Florida Highway Patrol to Conduct DUI Wolfpack Detail
Desoto, County – The Florida Highway Patrol will conduct a DUI Wolfpack Detail during the month of November 2013. Florida Highway Patrol sets up such details to proactively remove impaired drivers from the roadways and ultimately enhance the safety of the motoring public. Troopers conducting the detail will be mobile while monitoring traffic in an effort to maximize their visibility and effectiveness in removing impaired drivers from the roadways in Desoto County, Florida.
Driving impaired from alcohol or drugs put everyone on the roadways in danger. Florida law considers a driver with .08 or higher Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) to be impaired. Drivers under the age of 21 with a BAC of .02 or higher are also in violation of Florida law.
The Florida Highway Patrol would like to remind everyone that *FHP (*347) dialed from any cell phone contacts FHP should you need to report an aggressive driver or require roadside assistance.
The date and time of the DUI Wolfpack Detail will be announced at a later time.
News Cast for November 21st:
One of the two lawmen shot and wounded Wednesday in Highlands County was 11 year veteran of the St. Lucie county sheriff’s office, Paul Pearson. The 33 year old was treated and released for a wound to his shoulder. The officers were trying to arrest five suspects involved in a cocaine and crack cocaine ring in Okeechobee and other counties when the shooting began. The other officer was a Deputy US Marshall.
Facing drug charges are several Avon Park residents, 29 year old Robin Guilaume, 29 year old Alex Guerrier, 23 year old Alphonsia Maxime, 43 year old Cleophas Brown and 27 year old Gibson Lapointe in US District Court in Ft. Pierce.
In the courts, 21 year old Ramiro Valenzuela Delacruz received 10 years in prison for taking an 11 year old Okeechobee girl out of state to Texas. He pled no contest to kidnapping of a child. She was recovered safely last March 23rd in Terrell, Texas. The mother found a note on the daughters’ bed that claimed an armed man and woman had picked her up and included the phrase, help me. 2 felony charges of lewd or lascivious conduct were dropped in the plea deal.
Among arrests 23 year old Justin Chavers was charged with giving false information to a pawn broker and dealing in stolen property. An Okeechobee warrant was served in St. Lucie County for an October 24th burglary of hunting bows and other items, recovered at a Ft. pierce pawn shop.
Sports Cast for November 21st:
Yvette Vega is among the Lady Brahmans who are excited about winning two soccer matches so far this year. The team appears to be improving as they hope to win more matches than in the past several years. The team defeated Avon Park 3-1 and Fort Pierce Westwood 3-1 this week.
Vega was the team MVP last year but that doesn’t mean she will stop trying to improve her game. Vega says she knows the sport is not about individual awards but team success and hopes that other girls can be good enough to win the MVP this year. The girls visit South Fork tonight at 6 pm.
In other action Osceola basketball will host Storm Grove at 4:30; Yearling basketball will visit Gifford at 4:30, Girls basketball hosts Sebring tonight at 6 pm. Boys’ soccer visits Jensen Beach at 6:30 pm. Girls’ weight lifting open their season with a meet at Treasure Coast High At 3:30 pm. The OHS bowling team will hold their awards banquet tonight at the bowling alley at 6 pm.
Shooting in Highlands County News Release
The Highlands County Sheriff’s Office has been working with the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration through our local Task Force to identify a high level narcotics drug trafficking ring. The members of the Task Force included DEA, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Marshal, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Sebring Police Department, Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office, St. Lucie Sheriff’s County Office, and the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office.
These suspects have been supplying a large portion of the drugs to our central Florida area. They were dealing multi kilograms of cocaine and ounces of crack cocaine. The organization was centered in Highlands County and operated throughout central Florida.
As a result of this investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Palm Beach obtained six (6) federal indictments.
This morning warrant teams attempting to serve the arrest warrants were confronted by armed suspects at one of the target locations in Sebring. Suspects began shooting and two members of the U.S. Marshal Task Force were shot. One of the law enforcement victims is a full-time U.S. Marshal and the other is a Detective from the St. Lucie Sheriff’s Office and a Task Force member. Both are in stable condition, one has been released and the other will undergo surgery.
