News Cast for April 13th:

Okeechobee County Commissioners yesterday granted a request by Sheriff Noel Stephen to amend his budget in order to fund five new school resource officers to staff county schools as mandated by the state in the wake of the Parkland tragedy in February. Stephen says while the funding of the new SRO’s was necessary, there is more work to be done as it pertains to this bill passed by the senate.  Stephen says he and the commissioners and school board all recognized the necessity for the children of this community. The sheriff’s budget was amended to the tune of just over $380 thousand dollars for this fiscal year.

Stephen-SRO Budget Amendment 1

Stephen-SRO Budget Amendment 2

The Okeechobee County Historical Society will be getting some new funding for the Peter Raulerson Log Cabin restoration project. County commissioners yesterday approved the donation by the Centennial Committee their remaining funds from their centennial celebration to the restoration project. Sharie Turgeon of the Centennial Committee, which was put together almost two years ago to celebrate the town’s first 100 years, says this project was a great way to memorialize Okeechobee’s first centennial. The Centennial’s remaining funds, plus their original start-up funds of $10 thousand dollars, equals just over $16 thousand dollars to the Raulerson Log Cabin project, which is going through renovations before being open to the public. Commissioners also approved the Centennial’s donation of promotional items to the Historical Society.

Two Okeechobee men are in county jail on a host of drug charges after being stopped by narcotics officers Wednesday. Officers pursued and eventually stopped a car, driven by 32 year old Ruben Hernandez Junior on the 200 block of SE 126th Boulevard just after 3pm. Officers say they received information several times before that Hernandez and his partner, 46 year old Foye Eugene Crews were trafficking narcotics. Hernandez and Crews were ordered out of the car and a search turned up a napkin containing eighteen hydromorphone tablets, a bag of marijuana, a syringe and Adderall. Crews was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia and Hernandez was arrested for drug possession, paraphernalia and driving on a suspended license. Hernandez’s bond is set at $108 thousand dollars and Crews’ is set at six thousand dollars.

Okeechobee County firefighters had a brush fire to contend with Wednesday. Crews were called to the 22 hundred block of NW 128th Avenue just after five o’clock for a blaze that burned about one to two acres of heavy brush before crews got it controlled in about 45 minutes with no one getting hurt and no structure damages. Investigators say the fire burned mostly dead leaves and downed logs. The cause is being investigated.

The Science Olympiad team of Seminole Elementary School paid a visit to the Okeechobee County School Board meeting this week for some special recognition. Since December, Dr. Thelma Jackson, principal of Seminole Elementary, says they have been working on stem activities in an effort to get students more interested in the wonders of science, science technology, engineering and more. Dr. Jackson says the students got interested quickly in science as a whole. The Science Olympiad team, who got to work with doctors and nurses at Raulerson Hospital, will be participating in a state-wide competition in Orlando on April 21st.

Jackson 1

Jackson 2

Taylor Creek Bridge Improvements PR

On the arrest report:

63 year old Dewey Alton Lightsey of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for grand theft. He was released after posting a five thousand dollar bond.

40 year old Rita Maria Rios and 30 year old Xavier Torres-Ramos, both of Okeechobee, were arrested for possession of cocaine with intent to sell it near a place of worship. Their bonds are set at $110 thousand dollars apiece.

38 year old James Garfield Ball of Okeechobee was arrested for dealing in stolen property. His bond is set at $15 thousand dollars.

21 year old Tavares Whitehead Junior of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of cocaine with intent to sell it near a park. His bond is set at $150 thousand dollars.

27 year old Christian Trey Bockoras of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation. He’s being held without bond.

55 year old Trina Marion of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation. She’s being held without bond.