Local News

Charles Murphy News 1/20

News Cast for January 20th:

An apartment fire spread to part of C and S Auto Salvage on 441N Tuesday afternoon.  Both lanes of route 441 north were shut down for a time due to the smoke and flames.  No injuries were reported. An alternative heat source may have sparked the fire.

Among arrests, 36 years old Judi Elliott of Okeechobee was picked up on a Tennessee warrant for child abuse.

50 year old Ramon Montijo was charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation.  It’s alleged he molested two young girls between June and November of last year.

A 17 year old boy was charged with burglary with an assault, theft and criminal mischief.  He caused about 5 hundred dollars in damage by throwing a five gallon bucket of fish through a window and kicked a door.  He allegedly struck the female in the home and took her cell phone.

31 year old Clara Camic of Kissimmee was charged with failure to appear for drug trafficking charges in Okeechobee.

A Milledgeville, Georiga man accidentally shot himself Monday mistaking a loaded firearm for his alarm clock.  36 year old John Stalnaker made the mistake of placing the two items next to one another on the night stand of a local motel.  When he went to turn off the alarm Monday morning he accidentally grabbed the revolver and it discharged.  He was treated at Raulerson hospital

Glades county commissioners resolved an old litigation and allowed 22 acres of commercial use along US 27. The JJ Wiggins Trust plans some retail, perhaps a bank and commercial uses that would not operate at night, prohibiting like bars and lounges. They added two residential properties near Rodeo Road to serve as a buffer.

Attorney Steve Rammunni said they were able to work out a good deal for all. The commercial could serve the new job training center that is open in Moore Haven.  An inland port project is also being planned nearby.

Rammunni 1

Rammunni 2

Lena Cypress Arrest Report

Sports Cast for January 20th:

Edrick Neal won the player of the year award for the Brahman football team this year. He had 87 pancake blocks and a 91 percent blocking grade on the offensive line. Neal was thrilled with the honor. He said after two pedestrian years, he wanted to be a star player as a senior. Neal is being recruited by such schools as Bethune Cookman, and Grambling and could get a college scholarship.

Neal 1

Neal 2

Wil Charmant had 23 points as Treasure Coast blew out Okeechobee in boys’ basketball action Tuesday, 79-45. Shaquoy Ferrol led Okeechobee with 12 points. The Brahmans play at Clewiston tonight.

Brahman boys’ soccer advanced to the district semifinal with a 4-0 defeat of Suncoast.

Okeechobee will play Palm Beach Lakes today at 5 pm at South Fork high school in the semifinals.

On the sports schedule today, Brighton middle school basketball will host Moore Haven at 4:30 and 5:45pm.  OHS volleyball holds their awards banquet at 6:30 pm.

Commissioner Putnam’s Statement on Bill to Protect Floridians from “Skimmers”

Commissioner Putnam’s Statement on Bill to Protect Floridians from “Skimmers”

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.–The House of Representative’s Criminal Justice Subcommittee today unanimously passed a bill, House Bill 761, which will protect consumers from “skimmers” placed on gas pumps. A skimmer is a device that steals credit or debit card information when consumers swipe their cards at a pump to pay for gas. The total amount of skimmers found statewide by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services since March 2015 is more than 160.

“I thank Representative Dana Young and the Criminal Justice Subcommittee for their support of legislation that will better protect consumers from identity theft at gas pumps,” stated Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam.

The number of consumers victimized by each skimmer is estimated to be about 100 per device with an average of $1,000 stolen from each victim. Each skimmer represents an approximate $100,000 threat to the state of Florida and its consumers.

Representative Dana Young and Senator Anitere Flores are sponsoring the legislation this Legislative Session, and the bills are supported by the Florida Sheriffs Association, the Florida Police Chiefs Association, and the Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is the state’s clearinghouse for consumer complaints, protection and information. The call center is staffed with trained analysts who can respond to questions about programs and regulations under the department’s purview, provide information on a wide variety of topics or direct callers to the appropriate government agency. Consumer can call 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352) or visit FreshFromFlorida.com for assistance.

