Local News

Charles Murphy News 5/12

News Cast for May 12th:

IMG_2023A search of a residence on South West 21st Street resulted in the seizure of over 17 grams of methamphetamine inside an air handler unit Tuesday. 46-year-old Regina Dunn was charged with drug trafficking. City police chief Denny Davis said he had no choice but to retire in August. Since he is in the Florida retirement system drop program. He said he’s unsure what the future holds. Davis said he wanted to give the council enough notice so they can do a search for a replacement.

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Mayor Jim Kirk said the city is in no rush to select a replacement.  He said he has an open mind about whether to select from within or outside the department.

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A 25-year-old Lehigh Acres man, Ronald Watson, charged with stealing 3 thousand dollars in jewelry from a Moore Haven home on Saturday.  The items were pawned at a gold store in Fort Myers and recovered.  A suspicious vehicle and suspicious phone calls.

37 year old Felipe CuaCua Luna of Glades County was charged with battery and child abuse, allegedly biting a female and breaking the arm of a child during a domestic dispute.

05 11 2016 Press News Release JROTC SWAT Obstacle Course Competition

Sports Cast for May 12th:

Rachel Bryan said the Lady Brahman volleyball team should keep on winning in the next few years. She won the Best All-Around player award this year. She said despite disappointment at districts the team had a great season. She said earning an award really was a nice way to end the season

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The volleyball team lost only three matches in the regular season.

The Brahman football team ready for their spring game tonight when they host the John Carroll Rams.  Kickoff is set for 6 pm.

Imagine Lake Okeechobee as a National Monument

Imagine Lake Okeechobee as a National Monument

Imagine Lake Okeechobee as a national monument. It’s a new solution presented by one woman running for Congress in Florida…

Could designating Lake O a national monument solve water releases?

Posted: Apr 06, 2016 12:14 AM EDT

By Andrea Hubbell, ReporterCONNECT  NBC-2

Imagine Lake Okeechobee as a national monument. It’s a new solution presented by one woman running for Congress in Florida.

A strategy April Freeman says aims to go over the heads of Florida politicians or people who may have their hand in sugar land.

When she announced, advocates cheered.

“Buy the land, send it south,” advocates chanted at Freeman.

“This problem is not science-based, the problem is political,” said John Scott, a water-quality advocate.

Congressional candidate Freeman says she has been following the Okeechobee concerns for year.

“The poisonous water being released from the lake goes through the Caloosahatchee River back here is killing the protected wetlands,” said Freeman.

Freeman told us she found out California was granted three new national monuments last year and thought Lake O could be a good option for the same ruling.

“I have come to the conclusion that makes perfect sense to designate Lake Okeechobee as a national monument through presidential executive order,” Freeman said.

Agricultural engineer John Capece said it could work, but there would be other concerns which wouldn’t be addressed.

“I don’t expect things to change overnight,” Capece said.

April Freeman says she’s already started an online petition to make Lake Okeechobee a national monument.

In the next 60 days, she must get at least 100,000 signatures to ensure the president will hear her request.

Article with Video Report: http://www.nbc-2.com/story/31652825/could-designating-lake-o-a-national-monument-solve-water-releases

Link to Petition: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/proclaim-lake-okeechobee-national-monument-through-antiquities-act

Charles Murphy News 5/11

News Cast for May 11th:

Sherry Wise was promoted from assistant principal to director of human resources for Okeechobee schools last month. She said her goal will be to improve ways to recruit teachers to our district. A committee has already started to discuss ways to do that. Wise said she really is excited about the new position.

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Last night retiring educators with a combined 501 years of service to the school system were honored by the school board. The list included Pam McCranie who worked 44 years for the district and Assistant Superintendent Joni Ard who served 37 years .  Others with over 30 years of experience included Christine Fuller, Cheryl Hollin, Marie and Ricky Root, Jan Watford, Darcy Ferneau, Rose Waldron, Robert Caves, Roger McWaters and Bertha Lowry.

Robert Davis became the fifth candidate to run for Glades County Sheriff this year. Davis has experience at Clewiston police, the Glades County Sheriff’s Office and the Seminole Tribe police department in Immokalee. Davis said the county has a drug problem that hasn’t been addressed and the sheriff should be active in the community creating programs for youth. He said he has the energy and enthusiasm other candidates lack. He’d like to see deputies more visible in communities.

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SWAFORD Sexual Predator Notification


Sports Cast for May 11th:

OHS cross country coach AJ Mayernik returned to his native Pennsylvania to run in the Pittsburg marathon last month.

