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News Cast 6/1

News Cast for June 1st:

Today is June 1st and that means it is officially the start of Hurricane Season. With that, officials at FEMA are reminding people to start making a disaster plan now because it is important because we are moving to a time when things are changing and you don’t know what to expect and it could mean the difference between you and your family being safe or not safe during a hurricane. FEMA spokesperson Curtis Allen says one of the most important things to remember when creating a disaster plan is communication. Allen also recommends planning ahead when you have to evacuate and do not ignore the evacuation warnings. Also creating a disaster kit is important and while it should contain food and water, it should also contain enough medication for at least 72 hours. Governor Rick Scott says there will be a disaster preparedness sales tax holiday beginning today thru June 7th meaning no sales tax on items like batteries, generators and other supplies. More information can be found on the FEMA mobile app.

Allen-Hurricane Season 1

Allen-Hurricane Season 2

Okeechobee County firefighters had a building fire to contend with early yesterday morning. Crews were called to the eight thousand block of SE 441 shortly before 4:30 and found a single wide mobile home fully covered in flames. Firefighters got the blaze controlled with about five hundred gallons of water in just under four hours while using a fan to vent the heat and smoke, plus another five hundred gallons of water to cool the hot spots. No one was hurt. Total damage is estimated at $65 hundred dollars. The cause of the fire is being investigated.

An Okeechobee couple is being nominated for a special award for their work as foster parents. Matthew and Jennifer Deyarmond have been nominated for the Florida Coalition for Children’s Caregiver of the Year award, which is presented to one of Florida’s foster parents. Christina Kaiser of Devereux Community Based Care of Okeechobee and the Treasure Coast says the Deyarmonds, who have six children, three of them foster children, says this prestigious award is given to those foster parents who know how to co-parent; something the Deyarmonds do very well. Kaiser says the Deyarmonds have been foster parents for nearly two years. The Caregiver of the Year award will be presented in July.

Kaiser 1

Kaiser 2

On the arrest report:

33 year old Melissa Lynn Battle of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for driving on a suspended license with knowledge of it after a traffic stop. She was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

39 year old Daniel Roland Doyon of Okeechobee was arrested for failing to appear in court on minor traffic violations. He was released after posting a hundred dollar bond.

51 year old Albert Paul Arnone Junior of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of synthetic marijuana, drug paraphernalia and resisting arrest. His bond is set at $750 dollars.

30 year old Martin Bartlette Casselton Junior of Okeechobee was arrested for driving without a license and possession of dilaudid without a prescription. His bond is set at $25 hundred dollars.

44 year old Diana Cruz Casiano of Okeechobee was arrested for failing to appear in court on previous theft and failure to appear charges. She’s being held without bond.

38 year old Kenneth Earl Peacock of Okeechobee was arrested by police for resisting arrest after he was causing a disturbance in a bar. His bond has not been set.


News Cast 5/31

News Cast for May 31st:

An Okeechobee man is dead after a vehicle accident Tuesday night. Florida Highway Patrol officers say 47 year old Bernabe Hernandez-Gonzalez, who is wheelchair bound, was in the center of the road on Route 70 near NW 26th Avenue just before 10pm when the driver of a Jeep Laredo, 50 year old Sonja Lynn Kelly, also of Okeechobee, was driving west on 70 when she couldn’t see Hernandez-Gonzalez in the road and collided with him. The impact caused Hernandez-Gonzalez to go off his wheelchair and be projected onto the south shoulder of the road. Hernandez-Gonzalez was pronounced dead at the scene. The accident is being investigated and charges are pending.

Over the last two and a half weeks, Okeechobee County and much of the state has been severely hit with heavy rainfall and unfortunately, the forecast for the rest of this week is for even more rain. With the start of hurricane season just around the corner, Mitch Smeykel of the Okeechobee County Emergency Management Center says with the constant rain we’ve been having, it’s a good idea to get prepared for it now. Some areas near Okeechobee, such as Fort Pierce, have experienced more than five or six inches more rain than they normally do at this time of the year. Martin County has gotten the worst of it; they’ve gotten more than 15 inches of rain so far this month.

