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News Cast 5/14

News Cast for May 14th:

Okeechobee County’s landfill may be the recipient of some debris from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, courtesy of the Virgin Islands. Commissioners last week approved the receiving of construction debris to the landfill, which will take place if Waste Management, Inc., which operates the landfill, can procure the contract for the job from FEMA and the US Army Corps of Engineers. Assistant County Administrator Russell Rowland says if Waste Management, Inc. gets the contract, it will mean possibly over one hundred thousand tons of debris at just over three dollars a ton, making it a $300 thousand dollar profit for the county’s general fund; a great benefit for the county in several ways. The debris would be transported here via seaworthy barges and then by truckloads from Fort Pierce to the landfill over the summer through October.

National Hurricane Preparedness Week concluded last week but making sure your home is strengthened to withstand a hurricane is still of great importance. Mitch Smeykel of the Okeechobee Emergency Management Center says your garage door is the most vulnerable part of your home and once that goes, the rest of your home will surely be next. Smeykel says to replace your garage door once every ten years or using a retro fit kit. Smeykel says while using plywood and aluminum is a good solution for boarding up your windows, poly plastic and some fabrics work just as well and they are not as difficult to put up on your windows. Hurricane season begins June 1st.

This month is Building Safety Month in Okeechobee, and it is a time for making sure construction that is going on is safe and correct. City building official and inspector Jeff Newell was on hand to accept the proclamation from the city council at their last meeting. Newell says what tends to be overlooked sometimes is the tendency for contractors to “cut corners” in their work. Newell says this proclamation is especially important as we head into Hurricane Season and there are still roofs that need repair from the last Hurricane Season.

An Okeechobee man is dead after being electrocuted Wednesday afternoon. Okeechobee County Sheriff’s deputies say just before 3:30, 22 year old Joshua James Blow was doing some drilling on the dock with an electric drill near an RV park at the 86 hundred block of SE 441 with another man when Blow yelled to remove the extension cord. After some witnesses removed the cord, Blow and the other man, 62 year old John Fancher, fell into the water at Rim Canal. Witnesses pulled them both out of the water and EMT’s arrived and performed CPR on both. Fancher regained consciousness but Blow did not. Both men were transported to Raulerson Hospital for treatment where Blow eventually died from his injuries. Emergency crews are investigating the incident.

Okeechobee County firefighters had a reported shed fire to contend with Friday morning. Crews were called to the 26 hundred block of SE 25th Drive just before 10 am and actually found a burning debris pile in front of a collapsed shed. Crews got the blaze controlled in about 25 minutes with no one getting hurt and no damages.

An Arcadia woman is in serious condition after a vehicle accident Thursday. Florida Highway Patrol officers say 33 year old Molly McQueary was driving a Kia Sorrento west on Route 760, approaching a stop sign at Route 31 in De Soto County just after 2:30. She ignored the stop sign and drove into the path of a big rig truck coming from Route 31, colliding with it. She was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital for treatment.

On the arrest report:

19 year old Elizabeth Eileen Shaw of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for providing false ownership to a pawnbroker. Her bond is set at $25 hundred dollars.

20 year old Blaine Eugene Fulwider of Okeechobee was arrested for burglary, grand theft and providing false ownership to a pawnbroker. His bond is set at $75 hundred dollars.

31 year old Christopher Burgor Colon of Okeechobee was arrested on an outstanding warrant for battery and false imprisonment. His bond is set at $75 thousand dollars.

40 year old Tammy Lynn Chapman of Okeechobee was arrested for grand theft and fraud. Her bond is set at $10 thousand dollars.

24 year old Lauren Whitlow of Valparaiso, IN was arrested on a warrant for grand theft auto. Her bond is set at five thousand dollars.


