Local News

Charles Murphy News 9/12

News Cast for September 12th:

Torres Mug Shot

Torres Mug Shot

The Okeechobee school board approved their latest strategic plan. On the list include replacement of Okeechobee high school. School board chairman Malissa Morgan would also like more staff at the elementary level where the important learning takes place Morgan also wants to address a growing attendance problem.  Over 19 hundred days were missed with unexcused absences last year. She suggests using the Okeechobee Achievement Academy for an out of school suspension program.

Morgan 1

Morgan 2

Other goals are increasing the graduation rate from 70 percent, increasing industry certifications and better performances on state exams.

In the courts, 25 year old Justina Billie received one year probation on reduced charges of battery.  The Seminole had been charged with child abuse for allegedly scratching a two year old child with a safety pin as a form of discipline, which is a cultural custom with the tribe.

On the roads, 22 year old Chad Motlow died in a roll over crash on County route 835 near Clewiston on Friday night.  23 year old Daylyn hall of Clewiston was treated at Hendry Regional with minor injury.  Troopers say the BMW sedan went out of control, flipped over several times and landed in a canal.

Sports Cast for September 12th:

Okeechobee put up nearly 5 hundred yards in total offense as they dismantled Moore Haven 45-7 in high school football on Friday. Lamar Williams had 175 yards and two touchdowns and Demetrius Clark had 130 yards in receptions on the night.

Jajuan Cherry rushed for 96 yards and a touchdown.  He said the team has a different mindset this year The defense held Moore Haven to 176 total yards.

Cherry 1

Defensive tackle Joseph Benjamin said everyone on the team played great. John Cox scored the Moore Haven touchdown on a 16 yard run in the first quarter.

Benjamin 1

Bubba Fludd had two touchdown passes and added a 47 yard touchdown run.

Fludd 1

Coach Chris Branham used his bench a lot and was glad to see how they responded

Branham 1

This week Okeechobee plays at Sebastian River in the district opener.

In other big lake games, Pahokee defeats Cardinal Newman 36-21, Clewiston lost to Fort Pierce Central 37-0 and Glades Central fell to American Heritage Delray 37-32.

Charles Murphy News 9/9

News Cast for September 9th:

The Okeechobee County Commission continued work on an 88 point 7 million dollar budget yesterday.  Just over 50.3 million could be spent this year. The sheriff cut his budget by 3.9 percent by 497 thousand dollars.   They also asked for county help in a vehicle replacement plan. The budget also includes 8.8 million for fire rescue and ems, 424 thousand for the supervisor of elections, 992 thousand dollars for the tax collector, 157 thousand for emergency management, and 561 thousand for parks and recreation. Commissioners want to continue to cut the millage rate.

A sign malfunction sparked a brief fire that threatened the gas pumps at the Treasure Island Shell Station Wednesday morning.  Firemen had the fire under control in four minutes.

An 18 year old Southfield, Michigan man was charged with burglary to a business, and grand theft for the theft of a 15 thousand dollar John Deere Gator.  Deputies learned Jerome Hayes allegedly posted the stolen gator on Craigs list.  They worked a sting where a detective offered to buy the gator for 4 thousand dollars and found the Gator in a wooded area on North west 8th Street

The Okeechobee school board Thursday approved their final budget of 70 point 3 million dollars.  It’ll cut the millage rate by point 35 mills this year. The board will see an additional 2 million dollars in state aid this year.  Money is also budgeted for employee raises. The board also held a workshop to tour Okeechobee High School as they continue to seek special state dollars to replace the high school.  The estimated cost is 60 million dollars.

Sports Cast for September 9th:

Brahman football tonight at Moore Haven and QB Bubba Fludd says he is very impressed with the improvement of the passing game this year. He praised Kysell Richardson for stepping up his game this year. Richardson had two touchdown receptions in the first game and Fludd is completing over 70 percent of his passes so far this season.

OHS JV volleyball lost 2-0 to Harmony last night.

Boy’s golf lost in a blowout to Jensen Beach.

Glades Day had a big win last night as they defeated Florida Christian 41-6. Alex Mineo threw three touchdown passes for the Gators.

OHS girls volleyball defeated Lake Placid 3-1 this week.  25-21, 25-22, 21-25, and 25-18. Raeley Matthews had 14 kills, Raylee Coleman 17 kills, and Michaela Myers had seven blocks for the Lady Brahmans. Carrie Wharin had 14 assists.

