choked the child, and knocked down a female causing an injury to the back of her head that required five staples.

A 16 year old student at Okeechobee high school was arrested on possession of a weapon on school ground charges.  The child claimed he needed a 14 inch long survivor knife for protection.

A law enforcement memorial service held Wednesday. Brother Joe Bishop prayed to keep law enforcement officers safe.

Bishop 1

The Sheriff, Paul May, honored three of his officers, Lester Yeates, Shane Snyder and Roy Gilchrist after a high speed chase that required deadly force last year ended with the suspect in jail. May says it gets more and more dangerous for his officers on a daily basis.

May 1

May 2

Only two officers died in Florida in the line of duty last year.

Police song 1

Sheriff’s Office Participates in Click it or Ticket Campaign May

Suspect Arrested For Video Voyeurism


District One RoadWatch Advisory RR – Thursday, May 19

Sports Cast for May 19th:

Evan Neal said all of the attention he’s getting from colleges already has not interrupted his preparations and practices.

Neal 1

Neal said he is using the attention as motivation to continue to improve on the gridiron. Neal has gotten verbal offers from several schools already including interest from SEC schools like Florida, South Carolina and Alabama.

Neal 2

Neal came away impressed with the play of the offensive line in last week’s game with John Carroll. He said it feels good when his teammates make big plays.

The Brahmans changed the purple white game to only a practice session tomorrow night due to injuries.  The practice is open to the public starting at 5 pm.

The Moore Haven Terriers spring game is scheduled for tonight at 6 pm at the Benjamin School.

Charles Murphy News 5/18

News Cast for May 18th:

Among arrests, 26 year old Juan Ibietatorremendia of Moore Haven was charged with making a threat to a Hendry County jail guard.  He allegedly made threats to the guard to kill him on the street when he is released.

Alert workers at a café in Indiantown stopped a possible robbery early Monday.  33 year old Prince Wynn of Madison, Florida was charged after a car chase and a foot chase with Martin County deputies.  Charges include grand theft auto, loitering and prowling and fleeing and eluding police.

61 year old Michael Higgins was charged after a shooting at the Port LaBelle marina in Glades County.  He allegedly shot 50 year old Robert Lineberger with a shotgun after a fist fight between the two men.  Higgins said he was thrown into the water and was only defending himself.  Charges include aggravated battery, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

35 year old Elueterio Requena of North Carolina was charged with lewd and lascivious behavior and held on 3 hundred and 50 thousand dollars bond.  Seminole Brighton police say the suspect molested a child under 12 back in 2 thousand 9 and 2 thousand 10.

May is mental health awareness month in Okeechobee.   Art Ciampi with Suncoast Mental Health Services said most people don’t realize how extensive the mental health problem is. He accepted proclamations from the city council and the county commission.  They have mental health therapists, case managers and psychiatric staff in offices on north west 3rd Street in Okeechobee. There were 8 suicides in Okeechobee last year.  He said there is a trend nationally and locally.

Ciampi 1

Sports Cast for May 18th:

Alex Hernandez took home the Brahman Award for Okeechobee wrestling this year.  He was also a three-year letter winner. Hernandez said he really enjoyed the experience. He was disappointed he didn’t reach the state finals as a senior. Hernandez said he set high goals for himself to keep himself motivated.

Hernandez 1

He plans to be a firefighter and paramedic and study at Indian River State college.

Hernandez 2

The purple white football game won’t be held this year due to a lack of available linemen for both teams. Instead the public will be invited to a team practice session at 5 pm Friday at Brahman Stadium and a controlled scrimmage of up to 25 plays.  There is no charge.

There were 50 healthy players for the John Carroll game but only 34 available for this week.

The 8th graders will have a controlled scrimmage on Thursday night at 5:30 pm.  The numbers increased from 18 at the beginning of spring to 28 8th grade players.

Rooney Supports Funding Bill to Immediately Fight Zika Virus

Rooney Supports Funding Bill to Immediately Fight Zika Virus

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Tom Rooney (FL-17) cosponsored the Zika Response Appropriations Act, a bill to provide immediate funding to fight the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

This legislation will provide an immediate $622.1 million to expedite research, development and production of a vaccine and ensure Zika readiness in states like Florida with heavy mosquito populations who are most at risk. This bill is fully offset and directs unspent 2016 funding to federal agencies that have provided Congress an accounting of the amount of money they need and can spend right now to intensify our domestic and international response to prevent the spread of Zika. Without action, the virus is expected to continue to spread around the globe and within the United States, placing pregnant women and infants especially at risk.

“Given the urgency of the situation, the House can no longer wait for the Administration to respond to our requests for information, and is providing an immediate $621 million for Zika response efforts. The American people are sick of Congress writing blank checks to President Obama and never finding out how he spends their hard earned money. Transparency and public health don’t have to be mutually exclusive.” Rooney said. “As a Member of the Appropriations Committee, I believe that this bill is the most fiscally responsible and transparent way for us to immediately fight Zika without recklessly spending taxpayer dollars. I am committed to making sure that Floridians are safe and this funding will immediately jumpstart our fight against Zika.”

This proposal is in addition to the $589 million that has already been repurposed from unused Ebola funds to fight Zika. This will bring the total amount allocated by the Republican-controlled Congress to $1.2 billion to fight Zika.

The full breakdown of the bill’s $662.1 million is below:

  • $170 million for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for mosquito control and Zika readiness in states most at risk and with heavy mosquito populations, state/local emergency preparedness grants for health departments preparing for Zika.
  • $230 million for National Institutes of Health to expedite vaccine development and diagnostic research to ensure the six vaccines currently in the pipeline at various stages can go to market quickly and safely.
  • $103 million for Biomedical Advanced Research and Development to support research and development of a vaccine, and subsequent rapid production and deployment of vaccines once they’re ready.
  • $100 million for global health vector control within affected countries to prevent the spread of the disease/mosquitos to the United States.

$19.1 million for Department of State/USAID to support our embassies’ ability to issue travel warnings, evacuate infected US citizens, conduct outreach and coordination with foreign health ministries on the handling of the outbreak, and conduct international information campaigns to help limit mosquito exposure.

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