Local News

Commissioner Adam Putnam’s Statement Regarding Everglades Water Improvement

Commissioner Adam Putnam’s Statement Regarding Everglades Water Improvement

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.–The South Florida Water Management District today announced that during the Water Year 2015 monitoring period, implementation of Best Management Practices on agricultural land resulted in a 79-percent phosphorous reduction in the Everglades Agricultural Area, which far exceeds the 25-percent reduction requirement. This achievement marks a 20-year milestone.

“Farmers and ranchers throughout our state are looking toward science and data in order to protect Florida’s waterways and manage farms more efficiently, and today’s announcement shows that Best Management Practices are working,” stated Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “I thank the farmers and ranchers in the EAA for their continued commitment to being good stewards of the land.”

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services develops and adopts BMPs for different types of agricultural operations. BMPs are designed to benefit water quality and water conservation while maintaining or enhancing agricultural production.

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

Charles Murphy News 8/13

News Cast for August 13th:

Bal Harbour’s Mayor wants state and federal investigations into the Tri County Task Force and for those who misappropriated money to be prosecuted. Martin Packer responded to a Miami Herald series, License to launder, which reported the task force, that included Bal Habour and Glades County, laundered 71 million in money from drug dealers and money laundering and couldn’t account for where the money went.

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The Herald said some of the money went out of the country to countries listed as troubled by the US State Department, and a violation of drug and money seizure laws.

This is Miami Herald reporter John Sallah. Glades County was ordered to repay over 7 hundred thousand dollars to the justice department. The paper also has reported Sun Trust bank in South Florida helped with the large cash deals and deposits and one of its top executives, has resigned. Glades County used the money to purchase 40 bullet proof vests, 3 dozen, 40 caliber revolver, video cameras, and other equipment they wouldn’t have been able to afford.

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Chief Deputy Duane Potorff explains the money came in handy.


Bal Harbor was the fiscal agent and the Sheriff’s offices say they couldn’t get a lot of the financial records.

Among arrests, a 15 year old Okeechobee boy charged with grand theft of a golf cart after being spotted by city police operating the cart in the 21 hundred block of South Parrott Avenue at 2 in the morning Tuesday.

41 year old Michael Johnson was charged with aggravated assault after he allegedly threatened a neighbor with a knife in a dispute over 45 dollars.

Glades County deputies picked up Donnie Miller on a local warrant charging him with sexual assault on a child under 12. He was held without bond.

Sports Cast for August 13th:

Brahman boys’ soccer coach Lonnie Sears hopes to rebuild the program up after the first losing season in his coaching career last year.

The Brahmans only won four matches last year. Defense wasn’t the problem but the team struggled to score goals.

They also lost two studs to travel ball that would have really helped. Sears is optimistic because his younger players gained a lot of experience and the team has another strong crop of players entering high school this year.

He said the team can be district contenders again.

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Although the team lost 10 seniors to graduation, not many of them played key roles last year.

Charles Murphy News 8/12

News Cast for August 12th:



Among arrests, 30 year old Craig Rush was charged with grand theft, burglary and felony criminal mischief. Its alleged he stole a safe containing 20 thousand dollars and prescription pills from a Douglas Park home on August 1st.

Two home invasion robbery suspects are sought for a robbery on July 23rd in Okeechobee. 22 year old Albert Hester and 22 year old Remberto Brown allegedly robbed jewels and cash from two females at gunpoint and fled on foot.

Hester and Brown Sought After a Home Invasion Case

Moore Haven’s new principal filed a lawsuit against the Dothan City school district in Alabama after he was fired for claims of sexual harassment by a female district employee. Tim Wilder says his rights were violated because the allegations are untrue and he was not given a fair hearing by the school board. The victim claimed she received in appropriate text messages from Wilder.



Glades County school superintendent Scott Bass defended Wilder. He said he was very well qualified and that he will be closely monitored and that sexual harassment will not be tolerated. School Board member Jeri Wilson voted not to hire Wilder but stated she supported the job his predecessor did, George Coates, and didn’t like the way he was not reappointed.

