Local News

Charles Murphy News 5/3

News Cast for May 3rd:

State lawmakers approved a reservoir for south of Lake Okeechobee.  They will dig deeper a shallow reservoir and create 2 hundred and 40 thousand acre feet of new storage. The state also took away the threat of eminent domain and added economic packages to support the Air Glades Project in Clewiston and an inland port in Western Palm Beach county. Governor Scott plans to tour the state urging lawmakers for 2 hundred million for the Herbert Hoover Dike.

11 horses and a donkey in poor condition were seized from an Indiantown pasture. The Martin County Agriculture crimes unit says the owner is cooperating but could still face charges for animal neglect.

Arrests today include, 35 year old Michael Jacobs charged with accessory after the fact to capital murder in the homicide of Robert Joiner in April.  Bond was 2 hundred and 50 thousand dollars.

31 year old Kristie Brown was charged with child neglect after an 18 month old toddler was found wandering the street along, partially clad, on North East 8th Avenue.  City cops say it’s the second time this has happened.  Brown also tested positive for opioids.

26 year old Antonio Hernandez Suntiz was charged with DUI, resisting arrest and fleeing and attempting to elude law enforcement after a one mile chase on North West 36th Street in Whispering Pines. Suntiz was tased when he didn’t comply with deputies commands.

37 year old Rebecca Byers was charged with escape, resisting arrest and introduction of contraband into the county jail.  Deputies say they tried to serve a violation of probation warrant at the ATC Trailer Park on route 78 Sunday, but Byers slipped out of a bathroom window and led deputies on a foot chase.

Sports Cast for May 3rd:


Alyssa Howard was named the MVP for the OHS swim team this year. Howard says swimming is a big part of her life. Her best events this year were the 50 freestyle and the 200 free style. She said she hopes to see a larger swim team next year

Dalton Murray of Okeechobee was named all-conference catcher for Valdosta State. His batting average of .385 placed him third in the conference, and he ranked among the Gulf South Conferences top ten in slugging percentage (.608, 7th), on base percentage (.454, 5th), RBI’s (43, 8th), doubles (13, 8th), and sacrifice flies (4, 9th).

On the sports schedule today, the OHS baseball team will try again at districts against Martin County after a rainout yesterday.  First pitch on WOKC is 4 pm.

OHS softball will host William T. Dwyer in the Class 7A regionals at 7 pm.

Charles Murphy News 5/2

News Cast for May 2nd:

A 25 year old Indiantown man won’t face charges after he struck and killed a bicyclist on South west Farm Road Sunday night. Troopers say the victim, 55 year old Phaion Davis rode the bicycle into the path of a Kia Optima operated by Jimenez Juan Dejuan of Indiantown and died at Lawnwood Medical Center.

The US Nuclear Regulatory commission ruled there is nothing wrong with Florida Power and Lights plan to store radioactive waste and contaminated water near South Florida’s water supply.

The Miami environmental group, Urban Paradise Guild, started a petition to get elected officials to overrule the decision. Spokesman Barry White says industrial waste has been allowed in a boulder zone near Lake Okeechobee since 1966

FPL recently applied for permits to build two new nuclear reactors at the Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station.

Local prosecutors added a charge of accessory after the fact to capital murder against 21 year old Michael Raulerson last Friday.  He is charged in last month’s homicide of 60 year old Robert Joiner.  He was held on 250 thousand dollars bond on the new charge.

Palm Beach deputies may have uncovered a stolen truck ring as they uncovered five stolen vehicles in Loxahatchee, some stolen out of Okeechobee County.

28-year-old Eric Hainline faces three counts of grand theft under 1 hundred thousand dollars and two counts of grand theft under 10 thousand.

Sports Cast for May 2nd:

Jajuan Cherry was named the Defensive player of the year for the Brahman football team. Cherry says 2 thousand 16 was a great season but it’s over and done with and it’s time to set new goals. Cherry is ranked #5 in the Treasure Coast top 11 players and is already being highly recruited by big time programs. He says he enjoyed getting a taste of the post season last year but wants some more in 2 thousand 17.

Moore Haven baseball season ended with 16 wins as they lost in the opening round of the district tournament to Southwest Florida Christian last night.

No Brahmans qualify for the state track finals.  Daniel Shelley came in fifth in the mile race, with the top four making it to state.

OHS baseball plays at the district tournament this afternoon against Martin County at Jensen Beach high school at 4 pm.



