Florida Agriculture Remains Strong
Census Results Show Positive Trends in State’s Second Largest Industry
Tallahassee, FL – The United States Department of Agriculture released today the preliminary results of the 2012 Census of Agriculture. The census, taken every five years, tracks the number of famers, farms, farmland, value of agriculture products and the demographics of the farmers themselves. The census revealed Florida agriculture remains an economic engine and job creator in Florida, with an increase in farmers, farms and farmland since the 2007 census.
“Despite expected setbacks as a result of the effects of greening on citrus and the collapse of the housing market on nurseries, the census confirms agriculture’s place as a vital and enduring part of Florida’s economy,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “The census noted the number of farms in Florida holding steady at approximately 47,000, and the average age of farmers ticking slightly upward, while growing more diverse, ethnically.”
- 9,548,342 acres of land in Florida farms, up from 9,231,570 in 2007;
- 47,740 farm operations in Florida, up from 47,463 in 2007;
- $161,368 is the average sales per farm, down from $164,027 in 2007;
- 200 acres is the average Florida farm size, up from 195 in 2007; and
- $7.70 billion in value of products sold, down from $7.78 billion in 2007.
The Census of Agriculture is the most accurate source of information related to national and state agriculture. The census provides a snapshot every five years of the farms, ranches and the farmers themselves that make up American agriculture. Detailed demographic data is collected, such as race, gender and age, is also collected.
To view the full preliminary results of the 2012 Census of Agriculture, visit http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2012/.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com.
News Cast for February 21st:
President of the Cracker Trail Association George Massengale says the night camps have included a lot of great entertainment. Massengale has been on 26 trail rides. Marie Lewis of Michigan is on her first trail ride. She said she’s seen something of Florida she didn’t expect. The ride resembles the treck cow hunters took pushing herds to the coasts of Florida many decades ago.
Jerry Cooper, President of the Official White House Boys organization, says the publicity from the unearthing of 55 graves at the Marianna school has raised awareness of abuses the boys saw in both Marianna and at the Okeechobee School for Boys. He says both schools had locations for actual whipping and beatings with large straps. He promises more information on the Okeechobee boys school from the 50’s and 60’s thanks to a FOX News Miami special report in March.
Michael Daniel of Okeechobee High and Bronson Bass of Moore Haven High have been named sunshine scholars.
Among arrests, 20 year old James Adkins of Moore Haven was charged with the theft of a diamond ring worth 3 thousand dollars in Clewiston.
State prosecutors expected to file a manslaughter charge Thursday against 23 year old Ramiro Reyna in an assault of Gerardo Alvarez Manzo on January 27th outside the Hispanic night club El Cielo Azul in the city limits. Manzo fell and hit his head and later died.
The Lt. Governor will be in Okeechobee for an economic development discussion today.
Sports Cast for February 21st:
Tiffany Bowers recently finished third in the 99 pound weight class at the state girls wrestling finals.
Tiffany won three matches, one with a pin in the first 44 seconds, and also defeated her second opponent in seven seconds.
She said she felt she achieved at the tournament. Bowers said she will miss her wrestling career. She is the only girl to wrestle for OHS in the past several years.
She dedicated her career to her older brother.
Danyelle Sheffield went 3 for 4 with two RBIs Thursday as Okeechobee High School’s softball team defeated Jensen Beach 3-1 in a District 13-6A game at Jensen Beach.
On the sports schedule today, boys’ baseball tangles with Port St. Lucie in a matinee at 3:30 this afternoon. Girls’ softball will be home against Sebring tonight, JV at 5:30 and the varsity game to follow.
The tennis teams compete in the Heartland Tournament in Sebring today and Saturday. The Junior varsity softball team competes in a tournament at Martin County on Saturday.
Arrest Report for February 19th, 2014
POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE OUTISE PROPER CONTAINER
POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA
Jesse Dirke Zipperer, age 52
3112 SE 29 Terrace
In custody-$12,000.00 bond
POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE-OXYCODONE
POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE OUTISE PROPER CONTAINER
POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA
Jesse Dirke Zipperer II, age 27
3031 SE 39 Avenue
In custody-$22,000.00 bond
Waltorian T. Jackson, age 22
1124 NE 16 Avenue
In custody-Bond to be set
News Cast for February 20th:
Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will hold an open house next Thursday at the Okeechobee Public Library to discuss conservation efforts on large mouth bass on Lake Okeechobee. Anglers are encouraged to offer input and suggestions. The open house runs from 6 until 7 pm.
Cracker Trail riders will be headed from Lorida towards Basinger today as they make their way across the state. They stopped at Cracker Trail elementary on Wednesday morning. There headed for the Cracker Days parade in Ft. Pierce this weekend.
