Local News

Charles Murphy News 6/16

News Cast for July 16th:

On 06-14-16, Moore Haven Lions Club, President David Hardin presented their District Governor  Ildefonso Ortega with 15 pounds of donated eye glasses that will be re-conditioned and given new life.  President David Hardin would like to thank the citizens of Glades County for taking the time to donate their eye glasses over the past year making this a huge success for our club. Picture below.

06-15-16 iphone pics 012Kiwanis Park opened last week on North West 6th Street. Chairman of the County Commission Frank Irby applauded all of the individuals who helped make the park a reality

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Club President Courtney Moyette said this should make a difference for special needs kids as she spoke to the crowd.

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Among arrests, 24-year-old Kelvin Lopez Vazquez was charged with two counts of battery on law enforcement after he punched one jail guard and kicked another in the groin.  Arrest reports suggest the inmate was upset at being placed in administrative confinement.

The city and county agreed to cooperate on a joint dispatch center to operate out of the emergency operations center. It’ll save the city considerable money over the next several years.  Grant dollars will provide much of the equipment. Lt. Karl Holtkamp said they expect to have the dispatch center open on July 18th. He said it should save lives as police and fire can be dispatched together and get to calls quicker in both the county and city.

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06 15 2016 Press News Release Traffic Stop Arrests

Sports Cast for July 16th:

Yearling middle school volleyball returned to glory this year with a 9-3 record after a few down years.

The school held camps last Thursday and Friday and again today and Friday for various age groups.

Coach Kellyann Campbell said she was very excited about the camps. She said while the team lost some solid 8th graders this year, the core of the team should have some experience next year.

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Unlike basketball, volleyball will continue to compete with Indian River County schools in the fall.


Rooney Amendment Included in Defense Appropriations Bill

Rooney Amendment Included in Defense Appropriations Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment to the FY 2017 Defense Appropriations Act sponsored by Representatives Tom Rooney (FL-17), John B. Larson (CT-01) and Chris Smith (NJ-04) that will provide increased assistance to military families who have a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

“Having a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) shouldn’t make it harder for you to serve in the military,” Rooney said. “This amendment is a commonsense adjustment in policy that never should have been changed in the first place. We need to ensure that our service members and veterans have the tools to raise their families and give back to them a small fraction of what they have sacrificed for this country.”

In December 2015, the Defense Health Agency (DHA) announced cuts to reimbursement rates for applied behavior analysis (ABA) services – a widely recognized treatment program for children with ASD that is already covered by a majority of private insurers in most regions of the country. Since becoming effective in April, these cuts have resulted in many areas with military facilities facing shortages of ABA therapy providers.

Further, the enactment of these cuts came in the middle of the DHA’s Comprehensive Autism Care Demonstration; a demonstration program on ABA services set to run through December 2018. Consequently, these ill-timed cuts would skew the strong analytical analysis of ABA services the Demonstration was expected to yield.

The bipartisan Rooney-Larson-Smith Amendment would restore ABA reimbursement rates, a provision already authorized by a similar amendment offered by the group to the FY 2017 NDAA (H.R. 4909), which was adopted by voice vote on the House floor. Once the cuts have been rolled back, rates will not be allowed to increase or decrease until the conclusion of the Autism Care Demonstration in 2018.

The final FY 2017 Defense Appropriations Bill will be voted on by the House later today.


Gov. Scott Issues Updates on State Response to Orlando Terror Attack

Gov. Scott Issues Updates on State Response to Orlando Terror Attack

ORLANDO, Fla. – Following the terror attack in Orlando Sunday morning, Governor Scott today remained in constant communication with state agency leaders who are working to ensure the state is responding to any needs. Governor Scott remains in Orlando and has been meeting with federal, state and local officials throughout the week.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement

