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News Cast 3/9

News Cast for March 9th:

Okeechobee County Commissioners got a preliminary presentation from the property appraiser and budget director at their meeting yesterday regarding the upcoming county budget for 2018 thru 2019. While inflation and fuel prices are on the rise, there was good news, specifically regarding the construction of the county’s power plant which will be finished in 2020. County Appraiser Mickey Bandi says the $1.2 billion dollar plant will mean property tax dollars for the county. Commissioner Bryant Culpepper said other good news included home appraisals up five percent and 25 percent in reserves in the general fund.

To help with the rash of speeding drivers on certain roads in Okeechobee County, commissioners yesterday decided to take some action. Commissioners gave the green light to have speed cushions installed at SW 9th Street and 67th Street and on SW 36th Street. There will also be speed trailers put in these areas, mobile devices which not only show the speed a driver is going and how many vehicles are going through, but also send the data to the sheriff’s office. Sheriff Noel Stephen says these will not cost the county anything; the funding for these speed trailers will come from the sheriff’s budget. The cost for the speed trailers will be about $10,000.00 dollars apiece. The speed cushions will cost the county about $2900.00 dollars apiece.

Okeechobee County Commissioners had a busy day yesterday; regular meeting in the morning and code enforcement workshop in the afternoon. Commissioners and members of the code enforcement met to discuss the issues facing the enforcement board, specifically the lack of enough trained staff, according to Okeechobee resident and member of the city code enforcement board, Megan Wilt. Commissioners and Code Enforcement Board members say hiring additional staff is a priority, plus introducing a fund to help clean up properties and working with waste management.

Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Deputies have a New York area woman in custody on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Deputies say 29 year old Meghan G. McIntosh was running around at Sunshine Grove during the arts and music festival brandishing a knife and threatening to kill people. McIntosh went into a tent and began to point the knife at people there and then specifically at one man, reportedly a former boyfriend, and threatened to kill him. She then entered another tent and threatened to kill herself. Deputies arrested McIntosh with some resistance from her and booked her into county jail. Her bond is set at $7,500.00 dollars.

On the arrest report:

28 year old D’ Andre Markel Smith of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for obstruction after a fight. He was released after posting a $500.00 dollar bond.

29 year old Taylor Lewis Jones of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation of past drug offenses. He’s being held without bond.

47 year old Lewis Harrison England of Okeechobee was arrested for driving without a valid license after a traffic stop. His bond is set at $1,000.00 dollars.

51 year old Gregory Lamar Gavan of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of a flashlight stun gun by a felon after a traffic stop. His bond has not been set.

55 year old Paul Allen Davis of Yeehaw Junction was arrested on an out of county arrest warrant from Hillsborough for robbery with a deadly weapon. He’s being held without bond.

38 year old Joseph Lee Hasting of Lake Wales was arrested on four counts of violating probation. His bond has not been set.


Okeechobee Musicfest 2018 Overview

Okeechobee Musicfest 2018 Overview

Before the bands of OMF18 even started, (19) people had been arrested. Traffic enforcement began on Monday, February 26, 2018, on the roads leading to OMF18. Drivers were pulled over for speeding on the 45mph road. The nineteen people that were arrested between February 26 thru February 28 were workers of the musicfest.

Those attending the Okeechobee Musicfest 2018 were warned prior to entering the premises that Law Enforcement K-9s were being utlitized to search vehicles for illegal drugs. Amnesty boxes were also strategically placed where the attendees could discard any illegal narcotics prior to being searched by K-9.

The total weight of the drugs confiscated was (105) pounds.

There was a total of (44) individuals that attended the four day festival that were arrested.

Charges included driving with no license, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Controlled Substance (Resin, Hydromorphone, Psilocybin(mushrooms), MDMA, Alprazolam, Promethazine HCL), Cocaine, LSD,

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Sheriff Noel E. Stephen stated, “It is my job to assure All that come to Okeechobee have a clean and safe visit. While assuring our residents inconveniences are minimized.  “You can’t expect what you don’t inspect” is going to be my continued focus while performing this balance. I’d like to thank the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, Highlands County Sheriff’s Office, Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement(FDLE), Federal Bureau of Investigations(FBI) and Okeechobee City Police Department.”

No further information to be released at this time.

Michele Bell, PIO


News Cast 3/8

News Cast for March 8th:

Okeechobee County Commissioners meet today and items on their agenda include considering traffic calming devices and speed deterrents on certain county roads, considering awarding a bid to an outside company for additions to the Agri-Civic Center and staff direction on the upcoming driver’s license building. The meeting will be held at the Historic County Courthouse beginning at 9am.