Charles Murphy News 1/19

News Cast for January 19th:

20160117_161805_resizedNo one was injured after a mobile home fire on the Viking property Sunday afternoon. County fire rescue says the mobile home was fully involved and the roof already collapsed when they arrived shortly before 4 pm.  Six units were on the scene for about six hours. The American Red Cross came to the assistance of the family.  The cause is under investigation by the Florida State Fire Marshall.

A good response for the Martin Luther King birthday celebration in Douglas Park Monday. Festivities included a flag football tournament, mens basketball tournament, and other activities. Sylvester Whittaker of the Okeechobee Community Improvement Association says the entire weekend was full of meaningful events. He said things have begun to improve.

Organizer Aneta Boswell said there was a lot of pride on display at the old Douglas Brown courts which once served as segregated high school basketball courts.

In the courts, 60 year old Toribio Ramirez of Glades county pled no contest to sale and possession of Percocet during undercover operations.  He allegedly sold 30 pills at a residence on Summerall Road on two occasions last January and February.  He received three years of drug offender probation.

Sports Cast for January 19th:

Aaliyah Johnson scored the final 8 points of the game for Okeechobee , including two three point baskets in the final minute to lead Okeechobee to aa 46-40 victory at home over Port St. Lucie Monday. Johnson had 19 points in the game.

Coach Joe Smith said nobody deserves this kind of night more than Aaliyah. It was a back and forth game throughout until Johnson’s heroics down the stretch.

Joe Smith on win over PSL

Johnson said it was a great opportunity for her to show what she can do. Michelle Anderson had 14 points to lead Port St. Lucie.

Aaliyah Johnson on win over PSL

The old school team led by Brahman Coach Demetre Riles and the new school team led by Shaquoy Ferrol won the Douglas Brown basketball tournaments on Monday to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s birthday.

On the sports schedule today, Osceola Middle school visits Pemayetv Emahakv for girls and boys hoops at 4:30, Moore Haven high school girls will host Glades Central at 5:30.  OHS boys’ basketball will host Treasure Coast with JV at 5:30 and varsity at 7 pm.  OHS boys’ soccer competes in districts at South Fork against Suncoast at 5 pm.

Charles Murphy News 1/18

News Cast for January 18th:

On the roads, two were killed working for Florida Power and Light south of Lake Okeechobee on Saturday.  Troopers say the dirt road the work truck was driving on gave way, and the truck overturned into a canal.  Killed were 45 year old Christopher Garcia and 36 year old Nichoals Pflaum of South Florida.

A 92 year old Sebring woman died early Saturday in a crash on route 721 in Fort Basinger.  Florence Normandin of Sebring was a passenger in a Chrysler sedan that failed to stop at the stop sign at US 98, drove through the intersection and struck an oak tree.  88 year old Renald Normandin was in serious condition at Highlands Regional.

The Florida Supreme Court Friday refused to halt the execution of Cary Michael Lambrix for a double murder in Glades County.  Another hearing is planned on February 2nd to decide if the Hurst case applies to all Florida death penalty cases.  The Hurst decision by the US Supreme court ruled the Florida system of applying the death penalty was unconstitutional because judges make the final say in imposing the death sentence.

A sickly  young bob cat was found last week and is being treated at Arnolds Wildlife Center in Okeechobee.  It is being fed and taught survival skills.  Martin county authorities found the sick cat near Palm City and speculate the bobcat may have been kept in captivity.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Junior holiday was celebrated Saturday with a parade through downtown Okeechobee and a program in Flagler Park.  More events are held today at the Douglas Brown school including a men’s basketball tournament.

Florida teachers flocked to Tallahassee last week to protest high stakes testing.  The Florida Education Association planned the rally to show growing dissatisfaction against the testing program in the Sunshine State.  Organizers say students are no longer the primary concern in the education system and the testing program prevents students from learning the skills they need.

PB Fatal 1-16-16 US-27 Dirt Road FP&L

Battle Big O Buggie show 2016

Warrant Issued for Registered Felon for Capital Sexual Battery

Sports Cast for January 18th:

Eau Gallie jumped out to an 11 point lead in the first quarter and then held off Okeechobee 52-48 in high school boy’s basketball on Friday.  Demetrius Clark gave Okeechobee a one point lead with a steal and bucket in the final 30 seconds but the Commodores would score five points in the final 15 seconds to win.