He trained for several months to get ready for the race which covered 26 miles. Mayernik said race day had a few hiccups but he fueled the nerves to do well. Mayernik had two major goals, which were to be in the top 1 hundred and to keep up a steady pace.

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On the sports schedule today, the OHS baseball team will hold their awards banquet at 6 pm at the high school cafeteria.

Charles Murphy News 5/10

News Cast for May 10th:

Eddie Adderly received two life sentences Monday for the murder of Jason Osteen of Okeechobee. Adderly also shot Charles Brookfield of Jensen Beach to death as the two men sat in a car on Avenue E in Ft. Pierce on May 26th of 2013. Adderly was found guilty of two counts of first degree murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

The victim’s grandmother Margaret Osteen said she never thought she would be the victim of a violent crime. The family asked for the maximum sentence which Judge Robert Belanger handed down.

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An Okeechobee man, Tyrone Edison, will serve 40 years in prison for sexual abuse of children.  He entered into a plea deal on a charge of lewd and lascivious molestation and several other charges from alleged incidents in the White City area.  The defense asked for the minimum sentence of 25 years in prison.   Edison was already a sex offender from a case in Okeechobee when he allegedly abused as many as a dozen children.

Among arrests, 34 year old Tina Hansen was charged with child abuse after allegedly beating her child with a belt leaving bruises on his shoulder and upper arm.

A traffic stop by state wildlife officers alleged found the cab of the pickup truck decorated with recently killed alligator parts.  The report said the alligators foot was found in the dashboard and other parts were scattered throughout the cab.   The traffic stop took place at a wildlife management area near Lake Okeechobee.

Stolen Vehicle

Sports Cast for May 10th:

Cheyenne Nunez signed a scholarship to play softball for Division I Florida Gulf Coast University. She said she has a lot of things to look forward to in college. She said Florida Gulf Coast felt like home and had everything that she wanted.

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Nunez had first wanted to play volleyball there but there were no scholarships available in that sport.  Cheyenne said she was disappointed but kept working and another opportunity created itself. She thanked all her fans for their support over the years.

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She celebrated the accomplishment with a party at the Brighton Indian Reservation in April.

Charles Murphy News 5/9

News Cast for May 9th:

A Palm City man died in a single vehicle crash and fire on Martin Grade Sunday morning. The Florida highway patrol says 54-year-old Jose Marrero was head east bound when the Honda sedan veered off the road and struck a tree about a mile from route 710.  The vehicle caught fire and Marrero was pronounced dead at the scene.



A 19-year-old Okeechobee man was caught on a video surveillance camera at Wal-mart stealing a purse out of a shopping cart on Wednesday. Highlands County deputies say Brian Prescott was charged with grand theft.

Prescott Brian

An American Bald Eagle was recently released back into the wild at the Waste Management Landfill.  A group from Miami hoping to create a museum of Florida environmental and natural treasures, plans to do more events in this area. They were part of a proclamation before county commissioners. He said they also want to combat exotic plants and invasive species that harm the environment.

Ray Rodriguez on bald eagle release (2)

Dr. Cary Pigman says the biggest legislation that the state approved this year might be the State Wide Water Policy and the Legacy bill. Pigman said some coastal interests will only be satisfied when Central Florida counties are turned into nature preserves.

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On Thursday, May 12, 2016, at the County Commission meeting there will be a discussion in reference to the 2016 Okeechobee Musicfest. The purpose of this agenda item is to ensure a forum for the public to address the Board directly about concerns they have about the festival.  Festival organizers Cliff Rosen, Steve Sybesma, Paul Peck and Julio will be there.  This will be an opportunity for anyone to voice their concerns, complaints, or other problems to the Board. Undersheriff Noel Stephen stated, “This will be an opportunity for the Community to convey to our Commissioners all the good and the bad associated with Musicfest.  We facilitated several complaints during the event and want to be assured that everything is addressed.”

OCSO has received more than 30 calls today from a number that has a (206) area code; there are multiple phone numbers that the calls are from. The caller advises the person that he is from the IRS and they owe money and if not paid within 30 minutes, they will be arrested. THIS IS ANOTHER SCAM! DO NOT SEND MONEY Please notify your family, friends and acquaintances of this scam.

Martin Fatal 5-8-16 SR-714 and SR-710

Press News Release Attempt to Identify Burglary Suspects

Sports Cast for May 9th:

Mateo Vasquez is cited as a standout at Brahman spring practice this year. He said the team’s success starts with defense. He said he is very impressed with how the defensive line is performing. He also plays for the Brahman basketball team.