On the sports schedule tonight

  • OHS football at Moore Haven 7 pm
  • Clewiston football at Fort Pierce Central 7 pm
  • Pahokee football hosts Cardinal Newman 7 pm
  • Glades Central football hosts American Heritage Delray 7 pm

On Saturday

  • OHS swimming at Blackman Invitational in Sebring
  • OYFL hosts Poinciana Predators 9 am on

SFWMD to Close Lake Okeechobee North Shore Lock for Gate Repair

SFWMD to Close Lake Okeechobee North Shore Lock for Gate Repair

The Taylor Creek boat lock will be closed for one month

WHAT:          The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) will close the S-193 lock at Taylor Creek on the north shore of Lake Okeechobee for gate repair.

WHEN:          The lock will close Sept. 26 and reopen Oct. 27.

WHERE:        The S-193 Lock is located at the Taylor Creek Mariner’s Access on the North Shore of Lake Okeechobee in Okeechobee County.

Lion Family Reunited in Africa

Lion family reunited in Africa

Rescued against all the odds, hundreds of miles apart in South America, circus lions crossed the globe to become a pride again, home in Africa

September 8, 2016- South Africa- A lion family has been reunited in the African bush after they were torn apart by a traveling circus in South America. Leo, his mate Muneca, and daughters Africa and Kiara are back together. Animal Defenders International (ADI) is appealing for funds to complete an enclosure in the African bush where they can live out their lives together. https://lionsbacktoafrica.org/donate-for-leo/

The wonderful news comes after tens of thousands of people watched a viral video of Leo, groggy with anesthetic following dental surgery, battling to reach his daughter Africa as she willed him on and reached out for her father.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dm4NI_juV_0

Leo was rescued by ADI on the first day of a huge operation to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. But the circus had blocked the rescue of Muneca, Kiara and Africa, and then disappeared with them before a court could decide on their fate.  ADI never gave up on them and eight months later tracked down the circus over 600 miles away, in a remote region near the border of Ecuador, and Leo’s family was saved.

During the biggest operation of its kind ever undertaken, ADI rescued over 100 animals (lions, bears, tigers, monkeys and others) as they closed down Peru’s wild animal circus industry.  In May, ADI flew the 33 lions rescued during the mission to South Africa to start a new life at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary.

Since then, the lions have been steadily rehabilitated, introduced to each other and are undergoing an intense veterinary program to repair the damage inflicted on them in the circus. The lionesses are also being neutered to prevent breeding.  These battered animals cannot return to the wild, but it is the aim of ADI and Emoya to give them a life as close to what nature intended as possible.

Leo, one of the oldest lions rescued had all of his canine teeth smashed in the circus and underwent three hours of dental surgery in August to repair the damage.  Leading veterinary dentist Gerhard Steenkamp, who repaired the damage, extracting teeth and doing root canals, noted “His mouth has taken a hell of beating.”  Muneca also had surgery for two smashed teeth.

The video of Leo recovering has moved tens of thousands of people online and shows the importance of family bonds in this social species.  As he began to recover from anesthesia and slowly stumbled and dragged himself towards his anxious daughter Africa, who appeared to be urging him on from behind a fence, even reaching her paw out to him.   Once Leo reaches her, they nuzzle and he settles beside her for a few minutes, but soon recovers and is back on his feet as if nothing had happened. At the time the lions were in “bonding” camps, preparing them for reintroduction, with mesh between them allowing contact but ensuring they could not fight.  Now the family is back together.

Jan Creamer ADI President: “It is wonderful that against all of the odds, these lions have been saved from circus suffering and the family reunited back where nature intended in Africa.  Now we are asking for people to help, and donate for a huge natural bush enclosure for this family, that will be their happy-ever-after.”

The final step for Leo and his family will be a huge natural bush enclosure with self-filling water holes and secure solar powered electric fences. ADI and Emoya need to complete these for all the lions rescued costing up to $150,000.