News Cast 5/11

News Cast for May 11th:

There is no amnesty policy just yet, but there will be one coming. Okeechobee County Commissioners yesterday decided to take some time and work with the code enforcement staff and talk with constituents to develop a code enforcement lien amnesty program for property owners who are unable to pay the fines they accrue because of property violations such as overgrown grass, junk and debris on their property and more. Commissioner Bryant Culpepper says the policy would reduce the rates dramatically but cannot be higher than 15 percent of the property value so people wouldn’t have to file for bankruptcy. Culpepper says it’s something that’s necessary for the sake of new businesses and residents. Culpepper says there are at least a hundred open cases of code enforcement violations that need to be addressed. A policy might be ready for board approval by their next meeting.

Amnesty-Code Enforcement 1

Amnesty-Code Enforcement 2

Okeechobee County Commissioners yesterday accepted a proclamation for this month to be National Military Appreciation Month in Okeechobee County. US Navy veteran and incoming commander of the Big Lake VFW Kevin Stripling was on hand to accept the proclamation. Stripling says the honor is the highest one there is. Stripling served his time on the USS John F. Kennedy Aircraft Carrier assisting ground troops with air support over seven months in Beirut after the US embassy was bombed there during the early 1980’s. After his military career, Stripling began a 30 year career in law enforcement with the Martin County Sheriff’s office.

Military Appreciation Month 1

Military Appreciation Month 2

This week is National Hurricane Preparedness Week, a time for people to be better informed as well as prepared for the time when a hurricane is about to hit. Mitch Smeykel of the Okeechobee County Emergency Management Center says it’s a great idea to make sure your insurance, specifically hurricane insurance, is up to date because usually after a hurricane season, there are changes to deductibles, allowable coverages and more. Smeykel says surprisingly, some people don’t even have hurricane insurance. Smeykel says you should get hurricane insurance that is adequate to your home’s contents. Getting flood insurance, specifically for those who live in flood zones or areas prone to flooding is also a great idea.

Smeykel-Hurricane Insurance 1

Smeykel-Hurricane Insurance 2

While this week has just about ended, Okeechobee County Commissioners proclaimed this week as National Travel and Tourism Week at their meeting yesterday. County Tourism Coordinator Sharie Turgeon was on hand to accept the proclamation. This proclamation is a national community gathering to showcase community travel and tourism and the promotion of it. Turgeon says this is the 35th year celebrating this special week. Turgeon says besides the fishing, tourists are very interested in hunting, hiking and airboat riding among other outdoorsy things.

Turgeon-National Travel and Tourism Week 1

Turgeon-National Travel and Tourism Week 2

Okeechobee County Sheriff’s officials are reporting that crews from their animal control services have impounded some livestock that was loose. One brown and white boar hog with black spots was found at NE 60th Court and two potbelly pigs, one black and one white, eleven chickens, one rooster and a white duck were found at NW 310th Street. All are impounded and if they’re not redeemed in three days, they will be offered up for adoption or disposed of humanely.

On the arrest report:

29 year old Esteban Medrano Arellano of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for failing to appear in court for previous drug and contraband charges. He’s being held without bond.

52 year old Linda Marie Stokes of Okeechobee was arrested for failing to appear in court for previous theft charges. She is being held without bond.

28 year old Tressa JoAnn Johnson of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia and tampering with evidence after a traffic stop. Her bond has not been set.

25 year old Ralph Henry Buchheit of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation. He’s being held without bond.

54 year old Ray Alton Howard of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation. He’s being held without bond.


Osceola Signs On To Play Baseball at Pasco-Hernando State College (Audio Included)

Osceola Signs On To Play Baseball at Pasco-Hernando State College

(Audio Included)

After pitching 5 shutout innings and hitting a home run to help Okeechobee advance to the baseball regional semifinals, the night became even more special for senior Sean Osceola when immediately after the game he signed on to play baseball at Pasco-Hernando State College.

Pasco-Hernando State College is a D-2 Junior College located north of the Tampa/St Pete area in Pasco County. The Bobcats baseball program has a long rich history of success on the diamond including making the regional tournament seven out of the last eight seasons and the World Series in 2014. This season, PHSC won 35 games which is the second most in school history.

