Local News

Charles Murphy News 1/31

News Cast for January 31st:

Among arrests, 54 year old Trina Marion of Okeechobee was charged with stealing nearly 5 hundred dollars in clothes and then fighting with store security at a Bealls in Port St. Lucie last week.  One store employee suffered a wrist injury when they fell in the parking lot.

25 year old Manuel Juan of Indiantown was charged with trying to solicit sex from a minor.  An undercover St. Lucie Deputy posing as a teen on Facebook developed the case.  Charges include use of a computer to seduce a child and travel to meet and lure a child.

35 year old Mauricio Garcia-Chaj was charged with aggravated battery with a knife, reportedly chasing after his victim in booker Park with a knife in his hand.

The city of Moore Haven would like to stop vandals at the basketball court.  At the same time residents have complained about lights staying on in the courts all night. Mayor Brett Whidden says some residents will not follow the laws. The city also wants to meet with county animal control to improve service in the city limits.

Florida Immigration advocates have raised concerns over a travel ban and plans to build a wall between Mexico and the United States. Francesca Menes of the Florida Immigrant coalition predicts it won’t create jobs and will hurt our agriculture industry. The border wall could cost in the neighborhood of 20 billion dollars.

Sports Cast for January 31st:

South Fork defeated Okeechobee in the Girls’ Basketball District Tournament. Monday night 73-49. Freshman point guard Daisy Galarza had 15 points for the Bulldogs. South Fork Coach Nicole Smith said her point guard made it all happen. Senior Forward Rodesha Clemon added 14 for South Fork Alkeecia Clayton and Raylee Matthews each had 10 points for Okeechobee. Okeechobee finished the season at 16-9.

Moore Haven girls basketball lost in the first round of districts, 70-45 to South West Florida Christian.

Aleina Micco had 19 points and Sunni Bearden 15 points for the Lady Terriers.

On the sports schedule today, Brahman boys basketball hosts Berean Christian with JV at 5:30 and varsity to follow.


Charles Murphy News 1/27

News Cast for January 27th:

About 35 hundred in damage was done after a fire in an apartment building at 1700 South West 2nd Way early Thursday. County firemen say they encountered light smoke and that the fire started in a bedroom area. No one was injured.

A bill to provide funds for a Lake Okeechobee reservoir south of the lake was filed by State Senator Rob Bradley Thursday. He would use 1.2 billion in Amendment 1 funds to purchase 60 thousand acres and create 360 thousand acre feet of water storage. Drew Bartlett of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection says more storage and cleaning of water must take place north of the Lake.

In the courts, 35-year-old Mark Saunders faces life in prison after his conviction in a home invasion robbery and chase with deputies with ended with shots being fired. Saunders allegedly robbed a former deputy in a home on North West 8th Terrace, stole a vehicle and led police to the Triple S Ranch on route 68. Saunders allegedly rammed into a sheriffs pickup truck before deputies opened fire on him with more than a dozen shots hitting the stolen truck. Saunders was unhurt in the incident.  He was wearing a bullet proof vest he had just stolen.

The Palm Bay man was charged last May with digging a hole in a jail cell wall in an alleged escape attempt.

Among arrests, 32 year old Nicole Vidal and 36 year old Alex Vidal face marijuana and methamphetamine related charges after a traffic stop.  Nicole was also wanted on a failure to appear warrant for an alleged chase with deputies on December 29th.  She was charged with battery on law enforcement for allegedly spitting on a jailer.

35 year old Howard Clendenin was charged with felony child abuse when a two year old child wandered out of a home on South East 28th Street and wandered down the street alone on Wednesday.

Neighbors became concerned and dialed 911.

Sports Cast for January 27th:

OHS wrestlers celebrated senior night with a 57-24 victory over Sebastian River. Seniors honored included Drayton Billie, Austin Scee, Logan Lipscomb and Daniel Shelley.

Coach Bruce Jahner says he cherishes the memories with each senior.

Chris Lanning had the best match of the night as he defeated Dylan Roy at 113 pounds, 6-5, with a late take down. Lanning says he wanted to do well for his mom and home crowd.

Okeechobee girls’ basketball walloped Moore Haven last night 70-38 to end the year with 16 victories.

Raeley Matthews had 31 points inside, her career high

Aleina Micco had 14 points for Moore Haven who fell to (10-11) on the year.