Thanks to a recent approval by county commissioners, the Okeechobee County Fire and Rescue Department will be working with another school to provide on the job training for EMT students. County Fire Chief Ralph Franklin got an agreement approved to contract with Treasure Coast Medical Institute to allow students to ride along with county emergency vehicles and personnel to practice what they learn in the classroom to real-life emergencies. Franklin says this agreement does not cost the county anything. Agreements like this are already in place with Indian River State College and Health Care Institute.

Franklin-Student Ride Agreement 1

Franklin-Student Ride Agreement 2

The Okeechobee City Fire Department will have some much needed work done on one of their trucks. City Councilmembers approved an expenditure of just over $16,450.00 dollars for repairs to the pump on Fire Engine 7, which has been out of service for a month. Fire Chief Herb Smith says the pump has deteriorated over years of wear and tear and rocks and metal getting into it, causing it to fail. Smith says the good part is, it’s not an engine that is needed right away. Smith says if the parts are available, repairs should be made in about a week’s time.

Fire Truck Repair 1

Fire Truck Repair 2

On the arrest report:

36 year old Jessica Shalene Thomas of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on an out of county arrest warrant from Martin. She’s being held without bond.

23 year old Allen Michael Thornton of Okeechobee was arrested on an out of county arrest warrant from St. Lucie County for battery. His bond is set at $2,500.00 dollars.

38 year old Neal Lee Minton and 30 year old Brittany Leighanne Alfonso, both of Okeechobee were arrested for shoplifting at Wal-Mart and Minton also for possession of alprazolam and drug paraphernalia. Minton’s bond has not been set and Alfonso’s bond is set at $5,000.00 dollars.

28 year old Ishmail Malik Hawkins of Okeechobee was arrested on charges of lewd and lascivious acts on a co-worker. His bond has not been set.

19 year old Keyshawn Armond Hicks of Gainesville was arrested for violating probation on past battery charges. His bond is set at $2,500.00 dollars.

33 year old Clarence Ervin Childers of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation. He’s being held without bond.


News Cast 3/7

News Cast for March 7th:

The sentencing hearing for two Okeechobee men charged with animal cruelty at McArthur Dairy last November will have to wait a while. Okeechobee County Prosecutor Ashley Albright says 44 year old Fernando Cruz and 36 year old Naul Dorantes-Garcia have retained an attorney and he was granted time to review the case against his clients. Their hearing was originally scheduled for this past Monday. Albright says this development was a bit of a surprise. Cruz’ and Dorantes-Garcia’s attorney, Tom Coulter of Stuart, declined to comment for this story. The new date of the sentencing hearing has not been set.

Albright-Postponed Sentencing 1

Albright-Postponed Sentencing 2

It was a special night last night for Okeechobee’s chapter of the American Red Cross. The city council approved a proclamation for March to be American Red Cross Month. Several members of the local chapter were on hand to accept the proclamation and be honored for their efforts. Chapter Executive Sarah Ruwe says of all the great work their volunteers do, what gets occasionally overlooked is their response to single family fires. Ruwe says she feels great about this proclamation and it allows people to appreciate the Red Cross volunteers and she says it’s the best humanitarian organization in the world.

Red Cross Month 1

Red Cross Month 2

City Council members also approved the temporary closing of SW 3rd and SW 4th Avenues between North and South Park Streets beginning this Friday thru Sunday for the Speckled Perch Festival and they also approved expenditures for repairs on one of the city’s fire engines and purchase of radio equipment.

It will be a big day for bass fishing in Okeechobee County on St. Patrick’s Day. Officials from the Tourist Development Council will be hosting the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Gator Division Tournament in Lake Okeechobee. Spokesperson Brian Johnson says boaters and co-anglers will be competing for big money prizes up to $8,000.00 dollars. Johnson says the event will have about 400 boaters and co-anglers competing. For more information on the tournament, please visit flwfishing.com.

Johnson-Bass Fishing Tournament

A Moore Haven man is dead after a vehicle accident Monday. Florida Highway Patrol officers say 22 year old Marcus Halback was driving a Yamaha motorcycle west on the 12 hundred block of Latum Bell Street in Moore Haven approaching the Community Center building a little after 11am  when for unknown reasons, he lost control of the bike and fell off, colliding with the building. Halback was pronounced dead at the scene. The accident is under investigation.