There were no other injuries during this morning’s operation.
Task Force members have arrested the six suspects in this case:
United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida
- Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance
- Possession with Intent to Distribute a controlled Substance
Robin Jean Guillaume, B/M, 29 years old of Avon Park, Florida – Indictment
Alex Guerrier, B/M, 29 years old of Avon Park, Florida – Indictment
Alphonsia Joycelyn Maxime – B/F, 23 years old of Avon Park, Florida – Indictment
Cleophas a. Brown – B/M, 43 years old of Avon Park, Florida – Indictment
Gibson LaPointe – B/M, 27 years old of Avon Park, Florida – Indictment
Everglades restoration a high priority for FWC
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), at its meeting Nov. 20 in Weston, presented a position paper designed to help guide Everglades restoration.
The position paper provides guidance on how to resolve habitat and wildlife issues as the FWC and partners work together on Everglades-restoration efforts. This document is an important tool for managing the habitats and species in this complex ecosystem.
In the position paper, FWC biologists provide science-based information regarding the timing, distribution and flow of water throughout the Everglades ecosystem. It also provides data collected over the past 60 years demonstrating how fluctuating water levels impact the wildlife and habitats in this ecosystem.
“It’s all about the quality, quantity, timing and distribution of water,” said FWC Commissioner Ron Bergeron. “Our approach is adaptive and based on six decades of in-the-field science.”
Extreme high and low water events negatively impact the ecosystem’s native wildlife and habitats. For example, extreme high water levels are detrimental for terrestrial species such as panthers, deer, bobcats and raccoons. High water conditions reduce the amount of available food sources and indirectly may lead to the spread of disease. Extremely low water levels can also have negative impacts such as peat fires that can cause long-lasting damage to tree islands and other plant communities. Returning the water flow back to a more natural state will have positive impacts for native plants and animals.
“We need flexibility in dealing with extreme high or low water events because either means sudden death for the Everglades ecosystem,” said Bergeron. “We need to have the tools and policies to manage emergency water events so that we can keep the Everglades alive during the largest restoration effort in the world.”
FWC staff will continue to protect fish and wildlife resources by participating in planning meetings and providing comments, review and input into future decisions about Everglades restoration.
To learn more about the FWC’s major wildlife management area in this ecosystem, the Everglades and Francis S. Taylor WMA, visit MyFWC.com/Viewing and select “Wildlife Management Areas” then “Explore by Name.”
Gov. Scott: Crime In Florida Down For First Half of 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, during a meeting with Governor Scott and the Florida Cabinet, Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey today released the 2013 Semi-Annual Uniform Crime Report. The report shows Florida’s crime volume dropped 5.2 percent compared to the first six months of 2012.
Governor Scott said, “Our communities are on a path to a 43 year crime low, which improves the quality of life for families and benefits all aspects of our communities. This 5.2 percent drop in crime sends a signal to the rest of the world that Florida is a great place to find opportunities and a raise a family. We’ll continue working in close partnership with law enforcement officials to make Florida communities even safer.”
Attorney General Pam Bondi said, “Our hardworking, selfless law enforcement officers have continued to make Florida a safer place for residents and visitors. In 2012, Florida’s crime rate was at a 42-year low, and today’s semi-annual report shows that our crime rate is continuing this downward trend. As we enjoy safer communities in which to live, work, and raise our families, let us always keep the law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty in our thoughts and prayers.”
According to the report, the number of violent crimes (murder, forcible sex offenses, robbery and aggravated assault) was down by 3.5 percent. The report showed a 10.6 percent drop in murders, a 2 percent decrease in robberies and a 4.2 percent decrease in aggravated assault. Non-violent crime (burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft) fell 5.5 percent. Burglary and larceny are down 9.5 percent and 3.7 percent respectively. The number of motor vehicle thefts decreased by 9.6 percent.
“These numbers reflect historic lows,” said FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey. “Law enforcement is working hard to make Florida a safe place to live, work and play.”