Renewable Energy Group of Ames, Iowa has purchased L S 9 and their demonstration facility here in Okeechobee and are confident they’ll be able to make bio fuel products in the near future. Company CEO Dan Oh says he sees real potential in the company. He noted the Okeechobee facility should help as they try to ramp up distribution of their bio fuel products. No word on if any jobs will be created locally.
In the courts, 33 year old Mario Montero received one year probation and no criminal conviction for allegedly grabbing a knife and threatening two women during a domestic dispute. He was an employee at Okeechobee Correctional at the time October 12th of last year. The original charges were reduced from aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and aggravated assault to misdemeanors.
State Attorneys dropped charges of sale of cocaine near a church against 41 year old Livan Ramos in January. He was charged in March of 2012 with the sale of one ounce of powder cocaine for 1250 dollars near 505 South East 10th Avenue. 28 grams of cocaine was allegedly seized in the case.
Sports Cast for February 20th:
Henry said she enjoyed visiting the campus and has always dreamed of attending this school. She liked the fact that coach Johnny Gray is a former Olympian who represented the United States in four Olympics, winning bronze in the 800 meters in Barcelona in 1992
She says Gray is excited to coach her.
OHS cross country coach Julie Halsey says Henry studied the schools and really made a wise decision. OHS boys baseball opens up their season tonight at home against Avon Park with game time at 7 pm.
Beware of Scams
Scammers continue to target everyone, regardless of age, gender, education or income level. Scams can cost people a lot of money and cause a great deal of distress.
The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office has received numerous complaints of possible scammers in Okeechobee County.
Follow these golden rules to help protect yourself and your family from scams.
If it looks too good to be true—it probably is.
Use your common sense: the offer may be a scam.
ALWAYS get independent advice if an offer involves significant money, time or commitment.
Remember there are no get-rich-quick schemes: the only people who make money are the scammers.
Do not agree to offers or deals straight away: tell the person that you are not interested or that you want to get some independent advice before making a decision.
NEVER send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust.
Check your bank account and credit card statements when you get them. If you see a transaction you cannot explain, report it to your credit union or bank.
Keep your credit and ATM cards safe. Do not share your personal identity number with anyone. Do not keep any written copy of your PIN with the card.
If you feel you have been a victim of a scam, contact the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office, (863)763-3117.
Michele Bell, PIO
FWC to host 2 open house meetings to discuss Largemouth bass conservation on Lake Okeechobee
Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will lead two upcoming open house meetings in Hendry and Okeechobee counties. During the meetings, biologists will discuss current conservation efforts for largemouth bass and the impacts the ongoing regulation review may have on the Lake Okeechobee fishery. Anglers are encouraged to offer input or suggestions during these meetings.
Largemouth bass are the most popular recreational fish in North America. Florida anglers and visitors enjoy some of the most exciting bass fishing in the world. The FWC created a Black Bass Management Plan that was approved in 2011 (MyFWC.com/Fishing, select the Black Bass Management Plan banner in the middle column under “Freshwater Fishing”). The plan’s holistic approach includes essential habitat management, fisheries management and public interaction components.
Last year, the FWC asked anglers for input on the statewide regulation review of largemouth bass, via surveys as well as listening sessions around the state. These upcoming open houses are part of a continuing input process between the FWC and local anglers. Interested anglers can partipate in the review process on Wednesday, Feb. 26, from 6-7 p.m. at John Boy Auditorium in Clewiston, or on Thursday, Feb. 27, from 6-7 p.m. at the Okeechobee Library in Okeechobee.
For additional information, contact FWC Fisheries Biologists Ralph LaPrairie at 561-625-5122 or Corey Lee at 863-462-5190.
Arrests for February 18th, 2014
LEWD & LASCIVIOUS BATTERY-VICTIM 12-15 YOA
Jesus Ildefonso Alvarado, age 16
3611 SE 33 Terrace, Lot 6
In custody-$50,000.00 bond
GRAND THEFT-MOTOR VEHICLE
Judy Faye Anderson, age 31
208 SE 2 Street
In custody-$8,000.00 bond
News Cast for February 19th:
Four were left homeless Tuesday morning after a fire damaged an apartment at Oak Lake Villas on South West 28th Street. 22 thousand in property damage was reported. The American Red Cross is assisting those impacted, Cory Kelly woke up the family when he got up to go to work around 2:45 in the morning and found the apartment filled with smoke. There were no injuries reported.
Troopers will be cracking down on hit and run drivers as they conduct a state wide awareness, hit and run, bad to worse this week. Lt. Greg Bueno says they are trying to educate the public that there are consequences for leaving the scene of a crash. Last year there were more than 78,000 hit and runs in Florida with 154 fatalities. In rural areas common reasons are no insurance, no driver’s licenses and driving impaired.