A collision involving a school bus and a Chevy Tahoe yielded a very lucky result early yesterday morning. Florida Highway Patrol officers say 59 year old Jorge Fundora of Lehigh Acres was driving a school bus with two children aboard south on Joan Avenue North near 7th Street in Lee County just before 7am when the oncoming Chevy Tahoe, driven by Yamirosa Carballosa, also of Lehigh Acres, didn’t stop at a stop sign and collided with the left side of the school bus. There were no reported injuries to anyone involved. The accident is being investigated.

On the arrest report:

28 year old Malquiel Hernandez of Miami was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on an out of county warrant for burglarizing a car in Sarasota County. He was released after posting a $1,500.00 dollar bond.

30 year old James David Engle of Okeechobee was arrested on an out of county warrant for cocaine possession in St. Lucie County. He’s being held without bond.

39 year old Jorge Lopez-Lara of Okeechobee was arrested for driving without a valid license. His bond is set at $500.00 dollars.

39 year old Corey Montego Small of St. Petersburg was arrested on an out of county warrant for felony robbery and felonious possession of a firearm in Pinellas County. He’s being held without bond.


FLORIDA HEALTH PROMOTES HEALTHY EATING DURING NUTRITION MONTH

FLORIDA HEALTH PROMOTES HEALTHY EATING DURING NUTRITION MONTH

TALLAHASSEE—The Florida Department of Health (DOH) celebrates March as National Nutrition Month, which is sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This year’s theme is: “Go Further with Food.” The campaign highlights the far-reaching benefits of making informed eating choices. Informed eating goes further than choosing the most nutritious options—eating choices can also conserve money, save time, and reduce food waste.

“Making healthy food choices is important for both children and adults not only for fueling our bodies, but importantly for the benefits of vitamins and minerals contained in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary Dr. Celeste Philip. “Make it a goal this year to improve your food choices and develop sound eating and physical activity habits. Everything you eat and drink matters and the foods you choose can make a difference in your overall health.”

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests following these tips to go further with food.

  1. Include a variety of healthful foods from all of the food groups on a regular basis.
  2. Consider the foods you have on hand before buying more at the store.
  3. Buy only the amount that can be eaten or frozen within a few days and plan ways to use leftovers later in the week.
  4. Be mindful of portion sizes. Eat and drink the amount that’s right for you, as MyPlate encourages us to do.
  5. Continue to use good food safety practices.
  6. Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week.
  7. Realize the benefits of healthy eating by consulting with a registered dietitian nutritionist. RDNs can provide sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences and health-related needs.

To learn more about nutrition and National Nutrition Month, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website at: www.eatright.org.

Healthiest Weight Florida is a public-private collaboration bringing together state agencies, not-for-profit organizations, businesses and entire communities to help Florida’s children and adults make consistent, informed choices about healthy eating and active living. To learn more about how to be active and make nutritious food choices, visit www.healthiestweightflorida.com


News Cast 3/6

News Cast for March 6th:

Okeechobee City Councilmembers will meet tonight and among the items on the agenda will be a proclamation for March to be American Red Cross Month, plus a motions to approve the closings of SW 3rd Avenue and SW 4th Avenue in certain areas for the Speckled Perch Festival beginning on Friday and expenditures for parts and repairs to an engine in the fire department. The meeting will begin at 6pm at City Hall.

The 2018 Okeechobee County Arts and Music Festival is history and over the course of four days, it attracted people from literally all over the world with performances from terrific artists like Arcade Fire, Bass Nectar and a whole lot more. Soundslinger CEO Kevin Collinsworth, who helped promote the event, says the event has been so successful to so many around the world because of the team involved in putting this extravaganza together. Community Liaison Holly Mixon says there were a lot of improvements made this year as opposed to previous years, mostly in terms of traffic. At last check, over thirty thousand people attended the festival.

Festival After 1

Festival After 2

Festival After 3

Festival After 4

Okeechobee County Sheriff’s deputies have an Okeechobee man in custody on a host of charges stemming from an incident early Sunday morning. Deputies say 31 year old Jeremy Lamont Jones left a home on the 37 hundred block of NW 17th Avenue just after 2:30 am after assaulting his brother earlier and sped away in a Cadillac. Officers spotted Jones and tried to pull him over but he led them on a chase through the area. Jones finally pulled over and the officer tried to pull Jones out of the car but he resisted, resulting in a struggle. Other officers were needed to restrain Jones. Jones was booked into county jail on charges of battery, aggravated assault, resisting arrest, eluding officers and driving on a suspended license. He’s being held on a $45,000.00 dollar bond.

