Local News

Charles Murphy News 11/26

News Cast for November 26th:

Florida’s fish and wildlife lifted the ban on silencers for game hunting this month. Hunters can now muffle their shots when hunting deer, gray squirrels, rabbits, wild turkey, quail and crows. 32 other states allow noise suppressors, Florida already allowed suppressors on shotguns, and on private land when hunting hogs.

The State Attorney General announced Tuesday the arrest of Nancy Zeigler, the former Executive Director of the Okeechobee Rehabilitation Facility on Medicaid fraud charges. It’s claimed that Ziegler billed Medicaid for 34 thousand dollars in treatments that was never provided. Zeiger was released on 10 thousand dollars bail after turning herself in on the warrant. The state alleges Ziegler billed for adult day care, transportation and respite care that did not happen.

The highway patrol urging motorists to take it easy and give themselves more time as they travel on this Thanksgiving holiday. It is traditionally one of the busiest travel times of the year. All available troopers will be on the road to crack down on speeders, reckless and aggressive drivers and driving while impaired.

31 year old David Sherrod was charged with fleeing and eluding police, driving while license suspended, resisting arrest and reckless driving after a short chase with deputies in the Douglas Park neighborhood Monday night. The chase ended when Sherrod went off North East 9th avenue and struck a drainage culvert. He was captured by a Sheriffs K-9 shortly afterward.

42 year old Daniel Teague of Lorida was charged with battery, false imprisonment, child cruelty and tampering with evidence.

Highlands County deputies say Teague threw a wrench at his girlfriend during an argument with children around.

Sports Cast for November 26th:

Brahman basketball kept the game competitive in the first half but ultimately lost to Martin County last night 74-46 to fall to (0-4) on the season. Demetrius Clark had 11 points and Lashawn Mosley added 10 points for the Brahmans. Stefan Noel led the Tigers with 19 points, Burnate Martin added 15 points. Brahman Coach Demetre Riles said he felt his team took a step forward in this game.

Mosley gave the Brahmans an inside presence in the first half before getting into foul trouble. He too thinks the young Brahmans will continue to improve throughout the season.

The Brahman JV lost 65-51.

There are no sports on the schedule today due to the Thanksgiving holidays


Arrive Alive This Thanksgiving Weekend


~ Giving Thanks for Safe Driving! ~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –Thanksgiving weekend is traditionally one of the busiest travel times of the year. More than two million Floridians are expected to travel this weekend, meaning drivers will need to take extra care on Florida’s roadways. During the long holiday weekend, the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), along with reserve and auxiliary troopers, will be on the roadways to assist with the increased traffic and to help ensure safe travel, Nov. 26–30.

“The Florida Highway Patrol wishes everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday,” said Col. David Brierton, director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “The Patrol is committed to making Florida’s roadways safer by putting more troopers on the road during this busy travel period. Drive safely, drive sober, protect yourself and your loved ones by buckling up every time you get in a vehicle.”

During the 2013 Thanksgiving holiday period, law enforcement agencies statewide worked 4,773 crashes. Tragically, 35 motorists lost their lives and almost half of those were not wearing seatbelts.

FHP reminds drivers to obey the speed limit, although traffic congestion and weather conditions may require driving more slowly. Keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your mind on driving. The public is encouraged to report aggressive or impaired drivers by dialing *FHP (*347). And remember to check traffic conditions before you leave for your trip. For more information, real time traffic conditions and additional travel information, visit: www.flhsmv.gov/fhp/traffic.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles provides highway safety and security through excellence in service, education and enforcement. The Department is leading the way to a safer Florida through the efficient and professional execution of its core mission: the issuance of driver licenses, vehicle tags and titles and operation of the Florida Highway Patrol. To learn more about DHSMV and the services offered, visit www.flhsmv.gov, follow us on YouTube at FLHSMV, Instagram at FLHSMV, Twitter @FLHSMV or find us on Facebook.

OHS girl’s basketball Fort Pierce Central WP

OHS girl’s basketball Fort Pierce Central WP

By Charles M. Murphy

Okeechobee News

Savannah Houle had 16 points and Dakira Lawrence added 12 points as the Fort Pierce Cobras defeated Okeechobee 73-54 in a foul plagued contest Monday night at Okeechobee High school.

The Lady Cobras shot 42 free throws in the first half alone and Okeechobee had four girls foul out in the contest.

Fort Pierce improved to (4-3) while Okeechobee fell to (1-6).

Taylor Trent led Okeechobee with 22 points as she shot (8-20) from the field. Cheyenne Nunez had a strong game as well with 19 points. Trent and Nunez shot a combined (14-32) while the rest of the Lady Brahmans shot (3-27).