The Okeechobee school board last night honored Martha Clay for 34 years of service. She retired as custodian at the freshman campus. Appointed Bryan Van Camp as the new Assistant Principal at the Freshman Camus. They replaced his position with a Dean position at the freshman campus that will save the district salary. Vicki Goggans was named Assistant Principal at Yearling Middle School.

Superintendent Ken Kenworthy said the cost of tuition will increase for students in dual enrollment courses at Indian River State College. The first negotiation session with the teachers union has been scheduled for August 25th.

Child Safety Awareness Month FINAL

Sports Cast for August 12th:

Jonathan Martinez won an All-Conference Award for Yearling boys’ soccer last year.

Yearling went 10-0 last year and have had several unbeaten seasons in recent years.

He said it just doesn’t happen and each year the team is challenged. Martinez said Coach Erick Rios is the main reason the team has perfect seasons because he demands all of his players work hard.

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Martinez moves onto the ninth grade this year and hopes to make an impact for the high school soccer teams.

They’re Baaaack from Sheriff’s Youth Camp!

They’re Baaaack from Sheriff’s Youth Camp!

SEBRING – Fifty one campers and two Leaders-In-Training returned today from attending the Florida Sheriff’s Youth Camp Caruth this past week. This is a special opportunity for these young people as they have a chance to participate in canoeing, bike riding, group activities, and in general, enjoying the outdoors while making new friends! Campers left on Sunday, August 2nd from the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office in downtown Sebring with a law enforcement escort provided by the D.A.R.E. and school resource officers who accompanied the kids to camp. Everyone returned today, meeting parents and friends at Fireman’s Field about 1:00PM.

Highlands County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Sergeant Mike Brod attended the camp along with his daughter. He said, “This is the greatest group of School Resource Officers we’ve ever had! We had a fabulous time with the kids at camp!” School Resource Deputy Ross Porter echoed the Sergeant’s sentiments saying , “The kids did great and really enjoyed themselves. Yes the weather wasn’t the greatest and the grounds were really wet but they had fun. Especially the last two days when the weather cleared, they had a great time!”

Sheriff Benton was also on hand to welcome the kids back from camp. “We are so glad to be able to do this for our young people each year, and they always come home really worn out but happy for their experiences at camp,” she said, “we hope to be able to continue to provide this opportunity each year for the youth of Highlands County. I also want to thank our School Resource Officers for taking their time to go to camp with the kids and interact with them throughout the week. They are a very special group of law enforcement officers.”

Charles Murphy News 8/11

News Cast for August 11th:

From left to right: Kiwanis project organizer Jim Vensel, RLCR Director Mark Meyers, Kiwanis Club President Ken Keller and Kiwanis member Heather Hancock presenting $4,000 donation and supplies to the Real Life Children's Ranch

From left to right: Kiwanis project organizer Jim Vensel, RLCR Director Mark Meyers, Kiwanis Club President Ken Keller and Kiwanis member Heather Hancock presenting $4,000 donation and supplies to the Real Life Children’s Ranch

The Kiwanis Club able to raise 4 thousand dollars to help The Real Life Children’s Ranch in completing their mission, in an annual school supply drive. Real Life Director Mark Meyers said this allows them to do their mission. Kiwanian Jim Vensel said he was pleased with the response this year.

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Full article in Local News.

In the courts, a woman sued Yannucci Investments, an owner of a local fish camp, after she got electrocuted there last December 4th.

Samantha Siver said she was hooking up her families 5th wheel at the park when she was injured. She seeks damages for alleged negligence that inclues pain and suffering, mental anquish and loss of earnings.

A woman found passed out in a Walmart bathroom stall was arrested on four drug charges. City police 34 year old Elicia Herron allegedly possessed oxycodone, morphine and other drugs.

Local deputies sought a four door, older model, silver Nissan Altima Sunday night; occupants are believed to have fired five shots that struck another vehicle as it left a Mexican rodeo at the Ag Civic Center around 8:30 pm. The vehicle was last seen headed east bound on route 710. No one was injured.

Deputies shut down an illegal house party that allegedly was serving alcohol to minors on Saturday. 21 year old Holmes Boyd was charged with misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a child. A 15 year old boy was also charged.

