Local News

OMF Speaks To Kiwanis Club On 2017 Event (Audio Included)

OMF Speaks To Kiwanis Club On 2017 Event

(Audio Included)

Caption: Pictured from Left to Right: Soundslinger CEO Kevin Collinsworth with Community Liaison Holly Mixon (Magnolia Mixon being held

Soundslinger LLC C.E.O Kevin Collinsworth recently spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee about plans for the 2017 Okeechobee Music Festival. Soundslinger is the production company that brings the festival to Okeechobee. After a very successful inaugural event last March, collaboration with the community is imperative for continued growth.

Collinsworth updated the Kiwanis Club on their business plan and future plans which include working with local non-profits and local vendors. Collinsworth stressed the importance of producing a positive impact with the community.

The 2017 Okeechobee Music Fest is scheduled for March 2-5th at Sunshine Grove. The event will continue to be a multi-genre music event but will also focus more on an art presence.

LISTEN TO THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW BY CLICKING THIS LINK (RUN TIME 3:01)


Charles Murphy News 1/3

News Cast for January 3rd:

Sheriff Noel Stephen of Okeechobee and David Hardin from Glades County will be sworn into office today with ceremonies this morning. Stephen will take the oath of office at 9 am at the sheriff’s office.

Hardin will take the oath of office at the Glades County Court House at 11 am. Hardin says he plans to increase visibility of his office and develop more community partnerships Also today Okeechobee City Council member Monica Clark will be sworn in at 2 pm at City Hall.

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The expected deportation of 11 million undocumented people is expected to have an impact on the agriculture industry this year. The American Farm Bureau Federation says about half of all farm workers are undocumented. Steve Suppan says steps must be taken to guarantee agriculture workers are not subjected to mass deportation. He maintains most of them receive minimum wage or less and some will be deported.

Some farmers also expect higher prices for fruits, vegetables dairy and meet products this year.

Sports Cast for January 3rd:

Drayton Billie hopes to defend his district wrestling title at 1 hundred and 38 pounds this year. The Brahman senior was one victory away from the state tournament last year when he came up against a familiar foe. Billie has taken on more of a leadership role this year on the wrestling team. He says he is very impressed with the talent on the roster and tries to encourage them all that he can.

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On the sports schedule today.

Brahman boys basketball visits Lake Worth Christian with JV at 4:30 and varsity at 7:30.  They will sandwich a girls varsity game with Okeechobee and Lake Worth Christian at 6 pm.


Extreme weather conditions put the Fire District on high alert

Extreme weather conditions put the Fire District on high alert

St. Lucie County, FL. Friday, December 30, 2016. A message issued from the Florida Forest Service that due to the humidity at less than 20%, 15mph sustained winds with gusts at more than 20mph, a drought index of 534, and a high dispersion rate- we are under extreme fire conditions.

A high dispersion rate means that embers from a fire can rise and travel farther distances, while remaining lit longer, creating spot over fires downwind of the original fire.

Everyone should exercise extreme caution and report any sightings of fire immediately by calling 911


Charles Murphy News 12/30

News Cast for December 30th:

Charges are pending against an Okeechobee man after the death of a motorcyclist Thursday on 441 north at North West 208th Street. Troopers say 49 year old Rodney Robbins didn’t see the northbound Goldwing operated by 71 year old William Leavitt of Michigan due to heavy fog and pulled out in front of him. The bike was also struck by a heavy Ford truck driven by 66 year old Stanley Weese of Tennessee. Leavitt died at the scene and was wearing a helmet.

Okee Fatal 12-29-16 US-441

Okeechobee county commissioners threatened to cancel the Okeechobee Music Fest if the promoters and organizers don’t agree to a traffic pattern and entrances the county has been negotiating about.  The promoter was given until the end of the year to present a noise abatement plan as well to the county.

The Viking property continues to have code enforcement issues, illegal discharges of firearms, trespassing and noise complaints, specifically on the weekends.  Commissioners say they continue to get a large number of complaints from residents.

Commissioners approved a one year lease with Mattress Direct USA who will use space in the incubator building at the industrial park for a small distribution center.

Among arrests;

  • 30 year old Scott Turner was arrested on a Mississippi warrant for escape in lakeport after he got into an argument with a resident on Clark Lane, the resident grabbed a handgun and urged Turner to leave his property.
  • 58 year old Mary Castellanos of Moore Haven was charged with stealing a compressor an hose from a roommate and pawning them.
  • 23 year old Hillary Josh of Okeechobee was charged with stealing an assault rifle and giving false information to a pawnbroker about it.
  • 60 year old Shirley Best of Okeechobee was charged with sale and possession with intent to sell hydrocodone and held on 70 thousand dollars bond.

A Palm Beach Judge would not follow a plea deal agreed to by Dr. John Christensen to serve one year in prison for two patients of his who died in drug overdoses.  Christensen was going to plead guilty to two counts of manslaughter.  He was sentenced last month to a year in federal prison plus probation on fraud charges.  He had a large number of Okeechobee patients at one time.