Please help Animal Defenders International raise $16,500 for Leo’s family enclosure, where the lions will be cared for life by ADI at Emoya. Any extra funds raised will go towards the enclosures for the other rescued lions and care for Leo and his family.  https://lionsbacktoafrica.org/donate-for-leo/


CONTACT: Lori De Waal        818-817- 4444     lori.dewaal@dewaalpr.com
ADI Media Desk   323-804-9920      mediadesk@ad-international.org

Images: http://www.4shared.com/folder/xzQf5hMC/Leo_and_Muneca.html

Operation Spirit of Freedom
Leo was rescued as part of Animal Defenders International’s Operation Spirit of Freedom, a mission with Peru’s authorities to enforce the ban on wild animals in circuses.  In the biggest operation of its kind over 100 animals were rescued from circuses and the illegal wildlife trade.  ADI previously enforced a ban on animals in circuses in Bolivia.

Animal Defenders International: 
With offices in Los Angeles, London and Bogota, ADI campaigns across the globe on animals in entertainment, providing technical advice to governments, securing progressive animal protection legislation, drafting regulations and rescuing animals in distress. ADI has a worldwide reputation for providing video and photographic evidence exposing the behind-the-scenes suffering in industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals all over the world, educates the public on animals and environmental issues.

Charles Murphy News 9/8

News Cast for September 8th:

Okeechobee city council approved a 10.3-million-dollar tentative budget and decided to keep tax rates the same for 2 thousand 16-17. The council last month voted down a new assessment for fire service and had proposed a half mill property tax decrease. The council majority supported one step for employees with an additional 1.5 percent raise.

Key items in the budget include a new fire truck and equipment of nearly 550 thousand, a new street sweeper for 170 thousand, 12 new vehicles mostly for the police department, 180 thousand in street projects, and a 40-thousand-dollar annexation study. Councilman Dowling Watford said just because something is in the budget, doesn’t mean it will be purchased or spent.

Watford 1

Watford 2

The final public hearing on the budget is September 20th.  With the millage near 8 mills an additional 2.1 million in property taxes will be collected in the city limits.

Polly Parker will be honored by the state and the city of St. Marx with the creation of a new park there. Parker, over 150 years ago, escaped her federal captors and was able to evade search parties as she journeyed 3 hundred miles south ward back to Okeechobee.  Today her descendants in the Seminole tribe are numerous. Her escape is credited with preserving the Seminoles existence in Florida rather than having been deported to Oklahoma and western states.



Sports Cast for September 8th:

Sean Cowen and the Moore Haven Terriers know they will have a tough time dealing with the strength and power of Okeechobee this week. The senior linemen like his team this year for its athleticism and togetherness.

Cowen and the Terriers are off to a 2-0 start this year with victories over St. Edwards and Lake Placid.  He said the players get along and are unified

Cowen 1

Cowen 2

Friday’s game is scheduled for 7 pm in Moore Haven

OHS bowlers lost to Lincoln Park Academy yesterday.

A busy day in local sports

  • OHS volleyball hosts Harmony JV 5 pm, varsity to follow
  • OHS boys golf at Jensen Beach Sailfish Point 3:30 pm
  • OHS JV football at Martin County 6 pm
  • Moore Haven Volleyball at Everglades City JV 5 pm, varsity to follow.
  • Moore Haven middle school football hosts Village School of Naples 6 pm
  • Moore Haven cross country at Lake Placid
  • Yearling volleyball and Soccer at Gifford 4:30 pm
  • Osceola volleyball/soccer at Storm Grove 4:30 pm

Charles Murphy News 9/7

News Cast for September 7th:

Healthy start says teenage pregnancy dropped from 58 in 2 thousand 14, to 48 last year.  12 of the mothers of this age were pregnant for the second time. Andrea Medellin says another concern is obesity rates among pregnant women. Okeechobee also has a high rate of smoking and drinking alcohol among pregnant mothers.

Charges of robbery and aggravated battery were dropped against a pair that allegedly robbed a truck driver at the Wal-mart Super Center on June 21st.  Police say 35 year old Barbara Grubb of Summerfield and 43 year old Michael Garcia grabbed 2 hundred dollars in cash from the victim, Garcia was armed with a machete.

50 year old Israel Maldonado is accused of sending nude photos of an ex-girlfriend to her family and current boyfriend via text and the internet.  Maldonado also offered to stop distributing the nude photos if she rekindles their relationship.  Deputies charged him with sexual cyber harassment and extortion.

The highway patrol identified 50 year old Mauricio Ecalante Diaz as the man struck and killed on route 710 in Indiantown Friday night while he rode his bicycle near Indianwood.