Asscociate Head Coach and recruiting coordinator Lyndon Coleman  signed Osceola and says the program is excited to add a complete player like Sean. Click this link to listen to Lyndon Coleman on Sean Osceola as a baseball player.

Aside from getting a good player, Coleman also knows PHSC is getting a good student athlete.  Click this link to listen to Lyndon Coleman on Sean Osceola as a baseball student.

Osceola is excited for the opportunity to keep playing baseball. Click this link to listen to  Sean Osceola on signing with Pasco-Hernando State College

Sean isn’t the only Brahman going to PHSC next year, Kassie Weldon signed on to play softball there earlier in the season.

 Sean Osceola with his parents Reno and Kellie Osceola and PHSC Associate Head Coach/Recruiting Coordinator Lyndon Coleman


News Cast 5/10

News Cast for May 10th:

Okeechobee County Commissioners meet this morning and they will be looking to approve a new phone system for the human resources building by an outside company and they will also be looking at developing an amnesty program for properties that have received code enforcement violations. The meeting will be held at 9 am in the historic courthouse.

Officials from Florida Power and Light were at the Okeechobee County Civic Center near the airport yesterday for a Power to Save Event. Residents came and were given advice on how to save energy and money on their energy bills. Spokesperson Florencia Contesse says some residents were able to get free of charge energy makeovers where technicians came to their home and had their air conditioners, water filters and more either examined or adjusted. Contesse says one thing people can do to conserve energy and lower their bills is signing up for their “on call program”. Contesse recommends keeping your thermostat at 78 degrees when you’re home and just over 78 when you’re not home to save money on your energy bills. She also recommends using LED light bulbs instead of traditional light bulbs because they are comparable price-wise and they are 80 percent more efficient. Any further questions about energy saving can be directed to Florida Power and Light at FPL.com.

Contesse 1

Contesse 2

Recently, the Okeechobee Police Department reassigned two of their veteran officers to county schools to become new school resource officers as required by the state in light of the tragedy at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in February. One of those new officers was Kellie Margerum. Margerum is a thirteen year veteran of the police department and she is excited about her new role and says it allows her to help in two ways. Margerum was a member of the road patrol before being tapped to be an SRO. She assumed her new duties at Central Elementary School earlier this month. The other new SRO from the Okeechobee Police Department is Officer Jack Boon.

Margerum-New SRO

Two Okeechobee men are facing drug charges following an attempted deal Tuesday. Sheriff’s deputies observed 18 year old Johnson Ngo Tran place a bag of marijuana wrapped in a white napkin in the trunk of a Nissan sedan in the parking lot at the 14 hundred block of Route 441 south just after four o’clock. As deputies approached to question Tran, the owner of the Nissan, 21 year old Baldemar Medrano Junior tried to run out the back exit of a store there. Medrano was caught and deputies had a K-9 unit search the car and found the marijuana bag and other drugs. Medrano was arrested for possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and cannabis, while Tran was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to sell. Tran was released after posting a $55 hundred dollar bond and Medrano is being held without bond.

Okeechobee County Sheriff’s deputies are investigating a major theft that happened Tuesday morning. Deputies received a call just after 7am saying Ranger Construction rented a Caterpillar 272D rubber tire skid steer from Kelly Tractor Company the day before and then parked it on a vacant lot at NE 144th Street but when they came in the following day, it was missing. Deputies say there was a GPS tracker on it and it said it’s located in Hialeah Gardens. It apparently had been unhooked from the grinder attachment and stolen, likely via hotwiring. Deputies say the skid loader is valued at over $76 thousand dollars. Hialeah Police has been notified of the incident.