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St. Lucie Fatal 12-27-16 Sunrise Blvd MC

Sports Cast for December 30th:

Eli McMullen was named to play in the Georgia Florida All-star game Saturday.

McMullen has perfected his craft as a long snapper and has gotten some offers from Division I Davidson and Division 3 Berry University in Georgia. He has been practicing this week at Atlantic High School and has seen some of the top Florida recruits in action.

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He has been the Brahmans long snapper for three years and he has attended camps and combines across the country to improve.  He also has won two long snapping competitions in Florida. He realizes to make it in college he’ll have to improve his speed and tackling skills to contribute on special teams.

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There are no sports scheduled this weekend in Okeechobee.


Charles Murphy News 12/29

News Cast for December 29th:

Among arrests, 50 year old Mary Adamson was charged with DUI after forcing a Martin County Deputy off the road and nearly causing at least two collisions on route 710 north of Indiantown last week.

26 year old John Rodriguez of Okeechobee was charged with reckless driving after deputies say he was  clocked going 1 hundred and 12 miles on the Martin Grade on Monday.

23 year old Jamie Lynne Williams of Deleware was charged by city police with resisting arrest and held on Miami Dade drug charges after a disturbance reported early Monday at Walgreens.    Williams apparently had just left a local detox center and became irate at the store and was trespassed.  Police learned about the drug warrant when they ran her name.

Nearly 23 ounces of synthetic marijuana or spice was seized after a motorcyclist is stopped on South Parrott Avenue for failure to wear eye protection.

A search of 25 year old Matthew Carnley’s back pack apparently discovered the drugs early Wednesday morning.

Sealed bids could be accepted as soon as next month for the Edna Pearce Lockett Estate in Fort Basinger.  The South Florida Water Management district surplussed the near 17 acre property in December.  The appraised value is 130 thousand dollars.

The Okeechobee Value Adjustment Board denied another petition from the Florida Gas Transmission company for their natural gas pipeline.  The two appear headed for court again over tax assessments.  The county says the pipeline is worth 89 million while the company counters with 50 million.

The Florida Commission on Offender Review has granted a parole date to convicted killer Robert Whidden of Glades County.  He will be released on May 30th of 2 thousand 18. Whidden shot to death James Stewart in a parking lot outside Little Richards Bar in Moore Haven back on August 8th of 1979 and convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. Whidden will be 58 years old when he is released.

Sports Cast for December 29th:

Emily Rhodes was named the Most Valuable Player for the Lady Brahman golf team this year.

She just started to play golf this year and learned to love the sport.

She said she appreciated getting the MVP trophy. Rhodes was just three shots short of qualifying for the regional tournament this year.

She says the district tournament was a memorable day

There are no sports scheduled at Okeechobee High School through the holidays.


Charles Murphy News 12/28

News Cast for December 28th:

Sheriff Paul May spoke about his 46 year law enforcement career this month as he gets set to retire. May spoke about his career as a military policeman in the air force, and his work on the Florida highway patrol. He says one of the scariest moments were times he was dispatched to Miami to help quell riots. He said working fatal crashes were always tough, especially when it involved children. He noted that is when you have to be a professional.

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Okeechobee deputies looking for a black mustang involved in a shooting at 2 am Christmas Eve near 1596 highway 70 east.  Deputies found a 40 year old Hispanic male who had been beaten with a beer bottle.  He was not hospitalized.

Among arrests, 26 year old Mariel Piedra Valle was charged with DUI causing property damage and child neglect after a traffic crash Christmas Eve on South East 26th Street.  The child was unhurt.

Sports Cast for December 28th:

Okeechobee girls’ soccer is enjoying one of the best seasons in school history. They even have a chance for a winning record at 7-6. Senior Alyssa Bessenbacher says she was optimistic about the team’s chances when the season began.

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A key reason for the improvement is the ability to score goals and ball handling skills.

Ashton English, Alani Garcia, Ashley Snyder and Janel Aponte have added goal scoring to the team’s arsenal this year.

The Brahman’ girls weight lifting team finished fourth out of 8 teams at a meet at John Carroll High School.

Alexi Morgan finished second and Alyssa Howard third in their respective weight classes.

There are no sports events in Okeechobee through the holidays.


Charles Murphy News 12/27

News Cast for December 27th:

A 29 year old Okeechobee woman was held on 3 hundred and 50 thousand dollars bond in Alachua County for allegedly causing two deaths in a traffic crash in October. Johanna Klingler was arrested December 9th and charged with two counts of vehicular homicide, two counts of DUI manslaughter, reckless driving, DUI causing serious bodily injury and child neglect. The crash killed 27 year old Yvonne Goytia Diaz of Wesley Chapel and her passenger, four year old Iyanna Williams of Micanopy.  Seriously injuried were 19 year old Bryanna Williams and 10 year old Joseph Beal. Troopers say Klinglers was south bound in the north bound lanes of 441 near Gainesvile and struck Diaz in a north bound Toyota sedan.

