Local News

2014 Reproductive Management School

2014 Reproductive Management School Buck Island Ranch

at the MacArthur Agro-Ecology Research Center, 300 Buck Island Ranch Rd. Lake Placid, FL

October 6-9, 2014

This course is sponsored by the Florida Cooperative Extension Service and is conducted in conjunction with area large animal Veterinary practitioners. It is part of a continuing multi-county effort to help South Florida beef producers market more pounds of beef per cow profitably.
The purpose of the course is to strengthen managerial capabilities of owners and operators of beef cattle ranches. This is an intensive course in reproductive management of the cow herd. Although the topic of pregnancy diagnosis is given extensive treatment, participants should not expect this training to make them proficient in that skill. Rather it is hoped that an improved understanding of the broad subject of breeding herd management will be achieved and that individuals enrolled in the course will be better equipped to work with their veterinarians in accomplishing breeding program objectives.

Registration deadline is Friday, September 19th. To register please submit your completed registration form and statement of release, with your $100 (non-refundable) deposit to: South Florida Beef-Forage Program, C/O Pat Hogue, 458 Highway 98 N, Okeechobee, FL 34972-2303. Lodging Available at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Lake Placid (863) 465-9916.

Highlands County assistant state attorney honored at FWC meeting

Highlands County assistant state attorney honored at FWC meeting

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recognized 10th Judicial Circuit Assistant State Attorney Gary Ellis with the FWC’s Prosecutor of the Year award at its Commission meeting in Kissimmee Wednesday.

“Ellis was nominated by FWC law enforcement staff in our Lakeland office because of his extra effort working with our officers to build as well as complete cases,” said Col. Calvin Adams, director of the FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement. “He has significantly contributed to the safety and quality of life for the people of Highlands County who pursue outdoor recreation.”

FWC staff praised Ellis’ knowledge of fish, wildlife and boating laws, his relationships with the county judge and his skills in the courtroom.

“He volunteers to handle all FWC cases in his judicial circuit and ensures that Florida’s natural resources are protected,” Adams said.

Ellis’ cases in 2013 included taking wildlife and fish by illegal methods, size violations, bag limit violations, taking in closed areas, taking during closed seasons, trespass and environmental violations.

To learn more about Wildlife Alert, go to MyFWC.com/WildlifeAlert.

Charles Murphy News 9/10

News Cast for September 10th:

Stephanie Quesinberry won the Frist Award at Raulerson hospital this year. The award honors hospital employees for dedication to their patients and their careers and their work to benefit the public. Quesinberry is the director of surgical services. She thanked her colleagues and family for their support. Quesinberry learned many of her medical skills in the US Navy. Video interview on the WOKC Facebook page, check us out by typing in “WOKC Okeechobee’s True Country” and click on photos.

Stephanie Quisenberry on First Award

Among arrests today, 38 year old Satena Loper of Moore Haven was charged with felony petit theft and possession of a controlled substance for allegedly stealing 2 hundred dollars in cash and several alprazolam pills from her boyfriend in Glades County.

35 year old Tommy Carter was charged with resisting arrest with violence and DUI after an alleged scuffle with deputies after a traffic stop on Tuesday morning.

24 year old Allen Broadwater was charged with lewd and lascivious exhibition of a child under 18. A city police warrant was served Monday for alleged incidents that occurred in 2009 and 2010.

40 year old Rafael Ortiz Gonzalez of Port St. Lucie was charged with lewd and lascivious molestation of a child under 16 in Okeechobee. Bond was half a million dollars. The alleged in appropriate touching occurred on August 24th.

37 year old Melissa Crews was charged with dealing in stolen property and giving false information to a pawn broker for alleged thefts of 18 hundred dollars’ worth of batteries

29 year old Dustin Werk was charged with grand theft and burglary in the city limits on North West 11th Street that occurred in mid-August.

YMS pounded Storm Grove 8-0 Monday.