Domestic violence offenses continued to decline in the first half of 2013, showing a 1.7 percent drop when compared to the first half of 2012. Cohabitants continue to be the largest group of victims in this category, with spouses remaining the second largest group.
The report also contains information on officers killed feloniously. One law enforcement officer died from criminal causes and one law enforcement officer died from accidental causes while on duty during the first half of 2013.
“The results of the 2013 Semi-Annual Crime Report are testimony to the dedication and hard work of deputy sheriffs and law enforcement officers all over the state and the effectiveness of sending deserving criminals to prison, and keeping them away from innocent victims,” said Polk County Sheriff and FSA President Grady Judd. “The Florida Sheriffs Task Force is one way we make a difference, most recently with our four-week long Operation Safe Families, which resulted in 5,544 arrests targeting domestic violence to help keep our children and families safe.”
“It is encouraging to see decreases in every crime category,” said Florida Police Chiefs Association President Springfield Chief Philip Thorne. “Keeping our communities safe is the top priority of police chiefs across Florida and we are seeing the results of our efforts.”
“We are pleased to see that overall domestic violence crimes declined slightly the first six months of 2013 and look forward to continuing to work with our partners in the law enforcement community to keep domestic violence survivors and their children safe and hold perpetrators accountable,” said Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence President and CEO Tiffany Carr.
The complete 2013 Semi-Annual Uniform Crime Report, including county-by-county breakdowns, can be found on FDLE’s website at www.fdle.state.fl.us/fsac/ucr/. FDLE began tracking crime statistics in 1971.
Commissioner Putnam, Members of Florida Cabinet Recognize Two With Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Year Award
Tallahassee, FL – Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam and the other members of the Florida Cabinet announced today Sergeant Alvaro Feola and Trooper Robert Ivey as the co-recipients of the 2013 Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Year award. The award recognizes Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) troopers who demonstrate the Patrol’s core values and commitment to the residents of Florida.
“I’m proud to recognize Sergeant Alvaro Feola and Trooper Robert Ivey with the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Year award,” said Commissioner Putnam. “Sergeant Feola and Trooper Ivey demonstrated true heroism by risking their own lives to save the life of a fellow Floridian in need. I want to thank Sergeant Feola and Trooper Ivey, and all Florida Highway Patrol troopers, for their commitment and service to the state of Florida.”
On January 14, 2012, Sergeant Feola and Trooper Ivey responded to a traffic accident that occurred on the Florida Turnpike. After determining a driver was trapped in their vehicle, Sergeant Feola was able to break out a window and Trooper Ivey entered the smoke-filled vehicle, cut the driver’s seatbelt strap and freed the trapped driver. Both troopers then pulled the driver to safety.
This year’s FHP Trooper of the Year award goes to two FHP troopers who displayed their courage and commitment to protecting the lives of Floridians. They were selected from more than 100 troopers, all 2012 Trooper of the Month nominees.
Sergeant Feola has been with FHP for 11 years and graduated from FHP’s Training Academy in September of 2002. Feola was promoted to Sergeant in Sept. 2012 and is currently stationed in Troop E – Miami-Dade County.
Trooper Ivey has been with FHP for 6 years and graduated from FHP’s Training Academy in April of 2007. Ivey has worked as a K-9 handler in Ft. Pierce for the past three years.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com.
News Cast for November 20th:
Close to 5 thousand dollars in property damage was done to the Okeechobee sports complex by vandals sometime late Sunday or early Monday. Two county vehicles were damaged, with windows busted out, the parks and recreation office had a window struck by a bullet, the concession stand was broken into and trashed, and damage was also reported from gang graffiti. Sheriff Deputies say a reward has been offered by Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers.
Among arrests today, 61 year old Winston Collins was charged with grand theft auto for allegedly possessing a van that was reported stolen from Polk County.
Two were arrested on charges of sale and possession with the intent to sell cocaine. 27 year old Marshara Summers and 33 year old Edwin Aponte were held on 60 thousand dollars bond.
Lonnie Pryor will make his NFL debut on Sunday as he was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers off the Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad on Tuesday. The Bucs play at Detroit on Sunday at 1 pm in a Fox telecast.