The first half was competitive as the Lady Cobras took a 15-14 lead after the first quarter. Trent had two threes, Nunez a three pointer and three free throws and Shytria Ash added a bucket inside to keep the Lady Brahmans in the game.

The Cobras outscored Okeechobee 18-7 in the second quarter as Nunez went to the bench with three fouls and they continued to get free visits to the charity stripe. The Cobras led 33-21 at the break.

Cobras Coach Sophia Witherspoon said her team was very disciplined in the first half as they constantly attacked the basket and followed the game plan.   She said things changed a little after halftime, “In the second half we went away from our game plan and got a little complacent. Okeechobee doesn’t have a lot of experience but I think they’ll be very good in the future.”

Okeechobee played another strong quarter in the third as they only outscored by one point, 20-19. The Cobras got the ball inside and got a lot of easy buckets against the foul plagued Brahmans. Trent and Nunez continued to hit some fast break points and a few outside jumpers to keep OHS in the game.

Okeechobee was able to cut the lead to seven points on two occasions in the fourth quarter, the last at 53-46. The Cobras then finished off the game with a (20-8) run.

Witherspoon said when her girls were disciplined and patient and ran plays from their system, they were rewarded, “For the most part we have to be disciplined. We really stress that with the girls. For the most part were glad to come out of here with a win but we still have a lot of work to do.”

Ash had five points and nine rebounds, Baylee Farless pulled down seven rebounds, and Sha’Dajia Williams had five points and five rebounds for OHS.

Future home games for the Lady Brahmans include dates with South Fork on December 3, Port St. Lucie on December 11th and Jensen Beach on December 15th.

Charles Murphy News 11/25

News Cast for November 25th:

Roger McWaters won the man of the year award in agriculture at the Farm City week luncheon last week, the OHS Agriculture teacher has worked 32 years getting many in our community educated about the agriculture community and how it works.

McWaters says good soil, varying climates and the best technology in the world help to make the United States the leader in agriculture. He said he has enjoyed his career teaching in Okeechobee. Brandon McKee was the guest speaker for the luncheon sponsored by the Kiwanis Club and Area Ag Council. He is the president of the Florida FFA this year.

Joe Arnold was re-elected as the chairman of the Okeechobee county school board at their reorganization meeting last week. Malissa Morgan was named Vice Chair. Arnold says he thinks the district is having a strong year with their main goals to improve test scores and student grades.

Among arrests, 31 year old David Sherrod was charged with fleeing and attempting to elude police, resisting arrest and reckless driving after a short chase with deputies in Douglas Park. Sherrod suffered minor injury when the vehicle left North East 9th Avenue and struck a storm drain. He fled on foot but was located nearby by a K-9 unit.

17th district congressman Tom Rooney will hold a round table meeting with members of the cattle industry in Okeechobee tomorrow morning at the Okeechobee Chamber of Commerce building.

Sports Cast for November 25th:

Savannah Houle had 16 points and Dakira Lawrence added 12 as Fort Pierce Central defeated Okeechobee 73-54 in girls’ basketball action last night. Okeechobee had four girls foul out in the game and the Lady Cobras shot 42 free throws in the first half alone. Taylor Trent had 22 points and Cheyenne Nunez added 19 points for Okeechobee. Cobras Coach Sophia Witherspoon says her team took what Okeechobee gave them at the charity stripe.

Okeechobee pulled to within 7 points twice in the fourth quarter but got no closer in the game as they fell to (1-6) on the season.

Moore Haven girls’ basketball defeated Hialeah Education Academy 49-2 Monday and lost to Marco Island 55-40 on Friday. The boys’ team defeated Hialeah Education Foundation 33-25 and lost to Marco Island 60-58.

Brahman boys’ soccer lost at South Fork last night 1-0.

On the sports schedule tonight, Brahman boy’s hoops host Martin County with JV at 5:30 and varsity at 7 pm.

Gov. Scott Announces Interim Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections

Gov. Scott Announces Interim Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Scott announced the interim appointment of Tim Cannon as Interim Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections. Cannon will become Interim Secretary upon the retirement of Secretary Mike Crews on November 30, 2014.

Governor Scott said, “Sec. Crews has worked hard to make Florida communities safer, and we appreciate his service to the state. Tim Cannon has served at the Department of Corrections for over two decades, and his experience will provide the Department with the leadership necessary for keeping families and our correctional officers safe.”

