Local News

Man arrested for killing Key deer

Man arrested for killing Key deer

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers arrested a man for killing a Key deer, an endangered species.

Grant Wilson (DOB 09/24/81) of Big Pine Key was arrested Saturday, June 13, for killing a Key deer. Wilson shot the deer with a pellet gun and hid the carcass in mangroves just outside of his property.

Witnesses reported the incident to the FWC, and officers were able to use the information provided to locate the dead deer and make contact with Wilson. Wilson admitted to killing the animal the day before and officers placed him under arrest. Officers seized two pellet guns owned by Wilson and the deer carcass as evidence.

“We are responsible for conserving Florida’s natural resources, and for such a precious species to be taken illegally is deeply unsettling,” said FWC Maj. Alfredo Escanio. “To have this act commited by a resident of the Florida Keys is even more troubling. Acts like this will not be tolerated.”

The Key deer is a federally designated endangered species only found in the Florida Keys. This animal is the smallest subspecies of white-tailed deer, with males reaching around a mere 30 inches in height. They cannot be hunted.

Wilson was charged with a third-degree felony. Penalties could include up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

Anywone suspecting a fish, wildlife, boating or environmental law violation should  report it to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Reward Program by texting or emailing Tip@MyFWC.com or calling 888-404-FWCC (3922).

Charles Murphy News 6/15

News Cast for June 15th:

Okeechobee’s sheriff has agreed to take over animal control services July 1st. Arlene Durbin will be the new supervisor with inmate labor used to handle some of the animal care and cleaning of the animal shelter to help save taxpayers money.

Under sheriff Noel Stephen says female inmates might be utilized as well. The current employees will not lose their jobs and more time will be spent on animal control. Deputies will also handle animal nuisance complaints as they do now.

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School Board member Dixie Ball said it was a difficult vote to decide to merge the freshman campus and Okeechobee high school in current planning for building a new high school.

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Ball said she talked to parents, recent graduates, district employees and current students to get their input. She said the issue had its pros and cons. Ball insists the freshman campus be a separate school on the same campus. She said many parents will have concerns about 14 year old interacting with 18 year olds.

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Sports Cast for June 15th:

Felipe Garcia was named Mr. Everything for Okeechobee high school boys’ soccer this year. Garcia said his senior year was very enjoyable despite the team’s 6-9 won loss record.

He said he was close to his teammates and that is what mattered most. Garcia was honored for his willingness to help on offense, mid field and defense this year.

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He said it really surprised him to get the trophy. Garcia said as long as he was out on the field he was having fun.

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Garcia was an energetic guy who was always playing hard. He said was to do his best and give his full effort.

He wants to study air conditioning and refrigeration at East Carolina University.

Governor Scott Announces From Paris Lockheed Martin to Add 130 Jobs at Cape Canaveral

Governor Scott Announces From Paris Lockheed Martin to Add 130 Jobs at Cape Canaveral

PARIS, France – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced at the 51st International Paris Airshow that Lockheed Martin will be expanding its Cape Canaveral facility to create 130 new jobs. The new positions will support the U.S. Navy’s Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missile program.

Governor Scott said, “We are thrilled to be at the Paris Air Show to announce new jobs at Lockheed Martin. These 130 new jobs mean Florida families will have even more opportunity to get a great job. More than 865,000 new private-sector jobs have been added statewide in the last four and a half years and we’re here in Paris to make sure aerospace and defense companies from around the world know Florida is the best state in the U.S. for job creation.”

As the Navy’s strategic missile prime contractor, Lockheed Martin currently employs more than 500 people at Cape Canaveral to support the nation’s submarine-based strategic deterrent.

“Governor Scott, the State of Florida and the Space Coast Economic Development Commission have provided tremendous support for bringing these jobs to Brevard County,” said Mathew Joyce, vice president of Fleet Ballistic Missile programs, Lockheed Martin Space Systems. “Ramping up our operations at Cape Canaveral maintains cost effective support of the program and further improves our responsiveness to the missile testing and deployment needs of U.S. Navy Strategic Systems Programs.”

Florida is home to one of the nation’s largest defense and homeland security industries, and few states can match the scale and scope of its network of major contractors and suppliers. From simulation and training to encryption technologies, Florida companies are at the leading edge of all major military and government markets.