Anthony Santiago’s tough baseline jumper behind the backboard gave Eau Gallie the lead 49-48 and Okeechobee turned the ball over leading to a three point play on a fast break to decide the game.

Coach Demetre Riles said the team fought hard in the second half. Clark led Okeechobee with 16 points and Shaquoy Ferrol added 13 points battling leg injuries in the second half.

D Riles Postgame after loss to Eau Gallie

Eau Gallie also won the junior varsity contest.

On the sports schedule today, girls basketball will host Port St. Lucie with JV at 5:30 and varsity at 7 pm.

Florida Forest Service Provides 10,000 Free Trees to Florida Homeowners

Florida Forest Service Provides 10,000 Free Trees to Florida Homeowners

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In honor of Florida’s Arbor Day, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam announced today that the Florida Forest Service is providing 10,000 free trees to Florida homeowners through a partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation’s Energy-Saving Trees Program. Florida’s Arbor Day is held each year on the third Friday in January.

Strategically placed trees can add extra shade to the home and reduce household electrical use by up to 30 percent. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a single healthy, young tree can provide the same net cooling effect as ten room-sized air conditioners operating 20 hours per day. In addition to providing energy savings, trees provide other benefits such as cleaner air and improved storm water management.

Florida homeowners can reserve their free tree today at arborday.org/FloridaTrees. Within seconds of accessing the website, an online tool helps homeowners find the most strategic location for planting and estimates the annual savings and benefits that will result from the tree. Homeowners may reserve one tree per household. The program will continue until all the trees have been reserved.

The Energy-Saving Trees online tool was created by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Davey Institute, a division of the Davey Tree Expert Co., and uses peer-reviewed scientific research from the U.S. Forest Service’s i-Tree Software to calculate estimated benefits. This program is funded by a grant from the U.S. Forest Service.

The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than one million acres of public forest land while protecting 26 million acres of homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire.

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

Charles Murphy News 1/15

News Cast for January 15th:

Okeechobee city council a professional engineer, Culpepper and Terpening to move ahead with plans for the Taylor Creek Centennial Park Project. The city would like to see construction complete in the next 18 months. The plans include a temporary boat dock, boardwalk, fishing platform, canoe and kayak area, chickee huts, picnic areas, a gazebo, a child’s playground and walking paths. So far 3 hundred thousand dollars has been budgeted.

City Administrator Marcos Montes De Oca said the park will be a nice addition to the city. Glades County endorsed a new research center proposed by the University of Florida and the Department of Agriculture for the citrus industry. Organizers hope it’ll find better ways to fight major diseases like canker and citrus greening. Calvin Arnold with the University of Florida predicts it could have a positive impact on the struggling citrus industry. The facility would include 260 acres located on state route 80 at the Hendry Glades County line.  It’ll include a functioning citrus grove. The citrus crop has been reduced by 32 percent in recent years due to these diseases.

FS2016-02 Taxpayers Can Join the Effort to Combat IDT

FS-2016-01 IRS Combats on Identity Theft


Press News Release Robbery Suspects Arrested (2)

Sports Cast for January 15th:

Janel Aponte had 13 points and Taylor Gibson six points, nine rebounds and five steals as Yearling defeated Arch-Rivals Brighton 35-27 in middle school basketball Thursday.

Yearling won for the fourth time this year.

Coach Erin Morrow said her girls didn’t want to lose at the buzzer like they did at Brighton in December.

Erin Morrow and Taylor Gibson on win over PECS

Gibson helped to fuel a 16-2 run in the second quarter for Yearling as they took control.

She said her teammates had their hearts in this game. Julia Smith led Brighton with 14 points.  Amber Mitchell had seven rebounds for Yearling.

Brighton wins the boys game 31-14.  Silas Madrigal had 13 points and nine steals for the Seminoles.  Richard Harris had seven points and 10 rebounds.

Brighton Coach Kevin Jackson said his team played hard on defense. Brendon Trojenowski led Yearling with eight rebounds and two points.