Florida Highway Patrol officers are investigating a couple of accidents that killed one man and seriously injured another Sunday. Just before 11:30 am, Florida Highway Patrol officers say 65 year old James David Sions of Lehigh Acres was walking north on Route 31 near Palm Beach Boulevard when the driver of an oncoming vehicle, a Dodge Ram pickup truck, hit Sions. The impact caused Sions to end up on the grass shoulder of the road. Sions was killed instantly. The pickup driver, Victor Ledesma of National City, California, was not injured.

Later that day, FHP officers were called to Route 70 and NE Polk Avenue in DeSoto County for a collision involving a GMC pickup truck and a motorcycle. Officers say 18 year old Christian Ullola of Arcadia was riding his bike east on 70, about to turn onto a driveway when the pickup truck driver, coming from the opposite direction, didn’t yield the right of way and Ullola’s bike struck the rear of the truck, knocking him off it. Ullola was transported to Sarasota Memorial Hospital for treatment. The pickup driver, Linda Kratochwill of Myakka City, was not injured.

On the arrest report:

23 year old Quinesha Ash of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for assault with a deadly weapon when she stabbed her ex-boyfriend several times outside a grocery store for being with another woman. She was released after posting a $10,000.00 dollar bond.

38 year old Misty Ann Mattox of Okeechobee was arrested for drunk driving after officers approached her while she was in her parked car with a child at a food store. She was released after posting a $1,000.00 dollar bond.

24 year old Winston Jude Williams of New Orleans was arrested on fugitive warrants from Louisiana on charges of possession of heroin and marijuana with intent to sell and possession of stolen firearms. His bond is set at $500,000.00 dollars.

48 year old Walter Alexander King of Atlanta was arrested for possession of heroin, marijuana, mushrooms with intent to sell and drug paraphernalia at the arts and music festival. His bond is set at $393,000.00 dollars.

38 year old Neal Lee Minton of Okeechobee was arrested by police for possession of the controlled substance diazepam and throwing knives after he was found unconscious in his truck at a traffic light. He’s being held on a $10,000.00 dollar bond.

22 year old Andrew Kirk of Charleston, SC was arrested for possession of cocaine at the arts and music festival. His bond is set at $5,000.00 dollars.

39 year old Camilo Jimenez Rendon of Okeechobee was arrested for driving without a license after a traffic stop. His bond is set at $500.00 dollars.

32 year old Barbaro Rivera-Tartabull of Miami was arrested for grand theft when he tried to steal a smartphone at the arts and music festival. His bond has not been set.


News Cast 3/5

News Cast for March 5th:

It was a tremendous four plus days at Sunshine Grove in Okeechobee County, the host site for this year’s Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival. People from all over the country came down to see performers like Bass Nectar, Travis Scott, Snoop Dogg with the Roots, Arcade Fire and a whole lot more. It was an awesomely welcome and literally warm place to be for some, like Jaeger Bennett, who drove nineteen hours from Buffalo, just as a powerful snowstorm was coming. For others, like Brittany from Eugene, Oregon, there were other reasons to enjoy the festival. A total of over thirty thousand people packed the six hundred acre site for the festival.

Festival 1

Festival 3

Festival 4

Festival 5

Festival 6

Festival 7

Last week, an Okeechobee County Superior Court jury returned a guilty verdict against an Okeechobee man for animal cruelty. The jury found 35 year old Jorge Samuel Hernandez guilty of throwing a six month old puppy over a seven foot fence, causing it to break a leg in January of last year. Hernandez then left the puppy there in pain for over fourteen hours without food or care. Prosecutor Don Richardson says some big thanks should be given to an animal recovery group called Nalas. The jury deliberated for under an hour before returning with the guilty verdict. The judge sentenced Hernandez to three years’ probation, plus over one hundred hours of community service and he’ll need to pay the veterinarian’s bills.

Richardson-Animal Cruelty Case 1

Richardson-Animal Cruelty Case 2

A Lehigh Acres man will spend the rest of his life in prison for a double murder that happened over two years ago. 49 year old Placido Moreno Torres was sentenced last week to two consecutive life sentences for the murders of one man and one woman in January of 2016. The murders happened outside of Torres’s home. Torres and one of the victims, a 44 year old woman, were arguing when Torres struck her and she called for help. A 20 year old Good Samaritan neighbor tried to break it up but Torres held up a revolver and fatally shot both him and the woman. Then he held the gun to the woman’s sister’s head and pulled the trigger but the gun did not discharge. The man was able to call 911 and identify Torres before he died. Torres was found guilty on two counts of second degree murder, one count of attempted second degree murder and possessing a firearm.