On the arrest report:

25 year old Bridget Maria Deschamps and 25 year old Bryan Lee Walburn, both of Okeechobee, were arrested by sheriff’s deputies for separate charges after a traffic stop. Walburn was arrested for driving without a license and Deschamps was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. Deschamps’ bond is set at just over $57 hundred dollars and Walburn’s is set at $750 dollars.

25 year old Lisa Ellen Carr of Okeechobee was arrested for burglary, grand theft and criminal mischief of an unoccupied home. Her bond is set at $55 hundred dollars.

23 year old Alphonso Tyrone Morris Junior of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on previous drug and obstruction charges. He’s being held without bond.

23 year old Dillon Albert Muir of Okeechobee was arrested on an out of county warrant from Palm Beach. He’s being held without bond.


News Cast 5/9

News Cast for May 9th:

The official start of Hurricane Season is June 1st. However, this week is National Hurricane Preparedness Week. With that, people in Okeechobee County are being reminded about certain things they need to do to prepare for it once a hurricane comes. Mitch Smeykel of the Emergency Management Center says preparing a disaster awareness kit is key to better surviving a hurricane. The kit should include at least three days of water and food, flashlight, batteries, insurance paperwork, cellphone, battery charger for your car and some cash, among other items. Smeykel says to customize your disaster awareness kit according to your situation. Any other questions about hurricane preparedness should be directed to the Emergency Management Center. For more details on Hurricane season and how to prepare, feel free to go to the section “Hurricane Season” at the top of the website!

Smeykel-Disaster Kit 1

Smeykel-Disaster Kit 2

Since the beginning of last month, the Florida Department of Transportation crews have been working on a section of the Taylor Creek Bridge on North US 441 in Okeechobee County but coming up this weekend is when motorists need to be aware that beginning Friday at 7pm thru Monday at 7am, that section of the Taylor Creek Bridge on 441 will be closed to traffic. Community Outreach Manager Corinne Burgess says the work going on there is not only needed but quite involved. Once the area is closed to traffic, motorists can use Highway 70 to Dark Hammock Road or Highway 98. The work should be completed by early summer.

Recently, the Okeechobee County Commissioners approved invoices from Alabama-based Crowder Gulf for debris collection from Hurricane Irma in the amount of just over $1.3 million dollars. Commissioners also approved the budget transfer of that same amount from the Landfill Trust Fund Reserves to cover this cost. Assistant County Administrator Russell Rowland says FEMA will reimburse the county about ninety percent of the $1.3 million dollars. Rowland says he wishes it could be a total reimbursement but realizes that it is what it is. Rowland estimates that Crowder Gulf allowed the county to use at most 30 trucks to clean up nearly 138 thousand cubic yards of hurricane debris.

Rowland-Invoice Approval

A former resident of Okeechobee County was arraigned Monday on a host of charges in connection with the disappearance and eventual death of a nine year old girl. A Lee County grand jury returned the indictment last week against 30 year old Jorge Manuel Guerrero Torres on charges of first degree murder, kidnapping and lewd and lascivious acts against nine year old Diana Alvarez of Ft. Myers. Alvarez disappeared from her San Carlos Park home in June of 2016 where Torres was once a tenant in the girl’s mother’s home. Torres moved to the San Carlos Park area in 2013 because he could not find work here in Okeechobee. Torres is facing life in prison if he’s convicted. In 2013, Torres was charged in Okeechobee County with fleeing the scene of a crash and resisting authority without violence. He’s also been previously charged with possessing child pornography.

On the arrest report:

34 year old Stephanie Michelle Starcher of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for contempt of court. She’s being held without bond.

32 year old Terry Terrell McQueen of Okeechobee was arrested for possession and selling cannabis within a thousand feet of a park. His bond is set at $60 thousand dollars.

40 year old Cheri Lorene Newton of Okeechobee was arrested for possessing and selling cocaine within a thousand feet of a park. Her bond is set at $50 thousand dollars.

38 year old Nicole Marie Porter of Okeechobee was arrested for petty theft. Her bond is set at five hundred dollars.