A 36 year old Moore Haven man is charged with armed robbery in which he pointed a sawed off shotgun at a three year old girl and her father in West Palm Beach. Bobby Washington and another man only got a cell phone, 10 dollars in cash and a bag of chicken in the crime.
Betsey Lafoy won the First Year teacher of the year award for Okeechobee schools. The third grade teacher at south thanked her colleagues and administrators. She became a teacher in Okeechobee when her husband got a job here. There were 48 teachers in the running for this award.
A wild fire burned up over 270 acres on the Flying G Ranch in Okeechobee county off US 98 on Tuesday. No structures were threatened. Fire crews from the Division of Forestry and Okeechobee County Fire Rescue spent several hours Tuesday afternoon and evening containing the fire. Smoke was also a problem for motorists on US 98 at times. Forestry officials say the county is drying out fast and wild fire dangers have increased.
Sports Cast for February 19th:
Eleven Lady Brahmans reached base by walk or being hit by a pitch in the third inning as Okeechobee scored, 13 runs and blew out Port St. Lucie 17-2 last night in a mercy rule game. Okeechobee also had a two run single by Khrysta Herndon in the third and RBI singles by Jordan Lawlis and Kaylen Fulford in the first inning. Coach Mary Huff earned her first high school varsity coaching win after a 0-2 start. She said she felt the girls relaxed and played the way they know how.
Starting pitcher Kaylen Fulford has battled back in her career from several injuries including knee surgery. She said this victory made her feel awesome.
In girls tennis Sebring blanked Okeechobee 7 to nothing on a tough afternoon at the Sports complex. Elizabeth Santelices had the best afternoon as she won four games in two sets.
Boys tennis defeated Sebring 5-2. Lucas Penido defeated Millind Khurana 6-2 and 6-2, Colt Root defeated Cody Crivello 6-3 and 6-1, Cody Walker defeated James Pinkey 6-1 and 6-1 and Dylan Ferneau defeated Conner Patterson 6-2 and 6-2.
Boy’s baseball lost to Sebring 5-1 last night.
Heart Gallery of Okeechobee & Treasure Coast
The Heart Gallery of Okeechobee & the Treasure Coast, a unique and stirring traveling photographic exhibit featuring children in foster care hoping to be adopted, will be on display from March 7 through April 17 at Indian River State College, Dixon Hendry Campus, Building B, located at 2229 NW 9th Ave.
The gallery features children who have been removed from home due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. They are “difficult to place” children who are older (7-17 years old), sibling groups, minority or bi-racial or may have physical, emotional or behavioral issues. The local Heart Gallery is displayed in high-traffic locations across Okeechobee, St. Lucie, Indian River and Martin counties in an effort to raise awareness of the need for adoptive homes in our communities.
Since it began in 2006, more than 60 children featured on the Heart Gallery of Okeechobee & the Treasure Coast have been adopted, including 11 from Okeechobee county children within the past five years. The local gallery, which is partially funded by both the Children’s Services Council of Okeechobee County and the United Way of Okeechobee County, was founded by Children’s Services Council of St. Lucie County, Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers and Children’s Home Society of Florida. Other funders include Department of Children & Families, Devereux Community Based Care, United Way of Martin County, Children’s Services Council of St. Lucie County and Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers.
For more information, contact Frank Avilla at (772) 429-2009.
Florida Highway Patrol
Hit and Run, bad to worse.
South West, Fla: The Florida Highway Patrol will be conducting a “Hit and Run, Bad to Worse” awareness campaign during the week of February 17, 2014 through February 21, 2014. In 2013, there were over 78,000 hit and run traffic crashes in the State of Florida resulting in over 17,000 injuries and 154 fatalities. This campaign aims to reduce the number of hit and run traffic crashes by educating drivers so they know their responsibilities if involved in a crash and the consequences of leaving the scene. See attached educational flyer.
- The driver must immediately stop and remain at the scene
- Must exchange information
- Render reasonable assistance to any injured persons
- The consequence of leaving the scene of a crash involving a
death is a felony of the first degree. A felony of the first degree
carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in a state correction facility
and fines up to $10,000.
- The consequence of leaving the scene of a crash involving injuries
is a felony of the third degree. A felony of the third degree carries
a maximum penalty of 5 years in a state correction facility and a
fine up to $5000
- The consequence of leaving the scene of a crash involving property damage is a misdemeanor of the 2nd degree. A misdemeanor of the 2nd degree carries a maximum penalty of 60 days in county jail and a fine up to $500.
The Florida Highway Patrol would like to remind everyone that *FHP (*347) dialed from any cell phone contacts FHP should you need to report a hit and run, impaired or aggressive driver.