On the arrest report:

29 year old Taylor Lewis Jones of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for possession of oxycodone, driving on a suspended license and violating probation after a traffic stop. He’s being held without bond.

36 year old Philip Hawkins Hoy of Okeechobee was arrested for lewd and lascivious acts on a child and child abuse. His bond is set at $15,000.00 dollars.

26 year old Olivia Ann Gainer of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on previous charges of resisting an officer. She’s being held without bond.

39 year old William Edward Lewis of Okeechobee was arrested for driving without a license with knowledge of it. His bond is set at $1,000.00 dollars.

60 year old Gary Wade Sires of Okeechobee was arrested for battery on his aunt after a domestic dispute. His bond has not been set.

20 year old Justin Aman of Boca Raton was arrested for possession of cocaine after a search of his vehicle at the music and arts festival. His bond is set at $5,000.00 dollars.

36 year old Paul Campbell of Jacksonville was arrested for possession of marijuana, ecstasy, oxycodone, Xanax and LSD after a search of his vehicle at the music and arts festival. His bond is set at $61,000.00 dollars.


News Cast 3/2

News Cast for March 2nd:

The Okeechobee County arts and Music Festival is in full swing. People are packing Sunshine Grove to get a full taste of the festivities. Music from artists like Arcade Fire, Travis Scott and a lot more are scheduled to perform. For Alyssa Deetris, who came in from Tampa, Travis Scott is definitely one artist she’s looking forward to see perform. Both  Deetris and her friend, Tori Mizer, also from Tampa, love the music and camping at the festival, but more than that, the freedom. The festival will be going on through Sunday. Tickets for general admission are $299.00 dollars.

Recently, the Okeechobee County School Board met with Sheriff Noel Stephen to discuss safety and security issues within the schools after the recent school shootings in Parkland. This comes also on the heels of Governor Rick Scott’s plan to spend $500 million dollars on school safety. Stephen believes having armed officers in schools and hardening school campus for one entry point. But he believes it will depend on time and money available. Stephen says it will take a hybrid of law enforcement and society as a whole to find a solution to this problem.

Officials from the Florida Forest Service, in collaboration with Florida Fish and Wildlife and US Army Corps of Engineers, will be conducting a prescribed burn today. The burn will be on the rim of Lake Okeechobee between the Indian Prairie Canal North to the Pearce Canal. The burn will consist of seven thousand acres of dried out marsh and access to the navigational trails through the marsh may be limited temporarily during the burn for safety reasons.

On the arrest report:

37 year old Amie Catherine Clark of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on three out of county warrants from Martin County. She’s being held without bond.

24 year old Akil Graham of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia after a traffic stop. His bond is set at $10,000.00 dollars.

24 year old Derek Wieneke of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of the drug mushroom and drug paraphernalia after a traffic stop. His bond hasn’t been set.

29 year old Timmy Lee of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of hydromorphone, driving on a suspended license and tampering with evidence after a traffic stop. His bond has not been set.

22 year old Alexander David Borst of Gainesville was arrested for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia after a traffic stop. His bond is set at $12,000.00 dollars.

26 year old Thomas Daniel Guadalajara of Peoria, IL was arrested for possession of cocaine, alprazolam and cannabis resin after a traffic stop. His bond is set at $73,000.00 dollars.


News Cast 3/1

News Cast for March 1st:

It’s finally here. Today is the first day of the Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival. Artists performing this year include Snoop Dogg, Arcade Fire and more. The event is expected to bring upwards of about forty five thousand people over the next four days. Sheriff Noel Stephen says a big concern as the festival takes shape is grocery item availability. Stephen says to be careful in areas of the festival when you’re driving, specifically Route 70 East and Berman Road and Dark Hammock Road, also near the Agri-Civic Center where festival tickets can be purchased. Festival will be held at Sunshine Grove.

Okeechobee County Sheriff’s deputies have two Illinois men in custody on drug charges after a traffic stop Tuesday night. Deputies stopped a black Jeep driven by 21 year old Daniel Christian O’Leary at the seven thousand block of NE 120th Street just after 8pm for speeding. Noticing O’Leary was visibly nervous, his hands were shaking and he was not making eye contact, deputies conducted a search of the Jeep and found over four hundred grams of marijuana, and a bag full of the controlled substances LSD and Ecstasy. O’Leary and his passenger, 20 year old Vince Michael Urquizo were arrested for drug possession and trafficking. O’Leary’s bond is set at $315,500.00 dollars and Urquizo’s bond is set at $31,000.00 dollars.