~ May is Motorcycle and Bicycle Awareness Month ~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – This month, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) is reminding motorists statewide to share the road with motorcycles and bicycles in an effort to reduce crashes involving these vulnerable road users. DHSMV’s Motorcycle and Bicycle Safety Awareness Month is in partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association and the Florida Trucking Association.

In 2016 preliminarily, there were 10,297 motorcycle crashes and 6,580 bicycle crashes in Florida, or more than 46 motorcycle or bicycle crashes every day. As a result of these crashes in 2016, there were 501 motorcycle and 133 bicycle fatalities.

Visit DHSMV’s website for more information and resources for the Motorcycle and Bicycle Awareness Month: Share the Road campaign. The public is encouraged to report dangerous drivers by dialing *FHP (*347).

Charles Murphy News 5/1

News Cast for May 1st:

A 15-year-old Sebring high school student was charged with making threats of shooting up Lake Placid High School Friday. Highlands county deputies say the threat came in an Instagram post that mentioned the Columbine shootings back in 1999 in Colorado. Security was increased at both Sebring and Lake Placid schools and an arrest was made without incident. The threat is considered a second degree felony.

Martin county deputies say two Okeechobee men are considered serial thieves.  21 year old Robert Thompson and 24 year old James Roeder allegedly admitted to several thefts from homes along the rim canal in Port Mayaca.  Okeechobee authorities say the pair are not suspected in a recent rash of residential burglaries on 441 south east in Okeechobee county.

Moore Haven city council approved an 18 thousand dollar project to demolish the old Anne Tique building downtown.  Samsula Demolition who tore down the Lundy Building and the Glades Inn was the low bidder.  The city recently became owner of the dilapidated building.

Council also approved a near 10 thousand dollar bid to replace the roof over the Moore Haven Fire Station.

St. Lucie county authorities dropped murder charges against 52 year old Kenneth Hamner last month.  His mother, 74 year old Sheila Hamner died on December 10th after an attack on Traub Avenue in White City.  Hamner claimed a stranger, armed with a machete killed his mother.

St. Lucie deputies say the investigation is ongoing.

Sports Cast for May 1st:

Trace Meding out dueled Sean Osceola as St. Lucie West defeated Okeechobee 3-2 in high school baseball on Friday. Mason Adams and Osceola had RBI for the Brahmans in the first inning. Dylan Morris and Alex Lopez pitched four innings of shutout relief.

Next up for the Brahmans is the district playoff Tuesday against Martin County at Jensen Beach high school at 4 pm.

Moore haven baseball finished their first winning season since 2 thousand 2 with a 19-4 victory over Donahue Catholic Friday.  Alex Pardo had two hits and three RBI and John Wright added two hits and two RBI.  The Terriers scored 11 runs in the second inning.

Lady Brahman bowling coach Cindy Warren enjoyed her first year as coach.

She admits it has been a struggle to have enough bowlers to have the team. Warren says the greatest part of the season was the teamwork and how the girls worked together.

May is Motorcycle Safety Month

May is Motorcycle Safety Month

Tallahassee, FL – Florida has great weather and roads for motorcycle enthusiasts. More than a million drivers in Florida have a motorcycle endorsement on their driver licenses, and many visitors ride motorcycles in the Sunshine State.

FDOT Interim Secretary Rachel Cone said, “At FDOT, we want to make highways safe for all road users, including motorcycles. Motorcyclists should ride smart, and motorists should watch for motorcycles, as they can be difficult to see in traffic.”

FDOT is committed to making roads safe for all, including motorcyclists. The responsibility for safety is on motorists as well as motorcyclists. FDOT is observing motorcycle safety month in May and asking motorcyclists and motorists to share the road by using these simple tips.

Tips for motorcyclists: 

  • Say no to Drinking and Riding.
  • Make yourself more visible to motorists: Wear bright colors.
  • Always wear adequate riding gear.
  • Ride in Control (within legal and personal limits).
  • Train regularly and get endorsed.
  • Inspect your motorcycle before each ride to ensure your safety by having it in good working order.

Tips for drivers:

  • Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width; never try to share a lane.
  • Check for motorcycles by looking in your mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections. Remain extra vigilant when entering or crossing intersections.
  • Do not tailgate. Allow more following distance when following a motorcycle, so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
  • Don’t drive distractedeyes on the road, hands on the wheel, and mind on driving.
  • Always drive sober.