YMS pounded Storm Grove 8-0 Monday.

Sports Cast for September 10th:

The boys cross country team opened their season with a 15th place finish at the Martin County under the lights invitational Friday. 23 teams competed. Daniel Shelley led the way with a time of 18:30 to finish in 52nd place. Josue Santibanez finished in 18:58 to finish 65th. Coach A.J Mayernik thinks the boys’ team has some real potential this year.

The girl’s team finished 18th out of 21 teams at the event. Alexis Muller led the way with a time of 24:03 good for 76th place. Charleigh Heater finished 94th with a time of 24:46.

Coach Mayernik said the girls are more of a long term project. Girls’ golf rolled past Lake Placid with a team score of 194 on Monday. Hannah Raulerson shot a 3 over par, 38 to lead Okeechobee.

AJ Mayernik on cross country season preview

On the sports schedule today, Okeechobee hosts Moore Haven for volleyball at 6:30 pm. OHS bowlers visit Lincoln Park at 3:30 pm; OHS boys’ golf has a tri match with Ft. Pierce, Jensen Beach and Martin County in Stuart. Girls’ golf travels to Clewiston at 3:30m.

Charles Murphy News 9/9

News Cast for September 9th:

Levi Lam with Pontoon boat

Levi Lam with Pontoon boat

Okeechobee was recently deemed a public health ready community. Health Department Director Erin Hess explains the significance of this designation. Hess said the department dealt with some budget cuts this year but still maintained services to the community. She also praised the county for creating more recreational facilities to help the community get in shape, noting the Ag civic center is available for exercise. She also reported 1.2 million was put into the community by the WIC program in the past year.

29 Erin Hess on health department report

Among arrests, 54 year old Ronze Cummings was charged with battery by strangulation and resisting arrest with violence after a brief struggle with city police after they witnessed the violence. He was treated for a head laceration at Raulerson hospital.

A 15 year old client at the Vision Quest program was charged with kicking a staff member in the head sending the man to the hospital Saturday morning.

A 58 year old Okeechobee man injured in a Michigan motorcycle accident.   Cass County deputies say another motorist pulled out in front of Robert Brusdahl, he was not wearing a helmet.

IR Fatal 9-8-14 SR-60 and CR 512

Sports Cast for September 9th:

Yearling volleyball outlasted Storm Grove 25-13 and 25-18 last night in a competitive match. The soccer team shut out Storm Grove 8-0 in a mercy rule match. The OYFL teams won two out of five games in Sebring Saturday. The Flag lost 25-6the Mighty Mites lost 40-0 and the senior team fell 14-13. The junior team prevailed 12-6 and the Pee Wee team won 18-7.

Girls’ volleyball swept past Clewiston on Friday, 25-5, 25-12, and 25-18.

Logan Laskey won the Midfielder of the year award for Brahman boys’ soccer last year. Laskey said he appreciated the award and thanked former Brahman and Florida Atlantic soccer player Hunter Pritchard for helping him do well in the position. He said the team has high hopes for this year.

Logan Laskey Midfield MVP

A busy day on the schedule today, Yearling volleyball visits Glades Day at 4:30, Osceola volleyball and soccer open up at Sebastian Middle at 4:30, boys golf takes on Port St. Lucie at the Saints Golf and Country Club, OHS volleyball will host Port St. Lucie at 5 and 6:30 pm, OHS swimming will host St. Lucie West Centennial at 5:30 pm.


AAA Foundation research reveals opportunities to produce smarter, safer drivers

TAMPA, Fla. (September 9, 2014 ) —  Although vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for teens, fewer new drivers are participating in what used to be considered a rite of passage – driver education.  State funding and requirements for these programs have declined over recent decades, leaving uneducated teen drivers vulnerable on America’s roads. New research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reveals that teens that skip this important step are involved in more crashes and receive more traffic convictions compared to their peers that participated in driver education.