Mateo Vasquez doing well at spring practice

Other players being praised this spring include Juanyae Ford, Kysell Richardson and Evan Neal.

The coaches have been disappointed that only 20 eighth graders have come out for spring practice this year.

The Brahmans are excited about the spring game this Thursday when they host John Carroll at 6 pm.

VIDEO: 33 lions leave behind circus suffering in South America, for a new life in Africa

VIDEO: 33 lions leave behind circus suffering in South America, for a new life in Africa

The story of the now famous 33 lions that went from circus cages to freedom, is told in a new video by Animal Defenders International (ADI), released today. Rescued by ADI from a life of suffering in circuses in Peru and Colombia, the feel-good tale of the lions’ journey to their forever home in South Africa has won the hearts of the public around the world. Many of the lions have suffered their toes cut off to remove their claws and broken teeth. They cannot be released into the wild but will instead have the next best thing, a wonderful life at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa where they can enjoy their very own piece of the African bush.

Watch the video: https://youtu.be/UuohsIhkO5Q

Jan Creamer ADI President:  “It is a beautiful sight to see the lions in their native homeland, protected and free from their circus cages. These are the last wild animals to suffer in Peruvian circuses, it is over. We hope that the sight of these lions living in their natural environment will spur similar action to end circus suffering in the UK, USA and other countries.”

The lions were saved by ADI during an 18-month long Spirit of Freedom mission to assist the Peruvian Government with enforcement of a ban on wild animals in circuses. The law was secured following a four year campaign by ADI, preceded by a two year investigation of South American circuses, shocking the continent and instrumental to securing legal prohibitions on animal acts in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and others.

Over 100 animals have been saved during the mission, which saw ADI track down and raid illegal circuses as well as provide support on wildlife trafficking enforcement. Native animals including three bears and six different species of monkey were rehomed to Amazon sanctuaries in Peru, and a tiger to a sanctuary in Florida. Nine of the 33 lions were handed to ADI in Colombia after the country’s wild animal circus ban passed.

The animals were nursed back to health at ADI’s purpose-built temporary rescue centre near Lima. With care provided by a specialist veterinary team, some animals required emergency dental surgery and other treatments.

The lions’ journey to freedom took more than three days. On day one, the first nine lions were loaded into their travel crates in Bucaramanga, northern Colombia, and the same night 24 more lions loaded near Lima. After being trucked to Bogota airport, the Colombian lions boarded a huge MD11 aircraft chartered from ethical cargo company Priority Worldwide Services, joined by the remaining 24 in Peru.  After a delay in Brazil the trans-Atlantic flight touched down in Johannesburg as night fell. Trucks donated by Ibubesi Transport Logistics and bearing the names of the 33, carried the lions to Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in Limpopo, where they were released one by one, taking their first steps onto their native land.

For the first few months in their new home, the lions will live in “bonding camps” where they can become familiarised with their environment and families reintroduced. For the first time, the lions can feel the African soil beneath their feet and the sun on their backs, and enjoy the simple pleasure of rubbing against a tree. For phase two, the lions will be released into huge natural bush habitats with platforms and watering holes, for which donations are being sought as well as for the lions’ lifelong care. Donations to help fund the habitats and care for the lions for life can be made at  www.lionsbacktoafrica.org/donate  where people can also meet the 33 and find out more about the rescue and the lions’ new home.

The ADI rescue mission has been made possible with the support of many, including US TV legend Bob Barker’s DJ & T Foundation, who helped kickstart Operation Spirit of Freedom with a major donation. The cost of the lions’ first class ticket to freedom was largely funded through an online campaign by ADI and GreaterGood.com & The Animal Rescue Site, and more help came from Oakland Zoo, Bannerman and Spurlino foundations and many generous individuals including Dr. Lo Sprague & Rev. Dr. Gwynne Guibord, Elise Zoli, the Facebook group ‘Lion Lovers’, and many more who donated the cost of the travel crates and the $10,000 air fare for each lion.

Ethical business Priority Worldwide Services arranged the massive MD11 aircraft to carry the lions to Africa and helped to get the lions home with discounted services; Johannesburg’s Swissport International provided airport services and helped to get the lions transported off the aircraft; fencing manufacturer Bonnox, Lood Swanevelder Fencing, Faan Venter, Ibubesi Transport Logistics, and Chill Box all helped with transport and facilities for the lions at their forever home at Emoya.

ADI and Emoya would like to thank the Peruvian Government departments, SERFOR and ATFFS, and Police and in Colombia CDMB, a regional wildlife authority in Bucaramanga for enabling this incredible operation to happen.