53 year old William S. Foley Junior of Okeechobee was arrested on a warrant from Highlands County. He was released after posting bond.

23 year old Alphonso Tyrone Morris Junior of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past drug offenses and obstructing authorities. He’s being held without bond.

29 year old Hector Alvarez Junior of Okeechobee was arrested for petty theft and passing a forged check. He was released after posting a $55 hundred dollar bond.


News Cast 5/8

News Cast for May 8th:

Gentry

A Lake Placid man will likely be charged with murder in connection with the death of a Highlands County Sheriff’s deputy. Deputies arrested 69 year old Joseph Edward Ables after he shot 40 year old William J. Gentry Sunday evening while Gentry was questioning Ables about the shooting death of a neighbor’s cat. Gentry was treated at Lee Memorial Hospital in Ft. Myers before succumbing to his wounds just after one o’clock in the afternoon. Highlands County Sheriff’s spokesperson Scott Dressel remembers what a great guy he was to train and work with. Ables has a long history of violence dating back as far as 1983, including an aggravated battery charge against a south Miami police officer in 2001.

Dressel-Officer Killed 1

Dressel-Officer Killed 2

It was a bit of a scary moment yesterday morning at Sebring Airport. Officials say a plane crashed on the main runway just after 11:45, resulting in injuries to the pilot. No one else was hurt. Airport Director Mike Willingham says the plane was not in the air at the time of the crash, the pilot was trying to turn the plane on the runway while the rotor was still in motion and the rotor shifted, making contact with the pavement and causing the crash. Willingham says the incident did create a minor inconvenience as it relates to airport operations. The injured pilot, Bob Harshberger, a student of the gyrocopter firm that operates out of the airport, was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. This is the first crash at Sebring Airport in nearly four years.

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Willingham 2

Two women and one man, all Okeechobee residents, are facing charges of possessing and selling drugs after a deal went down on Friday. Okeechobee County Sheriff’s deputies say 39 year old Windy Lynn Dunn was driving a Dodge van with 56 year old Georgann Denise Hewitt in the passenger seat going into the drive thru at a pharmacy and obtaining something through the drive thru window just after 12:30. Deputies were actively pursuing Hewitt because she had an outstanding arrest warrant for theft of state funds. Both women met up with 53 year old Robert Wayne Medders at his car in the parking lot of an auto parts store on Parrott Avenue where an exchange took place. Deputies then followed Dunn and pulled her over while other deputies pulled over Medders. All three were arrested for possession of hydromorphone and oxycodone while Hewitt and Dunn were arrested for selling the drugs. Hewitt is being held without bond, Medders was released after posting a $10 thousand dollar bond and Dunn is being held on $50 thousand dollars bond.

Officials from the Okeechobee Police Department are looking for someone suspected of burglarizing vehicles over the weekend. The suspect is an approximately six foot tall Caucasian man with dark hair, wearing a beanie and backpack, wearing a size 12 Van sneakers with a waffle pattern on the bottom. He reportedly burglarized vehicles at Palmdale Oil, East Coast Migrant and the Detox Center. If you have any information on this suspect, please contact the Okeechobee Police Department.

On the arrest report:

42 year old Richard Becerra of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for petty theft, violating parole and failing to report himself as a sex offender. He’s being held without bond.

58 year old Timothy Clay Brown of Okeechobee was arrested for battery after reportedly punching his neighbor after an argument. His bond is set at five hundred dollars.

36 year old Randy Ryan Ramirez of Okeechobee was arrested for battery on a person over 65 years old. His bond has not been set.

41 year old Jose Luis Rodriguez of Okeechobee was arrested for battery and simple assault. He was released after posting bond.

25 year old Melissa Ann Lighty of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation and failing to appear in court on previous grand theft charges. She is being held without bond.

46 year old Robert Lee Hilger of Okeechobee was arrested for disorderly conduct. He was released after posting bond.