Deputies say they found 4 children trying to hide on the roof of the home and also found some marijuana at the residence on South West 13th Street.

Pigman Okee Office – J. Morgan

Boat Donated to OCSO for Lake Search and Rescue Missions

Sports Cast for August 11th:

The Okeechobee Youth Football league swept Vero Beach in their opening week of games on the Road Saturday.
The senior team won 19-0, The Pee Wee team prevailed 35-0, the juniors won 6-0 and the Flag team defeated Vero 34-7.
Flag team coach Erick McQueen said you would be surprised at the level of skill showed by kids four, five and six years old. He said keeping their attention is the key to coaching at that age.
McQueen was part of the last Brahman football team to make the post season.
He said youth football helped him a great deal. McQueen finished his career with two years at Webber International University.

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Fort Pierce, FL – (August 10, 2015) Recognized at the national level for support of entrepreneurship and small business success, Indian River State College was selected by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as a winner of the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition.   IRSC will be awarded a $50,000 grant to support the College’s Advanced Manufacturing FabLab to assist local businesses with every stage of development. The winners were announced at a White House “Demo Day” event on August 4, including comments by President Obama on the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship. The purpose of the competition is to draw attention and funding to parts of the country where there are gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“Entrepreneurship is essential to the economic success of our region and IRSC is committed to support local innovators with the resources they need to turn their ideas into products and services and launch a viable business,” said Jose Farinos, IRSC Vice-President of Applied Science and Technology. “The SBA grant will enable us to take our support services on the Treasure Coast to the next level.”

The IRSC Advanced Manufacturing FabLab assists business clients with product development from conception to assembly.   The facility includes a 3D printer, wood shop, machine shop, as well as design and production support services. Several IRSC Business Incubator clients plan to utilize the FabLab. Artistry in Mosaics is the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of high quality, frost proof handmade ceramic and glass mosaic tile designs. The company will utilize the FabLab to expand its product line utilizing 3D rapid prototyping processes. Yacht Watchman, which developed a state-of-the-art yacht monitoring system, utilized the FabLab to prototype equipment packaging. Existing businesses can also benefit from the Lab’s services. Tropicana plans to use the facility for prototyping and machinery design.

The Advanced Manufacturing FabLab at the IRSC Main Campus in Fort Pierce is a component of the IRSC Dan K. Richardson Entrepreneurship Institute, which includes the Pioneer Business Incubator, offering guidance, offices, and support services to start-up businesses; Corporate and Community Training Institute, providing training and professional development ; and the Small Business Development Center with free consulting.

Over 400 applications for the SBA grant were evaluated by a panel of 40 judges, resulting in 180 finalists and 80 national winners.

For more information, contact Tom Kindred at 772-462-7097 or tkindred@irsc.edu or #SBAAccelerates.

Charles Murphy News 8/10

News Cast for August 10th:

Environmental groups say the Presidnets Clean Power Plan to cut emissions from coal fired power plants will help the Everglades. Ulla Reeves, the National parks Conservation Associations Clean Air Campaign manager says the President should go one step further and revamp the clean air act.

Environmentalists say with 20 million vehicles and 11 coal fired power plants in the state, Florida provides a lot of pollution to the atmosphere.

Ulla Reeves, National Parks Conservation Assn on Everglades air quality

In the courts, James Sharpe received five years’ probation and 2 hundred and 50 hours of community service for animal abuse charges. He was convicted of six felony charges of cruelty to animals. A video caught him whipping some horses in Viking. Some of the horses were malnourished, one horse had neck injuries. The horses have since been adopted.

34 year old Briana Davis received three years in state prison for drug trafficking. Deputies say a traffic stop in January of last year resulted in the seizure of 5 point 6 grams of morphine sulfate and oxycodone.

A deadly weekend around the area on roadways. 35 year old Brandon Purvis of Felda was in critical condition Friday after a roll-over accident on Kirby Thompson Road in Glades County.

Glades County 8-7-15 Press Release

Five people were killed in a wreck on route 70 in Desoto County due to wet roads. A six year old child was in critical condition. Two of the victims were from Venus, Florida, 30 year old Jennifer Zuniga and the child, Cort Thievierge.