Florida power and light is hosting open houses this week on the natural gas pipeline they plan to build from Orlando to Indiantown. The meetings are scheduled tonight at the St. Lucie County fairgrounds in Ft. Pierce and at Quail Creek Plantation in Okeechobee tomorrow at 5 pm.
Agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam said a comprehensive water policy will be a top priority for state legislators in the 2014 session. Putnam also warned that the dry fall could be a sign of a dangerous fire season to come in Florida. Citrus growers continue to battle with citrus greening with the smallest crop forecast in 20 years.
Sports Cast for November 20th:
Jacob Stewart had 25 points and Fred Bradley added 16 off the bench as Okeechobee ripped Glades Day 84-34 last night in the regular season opener for boys’ basketball. Okeechobee jumped out to a 29-7 lead after the first quarter and added a 32 point third quarter en route to the easy win. Coach Shawn Hays said Glades Day was shorthanded with some players still active in the football players but that his team played well and executed plays. On the negative he said the team was a little slow on defense at times. Stewart hit two three pointers in the opening minutes and shot well from the outside. He said the entire team played together.
Tyrell Taylor added 10 points. Charles Velasquez led Glades Day with 19 points.
In middle school action Sebastian defeated Yearling 38-17 in girls’ basketball action. Diamond Wiggins led Yearling with six points and six rebounds.
The Yearling boys basketball team rolled over Sebastian 43-23 led by Robert and Janavise Futch.
Also on the scoreboard Fort Pierce Westwood rolled past Okeechobee in girls’ basketball last night 66-40. Girls’ soccer blanked Westwood 3-1 for their second straight win. Boys’ soccer improved to 5-0 with a 1-0 victory over the Westwood Panthers in Ft. Pierce.
News Cast for November 19th:
Jacob and Danielle Larson will represent Florida in the National Competition for the Young Farmers and Ranchers Achievement Award at the National Farm Bureau convention in San Antonio Texas. Jacob said he and his wife were thrilled to win the state award. Larson encouraged the youth in Okeechobee to be active in agriculture organizations such as 4-H, Future Farmers of America and the Farm Bureau. The Larson’s manage a 27 hundred acre dairy farm and a 1,350 acre beef cattle ranch operation in Okeechobee.
Among arrests today, 19 year old Phillip Jones was charged with possession of codeine, possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver and other charges. Deputies say they found 48 grams of marijuana and 146 grams of codeine from the suspect as the city police investigated a report of a suspicious vehicle parked at a medical plaza on 441N on Saturday night.
A former executive director of the Center for Independent Living for South West Florida has been charged with stealing 9 hundred thousand dollars from the agency that serves Glades, Hendry and other counties. Robert Bruist faces fraud, grand theft and white collar crime. He’s accused of using state funds, federal grants, donations and other funds to have an extravagant lifestyle, putting the agency out of business for the most part.
Sports Cast for November 19th:
Girls’ soccer won their first match of the year, 3-1 over Avon Park at home last night. Rosa Borja, Brianna Nunez and Kirsten Bostwick had goals for Okeechobee.
Coach Sonya Smith said the girls played well together and really needed this confidence boost. Borja opened the scoring with an excellent free kick to the left of the goal about 20 yards out. She at first wasn’t sure she wanted the opportunity. Nunez scored later in the half on a breakaway goal to make it 2-0. She said it felt great to win their home opener.
The girls travel to meet Westwood this afternoon.
Boys soccer scored five times in the second half and went on to roll past Avon Park 7-0 last night to improve to (4-0). They also travel to Westwood tonight.
Also on the sports schedule, Osceola middle school basketball visits Oslo at 4:30. Yearling middle school basketball will host Sebastian at 4:30 pm. Brahman girls’ basketball visits Westwood tonight at 6 pm. Boys’ basketball will host Glades Day at 6 pm in a game to be broadcast on WOKC.
Commissioner Putnam Announces Lynetta Griner as 2013 Women of the Year in Agriculture
Award Recognizes Women Who have Made Outstanding Contributions to Florida Agriculture
Tallahassee, FL – Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam announced today that Lynetta Griner has been named the 2013 Women of the Year in Agriculture. The award, now in its 29th year, recognizes women who have made outstanding contributions to Florida agriculture.