News Cast 5/7

News Cast for May 7th:

A snapped power line is the cause for several power outages in Okeechobee Friday afternoon. A high power line above the parking lot at CVS at the intersection of Park Street and Parrott Avenue snapped and fell shortly after 4:30, cutting power to several sections of the city. Police Lt. Justin Bernst says this is not the first time this has happened in this particular fashion. Power was restored to much of the area about an hour later. No one was hurt from the downed power line. Cause is being investigated.

Bernst-Downed Power Line

Photo from “Mock Crash” demonstration at OHS this past Friday in preparation for prom. Photo courtesy of Michelle Bell, OCSO.

Juniors and seniors at Okeechobee High School Friday were treated to a “mock crash” simulation. The simulation, put together by members of the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Department and Fire and Rescue Department, depicted kids on prom night who had been drinking and got into an accident where one of the kids was killed and others were flown away in a helicopter to a hospital while others were transported out by ambulance and the deceased had a white towel put on them. Principal Dylan Tedders says what really made a difference though was the guest speaker, Undersheriff Gary Bell, talking about having to call parents and telling them their child was killed. The “mock crash” was set up on the football field. The vehicles were provided by BMJ Towing, the performers were provided by Mrs. Debbie Raulerson’s drama classes and the helicopter was provided by Aero Med. Okeechobee High’s prom night was this past Saturday.

Tedders-Mock Crash 1

Tedders-Mock Crash 2

This week marks the start of Municipal Clerks Week. Okeechobee City Councilmembers approved the proclamation as part of their meeting last week. City Clerk Lane Gamiotea says she is “proud and honored” that she was recognized for her work. Gamiotea, who has been lead clerk for 14 years, says she has to be elected to her position by voters. Gamiotea says one thing she would like to see happen at some point is the better streamlining of public records and creation of a youth council with Mayor Dowling Watford. Before becoming lead clerk, Gamiotea was deputy clerk for 14 years. She has served through three mayors and many councilmembers during her tenure as clerk and deputy clerk.

Gamiotea 1

Gamiotea 2

The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s department will soon have two new officers to their team. On Thursday, members of the sheriff’s office administration met with Francisco Hernandez and Stephen Paladino, two graduates of the Indian River State College’s Law Enforcement class this week, and hired them to fill vacancies with the department’s road patrol. Sheriff Noel Stephen says after screening and interviews with members of the department, they came to the conclusion that Paladino and Hernandez would be the best two for the job because of their “like-mindedness”. Stephen says the hiring of these new officers comes at a great time because of several of his more experienced officers who will soon be leaving for other agencies. Hernandez, of Indiantown and Paladino from Port St. Lucie, will assume their duties following their academy training.

Stephen-New IRSC Officers 1

Stephen-New IRSC Officers 2

On the arrest report:

53 year old Cathleen Marie Garrett of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for violating probation on previous fraud charges. She was released after posting bond.

32 year old Terry Terrell McQueen of Okeechobee was arrested for possessing cocaine with intent to sell near a park. His bond is set at $60 thousand dollars.

47 year old William Kyles of Okeechobee was arrested for aggravated battery. His bond is set at five thousand dollars.

28 year old James Hart Cyr of Okeechobee was arrested for domestic battery by strangling, escaping from a penal institution and resisting arrest. His bond is set at $52 thousand five hundred dollars.

28 year old Alexandra Paige Norman of Okeechobee was arrested on a warrant for third degree grand theft. She was released after posting a $25 hundred dollar bond.

38 year old Hurdley Junior Mitchell of Okeechobee was arrested on a warrant from Monroe County after he was pulled over by Florida Highway Patrol. He was released after posting a five thousand dollar bond.

53 year old Michael Prescott Brantley of Okeechobee was arrested for failing to appear in court on previous charges of driving on a suspended license and no registration. He’s being held without bond.

33 year old Mark Allen Lee of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. His bond is set at five hundred dollars.