  • All victims have been identified and FDLE has notified all of the victims’ families.
  • The FBI is leading the investigation but FDLE will continue to provide assistance with regional assets and coordinate with all involved law enforcement agencies throughout the ongoing investigation.
  • FDLE is assisting the FBI investigating links to terrorism, and the Florida Fusion Center continues to share resources, expertise and information to better identify, detect, prevent, apprehend and respond to criminal and terrorist activity utilizing an all crimes/all hazards approach.
  • FDLE is also leading the officer involved shooting investigation. All involved officers have been relieved of duties per normal officer-involved shooting procedure.
  • FDLE encourages all Floridians and visitors to report suspicious activity. “If You See Something, Say Something™” by calling 1-855-FLA-SAFE or report online at FDLE.State.FL.US.
  • FDLE has set aside more than $520,000 in residual Justice Assistance Grant funds for the City of Orlando and Orange County to be used for overtime pay for law enforcement and equipment associated with the terror attack. FDLE also requested $2 million in emergency Justice Assistance Grant funds from the Department of Justice to help with similar costs.

Florida Division of Emergency Management

  • The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Tallahassee is now at a Level 2 activation. The SEOC continues to coordinate efforts with federal, state and local partners to monitor and respond as needed.
  • The State Emergency Response Team has also been coordinating with private sector partners to provide families and survivors with important services such as free flights (Jet Blue), lodging (Airbnb), and transportation (Uber).
  • FEMA granted FDEM’s request to allow the Orange County Sheriff Department to re-purpose existing funds to help cover operational overtime costs in response to terror attack.

Florida Department of Children and Families

  • The Florida Department of Children and Families is directing $500,000 in funding to local providers for crisis counseling services which include grief counseling, trauma support, and emotional support for victims and their families and loved ones.
  • Three crisis centers established on Sunday provided basic support, water, food, information, and counseling. Therapists were made available throughout the region to work with those affected by the tragedy, and assisted first responders and clergy.
  • Aspire Health Partners, a local provider contracted through the regional behavioral health managing entity contracted by DCF, Central Florida Cares Health System, continues to provide free crisis counseling to anyone in need. Services will be made available in the community as long as needed. Aspire’s counselors are available for crisis and grief counseling from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Aspire’s Princeton Plaza at 1800 Mercy Drive in Orlando. For more information, visit www.myflfamilies.com.
  • Local government requested DCF’s assistance at a Family Assistance Center that opened today at the Citrus Bowl. This operation will provide a single source of resources for the victims and families impacted by the terrorist attack. The operation will run from 10-8 today, Thursday, and Friday, and this weekend from 8-2 pm Saturday, and 12-8 on Sunday. Contactcityoforlando.net/FamilyAssistanceCenter or 407-246-4357 for more information

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

  • The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) is working with businesses in Florida and across the nation that are interested in supporting the victims and families of the Orlando shooting. If your business is interested in providing assistance, please visit the City of Orlando’s volunteer coordination page HERE.
  • DEO is also working with businesses that have been impacted by the shooting. If your business needs assistance, including emergency business loans, please email ESF18@em.myflorida.com or call 850-410-1403. Businesses impacted by the shooting, including those in the restricted access area, can fill out a Business Damage Assessment Survey. (Select “Orlando Emergency Event” in the drop-down menu.
  • DEO is coordinating with CareerSource Florida to provide dislocated worker funding to the local workforce board to assist affected workers.
  • DEO’s mobile unit is prepared to deploy to the area in order to provide access to services available through Florida’s workforce system, including job search assistance, career counseling, training assistance, direct services to the local business community, and help affected employees apply for reemployment assistance benefits.

Volunteer Florida

  • Volunteer Florida has worked closely with the Governor’s Office to support the activation of the Florida Disaster Fund, the State of Florida’s official private fund established to assist Florida’s communities as they respond to and recover during times of emergency or disaster. The Florida Disaster Fund will help provide financial support to organizations that serve survivors, their families, and all those in need. To make a contribution, please visit www.FloridaDisasterFund.org.
  • Volunteer Florida is also currently compiling partner resources and determining unmet needs as well as assessing case management capabilities.

Florida Department of Health

  • The Florida Department of Health has waived the fee for death certificates for the families of the victims.
  • The department is closely monitoring the supply of blood in the area and is in regular contact with OneBlood and other Orlando area blood banks. Residents who are interested in donating blood should schedule an appointment via www.oneblood.org.
  • DOH has established contact with the Florida Crisis Consortia and proactively alerted Disaster Behavioral Health Teams to be on stand-by for future deployments.

Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

  • The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles continues to stand ready to assist with traffic and road closure support if needed.
  • FHP is providing scene security and patrol in the immediate area of the incident. Motorists should plan their routes accordingly and try to avoid the area.
  • The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles urges all Floridians to register or update their Emergency Contact Information (ECI). By registering emergency contact information, an individual’s family and loved ones can have peace of mind that law enforcement can reach them in the event of an emergency. Individuals can register or update their ECI here:www.flhsmv.gov/ECI.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

  • The FWC Critical Incident Stress Management Team is available in the Orlando region to provide emotional and psychological support to first responders if needed.
  • FWC has additional officers available to provide relief support to Orange County law enforcement agencies if requested.

Florida Department of Education

Florida College System

  • Seminole State College has grief counselors available for students and staff at all of its campuses. The college is also encouraging students and staff to use the crisis hotlines as needed; students should call (407) 416-9976 and staff should call (800) 272-7252.
  • Valencia College has grief counselors available for students and staff, as well as reflection spaces, on all campuses. The college has also increased the number of security officers and law enforcement present and encouraged students and staff to use the crisis hotlines as needed; students should call (800) 878-5470 and staff should call (866)-248-4094.
  • The Department of Education’s Division of Florida Colleges will continue to watch for updates and ensure counselors are available where needed.

K-12 Public School System

  • Orange County Public Schools began summer school today, June 15, and crisis teams are in place at all secondary schools to provide grief counseling to students and staff. The district is monitoring elementary schools and will provide assistance as needed.
  • District employees have been given information on assistance options for trauma and grief.
  • The Department of Education will remain in contact with Orange County Public Schools leadership to ensure its students’ need are met.

Florida Department of Transportation

  • The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) remains in constant contact with all local and district partners and stands ready to offer traffic and road closure support.
  • FDOT urges all Orlando resident and visitors to monitor local traffic advisories through FL511.com.

Florida Department of Elder Affairs

  • The Department of Elder Affairs is gathering information on organizations that have mental health services and call center services available to assist or supplement existing resources or personnel if needed.

Florida Department of Management Services

  • DMS continues to monitor both commercial, cellular and public safety land mobile radio to ensure first responders, residents and visitors are able to communicate response and recovery needs.
  • DMS staff continue to remain on stand-by to deploy staged emergency communications resources (wire-line/ wireless/ radio services, equipment and personnel) if neede

GOV. SCOTT: FDLE AND DCF PROVIDING FUNDS TO HELP WITH ORLANDO TERROR ATTACK

GOV. SCOTT: FDLE AND DCF PROVIDING FUNDS TO HELP WITH ORLANDO TERROR ATTACK

ORLANDO, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that FDLE has set aside more than $520,000 in residual Justice Assistance Grant funds for the City of Orlando and Orange County to be used for overtime pay for law enforcement and equipment associated with the terror attack. FDLE also requested $2 million in emergency Justice Assistance Grant funds from the Department of Justice to help with similar costs. The Florida Department of Children and Families is also directing $500,000 in funding to local providers for crisis counseling services which include grief counseling, trauma support, and emotional support for victims and their families and loved ones.

Governor Scott said, “We will continue to do all we can to help Orlando heal and our state agencies are doing everything possible to provide assistance to those impacted by this horrific tragedy. FDLE has been working with their local partners around the clock, but additional funding from the federal Department of Justice is needed to help support the ongoing investigation. DCF is also working to coordinate with counselors on the frontline to offer essential services to victims’ families and provide a supportive place for individuals to grieve loved ones. I appreciate the dedication of our state agencies and local organizations as we continue to work together to support the Orlando community.”

FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen said, “FDLE members statewide are working hard to support local law enforcement following the Pulse nightclub shooting. FDLE agents continue to work with our partners painstakingly investigating the shooting and FDLE members also identified more than $520,000 to be shared with Orlando PD and Orange County SO to help them with expenses associated with the shooting.”

DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said, “As we rally to support and console survivors, victims’ families, and residents impacted by the shootings, we not only can offer resources to help them find the strength and resilience to overcome, we can, as an organization and as individuals, show how this event can serve to renew our faith in humanity. We will remain steadfast in working with our partners to provide grief and crisis counseling to all those in need.”


Gov. Scott: We appreciate the Boston Red Sox for Leading Donation Effort to the Florida Disaster Fund

Gov. Scott: We appreciate the Boston Red Sox for Leading Donation Effort to the Florida Disaster Fund

ORLANDO, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott recognized the Boston Red Sox for collecting $12,189 in donations for the Florida Disaster Fund through last night’s 50/50 raffle conducted at Fenway Park.

Governor Scott said, “Last night, thousands of individuals at Fenway Park paused to recognize the victims and survivors of Sunday’s horrendous attack, and raised more than $12,000 in donations for the Florida Disaster Fund. Every dollar given will go to the organizations that serve survivors, their families, and all those in need. We appreciate the Boston Red Sox for leading this incredible donation effort and want all of Boston to know that we are extremely grateful and humbled by this outpouring of support.”

The Florida Disaster Fund is the State of Florida’s official private fund established to assist Florida’s communities as they respond to and recover during times of emergency or disaster. In partnership with the public sector, private sector and other non-governmental organizations, the Florida Disaster Fund supports response and recovery activities. There is no overhead funding; 100% of funds raised will go toward those in need. Donations to the Florida Disaster Fund are made to the Volunteer Florida Foundation, 501(c)(3) charitable organization and are tax deductible. To make a contribution, please visit www.FloridaDisasterFund.org.


Florida Highway Patrol Graduates 36 New Troopers

Florida Highway Patrol Graduates 36 New Troopers

~Members of the 133rd Recruit Class set to patrol Florida roads~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will welcome 36 new troopers to the division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) on June 15, 2016. The graduates of the 133rd Recruit Class join the more than 1,800 troopers statewide who patrol each day to provide safety and security on Florida’s roadways.

On December 7, 2015, 34 recruits arrived at the Florida Highway Patrol Training Academy in Havana, Florida ready to embark on a 28 week journey to transition themselves from civilians to Florida State Troopers. Of the original 34, only 26 would endure the demanding training necessary to become a trooper. On April 4, 2016, 10 certified recruits also joined the 133rd Recruit Class. These recruits either had prior law enforcement experience or completed their basic recruit certification at another law enforcement academy.

Upon reporting to their duty stations, the new troopers will be placed with a certified Field Training Officer (FTO). Troopers will work in tandem with their FTOs for up to 12 weeks prior to being released to solo duty.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles provides highway safety and security through excellence in service, education and enforcement. The Department is leading the way to a safer Florida through the efficient and professional execution of its core mission: the issuance of driver licenses, vehicle tags and titles and operation of the Florida Highway Patrol. To learn more about DHSMV and the services offered, visit www.flhsmv.gov, follow us on Twitter @FLHSMV or find us on Facebook. For safe driving tips and techniques, download the official Florida Driver License Handbook


Charles Murphy News 6/15

News Cast for June 15th:

A postal driver avoided injury Monday after the postal truck caught fire while delivering mail in Otter Creek, near North West 1 hundred and 63rd Court. Okeechobee deputies say 58 year old Renee Ginane was able to save some of the mail and packages.

Sheriff deputies were befuddled Tuesday after a parked car was shot over 10 times at McArthur Diary Farm House 8 off 441 north. There were no injuries, residents didn’t report the incident right away due to the fear of going outside after the gunshots.

A teenage client at G 4 S boys school is charged with battery on law enforcement after a worker there was pushed down, striking his head on a bunk. The victim, Robert Mitchem had to be flown to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center with a head injury. The suspect apparently had struck another worker with a chair and Mitchem had come to their aid.

A reported missing child was charged with grand theft for allegedly stealing a golf cart worth 15 hundred dollars from a Treasure Island home.  The 15 year old boy  was spotted on the golf cart near route 70 and 710 late Monday night with two other teens.