“This research proves our teens are safer on the roadways when they participate in driver education,” said Sandy Maxwell, director of Driver Training Programs, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “New drivers should take part in this critical step of the learning-to-drive process because it makes a significant difference.”

This study assessed examples of U.S. and Canadian driver education programs using a variety of evaluation methods including surveys, driver’s licensing tests, driver simulators and the review of driving records. The results revealed that several key differences exist between teens who receive driver education and those who do not, including:

  • Driver education is associated with a lower incidence of both crashes and convictions – reducing crashes by 4.3 percent and convictions by nearly 40 percent.
  • Teens that completed driver education not only scored higher on the driving exam, they also demonstrated modest increases in knowledge over their peers who did not take any formal training.

“Overall, the findings suggest that driver education can make a difference, but there is still much room for improvement in most existing programs,” noted Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “This underscores the need for states to adopt the NHTSA-supported Standards that are designed to enhance the scope and quality of driver education.”

AAA, a vocal advocate for teen driver safety for nearly 80 years, works at the state level to improve driver education programs and prioritizes five of the NHTSA-funded Novice Teen Driver Education and Training Administrative Standards, owned by the driver education community:

  1. Requiring a teen’s parent/guardian to attend an educational seminar
  2. Ensuring that classroom instruction is completed in no less than 30 days
  3. Requiring annual continuing education for driving instructors
  4. Ensuring standards are met by public and private driving schools
  5. Adopting a comprehensive graduated drivers licensing (GDL) system that integrates driver education

AAA and the AAA Foundation are committed to helping teens stay safe on the roads and have developed comprehensive resources including TeenDriving.AAA.com, a state-specific website to help parents navigate the learning-to-drive process, DriversZed, an interactive tool designed to teach teens how to react in various driving scenarios and the StartSmart Online Parent Session, a two-hour webinar that explains the licensing process and parents’ role, and demonstrates how to maximize the practice driving that parents/guardians are required to do with their teen.

About The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

Established by AAA in 1947, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit, publicly-supported charitable educational and research organization. Dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries on our roads, the Foundation’s mission is to prevent crashes and save lives through research and education about traffic safety. The Foundation has funded over 200 research projects designed to discover the causes of traffic crashes, prevent them, and minimize injuries when they do occur.  Visit www.aaafoundation.org for more information on this and other research.

About The Auto Club Group

The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America.  ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to approximately 9 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana.  ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with nearly 55 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.

Governor Scott Issues Proclamation for Florida Missing Children’s Day

Governor Scott Issues Proclamation for Florida Missing Children’s Day

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –Today, Governor Rick Scott issued the following proclamation recognizing September 8 as Florida Missing Children’s Day.



WHEREAS, Florida’s children are our greatest assets; and


WHEREAS, approximately 41,000 children are reported missing annually in the state of Florida; and


WHEREAS, approximately 10,000 adults are reported missing annually in the state of Florida; and


WHEREAS, Florida’s children rely on public awareness and law enforcement training to ensure their safety; and


WHEREAS, Florida recognizes the need for continued awareness to help reduce the incidents of missing children; and


WHEREAS, the State of Florida remains diligent in our commitment to safeguard Florida’s most vulnerable citizens and will strive to improve our response methods and maximize our resources to bring our missing children home; and


WHEREAS, Florida has established an Advisory Board to the Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse which consists of law enforcement officials, victim parents, government agencies, missing children non-profit organizations, and members of the business community with interest in missing children issues; and


WHEREAS, many citizens of Florida take heroic measures to protect our children, families, and communities; and


WHEREAS, Florida is proud to recognize the law enforcement community and countless volunteers who spend their time, energy, and resources to find Florida’s missing children;


NOW, THEREFORE, I, Rick Scott, Governor of the State of Florida, do hereby extend gratitude and encouragement to all observing September 8, 2014, as Florida Missing Children’s Day.