Tim Cannon currently serves as Deputy Secretary for the Florida Department of Corrections. Previously, Cannon served as Assistant Secretary of Institutions in December of 2011, the Director of Institutions for Region I, and Director of Institutions for Region II in 2009. From 2006 to 2009, Cannon served as Warden at Hardee Correctional Institution and Reception Medical Center (RMC). From 2003 to 2006 he served as Assistant Warden at Charlotte Correctional Institution.

Corps to increase target flows from Lake Okeechobee to Caloosahatchee

Corps to increase target flows from Lake Okeechobee to Caloosahatchee


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will adjust the target flows to the Caloosahatchee River as part of its efforts to enhance fish and wildlife at Lake Okeechobee.

Beginning Friday (Nov. 21), the new target flow to the Caloosahatchee Estuary is a 14-day average of 1,200 cubic feet per second (cfs) as measured at W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam (S-79) near Fort Myers.  Runoff that accumulates in the Caloosahatchee River (C-43) west of Moore Haven will continue to be allowed to pass through the structure.

The target flow for the St. Lucie Estuary is unchanged at 0 cfs as measured at the St. Lucie Lock & Dam near Stuart.  However, local basin runoff that accumulates in the St. Lucie Canal (C-44) will continue to be allowed to pass through the spillway as necessary.

“The lake has been above 15.5 feet for the past six weeks,” said Lt. Col. Tom Greco, Jacksonville District Deputy Commander for South Florida. “This slight increase of 200 cfs to the Caloosahatchee will help return the lake to its preferred range which will benefit the lake’s ecology.”

Today, the lake stage is 15.56 feet.  It is currently in the Operational Low Sub-Band (but within 1 foot of Intermediate Sub-Band) as defined by the 2008 Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS).  Under current conditions, LORS authorizes the Corps to discharge 3,000 cfs to the Caloosahatchee and 1,170 cfs to the St. Lucie.

For information on water level and flows data for Lake Okeechobee, visit the Jacksonville District water management website page at


Charles Murphy News 11/24

News Cast for November 24th:

Okeechobee unemployment dropped from 7.7 to 7.2 percent in October with 1,296 collecting benefits, nearly 1 hundred fewer than September. Glades County reported a rate of 7.4 percent, down one half of a percent from September. 367 people collected benefits. Around the region, Hendry County had the highest rate in the state at 10.5 percent; Hardee was 7.7 percent, Highlands 7.3 percent, and St. Lucie 7.1 percent. Crime rates were down 15 percent in Glades County during the first six months of the year. 92 total crimes were reported including 22 assaults and 46 larceny crimes.

Arrests were up a bit with 228 adults arrested in Glades County, 34 of them drug cases.

Okeechobee saw a near 18 percent reduction in crimes reported, 674. There were 11 robberys, six forcible rapes, 72 aggravated assaults, 137 burglaries and 415 larceny crimes.

Arrests dropped in Okeechobee from 11 hundred and 26 to 9 hundred and 71 according to the FDLE, there were 1 hundred and 85 arrests on drug charges and 44 DUI’s.

In the courts, 26 year old Jose Gamez of Okeechobee was sentenced to 6 months in the St. Lucie County jail and three years’ probation for running over a bar patron at the Guadalajara Nightclub on Delaware Avenue in Fort Pierce. The victim, Jaimez Perez was knocked unconscious by the Cadillac Escalade and suffered a compound fracture of his leg.

37 year old Melissa Masters of Indiantown was charged with fraudulent use of a credit card and grand theft,

A Hollywood woman has looked for her lost dog for 7 days near the Fort Drum Service Plaza in Okeechobee after the dog became scared by a hit and run driver.   Lucy Feiler has stopped for a bathroom break last Tuesday when the accident occurred. The Chevy Camaro suffered heavy damage, the couples puppy was injured and their adult dog was missing, Sadie a Shepherd Chow mix, escaped through a window. A reward is offered and a Facebook page set up for the missing dog.

The Florida highway patrol is investigating this crash.

Sports Cast for November 24th:

Chris Epps scored 12 points in a losing cause as the Brahmans fell at home to Fort Pierce Westwood 74-45 to fall to (0-3) on the season Friday. The Panthers took a 36-17 halftime lead. Christian Smith had 8 points and 6 rebounds for Okeechobee.

In the high school football playoffs Cocoa defeated Clewiston 26-21, Miami Washington defeated Glades Central 35-7 and Glades Day defeated Jupiter Christian 41-0. The Gators advance to the state semifinals this weekend against Indian Rocks Christian.

Lady Brahman basketball grabbed a win in their last home game, 42-32 to improve to (1-5).

Taylor Trent had 17 points and Cheyenne Nunez added 11 points and 7 steals.