Click here for a link to Governor Scott’s proclamation

Charles Murphy News 4/28

News Cast for April 28th:

The Okeechobee police chief wanted to thank his officers for their hard work in solving this month’s homicide of 60-year-old Robert Joiner. Detectives James Pickering and Bill Saum, Sgt Skip Eddings and Lt. Justin Bernst spent hours trying to solve the case.

Three people were arrested for the crime, 18-year-old Brandie Dailey gave a written plea of not guilty before her arraignment today on tamper with evidence and second degree murder.

Court documents released by prosecutors say the victim was strangled with a belt and suffocated with a pillow after an argument over dirty dishes.

Lawmakers are moving closer to a deal on the 2017 gambling bill. In its latest offer, the Senate, among other things, agreed with the House position to extend blackjack to all seven Seminole Tribe facilities, as well as craps and roulette; agreed to two new gambling facilities in Broward or Miami-Dade through “competitive procurement,” or a bidding process, with up to 1,500 slot machines each; and agrees to reduce slots tax if facilities voluntarily reduce the numbers of slot machines on the floor.

An Osceola county jury convicted 20 year old Victoria Rios of first degree murder and armed burglary, alleging luring Eric Roopnarine to a home in Poinciana on the promise of sex for cash.  She was 17 at the time.  Two others lied in wait and shot and stabbed the Yeehaw Junction man to death.

Nine price gouging complaints against Okeechobee businesses for water and ice during Hurricane Matthew will not result in any fines or penalties from the state.

Sports Cast for April 28th:

Okeechobee wins the district softball crown with a thrilling 3-0 victory over South Fork last night.

Jill Crosby pitched a shutout on the mound. She says she was determined and didn’t want to let her teammates down. Full video of interview on Facebook page.

She had several great defensive plays behind her. Lauren Bostwick caught a ball at the fence in the early innings and then robbed South Fork of an extra base hit with a sliding catch late in the game.

It was coach Mary Huffs first district title as coach after two as a player. She says this made all the hard work worth it this year. Full interview on Facebook page.

Okeechobee will now host a regional game for the first time in five years when they host William T. Dwyer on May 3 at 7 pm.

Charles Murphy News 4/27

News Cast for April 27th:

Brandie Dailey pled not guilty to second degree murder and tamper with evidence for the murder of 60 year old Robert Joiner at her arraignment Wednesday. A grand jury could hear the case in May.

The county commission endorsed the 710 extension road after weeks of debate.  At risk was $53 million in state funds. The county had debated the proposed route of the road from the light at 70 east to a tract that would come out on 441 north at a new 14th Street. The county would eventually like the state to extend the road to US 98 north.

The Okeechobee county airport is again eligible for Federal Aviation Grant funds.  It would be the first time in seven years the county received funds.  There has been an issue with conservation easements on the property which have now been resolved.

Three members of a Glades County family are arrested for allegedly being involved in a chop shop.  27 year old Brian Lee is suspected in multiple thefts.  53 year old Richard Lee is accused of helping operate the chop shop.  53 year old Patricia Lee was charged with leaving contraband in a jail bathroom after the arrests of her relatives.

The state is moving closer to a gambling agreement with the Seminole Tribe that would help the tribe offer roulette and other table games at Brighton and other casinos.

60 dogs owned by an Okeechobee couple were seized by the SPCA in Lakeland after the owner turned ill and couldn’t care for them.

The retrial of murder defendant, Victoria Rios continues this week in Osceola County.  She is accused of killing Eric Roopnarine of Yeehaw Junction during a staged robbery of the man back in 2013.


SUBJECT: Burn Ban Remains in Effect for Okeechobee County

SUBJECT: Burn Ban Remains in Effect for Okeechobee County

Okeechobee County Fire Chief, Ralph Franklin reminds all residents and visitors that a county wide burn ban that was implemented on February 23, 2017 remains in effect.

Okeechobee County is still experiencing extremely dry conditions and conditions remain dangerous for the spread of fire. The county has experienced several brush fire in recent weeks. These fires have resulting in large fires that have required resources for other counties to assist in extinguishing the fires. During these fires, homes, outbuildings and campers have been damaged or destroyed.

The county-wide burn ban prohibits the burning of yard trash and other types of fires such as campfires, bonfires, and burn barrels. The use of fireworks is also prohibited unless permitted by the Fire Chief having jurisdiction.

Residential outdoor cooking in a suitable piece of equipment designed to contain the fire, flame, and heat it generates is allowed. Burning permitted by The Florida Division of Forestry is exempt from this ban.

Chief Franklin states that “it is not anticipated that the burn ban will be lifted anytime soon. In fact, he expects it to continue until the rainy season starts sometime in June”.