Smeykel-Memorial Weekend Rain

The Okeechobee County Commissioners recently discussed the pay scales for county employees at their last meeting as part of a study and compared them to nearby counties such as Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin. Commissioners decided that pay adjustments are in order with a new pay classification schedule for county employees to hopefully help stem the tide of county employees leaving Okeechobee for better paying work elsewhere. Commissioner Kelly Owens says while there is a need to be somewhat competitive with other counties’ pay, she warns that the board shouldn’t commit to something that might become a problem financially. Owens says one possible plan is to have a two percent increase in cost of living for employees and continue with a three percent merit increase for employee’s anniversary dates. The issue will be back before the board on the June 26th meeting.

Owens 1

Owens 2

On the arrest report:

50 year old Karen Wilkes Treece of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for drunk driving after a traffic stop and subsequent field sobriety test. Her bond has not been set.

25 year old Kayla Victoria Harris of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of hydromorphone, drug paraphernalia and a stun gun. She was released after posting a $16 thousand dollar bond.

37 year old Deidre Dawn Langton of Okeechobee was arrested for failing to appear in court for felony theft, burglary, child neglect and criminal mischief charges. She’s being held without bond.

35 year old Jeremy Dale Thomas of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on previous drug possession charges. He was released after posting a five thousand dollar bond.

27 year old Steven Allen Albritton of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on previous burglary, theft and trafficking charges. He’s being held without bond.

28 year old Matthew Wayne Pitt of Okeechobee was arrested by police for grand theft. He’s being held on a $25 hundred dollar bond.


SFWMD Levees Ready for Hurricane Season

SFWMD Levees Ready for Hurricane Season

District-maintained flood control system includes 2,000 miles of levees routinely inspected and maintained to protect families and businesses

West Palm Beach, FL – With the rainy season in full effect and hurricane season fast approaching, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) is hard at work inspecting and maintaining 2,000 miles of levees to protect the region’s 8.1 million residents from flooding.

“Our levees are an integral part of our flood protection system,” said SFWMD Chief Engineer John Mitnik. “I am proud to assure residents as we head into the hurricane season that our levees, after having undergone rigorous inspections, are prepared  to ensure the safety of all South Floridians.”

SFWMD operates and maintains the regional water management system known as the Central and Southern Florida Project, which was authorized by Congress more than 60 years ago to protect residents and businesses from floods and droughts. This primary system encompasses more than 2,100 miles of canals, 2,000 miles of levees and berms and more than 600 water control structures and 70 pump stations. Community drainage districts and hundreds of smaller neighborhood systems connect to SFWMD’s regional system to effectively manage floodwaters during heavy rain events.

These crucial levees include those built by SFWMD as well as those built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and later transferred to SFWMD to operate and maintain.

SFWMD routinely inspects its levees to ensure their structural integrity and ability to provide flood protection. Many of the highest-priority levees in the system have had refurbishment work performed to keep them in optimum condition.

An example of the safety inspection protocols and how well SFWMD’s levees perform was evident last summer when heavy rains filled up the water conservation areas whose eastern containment feature is the East Coast Protective Levee that separates the conservation areas from residents of western Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. SFWMD inspectors continually inspected this stretch of levee during those months of high water and found no deficiencies or problem areas.

In 2014 and 2015, SFWMD invested nearly $30 million upgrading approximately 71 miles of the East Coast Protective Levee that protects millions of residents in Broward and Palm Beach counties. The upgrades to improve the levee’s ability to hold water included flattening levee slopes, raising the levee heights in areas, building seepage berms, replacing older structures and minimizing encroachments on the levee. The work performed by the District addressed the findings of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requirements for the East Coast Protective Levee upgrades. District ad valorem revenues funded the entire project.

The upgrades meet all FEMA standards and SFWMD certified the levee to FEMA as being able to withstand a 100-year storm event, which helped avoid potential increases in flood insurance costs for residents living in the levee floodplain. These efforts complement other works in Miami-Dade County, where the District is in the process of raising the banks of the C-4 Canal improving flood protection for approximately half-a-million residents.

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News Cast 5/30

News Cast for May 30th:

Okeechobee County firefighters are investigating the cause of a fire that completely destroyed a mobile home early Saturday morning. Crews were called to the six thousand block of SE 95th Trail shortly before 3 am and found the home completely covered in flames and about 25 feet of the roof had already collapsed. Crews needed nearly two hours to get the fire under control. No one was hurt although the homeowner’s two dogs were not accounted for. Total damage is estimated at just over $22 thousand dollars.