Girls districts begin on Monday.

Sports this weekend include boys basketball hosting Moore Haven with JV at 6 and varsity to follow,

OHS JV wrestlers hare at a tournament at Port St. Lucie on Saturday.


Charles Murphy News 1/26

News Cast for January 26th:

Vanessa Huerta took home the school related employee of the year award from Okeechobee schools. Huerta is a paraprofessional who helps Seminole elementary kids with their reading and math skills. She says Seminole’s staff is working hard to improve the school grade and this award should help

Other employees nominated this year included Melissa Brewer of Yearling, Sonya Smith of Osceola, Misty Raulerson from Transportation, Lisa Coyne Thomas from Central, Erica Swant from Everglades, Denise Lopez from North, Andrea Rodriguez from South, Maria Cisneros from Okeechobee High, Donna Dryden from the freshman campus, Frank Tagle from the Okeechobee Achievement Academy and Chris Lawrence from the district office.

Okeechobee county commissioners debated the size of a new public works complex at their meeting Tuesday.

They would possible reduce the size of the office building from 5 thousand to 36 hundred square feet and reduce conference and meeting areas.  The estimated cost of the building is 1 point 2 million.

Permits for a culvert and entrance road to use at the Okeechobee Music Festival in March are expected to be approved Friday.  The promoter would like to bring 40 thousand fans this year to keep the event solvent.  So far the county has agreed to 30 thousand.

Sports Cast for January 26th:

Okeechobee rebounded from a tough loss with a 70-60 home win last night over Lincoln Park in boys’ high school basketball. Zachary Kielbasa hit six three pointers for 18 points, one shy of the school record. He said it was a great effort by his team.

Coach Demetre Riles said his team lost Tuesday because they didn’t play together.  He said there will be no repeat performance.

Shaquoy Ferrol had 20 and Demetrius Clark 16 points for Okeechobee.

The junior varsity also prevailed.

Yearling boys basketball overcame Osceola 32-23.  Daniel Salazar had nine points and Josh Suarez eight points for the Bulls. Coach Luke Borcharding said he didn’t have to motivate his team for this win.

Jerome Roundtree had seven points and six rebounds for Osceola.

On the sports schedule today.  Lady Brahman basketball host Moore Haven at 6 pm for senior night.  Osceola basketball will host Oslo at 4:30 and 5:45 pm

Moore Haven middle school basketball visits Clewiston at 5 pm.


Charles Murphy News 1/25

News Cast for January 25th:

Jenny Sant Angelo was named the Teacher of the Year for Okeechobee Schools. She teaches verifying exceptionality students from sixth to eighth grade at Yearling Middle School. She is a product of Okeechobee schools and wanted to be like her mother Patty, who was a teacher here.

Other nominees this year include Kasey McKane of the freshman campus, Karen Carrier of Okeechobee High, Joseph Szentmartoni of Okeechobee Achievement Academy, Jennifer Burk of South, Sonya Smith of Osceola, Cassie Peaden of Seminole, Sherry Conrad from District programs, Tina Newberry of North, Melissa Brady of Everglades and Nicole Tribble of Central Elementary.

County Commissioners Tuesday:

  • Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Director John Gurney reported 12 point 6 million in new business growth last year.
  • Voted to provide $2,000 to help place two historical markers at the Battle of Okeechobee State Park pursued by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
  • The county intends to request a grant to expand the terminal building at the airport. 6 hundred thousand in federal dollars are due to the airport from the Federal Aviation Commission.
  • A taxiway extension to allow more corporate planes, an apron expansion, a parking lot expansion and additional t-hangars are planned in the airport five year plan.
  • Okeechobee city police promoted Justin Bernst to Lieutenant.
  • City council also will hold a February 7th public hearing to consider a change from industrial to heavy commercial to allow an outdoor shed business at 702 North Parrott Avenue.
  • The city recently received 363 thousand dollars worth of grants to help with the development of Centennial Park this year.

Sports Cast for January 25th:

Okeechobee’s hopes for another regional berth this year took a hit last night as they fell to the Sebastian River Sharks 59-46. The Sharks went on a 16-2 run in the first half and led by at least 12 for the entire second half. Shaquoy Ferrol led Okeechobee with 19 points. Sebastian used balanced scoring with three Sharks in double figures.