Violation of the burn ban is punishable by a fine not exceeding $500.00, or by imprisonment in the County jail for a term not exceeding 60 days, or both such fine and imprisonment.

For more information contact Okeechobee County Fire Rescue at 763-5544 or the City of Okeechobee Fire Department at 863-467-1586 from 8am – 5pm, Monday – Friday.

Rooney Commends Trump’s Support of Herbert Hoover Dike

Rooney Commends Trump’s Support of Herbert Hoover Dike

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Tom Rooney (FL-17) commends President Donald Trump for agreeing to provide the Army Corps of Engineers the maximum amount of funding needed to finish the repairs of the Herbert Hoover Dike.

“I’m thrilled to hear that President Trump is supportive of fully funding the much needed repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike and I am pleased that Governor Scott was able to bring this issue to his attention,” Rooney said. “In my own backyard, the Corps is 100 percent responsible for the construction and funding of the Herbert Hoover Dike, which protects communities around Lake Okeechobee from severe flooding. Despite the backlog of authorized Corps studies and projects awaiting federal funding, the Obama Administration requested a 23 percent decrease in Corps funding in his FY2017 budget request. Worse, the request included only $50 million for Dike construction, which is far below the $130 million the Corps needs to substantially complete all construction necessary to meet the flood risk reduction.”

Rooney has tirelessly worked to fund the Herbert Hoover Dike, which is at the heart of the Kissimmee-Okeechobee-Everglades water system. In addition to securing funding in annual Appropriations bills, he has introduced legislation to allow Members of Congress to directly fund Army Corps projects and has pitched an idea which would implement a similar change to House rules.

Rooney presented this zero-cost infrastructure plan to Trump in a letter last month.

The completion of the Herbert Hoover Dike rehabilitation project is critical to ensuring the safety of the thousands of Floridians living near the Dike and will provide flexibility to temporarily increase storage in the Lake decreasing the frequency and intensity of damaging regulatory discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries.

Charles Murphy News 4/26

News Cast for April 26th:

Unemployment levels hit historic lows in March across the Treasure Coast. Okeechobee’s fell to 4.4 percent, with 808 workers receiving benefits. Last March levels were 5.1 percent.  The jobless rate was 4.9 percent in February. Okeechobee tied with Hamilton, Suwannee, Bay and Osceola County for 31st among Florida counties. Glades county had 5.4 percent unemployment.  That was lower than February’s 6 percent and last March’s 5.6 percent.  Around the area Hendry had 6.4 percent, highest in the state, Hardee 5.9, Highlands 5.4 and Indian River 4.9 percent.

The city of Moore Haven has asked the state to look at the light at 10th Street and US 27.  A person in a wheel chair was recently struck and killed there. The city also is considering regulations on golf carts being used in the city limits, especially by teens. They also suggested a small skate park in the downtown area for kids.

Charges of introduction of contraband and bribery of a state official were dropped against 29 year old Freddy Roque who accepted nearly 9 thousand dollars from inmates to bring in tobacco and marijuana.  A search located some rolling papers on the guard last April 12th.  The judge ruled that the state prison policy of requiring random searches and truth ful answers with threat of termination was a violation of Roques fifth amendment rights to self-incrimination.

Okeechobee county is under two day per week lawn watering, addresses with odd numbers can water on Wednesday and Saturday, even can water on Thursday and Sunday.

Commissioners approved a six month moratorium until November 5th on medical marijuana.  They also discussed whether to have voters approve a bond issue to build a 28 million dollar new jail.

Sports Cast for April 26th:

Okeechobee softball earned another regional berth with a 14-3 run rule victory over Jensen Beach last night. Haley Underhill had three hits and four RBI including a three run homerun.

Jillian Crosby threw a complete game and gave up five hits and three runs. Underhill injured her shoulder and is unable to pitch.  She has focused on her hitting lately to continue making contributions to the team.

Coach Mary Huff says Crosby will have to do a better job of pitching well from the start of games as Jensen Beach scored twice in the first.

South Fork defeated Martin County 10-0 in the other semifinal.

The two teams meet in the district finals Thursday at 7 pm at OHS.

Boys baseball defeated Avon Park 4-2.  Cody Louthan and Alex Lopez each drove in two runs.  Mason Adams pitched a complete game with eight strikeouts.

On the sports schedule today, the OHS wrestling team holds their annual awards banquet at 6 pm at the High school cafeteria.

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