Recently, narcotics officers from the Highlands County Sheriff’s office took part in a Martin County drug interdiction task force and the results were staggering. According to Martin County Sheriff Bill Snyder, there were over one hundred arrests and over ten thousand grams of drugs seized on parts of Highways 95 and 714 and the Florida Turnpike. Highlands County Sheriff Spokesperson Scott Dressel says the whole experience was a teaching tool for his own department’s efforts of cracking down. Dressel says drugs that were seized included marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin. Other agencies involved in this effort included FBI, DEA and Department of Homeland Security.

Okeechobee County Firefighters were a bit busy Tuesday with a couple of fires. Crews were called to the 66 hundred block of NE 8th Lane just before noon for a fire to a lawnmower. Crews arrived and found the lawnmower smoldering with some grass burning. They needed about 10 minutes to cool off the mower with about twenty gallons of water. No one was hurt. Estimated damage is about $3,000.00 dollars.

Later that night, crews were needed on the six thousand block of SE 94th Trail for a vehicle fire. Crews arrived just after 9:30 and found the fire had been out but there was still smoke emanating from the car, mainly at the front end near the engine compartment where the fire did most of the damage. Investigators say the vehicle had been parked hours before with no mechanical issues except for the horn going off without reason. The vehicle’s driver had extinguished the blaze using water from a garden hose. No one was hurt. Estimated damage is about $1,000.00 dollars.

On the arrest report:

33 year old Brian Ross Shaw of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for failing to return property to a business. His bond is set at $10,000.00 dollars.

18 year old Zachary Seth Gopher of Okeechobee was arrested for failure to appear in court on disorderly conduct charges. His bond is set at $5,000.00 dollars.

73 year old Wade Lewis Bowers of Okeechobee was arrested for drunk driving and causing an accident with serious bodily injury. He was released after posting a $15,000.00 dollar bond.

47 year old Richard Jason Friedrich of Okeechobee was arrested for refusing to submit to a DUI test after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a $250.00 dollar bond.

22 year old David Bollinger and 21 year old Ivy Heinrich, both of Okeechobee, were arrested for possession of over twenty grams of marijuana and drug paraphernalia after a traffic stop. They’re being held without bond.

22 year old Brianna Danielle James of New Orleans was arrested for cocaine possession after a traffic stop. Her bond is set at $5,000.00 dollars.

21 year old Kyle Steven Nettles of Jacksonville was arrested for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia after a traffic stop. He was released after posting an $11,000.00 dollar bond.


Reducing Wildfire Risk on Lake Okeechobee

Reducing Wildfire Risk on Lake Okeechobee

Moore Haven, FL– The Florida Forest Service in collaboration with South Florida Water Management District, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be conducting a prescribed burn on Friday, March 2, 2018, weather permitting. The prescribed burn will consist of approximately 7,000 acres of dried-out marsh on the rim of Lake Okeechobee between the Indian Prairie Canal north to the Pearce Canal. Access to the navigational trails through the marsh, may be limited temporarily during the burn for safety reasons.

“Prescribed burns play a critical role in enhancing the safety and effectiveness of wildfire response, reducing wildfire risk, and safeguarding people and property,” explained Forest Area Supervisor Joe deBree, Florida Forest Service. “In 2017, firefighters responded to seven wildfires on Lake Okeechobee that burned approximately 2,400 acres. Wildfires like these have the potential to threaten homes and lives, impede visibility on the highways and tie-up firefighting resources. However, under the right weather parameters with adequate equipment and resources, Friday’s organized prescribed burn can protect the public’s safety while improving ecosystem health.”

Prescribed burning around the shallow-water portions of Lake Okeechobee can improve the breeding and feeding grounds for fish, waterfowl, wading birds, the Everglades snail kite, and other wildlife populations. Fire removes the dead aquatic vegetation that would otherwise settle to the bottom of the lake and decompose, covering up the natural sandy bottom, making it difficult for new aquatic plants to grow. In addition, fire enables more sunlight to reach the lake bottom, allowing the spread of a more diverse mix of plants on the lake by thinning out fast-spreading cattails that block sunlight.

In order to minimize the smoke impact on nearby towns and roads, prescribed burns are conducted when weather conditions are suitable. The final decision to burn is made daily, after reviewing the Predicted Fire Weather Forecast.

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


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