“Lockheed Martin employs more than 12,000 Floridians throughout the state and we thank them for their continued commitment to the state,” said Bill Johnson, president & CEO of Enterprise Florida. “Florida has one of the most highly skilled defense and homeland security workforces in the nation, as well as a top-ranked infrastructure and pro-business climate. We will continue sharing Florida’s business story with industry leaders from around the world at this year’s Paris Air Show.”

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Jesse Panuccio said, “Lockheed Martin’s continued growth in Florida reflects the state’s commitment to the defense and aerospace industries. These new jobs on the Cape are great news for the local economy.”

“A leader in the global security and aerospace industry, Lockheed Martin’s ongoing expansion in Florida is a testament to the strength of our workforce and business climate,” said CareerSource Florida President and CEO Chris Hart IV. “These 130 new high-skill, high-wage positions will significantly impact the community as well as benefit the Floridians who will embark on a career with Lockheed Martin.”

Lynda Weatherman, president and CEO of the EDC stated, “Lockheed Martin could have chosen to expand in any one of its major sites. The decision to expand their footprint in Brevard County is a win for our community. The additional 130 jobs, paying an average wage of $85k will impact our entire community.”

Missing Endangered Juvenile

Missing Endangered Juvenile

SEBRING – The Highlands County Sheriff’s Office is seeking assistance from our community in locating 5 year old Garet Ficco whose welfare is possibly in danger. A Highlands County judge has issued an order through the Florida Department of Children and Families to take this child into protective custody.

Brant, Patricia

Brant, Patricia

Garet is 5 years of age, approximately 3’5” tall and weighs 45 pounds. He is a white male with blonde hair and hazel eyes. (Please see photo in attached document from FDLE.)

Garet is the child of Deedra Brown who was recently incarcerated. Following Deedra’s incarceration, the child is likely now with his grandmother, Patricia Brant. Ms. Brant is a white female, 45 years of age, 5’6” tall weighing approximately 130 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes. They may be travelling in a 2006 Chevrolet truck with Florida tag number 659 9PJ.

Anyone with information as to the location of Garet Fico or his grandmother Patricia Brant, is requested to contact the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office Special Victims Unit and Sergeant Anthony McGann at 863-402-7334 or Central Dispatch at 863-402-7200. Information may also be given to the Missing and Endangered Persons Information Clearing House at 1-888-356-4774. Anyone with information who wants to remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS(8477), contact us on the internet at www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com or simply scan the QR code at right. Anonymity is guaranteed!

Press News Release Missing Juvenile Attachment Ficco

Charles Murphy News 6/12

News Cast for June 12th:

A wall and stove were damaged after a kitchen fire at 12951 North East 26th Avenue on Wednesday night. County firemen were able to rescue a family dog from the smoke filled home. It apparently started as a grease fire.

Glades County deputies arrest an alleged marijuana grower. 42 year old Jose Lopez was charged with production of marijuana, felony possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Deputies went to the residence on May 17th for a domestic quarrel and Lopez allegedly fled on foot and during the search found the grow operation in a shed on the property on Old Muse Road. Lopez was arrested on June 8th. Deputies seized 11 marijuana plants in the shed which weighed 39 ounces.

The two 15 year old girls who fled an outing from an Okeechobee at risk teen facility Saturday were relocated in Lantana. One of the girls was hit by a car and was in intensive care. She told the police where the other girl was hiding. A Tennessee man that struck the teen with his car was being questioned about his involvement in their disappearance.

06 11 2015 Press News Release Missing Juvenile Located

Two Okeechobee men were charged after a man was shot at near his own home at the Dockside RV Park located at 5350 Highway 441 south east. 26 year old Jeffery Courtney was charged with attempted murder and resisting arrest. His brother Patrick Courtney, 20 year old Patrick Courtney was charged with conspiracy and battery. The intended victim James Haywood was not hit by the bullet fired from a 38 caliber pistol. The arrest report said a 60 dollar debt may have prompted the quarrel and alleged violence.

Okeechobee County Commissioners Thursday, heard complaints about recent vandalism done to the new restrooms being constructed at lock 7. The county suggests security cameras to stop the vandals and web cams for tourists to see the lake from all around the world. Discussed the creation of a special assessment to pay for sidewalks needed in the Basswood community.