Kevin jackson on PECS win over Yearling

On the sports schedule today, OHS wrestlers take place in a tournament today and Saturday at Martin County high.  OHS girls’ basketball visits Sebastian River at 5:30 and 7.  Boys’ basketball hosts Eau Gallie with JV at 5:30 and varsity to follow.



The opening day of competition for the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event on Lake Okeechobee – which is presented by Power-Pole and hosted by Okeechobee County Tourism – was a textbook example of what a cold front does to Florida bass.  Catching a limit wasn’t the issue, however, connecting with 4- and 5-pound bites was. Peter Cherkas of Des Moines, Iowa, was able to scrounge out a strong limit worth 20 pounds to take a narrow lead over Zach Crider of Tunnel Hill, Ga., by a mere 12 ounces.

With so much water to fish on Okeechobee that virtually all looks like it should hold a 10-pounder, settling in on a certain area and combing it thoroughly can be the best bet for success. Most anglers find an area roughly the size of a few football fields to pick through during tournament hours, while Cherkas dialed in an area big enough to cover with his Power-Poles down.

“When I pulled into my area this morning there were some other boats around it so I stayed off,” says Cherkas. “When the other boats moved out enough that is when I moved in. I dropped my Power-Poles and didn’t touch my trolling motor until 10 a.m.”

Cherkas bucked the trend of fishing slow and worked one area thoroughly to rack up the bulk of his weight by 11 a.m. Due to how tough the tournament is you can understand why he opted to remain tight-lipped about his presentation and type of area he is fishing.

The Iowa pro did unveil that the area he is fishing is something you can pattern. He got one bite from the specific area in practice – an 8-pounder – and spent more time just searching for other places like it. While he succeeded in doing so, he also isn’t too sure if they are as good because he didn’t want to burn his areas up by checking them today.

“I have been down [in Florida] for almost three weeks now,” explains Cherkas. “The fish have moved around so much from day to day and that is my biggest concern. I think I know where they may move to if they pull off of my primary area. It shouldn’t take long to find out if they are still there come tomorrow morning.”


Top 10 pros

1. Peter Cherkas – Des Moines, Iowa – 20 (5)

2. Zach Crider – Tunnel Hill, Ga. – 19-04 (5)

3. Justin Morgan – Okeechobee, Fla. – 18-04 (5)

4. Lavoyd Lemmond – Decatur, Ala. – 17-14 (5)

5. Juan Ruiz – West Palm Beach, Fla. – 17-11 (5)

6. Wayne Christopher – Huntsville, Ala. – 17-08 (5)

7. Joseph Kremer – Osteen, Fla. – 17-03 (5)

8. Chris Johnston – Peterborough, Ontario – 16-14 (5)

9. Jason Lambert – Pickwick Dam, Tenn. – 16-09 (5)

10. Bradford Beavers – Ridgeville, S.C. – 16-04 (5)

10. Glenn Browne – Ocala, Fla. – 16-04 (5)


Senator Denise Grimsley Announces January Mobile Office Hours

Senator Denise Grimsley Announces January Mobile Office Hours

Lake Wales — Senator Denise Grimsley’s (R-Sebring) staff will hold “mobile office hours” during the month of January to assist constituents with state agency concerns and to gather public input on legislative issues.

“In an effort to provide better community access our office is traveling to meet constituents in their community.  This is an opportunity to share their concerns in person,” said Senator Grimsley.

The following are the mobile office hours for Senate District 21:

Okeechobee County Mobile Office hours

 Monday, January 18th

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Okeechobee Chamber of Commerce

55 South Parrott Ave.

Okeechobee, FL  34974

Senator Grimsley Deputy Majority Leader for the 2014-2016 legislative term and represents Senate District 21, which consist of Okeechobee, and parts of Highlands, Martin, Osceola, Polk, and St. Lucie counties. Senator Grimsley served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2004-2012 and was elected to the Senate in 2012.

Commissioner Adam Putnam’s Statement on Passage of House Water Policy Bill

Commissioner Adam Putnam’s Statement on Passage of House Water Policy Bill

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam issued the following statement today regarding the Florida House of Representative’s passage of a key water policy bill, one day after the Florida Senate’s unanimous passage, that will help protect and manage Florida’s water resources:

“After years of hard work, the Florida Legislature has passed meaningful water policy reform that will help tackle Florida’s biggest long-term challenge – water. This legislation will address the needs of our growing population and economy, and it will protect our most precious natural resources. This legislation is a desperately needed step forward that helps protect our water in a long-term, science-based and strategic way.