Charles Murphy News 9/8

News Cast for September 8th:

Jeff Sabin with Waste Management recently gave an update to the county commission about the landfill. He said trends in tonnage have remained pretty much the same in the last year. He noted Palm Beach County is soon to open a waste to energy plant that has the potential of cutting into Okeechobee’s waste stream. He did report the landfill is fully insured and the county would likely not be responsible for closure costs should an incident occur at the landfill.

Avon Park did agree to a disposal agreement with Waste Management and a longer term plan is being developed. Lake Placid decided to keep their waste stream at the Highlands County landfill. There is also some talk of closing that landfill and perhaps sending the county trash here to Okeechobee.

Three Indiantown residents were charged with trying to steal palmetto berries last week after their arrest by the Florida Fish and Wildlife. Charged with grand theft are 28 year old Rodascelia Esteban Pascual Denicolas, 32 year old Maria Cristobal and 28 year old Juan Gaspar.

In the courts, prosecutors dropped 21 felony charges against 19 year old Emmette Miles related to explosive devices. He pled no contest to one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of drug paraphernalia and received three years in state prison. He and two others were in a vehicle pulled over on January 6th in the city limits, 17 explosive devices, a sawed off shotgun, body armor and other items were seized by city police

Sports Cast for September 8th:

Sebring rushed for 239 yards and three touchdowns to defeat an injury plagued Brahman team, 30-13 in high school football action Friday night. Tony Jenkins rushed for 94 yards and two touchdowns including a 28 yard run, and Akem John Pierre rushed for 53 yards and a score to lead the Blue Streaks.

Okeechobee was held to 62 yards in total offense. They scored on special teams when James Thomas recovered a fumble in the end zone in the first quarter and on a three yard run by Dee Shockley in the fourth quarter on a drive set up by a 70 yard kick return by Bubba Fludd.

Coach Chris Branham noted he had 5 starters out on defense and still his team fought until the end.

Juanyae Ford played a strong game on defense for the Brahmans. He says despite a few defeats the team spirit is still high.

Sebring also received a 27 yard field goal from Hunter Livingston and a 50 yard kick return of an onside kick by Pierre to ice the game in the fourth quarter.

Shockley said the team is getting closer to success.

The Brahmans will host longtime rival Martin County this Friday night at 7 pm.

Lake Placid pounded Moore Haven 43-0 in another game involving big lake schools.

Yearling volleyball and soccer host Storm Grove today at 4:30 pm, girls golf will host Lake Placid at 3:30 pm at the KOA center.



~It Only Takes One Storm to Change the Landscape of a Community~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Frances, which was the second of the 2004 North Atlantic hurricanes to make landfall in Florida. Frances left behind an estimated $9 billion in damage and evacuation orders were issued for 2.8 million Floridians.

In recalling the devastating 2004 hurricane season, Florida’s residents and visitors are reminded to have a family emergency plan and a disaster supply kit. It only takes one storm to significantly impact your family, business and community.

“Hurricane Frances was the second storm of what became a historic season,” said Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) Director Bryan W. Koon. “Take a moment today to remember where you were when this storm hit us, and ask yourself how well you would be prepared today if it were to happen again right now.”

Hurricane Frances made landfall near Sewall’s Point as a Category 2 storm, with sustained winds of 105 mph. Frances then moved across central Florida and was downgraded to a tropical storm before emerging just north of Tampa. Frances again made landfall as a tropical storm the following day when it crossed into St. Marks.

Frances made landfall in Florida three weeks after Hurricane Charley and was followed by two more hurricanes – Ivan and Jeanne – in 2004.

Floridians are encouraged to review and update their family and business emergency plans using the Get A Plan! tool available at www.FLGetAPlan.com. It is also important to keep your disaster supply kit stocked with essentials, including canned food and water, to last you and your family for up to seven days after a storm hits.

Charles Murphy News 9/5

News Cast for September 5th:

A change of plea possible in the Michael Exantus murder case on September 22nd. The Okeechobee man is charged with first degree murder in the shooting death of Antoine McQueen Hill in Douglas Park on June 15th of 2013. The US Marshalls captured Exantus in Broward County two months later.