Learned the public safety committee has recommended the county start sending some female inmates to the Glades County jail and also implement an ankle monitoring system for non-violent offenders awaiting trial to reduce jail costs.

Chairman Frank Irby urged the sheriff to use more flashing portable devices to reduce the speed of motorists in residential areas. Agreed to negotiate with community development outreach. They would like to provide affordable housing and a vocational program for teens to work on homes in the community. One home in Deans Court could be transferred to the nonprofit group.

Commissioner Margaret Garrard Helton urged the state department of transportation to place a red light at the intersection of 441 and South East 18th Terrace.

FHP Media Release-Multiple North Counties Co DUI Wolfpack 6-10-15

Sports Cast for June 12th:

Brayden Kasella was named the offensive player of the year for the Brahman soccer team this year. During his senior year Kassela got a lot more playing time and worked hard to become more of a threat to score.

He said he appreciated this award. Kassells showed up at every practice and put in extra work with handling the ball to make himself more of a threat. He played two years on the junior varsity and one year on the senior year.

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His goal at districts against Westwood was the highlight of the year. He plans to study sports medicine and become a physical therapist.

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Rodeo fans can enjoy the Florida High School rodeo finals in Okeechobee at the Ag Civic Center tonight and Saturday.

In the first go round last night, Baylee Paul of Arcadia took the goat tying in 8 point 67 seconds, Amery Bass of Kenneth City in 5 point 15 seconds, won the steer wrestling, Makayla Mack of Christmas won the breakaway calf roping in 2 point 9 seconds and Lane Bateman of Ocala won the tie down calf roping in 11 point 55 seconds. Other events include bareback bronc riding, saddlebronc, barrel racing, team roping, pole bending and bull riding.

Among the local contestants are Josh Keese, Z-man Zamora, and Shelby Kirton.

Rodeos continue at 7 pm tonight at 2 pm Saturday.

Governor Rick Scott Signs 48 Bills into Law

Governor Rick Scott Signs 48 Bills into Law

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott signed the following bills into law today:

HB 71             Service Animals – This bill increases access to public accommodations for service animals.


HB 115          Sentencing – This bill relates to governmental entities and restitution.


HB 133          Statute of Limitations – This bill extends the statute of limitations for a victim to report a sexual assault.


HB 149          Rights of Grandparents – This bill allows grandparents to petition for visitation rights with their minor grandchildren under certain circumstances.


HB 165          Property and Casualty Insurance This bill eliminates rate certifications for commercial non-residential insurance rate filings.


HB 193          Crime Stoppers Trust Fund – This bill relates to the Crime Stoppers Trust Fund.


HB 197          Tracking Devices or Tracking Applications – This bill relates to tracking devices.


HB 225          All-American Flag Act – This bill requires state, counties, and municipalities to purchase United States and State flags for public use that are manufactured in the United States.


HB 277          Public Lodging Establishments – This bill requires public lodging establishments to waive minimum age requirements for room rentals for members of the military.


HB 283          Transfers of Property to Minors – This bill authorizes the option for property held in custodianships to be dispersed at age 25 instead of age 21.


HB 359          Miami-Dade County Lake Belt Area – This bill requires studies and data collection at the Miami-Dade County Lake Belt Area.


HB 383          Private Property Rights – This bill expands the safe harbor provisions of the Bert Harris Act, granting governments more flexibility with settlement agreements.


HB 401          Public Lodging and Public Food Service Establishments – This bill enables the state to reassess a public food establishment’s inspection frequency in real time.


HB 453          Timeshares – This bill makes various revisions to the Florida Vacation Plan and Timesharing Act.


HB 465          Human Trafficking – This bill enhances protections for victims of human trafficking and provides enhanced sanctions for a person who solicits another to commit prostitution.


HB 467         Public Records/Human Trafficking Victims This bill expands an exemption from public records requirements for criminal intelligence and investigative information that may reveal the identity of human trafficking victims.


HB 469          Public Records – This bill provides an exemption from public records requirements for the location of facilities serving victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking.


HB 531          Limited Liability Companies – This bill implements the Florida Revised Limited Liability Company Act.


HB 565          Retirement – This bill authorizes local agency employers to reassess designation of positions for inclusion in the Senior Management Service class every five years.