South Florida Water Management engineers began adjusting water levels on a portion of the Kissimmee River between Osceola and Okeechobee counties as they begin the final phase of the river restoration project. They are lowering water levels between structures S-65A and S-65 C to control follow on the river.  The Corps will back fill another 7 miles of the channelized portion of the river.  It is being done during the dry season to avoid effects on the ecology of the river. Boat navigation is restricted in that construction zone.

Among arrest, 50 year old Gregory Gavan of Bluefield Road, Okeechobee, was charged with sale and possession with intent to sell morphine for an incident on December 9th in Okeechobee.  His bond was set at 1 hundred and 25 thousand.

24 year old Dwight Sheffield was charged with possession of a half ounce of spice or synthethic marijuana after a traffic stop for speeding on South East 28th Street last week.

Sports Cast for December 27th:

Raylee Coleman was named the MVP for the Lady Brahman volleyball team for the second consecutive season.

Coleman was among the team leaders in kills, blocks, and serving percentage this past year. She said volleyball was a good experience. She also has made a college choice as she will continue her athletic career.

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She signed with South Florida State college in Avon Park to play softball next year.

There are no sporting events scheduled in Okeechobee through the holidays.


Governor Rick Scott Appoints Sheriffs of Glades, Suwannee, Volusia, and Washington Counties

Governor Rick Scott Appoints Sheriffs of Glades, Suwannee, Volusia, and Washington Counties

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced the appointments of Glades, Suwannee, Volusia, and Washington County Sheriffs. All four were elected as Sheriffs on November 8, 2016 and are appointed to fill temporary vacancies created by retirements. These appointments have an effective date of January 1st, 2017.

Sheriff-Elect David Hardin, 52, of Moore Haven, is appointed as Glades County Sheriff to fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Glades County Sheriff Stuart Whiddon.

Sheriff-Elect Samuel St. John, 58, of Live Oak, is appointed as Suwannee County Sheriff to fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Suwannee County Sheriff Tony Cameron.

Sheriff-Elect Michael Chitwood, 53, of Daytona Beach is appointed as Volusia County Sheriff to fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson.

Sheriff-Elect Kevin Crews, 49, of Chipley, is appointed as Washington County Sheriff to fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Washington County Sheriff Bobby Haddock.


Firefighters deliver Christmas toys to children on Christmas Day.

Firefighters deliver Christmas toys to children on Christmas Day.

St. Lucie County, FL. Sunday, December 25, 2016. On Christmas morning while many will be at home opening gifts and celebrating with family; local Firefighters, family and friends will be delivering toys and clothing to those less fortunate.

The St. Lucie County Fire District has been collecting toys and clothing at the stations and administrative offices throughout the county for several weeks.  This week volunteers have been sorting, wrapping, and preparing to make deliveries for the ninth consecutive year.

At 8:00 am on Christmas morning members from the Fire District and a host of volunteers will meet at Station 4 (3601 Industrial 33rd in FP) to load trucks, trailers, vans and cars to caravan from mobile home park to mobile home park- delivering gifts. The convoy led by a fire truck carrying Santa and the Grinch is welcomed by squealing children and grateful parents.

To learn more about the Fire District, please visit our website at http://www.slcfd.com and follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/slcfd.


SFWMD Adjusts Kissimmee River Levels for Historic Restoration Work’s Final Phase

SFWMD Adjusts Kissimmee River Levels for Historic Restoration Work’s Final Phase

West Palm Beach, FL – South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) engineers today began adjusting water levels on a portion of the Kissimmee River between Osceola and Okeechobee counties as part of the final phase of the river’s historic restoration.

Lowering the water level between two key structures, S-65A and S-65C, that control flow on the river is necessary for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete backfilling of approximately 7 miles of the channelized portion of the river. Once complete, water will flow into the winding oxbows of the river’s historic natural state.

Beginning the draw down during the dry season is being carefully done to create no adverse effects on the ecology of the river and is designed to closely mirror the natural system.

The Corps has restricted navigation near the construction area, and posted notice online here.

Background: Kissimmee River Restoration

The Kissimmee River once meandered for 103 miles through central Florida. Its floodplain, reaching up to 3 miles wide, was inundated for long periods by heavy seasonal rains.

In the 1960s, the river was channelized by cutting and dredging a 30-foot-deep straightaway through the river’s meandering natural state creating the C-38 canal. While the project delivered on the promise of flood protection, it also destroyed much of a floodplain-dependent ecosystem that nurtured threatened and endangered species.

After extensive planning, construction for the Kissimmee River Restoration Project began in 1999 with backfilling of 8 miles of the C-38 canal. Three construction phases are now complete, and continuous water flow has been re-established to 24 miles of the meandering Kissimmee River. Seasonal rains and flows now regularly inundate the floodplain in the restored area, as they did before channelization.

The comprehensive restoration project will return flow to 40 miles of the river’s historic channel and restore about 40 square miles of river/floodplain ecosystem


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