An Okeechobee woman, already in county jail for drunk driving, is in even more trouble following an incident at the jail on Saturday afternoon. Sheriff’s deputies say 34 year old Tonya Louise Collins had driven her car into a ditch on the 32 hundred block of NW 1st Street and was trying to drive it out, while it was blocking the westbound lanes. Deputies determined Collins was driving drunk after a field sobriety test and she was arrested and booked into county jail. At the jail, she was later charged with three counts of battery on law enforcement officers after she refused to submit breath or urine samples and got out of control after she was being escorted back to the holding cell. Deputies needed pepper spray and a shot from a taser to get Collins under control. Her bond is set at $85 hundred dollars.

As part of Mental Health Awareness Month, the Suncoast Mental Health Center and Indian River State College today will be holding a Free Mental Health Awareness Education at IRSC as part of their Brown Bag Lectures. Michael Hofmaier of Suncoast Mental Health Center says this lecture will not only educate people on what mental illness is but also offer a holistic approach to dealing with it. Hofmaier says the success of this lecture is to break down the stigma of people with mental illness being labeled as “crazy” when they’re not. Hofmaier says this lecture will take a holistic approach to dealing with mental illness, that being the importance of a balanced diet and proper rest; two things that often get overlooked. The Free Mental Health Awareness Education will be at IRSC in the Koblegard Student Union from 11am until 1pm. It is open to anyone.

Hofmaier 1

Hofmaier 2

The re-roofing project for the score tower and dugout at the Darrell Enfinger Sports Complex will be delayed for a while so some shade cloth can be installed as decided by Okeechobee County Commissioners at their meeting last week. Parks and Recreation Director Albie Scoggins originally opted to do both projects separately, but that would require the field to be closed twice for both projects to be accomplished. Scoggins says the re-roofing is necessary because basically, it’s time. The re-roofing will be done by Close Construction, LLC a local contractor, for just over $66 thousand dollars. The project will be discussed again by the board at their June 26th meeting.

Scoggins-Re-Roof Project

On the arrest report:

43 year old James Richard Baldauf Junior of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for violating probation on previous drug possession charges. He’s being held without bond.

25 year old Anthony Gerald Vickers of Okeechobee was arrested for burglary and grand theft of a home while armed. His bond is set at $80 thousand dollars.

52 year old Lynn Marie Kauffman of Okeechobee was arrested for battery on her daughter after a domestic dispute. He’s being held without bond.

28 year old Bradley William Brown of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of marijuana after a traffic stop. His bond is set at five hundred dollars.

44 year old Brett Allen Noel of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of oxycodone after deputies were called to a suspicious vehicle report. His bond is set at $15 hundred dollars.

57 year old Douglas Charles Brege of Okeechobee was arrested for fraud. He was released after posting a $25 hundred dollar bond.

43 year old Kenneth Raymond Thomas of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of cocaine. He was released after posting a five thousand dollar bond.

45 year old Brian Robert Brewer of Okeechobee was arrested for driving without a license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

46 year old Michael Eugene Gordon of Okeechobee was arrested for disorderly conduct. He was released after posting a $250 dollar bond.

24 year old Megan Elizabeth Cline of Okeechobee was arrested by police for child neglect and resisting arrest with violence. She was released after posting a $32 hundred, fifty dollar bond.

 


News Cast 5/29

News Cast for May 29th:

An Okeechobee City Councilmember is in some hot water with law enforcement following a recent incident. Police arrested 77 year old Michael Gerald O’Connor on battery and obstruction charges a week ago Friday. Mayor Dowling Watford’s reaction to his fellow councilmember’s arrest is one of support. O’Connor was released after he posted a $55 hundred dollar bond and he’s expected to be in attendance at tonight’s city council meeting. Okeechobee Police Department officials declined comment at this time. A statement from Police Chief Bob Peterson regarding this matter is expected sometime this week.