HB 787          Recycled and Recovered Materials – This bill creates a liability exemption for those who sell or transport recycled materials to waste management facilities.


HB 801          The Beirut Memorial – This bill requires the establishment of a monument in remembrance of the Armed Services members who lost their lives during the 1982 attacks in Beirut, Lebanon.


HB 887          Unclaimed Property – This bill creates a judicial process so the state can obtain title to unclaimed U.S. Savings bonds and includes a process for the owners or beneficiaries to locate and claim the proceeds.


HB 889          Health Care Representatives This bill relates to and revises provisions for the designation of health care surrogates.


HB 927          Title Insurance – This bill revises the procedures and requirements relating to the recovery of assessments from title insurers.


HB 985          Maintenance of Agency Final Orders – This bill requires state agencies to electronically transmit agency final orders to a searchable, centralized database maintained by the Division of Administrative Hearings.


HB 1151        Residential Master Building Permit Programs – This bill requires local building code administrators to create a master building permit program when requested by a building contractor.


HB 1309        Publicly Funded Retirement Plans – This bill requires publicly funded retirement plans to use mortality tables consistent with those used by the Florida Retirement System.


HB 3505        Relief/Estate of Lazaro Rodriguez/City of Hialeah – This bill directs the City of Hialeah to pay the settled amount to the estate and family of Lazaro Rodriguez as compensation.


HB 3511        Relief/Carl Abbott/Palm Beach County School Board This bill directs the Palm Beach County School Board to pay the settled amount to David Abbott as compensation for injuries and damages sustained by Carl Abbott.


HB 3513        Relief/Estate of Victor Guerrero/Pasco County – This bill directs Pasco County to pay the settled amount to the estate and family of Victor Guerrero as compensation for his death.


HB 3521        Relief/Ronald Miller/City of Hollywood – This bill directs the City of Hollywood to pay the settled amount to Ronald Miller as compensation for injuries and damages.


HB 3523        Relief/Mark T. Sawicki and Sharon L. Sawicki/City of Tallahassee – This bill directs the City of Tallahassee to pay the settled amount to Mark and Sharon Sawicki as compensation for the injuries and damages sustained Mark Sawicki.


HB 3527        Relief/Asia Rollins/Public Health Trust of Miami-Dade County – This bill directs the Public Health Trust of Miami-Dade County to pay the settled amount to the Supplemental Care Trust for the benefit of Asia Rollins as compensation for injuries and damages she sustained.


HB 3531        Relief/Sharon Robinson/Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority – This bill directs the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority to pay the settled amount to Sharon Robinson as compensation for the death of Matthew Robinson and the injuries and damages sustained by Mark Robinson.


HB 3533        Relief/Estate of Manuel Antonio Matute/Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office – This bill directs the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office to pay the settled amount to Eddna Torres De Mayne as compensation for the death of Manuel Matute.


HB 3543        Relief/Roy Wright and Ashley Wright/North Brevard County Hospital District – This bill directs the North Brevard County Hospital District to pay the settled amount to Roy and Ashley Wright as compensation for injuries and damages sustained by Tucker Wright.


HB 3547        Relief/Javier Soria/Palm Beach County – This bill directs Palm Beach County to pay the settled amount to Javier Soria as compensation for injuries and damages he sustained.


HB 3549        Relief/Monica Cantillo Acosta and Luis Alberto Cantillo Acosta/Miami-Dade County – This bill directs Miami-Dade County to pay the settled amount to Monica Cantillo Acosta and the settled amount to Luis Alberto Cantillo Acosta as compensation for the death of Nhora Acosta.


HB 3555        Relief/Michael and Patricia Rardin/North Broward Hospital District – This bill directs the North Broward Hospital District to pay the settled amount to Michael and Patricia Rardin as compensation for injuries and damages sustained by Michael Rardin.


HB 3557        Relief/Maricelly Lopez/City of North Miami – This bill directs the City of North Miami to pay the settled amount to Maricelly Lopez as compensation for the death of Omar Mieles.


HB 4011        Motor Vehicle Insurance – This bill would allow a policy holder to insure four or more personal vehicles on one private passenger auto policy.


HB 7005        OGSR/Commission for Independent Education – This bill reenacts the exemption from public record requirements for investigatory records held by the Commission for Independent Education.