Please read the following in its entirety and the attached flyer:

The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office has been receiving an increased number of frauds and scams. Learn how to protect yourself from scams and frauds.

It’s not always easy to spot con artists. They are smart, extremely persuasive and aggressive. They invade your home through the telephone, the internet and the mail; advertise in well-known newspapers and magazines; and knock on your door. Most people think they’re too smart to fall for a scam. But con artists rob all kinds of people. Cons, scams and frauds disproportionately victimize seniors with false promises of miracle cures, financial security and luxury prizes. One easy rule to remember:  IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS! (National Crime Prevention Council)

If you receive a call, DO NOT SEND MONEY, until you have determined the call is legitimate.

Please share this with family and friends.

Michele Bell, PIO

Okeechobee Summer Activity Guide

Active in Okeechobee

2016 Summer Activity Guide

Summer already?  It will be soon enough.  What activities have you planned for your children this summer? How about your teens?  The Shared Services Network (SSN) released the 2016 Summer Activity Guide on Thursday, May 5, 2016.

A copy of the guide has been sent home with every student in the Okeechobee County School System.  Our hope is that this guide will assist you in finding activities to keep your children safe, supervised and active this summer.

If you would like a copy or more information about this guide, please call Erin Moore (863) 462-5000 ext. 257, Shared Services Network of Okeechobee

Charles Murphy News 5/6

News Cast for May 6th:

America’s Hope was the theme for this year’s National Day of Prayer held Thursday in Okeechobee. Reverend Lionel Camel, prayed for the media like us in this time of technology.

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Reverend Richard Barker prayed for national protection and peace for Israel.

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The event included special music from John Garner, Sandy Perry, Bobby and Debby Huntley and a choir from Faith based kindergartens classes in Okeechobee.

In the courts, 26 year old Eddie Adderly Junior was convicted of first degree murder in the shooting of 36 year old Jason Osteen of Okeechobee and 54 year old Charles Brookfield of Jensen Beach.  Both men were shot to death sitting in a car in Ft. Pierce.  Adderly will be sentenced next week.

Accused murderer Michael Exantus has been deemed incompetent to stand trial on Okeechobee murder charges.  He is accused of shooting to death Antoine McQueen Hill on June 15th of 2 thousand 13, after an argument between the two men in Douglas Park.  He was later captured in Broward County by US Marshalls.

Silvermoon Taggart and Bill Herrin on rescue

Sports Cast for May 6th:

Morgan Bolan took home the Brahman Award for the girls’ swim team this year. She has high hopes for next year, which is her senior season. Bolan says she totally enjoyed this past year and bonding with her teammates.

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Bolan has been swimming for six years.  She also does the summer league Shockwaves.

She specialized in the breast stroke this year.  Her goal is to break the record in the 1 hundred yard breast stroke.

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She said the teams will push harder next year and should break more high school records.

Charles Murphy News 5/5

News Cast for May 5th:

Former Brahman football coach and pastor of More 2 Life Ministries Cary McKee was among 8 local coaches inducted into the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Heartland Hall of Fame last month. McKee coached Okeechobee for 8 seasons and made three visits to the state playoffs. He said his work in the ministry has been very rewarding. Sonny Hughes of Moore Haven was also inducted at a dinner held in Lake Placid.

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Library visitation is increasing in Okeechobee as are the number of volumes. Library Director Kresta King celebrated National Library week last month with the county commission. She thanked them for their generosity and also the support of the friends of the library which brought in some new cultural arts presentations this year. She said more and more people continue to visit the Library each year.

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A 28-year-old Okeechobee woman turned herself in Tuesday on two counts of child abduction on warrants from Manteca, California.  Jessica Richardson was also charged with contempt of court. She faces extradition back to California.

25 year old Ramiro Reyna is on trial this week for manslaughter.  He was accused of punching Gerardo Alvarez Manzo outside a bar in January of 2 thousand 14.  The victim hit the pavement and hit his head and died of a brain injury.

05 04 2016 Press News Release Operation Medicine Cabinet Results

Know your A, B, C’s

Sports Cast for May 5th:

Michael Lopez, point guard for the Moore Haven Terriers, was named All-State third team in recent voting. Lopez transferred in this year from LaBelle. In his three varsity seasons, his teams have won 20 games.

Lopez thanked his coaches but most importantly his family for making him a better basketball player. Lopez said his goal is to win a district championship in Moore Haven next year. He said if he sets a good example his teammates will follow.

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The Brahman football spring game will be a day earlier, on Thursday, May 12th at 6 pm to accommodate John Carroll’s schedule.

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