‘Connor Arrest 1

‘Connor Arrest 2

Last week, members of the Okeechobee County Economic Council and County Commissioners held a special workshop to look at ideas for better economic development in the county. Officials from Palm City-based VisionFirst and POLICOM, two economic development consulting firms gave presentations as to developing a plan for economic growth and employment opportunities not just for now, but for years down the road. Commissioner Bryant Culpepper says he came away from the workshop with the idea that the county has a better idea how to better promote its assets like Lake Okeechobee, the soon to be opening Bass-Pro Shops to attract more businesses and stimulate economic growth. Accessibility to Okeechobee is also a major asset to stimulate that growth. As a result of the workshop, there will be a committee put together consisting of county, city, school board and other community leaders to determine the best course of action for economic development.

Economic Development Workshop 1

Economic Development Workshop 2

Okeechobee County now has someone on their side when it comes to writing grants for federal funding. Commissioners last week approved a service agreement with Merchant McIntyre Associates, a firm that will provide grant writing services to the county. County Administrator Robbie Chartier can’t say enough good things about Merchant McIntyre Associates. Merchant McIntyre Associates, based out of Washington, DC, has been responsible for writing successful grants that allowed companies to receive from as little as $250 thousand dollars to as much as multi-millions of dollars. The agreement with Merchant McIntyre Associates will cost the county $75 hundred dollars a month.

On the arrest report:

27 year old Jose Antonio Hernandez of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for violating probation on previous burglary, theft and trafficking stolen property charges. He is being held without bond.

35 year old John Clinton Thurman of Okeechobee was arrested on a warrant from Highlands County. He was released after posting an eight hundred dollar bond.

48 year old Tonya Dawn Mann of West Palm Beach was arrested for failing to appear in court on previous resisting arrest charges. She’s being held without bond.


Five legends named to 2019 NASCAR Hall Of Fame Class 

Five legends named to 2019 NASCAR Hall Of Fame Class 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 23, 2018) – NASCAR announced today the inductees who will comprise the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2019. The five-person group – the 10th since the inception of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010 – consists of Davey Allison, Alan Kulwicki, Jeff Gordon, Roger Penske and Jack Roush. In addition, NASCAR announced that Jim Hunter earned the 2019 Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. The distinguished group will be honored during the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Feb. 1, 2019.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel met today in a closed session at the Charlotte Convention Center to debate and vote upon the 20 nominees for the induction class of 2019 and the five nominees for the Landmark Award.

The Class of 2019 was determined by votes cast by the Voting Panel, including representatives from NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, track owners from major facilities and historic short tracks, media members, manufacturer representatives, competitors (drivers, owners, crew chiefs), recognized industry leaders, a nationwide fan vote conducted through NASCAR.com and, for the fifth year, the reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion (Martin Truex Jr.). In all, 57 votes were cast, with two additional Voting Panel members recused from voting as potential nominees for induction (Ricky Rudd and Waddell Wilson). The accounting firm of EY presided over the tabulation of the votes.

MORE: Gordon highlights class | Photos of all nominees | Career highlights

Voting was as follows: Jeff Gordon (96%), Jack Roush (70%), Roger Penske (68%), Davey Allison (63%) and Alan Kulwicki (46%).

The next top vote-getters were Buddy Baker, Hershel McGriff and Waddell Wilson.

Results for the NASCAR.com Fan Vote, in alphabetical order, were Davey Allison, Buddy Baker, Harry Gant, Jeff Gordon and Alan Kulwicki.

The five inductees came from a group of 20 nominees that included, in addition to the five inductees chosen: Buddy Baker, Red Farmer, Ray Fox, Harry Gant, Joe Gibbs, John Holman, Harry Hyde, Bobby Labonte, Hershel McGriff, Ralph Moody, Larry Phillips, Ricky Rudd, Kirk Shelmerdine, Mike Stefanik and Waddell Wilson.

Nominees for the Landmark Award included Janet Guthrie, Barney Hall, Alvin Hawkins, Hunter and Ralph Seagraves.

The Class of 2019 Induction Weekend is set for Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019, through Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019, at the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. The official Induction Ceremony will take place on Friday, Feb. 1, 2019. The Class of 2019 marks the 10th class and a total of 50 legends inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. To celebrate the momentous occasion, new events and special programs have been added throughout the extended weekend.