HB 7011        OGSR/Public Transit Providers – This bill reenacts the exemption from public record requirements for personal identifying information held by public transit providers.


HB 7013        Adoption and Foster Care – Please see signing letter HERE.


HB 7021        Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission – This bill modifies the penalty structure for violators of wildlife feeding rules, repeals and updates fishery and alligator statutes, allows FWC to reimburse the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida for administrative services, and conforms life jacket statutes to current U.S. Coast Guard labeling standards.


HB 7023        Administrative Procedures – This bill makes changes to the reporting requirements of the Florida Administrative Procedures Act.


HB 7055        Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles – This bill makes several changes related to the administration of laws and programs overseen by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.


HB 7083        Ratification of Rules/Construction and Demolition Debris Disposal and Recycling/DEP – This bill ratifies the Department of Environmental Protection’s proposed rule, which requires liners and leachate systems for new or expanding construction and demolition debris facilities that are not able to demonstrate a liner is not needed.

The transmittal letter can be found HERE.

Rooney: House Votes To Pay Troops; Reid, Nelson Should Follow Suit

Rooney: House Votes To Pay Troops; Reid, Nelson Should Follow Suit

Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Tom Rooney (FL-17), a member of the House Appropriations Committee and Chairman of the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, said Senate Democrats have “no excuse” to filibuster the FY2016 Defense bill passed with bipartisan support by the House today.

“Senator Nelson and his Democratic colleagues have a choice: they can follow Harry Reid and keep his promise to filibuster this bipartisan bill, or they can pay our troops and fund our national security. It’s that simple,” Rooney said. “Are they really willing to withhold our troops’ paychecks and put our national security at risk until they get more money for the EPA and IRS?

“If Senator Nelson and Harry Reid want to have a debate about more spending for wasteful bureaucracies, let’s have that debate – but let’s leave our troops, their families, and our veterans out of it.”

Rooney, who led members of the Florida delegation in urging Senator Nelson to oppose Reid’s plan to block national security and veterans funding bills until unrelated spending caps are lifted, said the Defense Appropriations bill is critical to protecting national security and supporting American troops.

“A growing Islamic State, a nuclear ambitious Iran, an aggressive Russia, the continued threat of global terrorism – the dangers our nation faces have only grown, and we must stand ready to defeat them. This appropriations bill ensures our troops and commanders have the tools and resources they need to keep us safe. We’ve provided funding for military operations and national security needs, a well-deserved pay raise and improved health and quality-of-life programs for our troops and their families, and critical investments in research and development. This bill deserves a vote in the Senate.”

Rooney noted that the bill funds critical national security missions and military personnel programs based in Florida, including:

  • Supporting the missions of the combatant commands hosted at MacDill AFB, US Central Command (including $34 million for drug interdiction and counter drug efforts, and $83.3 million in direct support of Middle East missions) and US Special Operations Command ($3 billion to support worldwide counterterrorism and intelligence operations).
  • Providing $173 million for University Research Initiatives and Centers, which provides FL colleges and universities with the opportunity to collaborate on research and development activities with the DOD.
  • Providing funding, requested by Rep. Rooney, for advanced stages of research and development that focus on finding a cure for paralysis, for which significant strides are being made at the University of Miami.
  • Supporting funding, requested by Rep. Rooney, for collaborative cancer research at the Murtha Cancer Center at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the Moffit Cancer Center in Tampa, FL.

A full summary and bill text are available here.

Treasure Coast YMCA Camps and Programs Return To Okeechobee This Summer (AUDIO INCUDED)

Treasure Coast YMCA Camps and Programs Return To Okeechobee This Summer (AUDIO INCUDED)

Kiwanis - Treasure Coast YMCA

Pictured: Carlyn Schaefer- Y Reads Director of Okeechobee, Teresa Bishop-Kiwanis and Shawn Keil – District E.D YMCA of Treasure Coast

While there is no building facility for the YMCA in Okeechobee, that doesn’t prevent the Treasure Coast YMCA to have an effect in our community. Shawn Keil and Carlyn Schaefer spoke to The Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee promoting the summer camps and programs that The Treasure Coast YMCA offers in Okeechobee.

Keil and Schaefer spoke in order to bring awareness to the Y Reads program which is headed by Schaefer, and the Summer Camp which is currently underway at North Elementary. The camp this year has 120 participants.