News Cast 5/4

News Cast for May 4th:

Okeechobee County residents, local authorities and more gathered in the courtyard behind the historic courthouse yesterday for the National Day of Prayer. This is a nationwide event that takes place on the first Thursday in May and it’s a time to pray for all our fellow citizens. The event was highlighted by the ROTC Color Guard from Okeechobee High School and choir members from elementary schools singing God Bless America. Okeechobee Police Chief Bob Peterson says it’s one of the really good things about the community. The event was put together by members of the Kiwanis Club and they also provided lunch. The event is a US Presidential proclamation and it’s been in place for over 50 years.

National Prayer Day 1

National Prayer Day 2

It was another day, another wildfire and another teaming up of Florida Forest Service and Okeechobee County firefighters to battle the blaze, this time in the Spot in the Sun area Wednesday. Crews were called to the site of the blaze at NE 103rd Avenue, south of Route 70 just after 6:30 and needed just over an hour and a half to get the three acre sized fire contained. Forest Service spokesperson Melissa Yunas says it was tough going for crews to fight the blaze because of thick vegetation. No one was hurt and no damages but there were a couple of homes in the area that might have been threatened but defensible space was the difference; keeping your property clean to at least thirty feet from vegetation. Cause is under investigation.

Yunas-Spot in the Sun Fire 1

Yunas-Spot in the Sun Fire 2

An Okeechobee man is being charged with domestic battery following an incident Wednesday night. Sheriff’s deputies responded to a home on the 36 thousand block of NE 10th Drive shortly before 10pm and found the wife of 32 year old Alfred Marion Ward had reportedly been beaten by her husband. Deputies say Ward, who is ending his relationship with his pregnant wife, came to the house to load some of his belongings and the two got into an argument, resulting in Ward punching her in the face, strangling her and burning a cigarette on her face. Ward’s wife would eventually call 911 and he fled the scene but he was eventually found and arrested. Ward is being held without bond.

Okeechobee County Sheriff’s officials are informing people of a recent scam that took place. A call was received yesterday advising of a scam that sounded legitimate. The male caller identified himself by name and stated he was from Florida Power and Light. He went on to say that the victim was two months behind paying his bill and asked for the victim’s account number. The victim thought right away that this is a scam and told the caller he was not giving his account number to anyone and asked for a supervisor. The caller gave the phone number of FPL as 1-844-266-1860. Apparently, when you call this number it sounds just like the REAL FPL number. It gives you several options, just like FPL. It then transfers your call to “an operator”, just like FPL, but it is not. It’s another scam. The victim did not give in to the caller’s demands. If you are unsure, contact the Sheriff’s Office before you proceed.

A vehicle accident claimed the lives of two Belle Glade women Wednesday. Florida Highway Patrol officers say 20 year old Thelmakia Robinson was driving a Chrysler PT Cruiser north on US-27 just after five o’clock when for an unknown reason, she went off the road and onto the shoulder, then rotated clockwise before overturning in a canal. Robinson was taken to St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center for treatment where she later died. Her passenger, 71 year old Evylen Ziggler, was pronounced dead at the scene. The accident is being investigated.

On the arrest report:

24 year old Christopher Jose Arce of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for failing to appear in court for past drug possession and driving without a license offenses. He’s being held without bond.

26 year old Antian DeAndre Sewell of Okeechobee was arrested on an out of county warrant for violating his parole. He’s being held without bond.

35 year old Christina Michelle Skeens of Okeechobee was arrested on an out of state warrant from Illinois for possession of methamphetamine. Her bond is set at $40 thousand dollars.

38 year old Stacey LaFawn Tyson of Okeechobee was arrested for aggravated battery and resisting arrest. His bond is set at $50 thousand dollars.

24 year old Holmes Eugene Boyd the Third of Lorida was arrested for burglary and dealing in stolen property. His bond is set at $12 thousand five hundred dollars.