Tickets to Induction Ceremony events begin at $75 per person (plus tax and applicable service fees). Tickets go on sale on Saturday, June 9, 2018, at 10 a.m. ET. A special pre-sale will be available to NASCAR Hall of Fame members Wednesday, May 30, 2018, through Friday, June 8, 2018. To learn about becoming a NASCAR Hall of Fame member, visit nascarhall.com/membership. For additional details about the Class of 2019 Induction Weekend schedule and ticket packages, visit nascarhall.com/inductees/induction-ceremony.

Class of 2019 Inductees:

Davey Allison

Davey Allison was born with speed. The son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison grew up more interested in football, but could not escape the racing bug, following his father into the family profession. The younger Allison honed his skills at local Alabama tracks, getting his big break in 1987, taking over for legendary driver Cale Yarborough in Ranier-Lundy’s Ford Thunderbird. Allison spent no time continuing the family’s legacy, compiling two wins, five poles and nine top fives in his full-season debut to capture 1987 premier series rookie of the year. Allison won 19 races and 14 poles, including the 1992 Daytona 500, before his tragic death in a helicopter accident in 1993.

Jeff Gordon

Blessed with once-in-a-generation talent and charisma, Jeff Gordon helped take NASCAR from a regional sport to the mainstream. Gordon took NASCAR by storm in the 1990s, becoming the youngest driver in the modern era to win a premier series title as a 24-year-old in 1995. He went on to win three more championships (1997, ’98, 2001). In 1998, Gordon led the Rainbow Warriors – named for his colorful No. 24 Chevrolet – to a modern era-record 13 wins. Overall, he won 93 races, which ranks third on the all-time wins list. Gordon is a three-time Daytona 500 champion and won the Brickyard 400 a record five times.

Alan Kulwicki

Noted Wisconsin short-track racer Alan Kulwicki moved to Charlotte in 1984 with nothing but a pickup truck, a self-built race car and the hopes of competing in NASCAR’s highest series. He had no sponsor and a limited budget. Kulwicki burst onto the scene as the 1986 NASCAR Rookie of the Year with his self-owned AK Racing team. Throughout his career, Kulwicki received lucrative offers from powerhouse race teams, but insisted on racing for himself. That determination eventually led to his first of five career victories at Phoenix in 1988. His signature season was his championship-winning 1992 campaign, where Kulwicki overcame a 278-point deficit with six races remaining to capture the NASCAR premier series title.  Kulwicki never got the chance to defend his title, dying in a plane crash in 1993.

Roger Penske

A true captain of industry, Roger Penske has steered one of the most successful motorsports ships in the sport’s history. Penske, who celebrated his 50th anniversary in racing in 2016, reached a major milestone and collected a prestigious award during the golden anniversary season. That year, he reached 100 wins in NASCAR’s premier series and capped off the season by receiving the Bill France Award of Excellence. Penske won the premier series championship in 2012 with driver Brad Keselowski, and owns two Daytona 500 wins with Ryan Newman in 2008 and Joey Logano in 2015. And from 2013-15, Penske tied a record with three consecutive owner championship in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Off the track, Penske likewise makes an indelible mark. He built the two-mile Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California in 1996, and previously owned Michigan International Speedway.

Jack Roush

Once a Michigan-based drag racing owner and enthusiast, Jack Roush made his best motorsports decision when he turned south in 1988 to start a NASCAR team. Since beginning Roush Racing (now known as Roush Fenway Racing), the graduate-level mathematician turned engineering entrepreneur has won a record 325 races across NASCAR’s three national series. Overall, Roush boasts five NASCAR national series owner championships, while his drivers have won an additional three driver championships. Roush has displayed a prowess for discovering and developing talent. He helped Matt Kenseth (2003) and Kurt Busch (2004) grow into premier series champions and also jumpstarted the careers of Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle.

Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR:

Jim Hunter

Throughout his career, Jim Hunter left an indelible mark on NASCAR and those associated with the sport.  His wit and wisdom helped guide NASCAR’s growth during portions of six decades as a company executive, track president, public relations professional and journalist. Hunter broke into the motorsports business as a member of the media in the 1950s. He worked as the sports editor of the Columbia Record, was an award-winning reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and columnist for Stock Car Racing magazine. He moved to the public relations side of the business with Dodge in the 1960s before serving as public relations director at Darlington Raceway and Talladega Superspeedway. In 1993, he became president of Darlington Raceway and corporate vice president of the International Speedway Corporation. He remained at Darlington until 2001 when he accepted an offer from Bill France Jr. to return to NASCAR to lead an expanded public relations effort aimed at responding to the needs of burgeoning media coverage.