Okeechobee city advertised the police chief position and expect to have applications back in 60 days. Police Chief Denny Davis will be retiring near the end of August. Councilman Dowling Watford says he expects existing employees to apply. He noted the city has had three police chiefs since the mid 1970s.

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06 14 2016 Press News Release Alcohol Compliance Checks

Press Release Lee County

Sports Cast for June 15th:

Brahman cross country coach A.J Mayernik was very pleased with how the teams improved this year. The boys made it to the state finals, and the girls showed steady improvement. He said the runners are willing to put in the time, are willing to listen, and want to take the program to the next level.

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He said the boys met all of their goals. Mayernik said as a former high school state champion, it helps when he coaches and encourages the runners to do better.

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He said he is fortunate to have the talent available.

Mayernik said kids want to join a winning program and enjoy the sport of cross country.


VIDEO: Freedom for Hoover the tiger after life spent in circus cage

VIDEO: Freedom for Hoover the tiger after life spent in circus cage

A new video released by Animal Defenders International (ADI) tells the remarkable story of Hoover the tiger, saved from a circus in Peru, where secretly filmed video shows him being trained with whips and sticks and living in a small cage, and now living in natural woodland with his own pool, next to other tigers at Big Cat Rescue in Florida https://youtu.be/KRxrJv78J3Q

Sick and emaciated, Hoover was the sole survivor of an original group of 12 tigers owned by the circus and looked set to follow their fate until Peru’s wildlife department, SERFOR, police and ADI rescued him during a mission to enforce Peru’s new law.

The circus had tried to evade the law, disappearing into the mountains for eight months, but they were tracked down and in a surprise raid, Hoover was saved.

Safely in ADI’s care, Hoover was transferred to the Spirit of Freedom rescue centre near Lima and with extensive rehabilitation, much tender loving care, veterinary attention, toys and exercise he recovered and thrived.

ADI President, Jan Creamer said, “Hoover was very lucky to survive, his last cage mate had died before we could get to him. We were very grateful for the public support and information that helped us to track the circus down, now he can live in peace in his wonderful new environment.”

After many months of anxious waiting, Hoover got his permit to live in the US and on his 12th birthday, flew from Lima, Peru to Miami, Florida with an ADI care team and a cargo of flowers.

With a welcome party eagerly awaiting his arrival, Hoover was carefully unloaded at the sanctuary and then released into his new home. Stepping out onto the soft grass Hoover was keen to explore the wonderful habitat, which has jungle-like trees and plants and a spring-fed lake which he has taken to swimming in.

Big Cat Rescue Founder Carole Baskin said, “We are so happy to welcome Hoover and provide him with a safe, peaceful home at our sanctuary in Tampa. He will now spend the rest of his life enjoying the warm breezes of Florida, relaxing in the shady grass, lounging on his platforms and cooling off in our lake. He will literally be a world away from the abuse he suffered most of his life.“


Charles Murphy News 6/14

News Cast for June 14th:

An Indiantown resident jailed after a drug search on South West Palm Beach Street.  28 year old Cordearen Bell, allegedly possessed drug equipment, marijuana, and crack cocaine and over 7 hundred and 50 dollars in suspected drug cash in the residence.

The city of Okeechobee this week will begin mosquito spraying.  Clarke environmental will apply a spray from a truck on city streets.  City officials say residents can help fight mosquitoes as well by removing water in old tires and buckets, emptying plastic wading pools, changing water in bird baths, store their boats upside down or covered, keeping gutters on the house in good shape and mowing their lawns often.

Arrests today include, 23 year old Kyle Folsom on resisting arrest.  He allegedly fled on foot as deputies tried to serve a warrant for failure to appear charges and kept running even after being hit by two tasers.  He swam across a canal Saturday before being apprehended on South East 59th Drive.

32 year old Justin Hoover was charged with felony criminal mischief for allegedly causing 15 hundred dollars in damage to a parked car in the 2 thousand block of highway 441 south east Sunday.

47 year old Conrad Thitchener was charged with battery on jail inmate, Jay Plumber in the cell they shared.  The dispute Friday was over personal property.  Thitchener is awaiting trial on rape charges.