“Lynetta Griner’s success in agri-business, trade group leadership, land stewardship and community service is a testament of her commitment to a better Florida,” said Commissioner Putnam. “I am proud to name Lynetta Griner as the 2013 Women of the Year in Agriculture and thank her for all that she has done for Florida and Florida agriculture.”
Griner and her husband, Ken, own and operate Usher Land and Timber, Inc., in Levy County. A timber and cattle operation, their company has been selected as the Logger of the Year on both the state and national level. They have also received awards for their dedication to environmental stewardship and wildlife conservation.
Griner is the current president of the Florida Forestry Association, the first female elected to that position in the Association’s 91-year history. In this role, Griner advocates for Florida’s nearly $14 billion forestry industry and promotes the responsible and sustainable use of the state’s forests.
Beyond her work in agriculture, Griner is a graduate of Cheifland High School and the University of Florida School of Law. She was appointed to the Suwannee River Water Management District Governing Board, serving as Chair for 10 of the 14 years. She is also President of Friends of Fanning, Inc., a Citizen Support Organization that benefits Fanning Springs State Park; and President and director of the Chiefland Chamber of Commerce. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for both Suwannee Valley Rotary Club and Drummond Community Bank.
Griner and her husband are also deeply involved with many charitable efforts, including the Tommy Usher Log-a-Load for Kids Golf Tournament and Haven Hospice of the Tri-Counties.
The Woman of the Year in Agriculture award is sponsored by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer and the Florida State Fair Authority and presented to the recipient during the 2014 Florida State Fair in Tampa.
For more information on the Women of the Year in Agriculture Award, visit http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Agriculture-Industry/Agricultural-Awards-and-Honors/Woman-of-the-Year-in-Agriculture-Award
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com.
News Cast for November 18th:
Lonnie Steiert was named as the new director of grants and special programs for the Okeechobee county school system last week. She said she has been well groomed for this position and enjoys interacting with students and their families. She said the job has a lot of different aspects so it never gets boring. She said it is an exciting opportunity to improve the child’s overall education experience.
Glades County would like the Florida department of transportation to fund more bike paths in the Buckhead ridge area in their new five year work plan. Commissioner Tim Stanley says a lot of residents ride bicycles and even motorized wheel chairs along state road 78 and that is not a safe situation. His plan is to meet with the FDOT and see what funds are available.
A Florida sheriff’s task force operation “Operation Safe Families” resulted in more than 55 hundred arrests in the state in the past four weeks. Okeechobee reported 82 arrests related to family related crime in the past four weeks. 202 Floridians died as the result of domestic violence in 2012.
A Pahokee mother of five was killed in an apparent alcohol related crash in Pasco County this month. 21 year old Ryan Brosnan is awaiting charges in the death of 38 year old Courtney Ann Kreckel on US 18.
Sports Cast for November 18th:
Brahman boys’ soccer defeated St. Lucie West in their home opener Friday 2-0. Logan Laskey had an unassisted goal and Wilson Barahona had a goal on an assist from Brian Guerrero. Tyler Selph had four saves in net. Brahman coach Lonnie Sears said his team played well early but kind of slipped in performance later in the match.
Jose Ponce De Leon was praised for helping the defense pitch a shutout. He took over more of the burden when Devin Jimenez was injured. He was disappointed in the sluggish performance before home fans.
Lady Brahman soccer fell to Suncoast 7-0. They did earn their first victory of the season last week with a 2-1 win over Avon Park.
Boys’ basketball lost at the St. Edwards tip-off classic in Vero Beach to the host school 68-55.
Moore Haven Terrier football lost to Indian Rocks Christian 24-22 in the first round of the playoffs.
Westminster Christian defeated Pahokee 10-7, Glades Central lost to Washington 40-18, Glades Day defeated Miami Christian 20-7, and Clewiston ripped Space Coast 63-21.
Girls’ soccer with a home match against Avon Park today at 7pm