Gov. Scott: State Preparing for Torrential Rain, Severe Flooding This Weekend

Gov. Scott: State Preparing for Torrential Rain, Severe Flooding This Weekend

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott received a full update on Invest 90L from the Florida Division of Emergency Management. The Governor will continue to be in constant communication with state and local emergency management officials and state agency leaders to ensure the state is prepared to respond to any potential impacts from Invest 90L.

Governor Scott said, “With the National Hurricane Center (NHC) now advising that Invest 90L has an 80 percent probability of tropical development over the next five days, it is absolutely critical that every Florida family is fully prepared for potential impacts. In Florida, we know how unpredictable severe weather systems can be and while the Gulf Coast and Panhandle are expected to receive the largest impact from this storm, all Floridians should be prepared. Even if your home is not in the direct path of this storm, everyone should be ready to follow your emergency plan, which you can build at FLGetAPlan.com, and stay vigilant to weather alerts and updates from local officials.

“We know that many families have travel plans this Memorial Day weekend but everyone has to put safety first and remember to never drive in dangerous conditions or through standing water. Floridians can also contact their local emergency officials for sandbag locations and other critical preparedness and response resources. This storm is expected to bring torrential rain and significant flooding in communities across Florida. We will continue to monitor its path and do everything we can to make sure our state is fully prepared to keep everyone safe.”

See below for more information on what the State of Florida is doing to support Invest 90L preparedness efforts:

EMERGENCY SUPPORT FUNCTIONS BY STATE EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM

STATE EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER

  • If severe weather threatens your area, be sure to follow these important safety tips:
    • Ensure your NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio is on and programmed for your area or stay tuned to a trusted local media outlet for the most current weather situation.
    • Ensure your disaster supply kit is prepared and heed all instructions from local officials.
    • Know what you would do in the event of a severe thunderstorm or tornado watch or warning. If a tornado warning is issued for your area seek shelter immediately in an interior room, away from windows.
    • If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning and should seek shelter immediately.
    • Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move. Be aware of stream, drainage channels, canyons and areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas without typical warnings such as rain clouds or heavy rain.
    • NEVER drive through flooded roadways as road beds may be washed out under flood waters, and just one foot of fast-moving flood water can move most cars off the road.

MILITARY SUPPORT

  • The Florida National Guard has 5,500 guard members available for deployment if needed.

LAW ENFORCEMENT

  • The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) is actively monitoring the storm and standing-by to assist with any weather-related missions.
  • On May 22, at Governor Scott’s direction, The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) began to pre-position and stage its high-water vehicles and all other flood response resources so they may be rapidly deployed to assist Floridians in need in the event of any flooding. FWC continues to monitor the storm and ready to respond as needed.

TRANSPORTATION & PUBLIC WORKS

  • The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is watching the storm and actively monitoring for roadway flooding in areas already impacted by heavy rains and stands ready to respond as needed. 

SHELTERS

  • The state is preparing to support local sheltering operations if needed. More information on shelters will be made available as decisions on potential evacuations are made.

PUBLIC HEALTH AND MEDICAL

  • The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and the Florida Department of Health (DOH) are standing by to assist healthcare facilities if needed.

WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICTS

  • Lake Okeechobee is currently at 13.67 feet and is being continuously monitored by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, which manages Lake Okeechobee water levels.

CONTACTS

  • The State Assistance Information Line (SAIL) contact number is 1-800-342-3557.
  • The State Emergency Operations Center Media Line: 850-921-0217.
  • Follow @FLSert or @FLGovScott on Twitter for live updates on Invest 90L.
  • Visit http://www.floridadisaster.org to find information on shelters, road closures, and evacuation routes.