Paulette Wise began her first day as the new Executive Director of the Okeechobee Chamber of Commerce on Monday. Her meet and greet will be on June 28th from 5-6:30pm at the Business After Hours.

The Harry Chapin food bank is concerned about new reports that show food insecurity remains high in Glades County.  They provide food in several drop off locations in the county including Buckhead Ridge.

Chief Executive Officer Richard Leber said food insecurity is for families that have no food and no money to buy food at some point in the year. He said the rural nature of the county, a lack of a grocery store, and other reasons are causing this food problem.

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The largest population of those who are hungry are working folks with temporary financial crisis like medical emergencies and unexpected vehicle expenses.  The overall percentage is 16 percent food insecure, but 30 percent of children.

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Sports Cast for June 14th:

Shaquoy Ferrol was named All State for Class 6A basketball by the Florida Athletic Coaches Association.

The 6’5 incoming senior averaged a double-double, points and rebounds, with over 18 points and 10 rebounds per game.

Ferrol said he’s glad he came to America to play basketball. Ferrol has been busy playing AAU ball throughout the summer.

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Coach Demetre Riles was proud to have a Brahman make all state in the sport.

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Chobee Nation basketball is holding basketball camps throughout the next three weeks for various age groups at Okeechobee High school.

The OCRA T-ball all stars won the district 8 tournament and have qualified for state in Bristol, Florida next month.

The team swept Sebring 29-20 and 24-23 in the tournament over the weekend.

They will be trying to raise 5 thousand dollars to make the trip to the Panhandle through a variety of fund raisers.


If Considering Gifts in Wake of Orlando Attack, Make Sure Organizations are Reputable and Registered

If Considering Gifts in Wake of Orlando Attack, Make Sure Organizations are Reputable and Registered

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—With a declared State of Emergency in response to the terrorist attack in Orlando, Commissioner Adam H. Putnam announced that strengthened laws governing charitable organizations are now in effect in an effort to prevent unscrupulous individuals or organizations from taking advantage of this tragedy. Floridians looking to make donations should visit FreshFromFlorida.com, where they can research charitable organizations by using the department’s Gift Givers’ Guide.

Charitable organizations are required to register with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services prior to soliciting contributions in Florida, and those that raise $50,000 or more in the aftermath of natural disasters or other crises must submit specific documentation to the department.

“As we all mourn the loss of these innocent lives, may we be here for each other as a family and provide support. If any Floridians are considering charitable gifts in the wake of this tragedy, I encourage them to research the charitable organization on our website,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam.

In the wake of a disaster, charitable organizations must submit financial information regarding contributions and program service expenses on a quarterly basis, except for charitable organizations that have been registered with the department for at least four consecutive years. The department will post a notice on its website of each disaster or crisis which is subject to the reporting requirements of this section within 10 days after the disaster or crisis. s. 496.4072, F.S.

Consumers can help protect themselves from charity-related scams by:

  • Asking questions, such as: “Who is the fundraiser and who will benefit from the donation?”; “How much of the contribution goes to the charity mentioned in the request”; and “How much of the donation goes toward administrative and fundraising expenses?”;
  • Be wary of emotional appeals, and be suspicious of organizations with only vague plans for dispensing the funds;
  • Visiting our online Gift Givers’ Guide by clicking here or calling 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) to find a charity’s current registration status and financial information about the charity, including how much of a donation will go toward the individuals the charity intends to help versus operating expenses; and
  • Reporting any suspicious charitable solicitations by calling 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352) or, for Spanish speakers, 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832).

Commissioner Putnam worked closely with the Florida Legislature in 2014 to strengthen laws to protect consumers from charity-related scams by: banning organizations that have violated certain laws in other states from soliciting funds in Florida; prohibiting felons from soliciting funds for charity; requiring professional solicitors who operate like telemarketers to provide fingerprints for background checks; requiring a charity that receives more than $1 million, but spends less than 25 percent on its cause, to provide detailed information; and increasing fines for fraudulent or deceptive acts in violation of the law.


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