Point Guard Willie Mosley says it was defense that won the game. Okeechobee won the junior varsity game.

Okeechobee boys soccer lost in the first round of districts to Dwyer 4-2 ending their season.

Yearling girls basketball used defense to stifle Osceola yesterday 18-9. Forward Junae Davis had seven rebounds and three steals, she says the team played well together.

Coach Erin Perman says the Bulls really played well defensively

On the sports schedule today.

  • OHS wrestlers host Sebastian River for senior night at 6:30 pm
  • OHS girls basketball visits Inlet Grove at 6 pm.
  • OHS boys basketball will host Lincoln Park at Osceola with JV at 5:30 and varsity at 7 pm

Charles Murphy News 1/24

News Cast for January 24th:

Four homes were saved after a wild fire in Viking on Saturday. High winds spread the blaze to 66 acres. Okeechobee County Firemen say one vehicle and out outbuilding were destroyed and one out building was damaged. Osceola county and the Florida Forest Service also assisted.

Another Ford Dually truck was stolen this time on North East 17th Lane in Spot in the Sun on Saturday. A 45 caliber pistol was also inside the truck.

Among arrests, 57 year old Walter Jackson was charged with trafficking in hydromorphone and marijuana possession after a raid on Jacks Camp in Douglas Park Friday.  Narcotics officers made three arrests.    Over 1 hundred and 30 pills that weighed 15 grams were allegedly seized.

Another search at the address led to the arrest of 36 year old Sherry Daniels on three felony charges.

23 year old Juan Ibarra was charged with selling powder cocaine to narcotics officers in November and December.  He was charged with selling cocaine near Lock 7.  His bond was 1 hundred and 1 thousand.

Deputies also seized 1260 dollars from the suspects home.

City police arrest 29 year old Amber Thiboult on charges of trafficking in oxycodone after a traffic stop on South parrott Avenue Saturday.  City police were investigating the report of a shop lifting complaint.    They say they found 61 oxycodone pills in the vehicle.

County firemen put out a shed and boat fire at 3346 North West 29th Avenue in Basswood on Friday night. 4 thousand dollars in damage was done. No one was injured in the fire.

Sports Cast for January 24th:

Girls basketball rolled over Port St. Lucie last night 61-40 for their 14th win on the season.  Port St. Lucie falls to (3-12). Sophomore Kiara Hardy has been making improvements in the backcourt for the Brahmans. She said she notices the improvement

Bubba Fludd was named all-state in football first team defense and Jarrett Mills was named honorable mention as place kicker and punter by Florida sports writers in Class 6A.

On the sports schedule today.

Boys basketball will host Sebastian River with JV at 5:30 and varsity at 7 pm

Yearling basketball will host Osceola with girls hoops at 4:30 and boys at 5:45 pm

Pemayetv Emahakv will travel to Clewiston Middle School with games at 4:30 and 5:45.


Charles Murphy News 1/23

News Cast for January 23rd:

5th street pharmacy owner Blair Kuhlewind thanked the city police department for arresting suspects from an armed robbery at the pharmacy on December 20th. He said the drug problems are all around us and he blamed a moral decline in the nation. Kuhlewind says more must be done to teach values and morals in Okeechobee.

The city council will consider relaxing a prohibition of hard liquor sales at restaurants on Sundays. The Parrott Island Grille asked for permission. Council member Monica Clark says the city could consider permits on an case by case basis taking into account location. Council requested the city attorney draft some revisions to the ordinance and will take a vote later this year.

A school bus from the 7th day Adventist church in sunrise crashed in Glades County Friday night shutting down US 27 for several hours. 19 childrern were on board the bus.  Six were taken to local hospitals, one with serious injury. The bus driven by 45 year old Thomas Chism of Lauderhill, pulled into the path of three south bound tractor trailers according to the Florida highway patrol.  The bus overturned and one of the trucks burst into flames.  The driver 66 year old Luis Arevaldo of Hialeah escaped unharmed.

A marijuana crop work near 7 milion seized near Lorida Friday night on Bluff Hammock Road.  282 plants that weight over 21 hundred pounds were seized by Highlands County sheriff deputies.  46 year old Frank Delgado Alejo of Hialeah is facing multiple charges.