Coach Joe Smith said this should help the girls moving forward. Sha’Dajia Williams had eight rebounds and nine steals for Okeechobee. Trent said the girls should have more confidence due to this win.

On the sports schedule today boys’ soccer travels to South Fork, JV at 4:30 and varsity at 6:30 tonight. Girls’ basketball will host Fort Pierce Central at 6 pm.

Charles Murphy News 11/21

News Cast for November 21st:

The Florida highway patrol was wondering why a 1997 Mazda wound up in a Moore Haven canal near the Caloosahatchee River Thursday.

Troopers say the vehicle was south west on Gulf Street stopped at the intersection of West Avenue, then proceeded to depart the roadway and enter the canal at about 6:15 yesterday. The driver fled the scene and is still being sought.

Okeechobee city council this week honored Brian Padgett for 15 years of service to the public works department. They proclaimed this week as Farm City week and November 16th as retired educators day. They also approved a bid with Auto Nation Chrysler Dodge to purchase 12 new Dodge chargers for the police department at just fewer than 22 thousand dollars apiece.

Terry Burroughs took the oath of office as the latest Okeechobee county commissioner Thursday. Retired Judge Bill Hendry also gave the oath of office to re-elected commissioner Bryant Culpepper.   Frank Irby was re-elected by his colleagues as chairman of the board and Culpepper Vice Chairman.

The commission also will send out request for proposals for developers interested in running or operating the Okee Tantie Campground and Marina.

Commissioners proclaimed November 29th as Small Business Saturday and set a December 2nd workshop meeting at 7 pm to discuss regulations at county cemeteries.

The Board opted not to take over OCRA football and baseball as a county program and urged the group to reorganize and become more efficient. They will work on a facility use agreement with OCRA for the use of the sports complex.

Glades Co SR 78

Sports Cast for November 21st:

Brock Miller had 20 points and Elliott Zirwas added 16 points as John Carroll hit 33 free throws last night and defeated Okeechobee, 59-52 in boys’ basketball action. Demetrius Clark had 16 points and eight rebounds to lead the Brahmans, who fell to (0-2). Rams Coach Jimmy Hebb said his team pounded the ball inside and got easy shots and free throws. John Carroll jumped out to an early 13-4 lead. Okeechobee cut a 19 point fourth quarter lead to seven in the final minutes.

Jimmy Hebb on John Carroll win

Brahman Coach Demetre Riles says the Rams wanted the ball inside and didn’t do anything special. Bubba Fludd had nine points and six steals for Okeechobee.

Demetre Riles on loss to John Carroll

The Brahman junior varsity team defeated John Carroll 49-25. Janavious Futch had 18 points. The JV also defeated Immokalee this week 63-36. Futch had 17 points, Addiel Zamaro 15 and Joseph Benjamin 14 points in that victory.

Yearling boys’ basketball lost at Gifford last night, 59-22.

Brahman boys soccer lose 2-1 at Lincoln Park Academy, the Junior Varsity prevails 8-2.

The sports schedule tonight includes OHS boys’ basketball hosting Westwood at 6 pm for JV and varsity at 7:30 pm. Moore Haven boys and girls hoops visit Marco Island at 4:30 and 6 pm. Moore Haven boys’ soccer hosts West Glades today at 4 pm.

Charles Murphy News 11/20

News Cast for November 20th:

Tracy Downing was named the new principal at south elementary effective December 1st. Mike Radebaugh was reassigned as a teacher at the freshman campus for the remainder of the year. Superintendent of School Ken Kenworthy praised the job Radebaugh did but said he wanted an expert in curriculum and classroom teaching that could improve the schools FCAT scores. The school has been forced to add an hour of additional instruction this year. Downing says she has always enjoyed teaching at the elementary level but will also miss her job at the district office. Downing says she wants to get into the classroom and see the teachers in action and said the school isn’t defined by bad test scores but how they respond and their professionalism.

Tracy Downing on south principal job

The Florida highway patrol looking for a hit and run driver that damaged the gate arm at the railroad crossing on state road 78 at Tobias Road in Glades County early Wednesday. The vehicle was hauling a trailer and headed north bound toward Lakeport after the incident.

The Fish and Wildlife commission found the body of 62 year old Matthew Jensen of Boynton Beach on Lake Okeechobee late Tuesday. He had been missing since Sunday when his boat was found near Rardin Park in Pahokee.

Sports Cast for November 20th:

Girls’ soccer defeated Westwood for their first win of the season, 3-1 last night. Hannah Raulerson and Marisol Solis had goals for Okeechobee. Coach Lori Harper Kyle said the girls played much better on both ends of the field and gave her a good effort on the field. Raulerson dribbled alone from the mid field line to score and give Okeechobee a 2-0 lead in the first half.