Schaefer is an Okeechobee High School alumni and her dream is to bring a full time YMCA facility to Okeechobee.


Charles Murphy News 6/11

News Cast for June 11th:

Pictured (L-R): Executive Director Tara Minton Rowley and President John Williams of the Economic Council of Okeechobee present the 2015 CARE Award to Dr. Aldo Lombardo, President of the Allure Institute for Plastic Surgery, and Wes Abney, General Contractor, for their efforts to completely remodel the business located at 114 North Parrott Avenue in Okeechobee. The CARE Award, or Community Award Recognizing Enhancement, honors businesses that improve the aesthetics and quality of life in Okeechobee. Photo courtesy of Sandra Pearce Photography.

Pictured (L-R): Executive Director Tara Minton Rowley and President John Williams of the Economic Council of Okeechobee present the 2015 CARE Award to Dr. Aldo Lombardo, President of the Allure Institute for Plastic Surgery, and Wes Abney, General Contractor, for their efforts to completely remodel the business located at 114 North Parrott Avenue in Okeechobee. The CARE Award, or Community Award Recognizing Enhancement, honors businesses that improve the aesthetics and quality of life in Okeechobee. Photo courtesy of Sandra Pearce Photography.

Glades County requested the state inspect an intersection where a Fort Pierce migrant church bus crashed earlier this year, killing 8 people. The intersection of US 27 and State Route 78 is dark and causes a danger to those unfamiliar with the roads, according to county officials.

The county also asked the state to inspect State Route 29 and Route 78 and also US 27 and State Route 78 east near Moore Haven. Commissioner Paul Beck maintains all three intersections can be dangerous. He said the State Route 29 intersection surprises drivers and visibility is bad day or night.

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The State said they would be glad to inspect these intersections for possible safety improvements.

The Glades Commission turned down a resolution to express concerns about expanding Panther habitats north of the Caloosahatchee River. It could take additional land off the Glades County tax roll. Instead they plan to draft a letter of support to the state plan.

In the courts, 49 year old James Dimaina was sentenced to 18 months in state prison and one year probation for battery, and false imprisonment. Deputies say the female suffered a broken hit and other injuries, she told EMS on the way to the hospital that she had been beaten, but when deputies went to the home, Dimaina, wouldn’t come leading to a four hour standoff last December 16th.

21 year old Tony Centeno of Moore Haven received five months in the Hendry County jail for violation of his sex offender community control. He had been convicted of lewd and lascivious behavior with a minor in 2014.

Okeechobee deputies are working to identify a male who was struck and killed by a CSX freight train between Platts Bluff and Lofton Road early Thursday morning.

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Sports Cast for June 11th:

Maria Ruiz was named the Brahman Award winner for girls soccer at OHS this year.

The senior said she really enjoyed the year and wasn’t expecting to get an award. Ruiz said she enjoyed the coaches this year and thought they did an excellent job giving the girls an opportunity to get better.

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She said the team would have liked to win more matches, but still had life victories. Ruiz was a three year letter winner for the Brahmans. She plans to attend Mount Berry College in Georgia and study environmental engineering.

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The winners in the 13 and 14 year old boys division at the Hershey track and field games included Thomas Garcia of Yearling in the 100 meters, Bracen Harvey of Yearling in the 200 meters, Antonio Pineda in the 8 hundred meters, Adrian Guerrero in the 16 hundred meters, the 4 by 100 meter relay team from Yearling paced by Thomas Garcia, Bracen Harvey, Devante Luellman, and Veyon Washington. Randy Simpson of Osceola won the softball throw and Lucas Osceola of Brighton won the standing long jump.

Statement by Commissioner Putnam on Updated Citrus Forecast for 2015

Statement by Commissioner Putnam on Updated Citrus Forecast for 2015

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Following today’s announcement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on an updated 2015 citrus forecast for Florida, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam released this statement:

“While the citrus forecast remains unchanged from the May announcement, which was the lowest in decades, we will continue to fight to save Florida’s signature crop, its more than $10.7 billion economic impact and the more than 64,000 jobs it supports.”

The USDA forecast for this year estimates 96.4 million boxes of oranges, weighing 90 pounds each, down from the 104 million boxes produced last year. This represents a decline of 60 percent since the peak of citrus production at 244 million boxes in 1997-98.

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

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