Sports Cast for January 23rd:

Okeechobee rolled in the second half to their 15th victory of the year, 73-48 over Fort Pierce Westwood in boys high school basketball on Friday. Coach Demetre Riles was not impressed with the play of his team, early in the game. He wants them to be focused from the start.

Riles 1

Demetrius Clark scored his 1 thousand career point early in the game for the Brahmans.  He finished with 16 points.

Clark 1

Clark says the other team was boasting they could beat Okeechobee again after a 10 point win earlier in the year at Westwood.

Shaquoy Ferrol had a game high 27 points.


Commissioner Putnam Urges Support for Prescribed Fire During Prescribed Fire Awareness Week

Commissioner Putnam Urges Support for Prescribed Fire During Prescribed Fire Awareness Week

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.–Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam and the Florida Forest Service urge caution due to increased wildfire danger this spring and encourage support for prescribed fire during Florida’s Prescribed Fire Awareness Week, which is from Jan. 22 through Jan. 28. Prescribed fire is a vital tool used to reduce wildfire risk in Florida.

“We have fortunately avoided severe wildfire seasons in recent years, but Florida is no stranger to the devastating effects of wildfire,” said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, Adam H. Putnam. “Dry conditions are forecasted for this spring so it is more important than ever to support measures, such as prescribed fire, that reduce wildfire risk and protect the public.”

Prescribed fire uses slow-moving, low-grade fire to reduce the brush and overgrowth that would otherwise serve as fuel for a dangerous wildfire. By using prescribed fire in an area that poses a high wildfire risk, a future wildfire in the same area will be less intense, less dangerous and easier to extinguish. Additionally, prescribed fires return nutrients to the soil, provide better forage for wildlife and livestock, and help control certain plant and tree diseases.

“Although smoke from a nearby prescribed fire may be inconvenient, it is important to remember that this brief inconvenience helps keep potentially life-threatening wildfires at bay,” said Jim Karels, Florida State Forester. “The safety of residents, visitors and wildland firefighters is our top priority when conducting or authorizing prescribed fires.”

The Florida Forest Service oversees the most active prescribed burning program in the nation. In an average year, the Florida Forest Service issues 85,000 prescribed burning authorizations. In addition, there are currently more than 1,600 certified prescribed burn managers in Florida that manage more than 2.3 million acres of agricultural and natural lands annually with prescribed fire.

The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than 1 million acres of state forests and provides forest management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests. The Florida Forest Service is also responsible for protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire on more than 26 million acres. Learn more at FloridaForestService.com.

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


Charles Murphy News 1/20

News Cast for January 20th:

The Okeechobee Utility authority will apply for an historic preservation grant to restore the 1929 Peoples Bank of Okeechobee downtown. They use the building for their business offices. The face was damaged in October by a thunder storm. Architect Tom Hammer told the OUA that the historic preservation grant would cover most of the building

The estimated cost is 1.12 million. If approved the OUA could receive funds in the fall of 2 thousand 18. In the interim they will move ahead with repairs to the outside of the building.

The Sierra Club filed litigation with the Supreme Court challenging Florida power and lights 8 hundred and 11-million-dollar rate hike the public service commission approved last year. The funds will pay for construction of the Okeechobee Clean Energy Center power plant and others around Florida. Spokesperson Nachy Kanfer (Knocky) says they prefer more resources be spent on solar. He says less than 1 percent of power generated in Florida is by solar power.

Deputies looking for a ring of thieves that probably stole two Ford F350 trucks from motel parking lots on 441 south overnight Tuesday.  The trucks also had valuable tools on board which were worth at least 20 thousand dollars.

Sports Cast for January 20th:

Alberto Diaz had two goals, Javier Hernandez had two goals and Jesus Garcia had a goal to lead Okeechobee to a 5-1 victory over Port St. Lucie at senior night last night.

13 seniors were honored after the game as they finish off their high school careers. One of them Alfredo Renteria, says he was glad to see the team improve this year

Diaz, Hernandez and Giovanny Garcia had assists for the Brahmans in their 12th win of the season.

Coach Lonnie Sears said he felt the team was in good shape as they head to districts next week

Okeechobee will play Dwyer Monday at Districts.

Lady Brahman basketball rallied from a nine point second quarter deficit to defeat John Carroll last night.  Center Raeley Matthews was shaken up during a collision in the second half.