News Cast 5/25

News Cast for May 25th:

Okeechobee County Sheriff’s deputies have two Okeechobee men in custody on charges of animal cruelty. Deputies arrested 44 year old Juan-Carlos Hernandez Camacho and 35 year old Juan Carrasco Wednesday for tormenting of the cattle at Larson Dairy Farm last fall. This is the fourth such arrest for animal cruelty at dairy farms in Okeechobee County. 44 year old Fernando Cruz and 36 year old Naul Dorantes-Garcia each received a year of probation, twenty days in jail and 72 hours of community service at an animal-related facility for their roles in abusing cattle at McArthur Dairy Farm last fall.

Okeechobee County will have one of their roads closed completely for an indefinite period of time. County Engineer John Howle announced to commissioners at their meeting yesterday that NE 304th Street, also known as Cemetery Road, is being closed at this time because of some problems to the box culvert there as discovered by engineering firms who had been doing underwater inspections. Howle says the problems are quite significant. Howle says a contractor will be out there as soon as possible to fix the problems.  Alternate routes are NE 48th Avenue, also known as Hi-Lo Road.

Howle-Road Closure

In an effort to improve the quality of the community and enhance code enforcement, Okeechobee County Commissioners yesterday gave county attorney John Cassels the green light to look for a way to enhance the county’s ability to get reimbursed for money expended for liens through an assessment process or consider registration and monitoring of foreclosed properties by having lenders provide local property management to keep them from becoming overgrown or racked with vandalism and become blights of the community. Commissioner Bradley Goodbread says these properties, which in some cases are abandoned, can be dangerous. This has been an issue for quite a while, following the code enforcement workshop a few months ago. It will be brought back before the board in the coming weeks.

Goodbread-Foreclosed and Abandoned Properties 1

Goodbread-Foreclosed and Abandoned Properties 2

Much like Okeechobee City Councilmembers recently had a public hearing about their mid-year budget before approving it at their last meeting, Okeechobee County Commissioners followed suit at their meeting yesterday, approving their mid-year budget unanimously after allowing for public comments. The one item that was brought up by Commissioner David Hazellief was a grant for $500 thousand dollars for design of a new fire station in Treasure Island; known as Fire Station 2. Hazellief says that item should’ve been put under the fire line item section and not capital improvements because capital improvements do not pay for the fire station. A new station would cost more than $2 million dollars. The budget overall showed a decrease of nearly $700 thousand dollars for the fiscal year.

Hazellief-Budget

On the arrest report:

25 year old Anthony Gerald Vickers of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for violating probation on past burglary and theft charges. He’s being held without bond.

47 year old Sandra Elaine Phillips and 47 year old Hugh Edgar Phillips, both of Okeechobee, were arrested by police for possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia after a traffic stop. Hugh Phillips’ bond is set at $25 hundred dollars and Sandra Phillips’ bond is set at $55 hundred dollars.

41 year old Brian Steven Benefield was arrested for burglary of a home and grand theft. He’s being held without bond.

23 year old Hayleigh Rene Price of Okeechobee was arrested for failing to appear in court for past drug charges. She’s being held without bond.

70 year old Salvador Muniz of Okeechobee was arrested for battery on his wife after a domestic dispute. His bond has not been set.

43 year old Adrian Salazar of Okeechobee was arrested for driving without a valid license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

44 year old Lashay Butler of Okeechobee was arrested for shoplifting. Her bond is set at $250 dollars.


Seven OHS Students Sign To Play College Athletics (Sound Included)

Seven OHS Students Sign To Play College Athletics

(Sound Included)

Lauren Bostwick signs!

Seven seniors from Okeechobee High School signed letters of intent to play sports at the college level on May 17th.

Denise Garcia is the first girl’s soccer player to sign on to play college soccer. Garcia will be going to John Wood Community College in Illinois.

CLICK THIS LINK TO LISTEN TO DENISE GARCIA (RUN TIME 1:16)

Ashoy Simmonds moved to Okeechobee from the Virgin Islands but was not eligible to play basketball for Coach Riles in the winter, that did not stop Simmonds from earning a scholarship to play basketball at Western Oklahoma State College.

CLICK THIS LINK TO LISTEN TO ASHOY SIMMONDS (RUN TIME 1:39)

Jillian Crosby was offered a scholarship to play softball at Wesleyan College in Macon Georgia in mid April.

 

Sean Osceola and Mason Adams

CLICK THIS LINK TO LISTEN TO JILLIAN CROSBY (RUN TIME 1:29)

Crosby’s teammate, Kassie Weldon signed on to play softball early in the season at Pasco Hernando State College.