A 17 year old allegedly caused over 1 thousand dollars in property damage to a home on North West 7th Street shattering a flat screen TV, punching holes in the door and walls, and stole over 5 hundred dollars in movies and drinks from the home.

A convicted felon charged in Platts Bluff with picking Palmetto berries while armed with a rifle.  36 year old Robert Lanier faces trespass, weapon and drug charges.

Robbery at Local Business

Martin Fatal 9-5-16 CR -711

Sports Cast for September 7th:

Mattie Garcia had 7 aces, three assists and a kill and Holly Younger scored nine points at the service line to lead Osceola to a 25-7 and 25-15 victory over Sebastian Middle School Tuesday. Lauren Sills had six service points for Osceola.

Throop 1

Coach Lauren Throop said the girls were tough serving the volleyball. Garcia said the team was excited to get the season started in a positive way. Joy Whipple added five points and two digs for the Lady Warriors.

Garcia 1

Osceola soccer tied Sebastian 2-2.

OHS bowling at LPA 3:30 pm Super Play Ft. Pierce

Osceola volleyball at PECS 4:30 pm

Charles Murphy News 9/6

News Cast for September 6th:

Caption: Philip DeBerard the 4th with Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee President Courtney Moyett

Caption: Philip DeBerard the 4th with Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee President Courtney Moyett

Philip DeBerard the fourth spoke at the Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee meeting on September 1st and educated ways that business owners can protect themselves from lawsuits. He stressed reviewing and understanding your insurance policies, seeking out hazards, completing an accident or incident report immediately among other methods. Mr. DeBerard works for the Accident Law Offices of Phillip DeBerard. The Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee is a service organization dedicated to improving the lives of the youth of Okeechobee. The club raises monies that are donated to local scholarships, mini-grants and other youth-related causes. The club meets every Thursday at noon in the back room of Cowboys Restaurant. If you would like to attend a meeting or learn more about the club, contact a club member or message the club through their Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee Facebook page.

Three environmental groups have filed suit trying to stop a natural gas pipeline through Florida that would serve the Florida Power and Light plant near Fort Drum. The Petition claims people along the proposed route have spoken against it for years. Raleigh Hoke with the Gulf Resoration Network says the companies building the pipeline could discharge dredged and fill materials into water bodies during construction The Sierra Club and Flint Riverkeeper are also party to the suit. If built the pipeline would travel from Alabama to Indiantown, Florida.

Hoke 1

A 59 year old Lake Placid man Robert Gore was air lifted to Lawnwood Monday morning after his Harley Davidson motorcycle tried to pass a tractor trailer on US 98 west of Lorida.  The truck made a left turn into his path.

A 73 year old Okeechobee man, William Richey Junior was identified this weekend as the fatality in a firey crash on August 22nd on the Martin Grade.  Troopers say Richey was west bound in a Toyota pickup when the vehicle left the road, struck a large tree, and burst into flames.

An Indiantown man was struck and killed by a Pt Cruiser as he tried to cross 710 at Indianwood Drive on Friday night riding a mountain bicycle.   Troopers say the man wasn’t immediately identified.  The vehicle was driven by 32 year old April Smith of West Palm Beach.  No charges were filed.

Troopers arrest NY Giants great Lawrence Taylor for DUI in crash with patrol car

Highlands Trauma alert crash Press Release

Martin Fatal 8-22-16 CR -714School Bus Crash in Glades Co, no Injuries

Sports Cast for September 6th:

The OCRA Darling softball team was recently honored by the county for finishing as the national runner up at the Dixie Youth world series in Mississippi. Coach Preston Baker said the families all appreciated the honor. Baker says the girls were able to defeat Mississippi and Louisiana but couldn’t overcome Tennessee. John Cox ran for three touchdowns, and Moore Haven scored two touchdowns in the final two minutes to hold off Lake Placid, 28-23 in high school football action Friday night.

Baker 1

Baker 2

In other big lake scores

Pahokee defeated Wayne Hills New Jersey 34-21.  Glades Day defeated Pine Crest School 28-21.  Clewiston defeated Immokalee, Clewiston defeated Immokalee 20-17 and Palm Beach Lakes defeated Glades Central 16-13.