One person was killed after a driver ran a stop sign in Clewiston Saturday afternoon on North Mayoral Street, killed was 72 year old Pastor Monpeller of Hialeah.

Four people were hospitalized.

Hendry Co N. Mayoral St Fatal 8-8-15

08 07 2015 Press News Release Ridgedale Apartments Shooting

SR70 Fatal Crash update


Sports Cast for August 10th:

Devonte Luellman took home the defensive player of the year award for Yearling Middle School basketball last year.

Luellman played at point guard and was praised for his steady play and leadership.

He said he wished the team would have won more games. Leullman thanked the coaching staff for making him a better player. He also plays to play football in high school.

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He said the Yearling team played better when they played team ball. Yearling finished 6-6 last season.

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Kiwanis Club Donates To Real Life Children’s Ranch (AUDIO INCLUDED)

Kiwanis Club Donates To Real Life Children’s Ranch (AUDIO INCLUDED)

From left to right: Kiwanis project organizer Jim Vensel, RLCR Director Mark Meyers, Kiwanis Club President Ken Keller and Kiwanis member Heather Hancock presenting $4,000 donation and supplies to the Real Life Children's Ranch

From left to right: Kiwanis project organizer Jim Vensel, RLCR Director Mark Meyers, Kiwanis Club President Ken Keller and Kiwanis member Heather Hancock presenting $4,000 donation and supplies to the Real Life Children’s Ranch

The Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee recently held their annual School Supply drive to benefit the children of the Real Life Children’s Ranch. With the help of two anonymous donors who each agreed to match dollar for dollar what the club raised up to $1,000, the club was able to raise $4,100 in cash along with a lot of school supplies such as pens, pencils, paper etc. The Real Life Children’s Ranch is a faith based ministry that offers residential, family style group foster homes. They are licensed by the state of Florida to provide group foster homes for boys and girls who have been abused, abandoned and/or neglected.


Free hunter safety Internet-completion course offered in Hendry County

Free hunter safety Internet-completion course offered in Hendry County

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is offering a free hunter safety Internet-completion course in Hendry County.

The course will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 15 at the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Shooting Range, 700 Witt Road, Clewiston.

Students must complete the Internet course before coming to class and bring a copy of the final report from the online portion of the course. The final report form does not have to be notarized.

An adult must accompany children under the age of 16 at all times. Students should bring a pencil and paper with them to take notes.

Anyone born on or after June 1, 1975, must pass an approved hunter safety course and have a hunting license to hunt alone (unsupervised). The FWC course satisfies hunter-safety training requirements for all other states and Canadian provinces.

People interested in attending this course can register online and obtain information about future hunter safety classes at MyFWC.com/HunterSafety or by calling the FWC’s South Region Office at 561-625-5122.

Gopher tortoise workshop set for south Florida

Gopher tortoise workshop set for south Florida

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is holding regional workshops to present information on opportunities for local governments to help conserve gopher tortoises in Florida. The last of the south Florida workshops is scheduled for Aug. 19 in Port St. Lucie. Representatives from local governments in nearby counties are encouraged to attend.

The goal of these workshops is to identify ways cities and counties can participate in conserving one of Florida’s threatened species. In addition, the FWC will discuss financial incentives available for local governments.

“Partnerships involving cities, counties and the FWC have led to wonderful projects to conserve gopher tortoises and their habitats,” said Alex Kalfin, local government coordinator for the FWC’s gopher tortoise management program. “We look forward every year to our regional workshops, where representatives of local governments can find out how to get involved in gopher tortoise conservation.”

The upcoming workshop is in:

St. Lucie County

Wednesday, Aug. 19

9 a.m. – noon

Oxbow Eco-Center

5400 NE St. James Dr.

Port St. Lucie, FL 34983

The workshop is free, but registration is required, as space is limited. To register, please send your name and the name of your organization to Alex.Kalfin@MyFWC.com.

For more information, and to download the Gopher Tortoise Management Plan, visit MyFWC.com/GopherTortoise and click on “Management Plan.”

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