BEWARE!!! PLEASE READ THIS…DON’T BE A VICTIM OF THIS SCAM

BEWARE!!! PLEASE READ THIS…DON’T BE A VICTIM OF THIS SCAM

A call was received today advising of a scam that sounded legitimate. The male caller identified himself by name and stated he was from FPL. He went on to say that the victim was two months behind paying his bill and asked for the victim’s account number. The victim thought right away that this is a scam and told the caller he was not giving his account number to anyone and asked for a supervisor.

The caller gave the phone number of FPL as 1-844-266-1860. THIS IS THE SCARY PART:  When you call this number it sounds just like the REAL FPL number. It gives you several options, just like FPL. It then transfers your call to “an operator”, just like FPL. BUT IT’S NOT FPL!!! It’s another scam! Luckily this victim did not give in to the caller’s demands.

If you are unsure, contact the Sheriff’s Office BEFORE YOU PROCEED

HERE ARE SOME OTHER SCAMS. DO NOT FALL VICTIM TO THEM

The IRS will never call you on the phone and state you must pay or be arrested.

A Law Enforcement Agency will never call and say there is a warrant for your arrest but if you pay they will dismiss it.

If someone says they need your help to cash a check because they have no ID, SAY NO and walk away or hang up the phone.

If someone contacts you that your grandson/granddaughter is in jail and needs bond money, STOP, contact other relatives and verify if your loved one is in jail.

The Social Security Administration will not contact you and ask for money.

If someone claims they have won the lottery and need your help to collect the money, walk away or hang up the phone.

IF SOMETHING SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS.

Michele Bell, PIO


VIDEO: SFWMD Completes Restoration of Historic Loxahatchee River Dams

VIDEO: SFWMD Completes Restoration of Historic Loxahatchee River Dams

Restoration of Lainhart and Masten dams benefiting “wild and scenic” river finished six months ahead of schedule

Jupiter, FL- Today the South Florida Water Management District’s  (SFWMD) Water Resources Analysis Coalition received a detailed presentation about the recently completed restoration of two historic dams on the Loxahatchee River in northern Palm Beach County.

The dams, first built in the 1930s by local families, control and regulate upstream flow stages of the Northwest Fork of the river, the state’s first designated “wild and scenic” river. The dams also maintain the hydrology of the riverine floodplain ecosystem. Modeling has shown that without the two dams in place, the upstream water levels would be about 1.5 feet lower, draining the freshwater swamp and encouraging saltwater intrusion.

“One of SFWMD’s primary missions is the protection of natural systems and these dam renovations are crucial to ensuring the future of the Loxahatchee River,” said Governing Board Vice Chair Melanie Peterson, a Palm Beach County resident and former member of the Loxahatchee River Management Coordinating Council. “These dams are not only living parts of Palm Beach County’s history, but they are essential to protecting the cypress swamp floodplain that makes the Loxahatchee so unique.”

In February of 2017, the SFWMD Governing Board approved $2.5 million worth of restoration work to the two historic dams. Restoration work began in March 2017 and was completed in January, approximately six months ahead of schedule. The work was originally not expected to be completed until July 2018 but the contractor worked through last summer’s wet season to speed up the completion and bring the restoration benefits to Palm Beach County residents sooner.

The repairs, which came after extensive public input and thorough review, minimize any impact to the river’s natural resources and preserve the historical integrity of the dams. Areas of the dam that have decayed were repaired and soil under and around the dams were stabilized to reduce seepage.

“I wanted to specifically thank the water management district for how they approached this project,” said Albrey Arrington, Executive Director of the Loxahatchee River District. “They engaged the community at multiple levels and really sought genuine input from the community on how to restructure this important facility.”

In addition to protecting the unique river ecosystem of the Loxahatchee River, the dam restoration work also included reconstructing the canoe and kayak portages to improve recreational access for all users.

View a video of the completed Lainhart and Masten dams.

View a slideshow of the completed Lainhart and Masten dams.


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