Charles Murphy News Cast 9/2

News Cast for September 2nd:

In the courts, charges of sexual battery with a weapon were no prossed in August against 47 year old Nolein Ambrocio.  He allegedly impregnated a 15 year old girl last December and made threats to harm the family.  He allegedly gave the victim four dollars the day after the alleged attack.

A court found a 90 year old Indiantown man was incompetent to proceed to trial on charges he threatened a waitress with a handgun last summer.  City police say Charles White had been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after the incident last July 14th outside 11,11 South Parrott Avenue.

The property appraiser’s office confirms Detroit Tiger Great Victor Martinez has purchased a ranch in Okeechobee County.

Martinez plans to become a cattle farmer after his retirement from baseball.  The ranch located west of Fort Drum and north of Eagle Island Road measures 24 hundred acres.

Over his 14-year major league career, the 37 year old Martinez has a batting average of .302 and has hit 2 hundred and 23 career homeruns. The Venezuelan native said his life-long dream was to own a cattle ranch in an interview with ESPN.

A prison guard cadet sued the Florida department of corrections after she was struck by a vehicle during a defensive driving course at the Okeechobee prison corrections academy last year. Camara Hall was jogging when she was struck and is now unable to pursue a career in corrections. Her attorney Jonathan Levy says the instructor may have been texting and driving. The instructor claimed the vehicle malfunctioned.

Levy 1

Levy 2

Sports Cast for September 2nd:

Kassie Weldon won the gold glove award for the girls’ softball team last year. She also is one of the key defenders on the girls’ volleyball team this fall. Weldon, a junior, says she was not afraid to work hard to improve her softball skills. She played travel ball over the summers with Cruisers Elite.   She noted the infield is not for some players

Weldon 1

Weldon 2

  • Moore Haven football at Lake Placid 7 pm
  • Pahokee football hosts Wayne Hills, NJ, 7 pm
  • Clewiston football at Immokalee, 7 pm
  • Glades Day football hosts Pine Crest School 7 pm
  • Glades Central football visits Palm Beach Lakes 7 pm
  • Saturday OYFL teams visit Lake Placid and the cross country team competes at a meet in Melbourne.

Saturation Patrols Set for Tomorrow Night

Saturation Patrols Set for Tomorrow Night

Osceola County – In an effort to keep our roadways safe, the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office will be conducting DUI saturation patrols covering all areas of Osceola County tomorrow, September 3, 2016. The patrols will be held from 8:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office encourages everyone to act responsibly. If you intend to drink, make arrangements to get home safely. Use a designated driver, public transportation or a taxi.

US 27 Public Hearing Scheduled

US 27 Public Hearing Scheduled

Bartow, FL – The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), District One, is hosting a public hearing as part of the Project Development and Environment (PD&E) study of a 19-mile segment of US 27 from the Highlands County line to north of State Road (SR) 60 in Polk County. The public hearing is Thursday, September 8, 2016 at South Lake Wales Church of God, 210 Presidents Drive, Lake Wales, Florida.
FDOT is holding this hearing due to circumstances involving property owners who were not notified of the first public hearing on March 22, 2016, and to ensure compliance with federal and state requirements.

An open house begins at 6 p.m. when people can view the proposed conceptual plans on aerial photographs, ask questions and provide comments to FDOT representatives. The formal hearing begins at 7 p.m.
The hearing moderator will offer introductory remarks followed by a video describing the proposed widening project. An intermission will follow when people can register to make oral comments, following the intermission. FDOT will also accept written comments.

Draft study reports and conceptual design plans are available for public review through September 19, 2016 at Lake Wales Public Library, 290 Cypress Garden Lane, Lake Wales, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Friday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday; and at Latt Maxcy Memorial Library, 15 North Magnolia Avenue, Frostproof, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday; 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday; 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.

FDOT sent notices to property owners located within 300 feet on either side of US 27 within the study limits. FDOT identified encroachments on wetlands and floodplains, which may result in special consideration under Executive Orders 11990 and 11988, Protection of Wetlands and Floodplain Management, respectively.

FDOT solicits public participation without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability, or family status. People who require special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act or who require translation services (free of charge) should contact project manager Tony Sherrard, Florida Department of Transportation, phone (863) 519-2304 or e-mail antone.sherrard@dot.state.fl.us. FDOT needs one week advance notice to make arrangements.

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