CLICK THIS LINK TO LISTEN TO KASSIE WELDON (RUN TIME 1:20)

Mason Adams will play baseball at Florida Southwestern State College, formally known as Edison State College.

CLICK THIS LINK TO LISTEN TO KASSIE WELDON (RUN TIME 1:20)

Sean Osceola officially signed to play baseball at Pasco Hernando State College after the OHS Regional Quarterfinal  game against Dwyer, he said he was excited for the opportunity to play at the next level.

left to right – Jillian Crosby, Kassie Weldon, Ashoy Simmonds and Denise Garcia

Lauren Bostwick will play softball at State College of Florida.

CLICK THIS LINK TO LISTEN TO LAUREN BOSTWICK (RUN TIME 1:45)

Megan Hargraves is another player moving on to play college softball. Hargraves signed on to play at USF last fall.

All Senior softball players from the 2018 OHS Softball team will play college softball.


News Cast 5/24

News Cast for May 24th:

Okeechobee County Commissioners meet today and they will be having a public hearing on the amendments to the county budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year before approving it. They will also be looking to approve a requisition of funds for the sheriff’s office to purchase a mobile app and a speed trailer.

Later this afternoon, Okeechobee County Commissioners will be having a workshop to discuss economic development in the county by receiving a presentation from Principal VisionFirst Advisors. That workshop is scheduled for 1:30 at the Historic County Courthouse.

For the third straight year, Indian River State College is among ten finalists for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. This award recognizes excellence in community college student success outcomes; an award that IRSC Director of legislative and executive communications Andy Treadwell calls “the Super Bowl trophy of community college excellence.” While being a finalist for the past three years is a great achievement, Treadwell says this year might very well be the year IRSC wins it. Treadwell says IRSC is competing with over eleven hundred schools for this honor. Top prize is a million dollars. It is awarded once every two years.

Treadwell 1

Treadwell 2

The Okeechobee County Airport will soon have a new tenant. Commissioners recently approved the start of building lease negotiations with Lynn Shepard, owner of Powerlift Hydraulic Doors of Florida, to locate his business in the 25 hundred block of NW 16th Boulevard in the Industrial Park area of the airport. Shepard says the airport property is perfect for his business because of logistics and it’s just the right place. Okeechobee County Airport Director Kathy Scott says it’s great to have Shepard’s business there because it will create more jobs and opportunities here. The land has been vacant for about five years following the departure of Wooley’s Sheds.

Powerlift Doors Company 1

Powerlift Doors Company 2

Okeechobee County Sheriff’s deputies have a Mulberry man in custody on charges of armed robbery of a convenience store earlier last month in Okeechobee County. Deputies arrested 42 year old Dwan Sharrod Marshall Tuesday in connection with the robbery of the Circle K store on Route 441 on April 1st just after 4am. Deputies say Marshall robbed the store while holding the clerk at gunpoint. Marshall then grabbed the clerk and shoved her into the bathroom, threatening to kill her if she came out and then he left. Deputies say Marshall was described as African-American, heavy-set, approximately six feet tall and weighing 350 pounds. He was wearing a red shirt, black ball cap with a design on the front and long black shorts at the time of the robbery and fled the scene in a white four door Chevy Lumina. He is being charged with armed robbery, burglary with assault and battery with a firearm and grand theft. His bond is set at $105 thousand dollars.

On the arrest report:

29 year old Jose Domingo of Okeechobee was arrested by police for driving without a valid license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

18 year old Javaris Jamar Frost of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for possession of and selling cocaine within a thousand feet of a park. His bond is set at $20 thousand dollars.

28 year old Cory Ray Jenkins of Okeechobee was arrested for driving without a license and resisting arrest after a traffic stop. He’s being held without bond.

39 year old Jennifer Nichole Scott of Okeechobee was arrested for giving false information to a pawnbroker and violating probation on past drug charges. She’s being held without bond.

37 year old Michael Lee Millikin of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of methamphetamine. His bond is set at five thousand dollars.

37 year old Renee Trevino of Okeechobee was arrested for driving without a license and having knowledge of it after a traffic stop. Her bond is set at five hundred dollars.


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