She said the cold weather gave her adrenaline and her teammates really responded with a strong effort. Trudy Walker had 19 points and Antonette Booth added 17 points as Fort Pierce Westwood blew out Okeechobee, 59-10 in girls high school basketball last night.

Lori Harper-Kyle and Hannah Raulerson on soccer win over FPW

Trudy Walker on win over Chobee

Okeechobee had 42 turnovers in the contest due to aggressive, hard defense by the Panthers. Walker says that is what they are coached to do. Shytria Ash led Okeechobee with four points and six rebounds. Okeechobee won the Junior varsity contest 20-15.

Yearling girls’ hoops open the season with a 34-7 loss to Sebastian Middle. Sha’Myra Williams had four points. Osceola boys hoops lost to Oslo 52-20, Evan Neal led the Warriors with 12 points.

On the sports schedule today, Lady Brahman basketball hosts John Carroll at 6 pm. Boys’ basketball plays John Carroll at home too, the JV at 4:30 and the varsity around 7:30 pm. Yearling basketball visits Gifford at 4:30. Osceola basketball visits Sebastian Middle at 4:30. Brahman boys’ soccer visits Lincoln Park with JV at 5 and varsity at 7. Moore Haven boys’ hoops visit Imagine school in North Port and boys’ soccer visits First Baptist at 7 pm while girls’ soccer hosts First Baptist tonight at 5 pm.

Gov. Scott: Florida businesses created 32,000 private-sector jobs in October

Gov. Scott: Florida businesses created 32,000 private-sector jobs in October

Unemployment rate Drops from 6.1 to 6.0 Percent

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Governor Rick Scott today announced that Florida’s private-sector businesses added 32,000 jobs in October 2014. Florida’s annual job growth rate has exceeded the nation’s rate since April 2012. Florida’s statewide unemployment rate in October was 6.0 percent, down 0.1 percentage point from last month and down 0.7 percentage point from the October 2013 rate of 6.7 percent.

Governor Rick Scott said, “Today’s announcement that Florida has added 32,000 private-sector jobs is great news as we continue our work to ensure that every Floridian who wants a job can get one. Since December 2010, Florida has added 679,000 private-sector jobs, and it is clear that we are succeeding in creating an opportunity economy that supports families.”

Since December 2010, Florida’s unemployment rate has dropped 5.1 percentage points, from 11.1 percent down now to 6.0 percent in October 2014. Florida’s unemployment rate has declined or held steady over the month for 47 of the last 50 months.

Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Jesse Panuccio said, “As the state’s primary economic indicators continue to improve month after month, Florida is showing the nation that low tax, pro-growth policies make a difference for families. The 32,000 new private-sector jobs, the 268,000 job openings, and an unemployment rate down to 6.0 percent mean that Florida is getting back to work.”

Florida’s labor force increased over the month and over the year in October. On an annual basis, Florida’s labor force has increased for 56 consecutive months. This economic indicator can be a sign of optimism as more people are entering the labor force with confidence in their prospects for finding employment. The labor force is defined as the sum of employment plus unemployment (those with a job and those without a job but actively seeking work).

The long-term positive trends in the unemployment rate and job counts are among the most important economic indicators to consider when analyzing the health of Florida’s economic recovery. The state’s private-sector job counts have been steadily on the rise for over four years, showing that Florida’s businesses are responding to the state’s improving economic climate. Since December 2010, the state has added 679,000 private-sector jobs.


More Floridians Getting Back to Work

  • Florida’s annual job growth rate has exceeded that of the nation since April 2012.
  • Florida’s private sector job growth month-to-month has been positive for 44 of the last 47 months.
  • Florida has created 679,000 new private sector jobs since December 2010.
  • Florida job postings compiled by the Help Wanted OnLine data series from The Conference Board showed 268,453 openings in October 2014.

Home Sales Robust

  • Home sales remain robust as the backlog of existing homes on the market is down by 34.9 percent from December 2011 (Florida Realtors).
  • Florida median home prices were up 5.9 percent over the year in September 2014.

Workforce Boards Assisting in Employment

  • In October, Florida’s 24 Regional Workforce Boards reported more than 39,300 Floridians were placed in jobs. An individual who receives employment and training assistance through a CareerSource Center and finds a job within 180 days is deemed a placement and may be reported by a regional workforce board. Of these individuals, 8,346 previously received Reemployment Assistance.

In 2013, more than 479,000 Floridians were placed in jobs, with 135,384 former claimants finding employment.

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