“I thank the House of Representatives for the passage of this key legislation today. Also, I thank Senator Dean and Representative Caldwell for their tireless commitment to see this legislation across the finish line. Senate President Gardiner and Speaker Crisafulli have demonstrated great leadership in helping achieve Florida’s current and future water needs, and I commended them.”

To help protect and manage Florida’s precious water resources, this legislation, among other things: enhances the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Best Management Practices program, which implements cutting edge-technology and innovative practices to help preserve and protect Florida’s water resources; expedites the protection and restoration of the water flow and water quality in our aquifer and Outstanding Florida Springs; ensures the development and implementation of uniform water supply planning, consumptive water use permitting and resources protection programs for the area within the Central Florida Water Initiative; and modifies water supply and resource planning to provide more robust representations of the state’s water needs and goals.

For more information on the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit FreshFromFlorida.com



~ Eleventh POWERBALL jackpot-winning ticket sold in Florida ~

            TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Lottery announces that a Florida player was one of three nationally to win the record-setting $1.58 billion POWERBALL® jackpot last night.

“We are thrilled to announce that Wednesday night’s drawing produced Florida’s 11th POWERBALL jackpot winner and Florida had more than 2.1 million winning tickets statewide,” said Florida Lottery Secretary Tom Delacenserie. “This series of POWERBALL jackpot rollovers, which began on November 7, 2015, has generated more than $114.6 million for education and created 18 new Florida millionaires.” The Florida Lottery is the second largest-selling lottery in the country and has produced more POWERBALL winners than any other state since joining the game in 2009.

The winning numbers were 4-8-19-27-34 and the Powerball was 10. The winning ticket was purchased at Publix, located at 3830 Highway A1A in Melbourne Beach. The retailer will receive $100,000 for selling the jackpot-winning ticket.  The Florida winner’s share of the jackpot comes to $528.6 million.

The Florida Lottery POWERBALL jackpot winner has 180 days from the date of the drawing to claim his/her prize. However, to elect the one-time, lump-sum cash payment option, the claim must be filed within 60 days after the winning draw date.

Wednesday night’s POWERBALL drawing also produced 11 $1 million winners, and one $2 million winner in Florida. The winning $2 million POWERBALL ticket was sold at Sav-A-Ton, located at 199 North Country Club Road in Lake Mary. The locations of the eleven $1 million winning POWERBALL tickets are as follows:

  1. Pine Island Chevron, located at 4450 South Pine Island Road in Davie.
  2. Big Boss Stores, located at 671 Highway 98 East in Destin.
  3. 7-Eleven, located at 4490 Weston Road in Davie.
  4. Winn Dixie, located at 2778 North Roosevelt Boulevard in Key West.
  5. Publix, located at 7780 113th Street in Seminole.
  6. FCE, located at 7006 Palmetto Circle North in Boca Raton.
  7. Indo Pak Curry Spices, located at 18901 Southwest 106th Avenue in Cutler Bay.
  8. Tahir Enterprise, located at 840 Northwest 183rd Street in Miami.
  9. Publix, located at 133 North Congress Avenue in Boynton Beach.
  10. Zephyrhills Radiant Food Store, located at 6512 Gall Boulevard in Zephyrhills.
  11. Orion Gas, located at 10301 Northwest 7th Avenue in Miami.

Florida Lottery contributions represent approximately six percent of the state’s total education budget. Lottery funds are appropriated by the Florida Legislature and are administered by the Florida Department of Education.


The Florida Lottery is responsible for contributing more than $29 billion to education and sending more than 725,000 students to college through the Bright Futures Scholarship Program. The Florida Lottery reinvests 97 percent of its revenue back into Florida’s economy through prize payouts, commissions to more than 13,000 Florida retailers and transfers to education. Since 1988, Florida Lottery games have paid more than $48.5 billion in prizes and made more than 1,800 people millionaires. For more information, please visit www.flalottery.com.

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