On the sports schedule today.OHS boys basketball hosts Westwood with JV at 5:30 and varsity at 7.  OHS JV wrestlers compete in a tournament at Treasure Coast and the varsity at a tournament at Martin County Saturday.


Charles Murphy News 1/19

News Cast for January 19th:

Okeechobee’s graduation rate increased by 2.8 percent to 70.5 percent for the 2 thousand 15-16 school year. The African American graduation rate rose by 42 percent to 82 percent last year. The grad rate for students with disabilities rose 11 percent to 54 percent. Girls were more likely to graduate than boys by a percentage of 75 to 68.

Glades County schools saw a decline from 80 point 7 to 78 point 3 in their graduation rate.  82 percent of females and 73 percent of male students graduated within four years of enrollment.   71 percent of English language learners graduated in Okeechobee and 78 percent in Glades County.

The Okeechobee school board agreed to offer 1 mil of the taxing power for capital projects to the state to sweeten the offer as they attempt to get over 60 million to replace Okeechobee High School.

A 17-year-old bicyclist was hospitalized Tuesday night after being struck by a semi-truck in the 8 hundred block of US 98 north.  Leonardo Gonzales was flown to Lawn wood Regional.

Vandals cut the fence and some locks at the Okeechobee county maintenance facility at 464 US 98 north Tuesday night.  NO items were taken.

A nursing assistant working at Martin Correctional Prison in Indiantown, was charged with sexual misconduct with an inmate. Junia Petit allegedly had sex with convicted killer, 28-year-old Isais Ruiz in a prison medical bathroom in October and November. Ruiz is serving a 20 year sentence for a 2 thousand 11 homicide in Miami Dade County.

7 Okeechobee school book keepers were honored for perfect internal audits this year. Jackie Skinner at Central, Lawren Jones of Seminole, Hilda Medrano of Yearling, Debbie Hill of Osceola, Laura Fonseca of the freshman campus, Jennifer Harden of Okeechobee Achievement Academy and Janet Faulkner of Okeechobee high. The board also honored Carol Bryant who retired after 27 years of service.

Sports Cast for January 19th:

Bubba Fludd won the Offensive MVP and the Golden Helmet for team MVP at this month’s Okeechobee football banquet.

Fludd led the team with 18 touchdowns this year and graduates with the second most touchdowns in school history for a career. He says he didn’t do it alone. The Brahmans tied a school record for wins in a season, 8, and also had the top winning percentage of any Brahman team during the regular season. Fludd says he plans to sign with the University of Southern Mississippi on signing day February 1st.

Brahman boys’ hoops blow out Eau Gallie 73-50 in district basketball last night in Melbourne.

On the sports schedule today, OHS boys soccer hosts Port St. Lucie for senior night at 5 pm.  OHS girls basketball hosts John Carroll at 6 pm.  Osceola middle basketball visits Moore Haven, Yearling basketball visits Oslo and Brighton basketball hosts Clewiston


Blount Speaks To Kiwanis Club About United Way (Audio Included)

Blount Speaks To Kiwanis Club About United Way (Audio Included)

Caption – From left to right: Kiwanis Club member Dowling Watford with United Way of Okeechobee Manager Nick Blount

After a long career at Florida Power and Light, Nick Blount is spending his retirement helping the United Way of Okeechobee. Blount was named the Okeechobee Manager of the United Way late last year. He recently spoke with the Kiwanis club of Okeechobee about what United Way does outside of fund raising. Blount says that the purpose of United Way is to make a difference In the community by collaborating with other Counties and agencies in order to best help all agencies. The United Way of Okeechobee pools their resources with Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties.

Blount says his reasons for taking the manager position are three-fold, he loves Okeechobee, he wanted to help with the end of the year fund raising campaign and to help with the transition into the new United Way House located at 208 North Parrott Avenue.

The Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee is a service club that works to improve the lives of the young in Okeechobee.  The club raises monies for local scholarships, mini-grants for teachers and donates to many local organizations. The Club meets every Thursday at noon in the back room at Lakeside Grill. If are interested in learning more about the Kiwanis Club contact a club member or attend a meeting.

LISTEN TO THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW BY CLICKING THIS LINK (RUN TIME 3:23)


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