Python hunters hint they are losing the battle in the Everglades.

Ruben Ramirez says the pythons continue to breed and grow in population and have also increased their territory, reaching Hendry County in recent months. He predicts that things won’t get better unless hunters are allowed to go into other areas. The python hunters are also helping injured veterans with hunts. Ramirez says the longest python caught in the wild is 18 feet 8 inches and he was able to captured one over 17 feet long.

Okeechobee and Martin correctional inmates are upset with what they call hot box cells and housing conditions filing litigation in Okeechobee circuit court. The Afrocenter Yahdaim Jewish organization was named as the plaintiff. They say the dorms have poor ventilation and guards use fans and air conditioning as weapons of discipline, they claim the 1 hundred and 20 degree heat index can lead to prison violence. One inmate was stabbed in the neck with a shank at the prison last week and treated at St. Marys.

Sports Cast for September 5th:

The Brahman junior varsity team rolls over Martin County last night 37-6 for their first victory of the season.   QB Kysell Richardson hit Darkevious Moreland with a 16 yard touchdown in the first quarter, and Janavious Futch with a 30 yard pass in the second quarter. Moreland added a six yard touchdown catch in the third quarter and added touchdown runs of three yards and 25 yards in the fourth quarter.

Demetrius Clark had a strong night on both ends of the ball with a 32 yard reception and a fumble recovery and Futch added a 47 yard punt return.

Moreland said his early touchdown pass got the team off on the right foot. Coaches praised the defense for their play throughout the game. Linebacker Jarret Emmick said the team wanted to play better after a disappointing game last week.

Defensive end Richard Harris and others harassed the Tigers all night with several tackles in the backfield. He said the team stuck together in practice and did their jobs.

The varsity team plays tonight at Sebring with two of their impact players injured, Arthur Woodruff with a sprained knee and Jajuan Cherry with concussion symptoms. Kickoff is at 7:30 tonight.

On the sports schedule today, OHS volleyball will host Clewiston with JV at 6 pm and varsity to follow. Cross Country competes in the under the lights invite in Stuart tonight at 6 pm. OYFL teams visit Sebring on Saturday. Moore Haven Terrier football tonight at Lake Placid at 7 pm.


Gov. Scott and FWC Announce New License-Free Saltwater Fishing Day Sept. 6

Gov. Scott and FWC Announce New License-Free Saltwater Fishing Day Sept. 6

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Scott and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced that Saturday, September 6, visitors and residents are invited to participate in a saltwater license-free fishing day. On this day, the requirement to have a recreational saltwater fishing license is waived. All other regulations such as seasons, size limits and bag limits still apply on these license free days.

Governor Scott said, “The license-free fishing day is a great opportunity for families to enjoy the incredible saltwater fishing opportunities that Florida has to offer. Florida is the fishing capital of the world and a license-free day is the perfect opportunity to try fishing for the first time. I hope Florida’s families use this Saturday to enjoy our waters and great weather while catching some fish.”

“This is an excellent opportunity to enjoy the fun and togetherness of a fishing trip with friends and family or put a rod and reel in the hands of someone who has never experienced the excitement of a big fish on the line,” said FWC Chairman Richard “Dick” Corbett
Fishing is a low-cost, wholesome outdoor activity, which is why the FWC offers a total of eight days each year when a recreational fishing license is not needed. Can’t make the September license-free fishing day? Annually, the first Saturday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 29, 2014) has also been designated a saltwater license-free fishing day. The first Saturday and Sunday in April (April 4-5, 2015) are the next license-free freshwater fishing days.
Visit MyFWC.com/Fishing for fishing tips, locations and rules, and learn more about license-free fishing days by visiting MyFWC.com/License and clicking on “Do I Need One?” and “Free Fishing Days.”

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