News Cast for June 18th:

An Okeechobee man will be permitted to possess firearms while he awaits his court appearance for domestic battery. An Okeechobee County court judge on Friday denied the state’s emergency motion to prohibit 75 year old Mike O’Connor from having guns in his possession as a condition of his criminal case bond. Okeechobee County prosecutor Ashley Albright says he was quite surprised that his motion was denied. O’Connor will be in court early next month to answer for charges of domestic battery on his stepdaughter during an incident in his gun shop last month. O’Connor resigned from his city council seat a week after his arrest.

O’Connor Civil Hearing-Friday

Officials from the Okeechobee Health Department recently reported the presence of a virus called Eastern Equine Encephalitis, otherwise known as Triple E, found to be the cause of death for a pair of emus and made another one very sick. Triple E is a virus transmitted by mosquito bites and it normally affects equine animals like horses and other cattle and some large birds like emus but it can affect humans as well and the disease more often than not is fatal. Emergency Management Director Mitch Smeykel says the best thing to do is get vaccinated. Smeykel says mosquitoes that carry the Triple E virus usually are flying around in the nighttime to early dawn hours so please cover up if you’re outside and use repellents that have the ingredient known as DEET.

Representatives of Okeechobee County met with the representatives of the International Association of Firefighters Local 2918 in an amicable union meeting this past Tuesday and discussed several topics. One of the requests from the union was allowing for pay increases over a three year period to various employees establishing them in a step that relates to their seniority in their respective departments. The county instead chose to go with increases with seniority in their respective positions; County Administrator and chief negotiator Robbie Chartier. The next meeting will be held on June 25th.

Chartier’s Union Meeting 1

Chartier’s Union Meeting 2

Highlands County Sheriff’s deputies have a Sebring man and woman in custody on charges of stabbing two people Wednesday night. Spokesperson Scott Dressel says 26 year old James Gaston Hall and 28 year old Kabao Yang were arrested in connection with the stabbing of two people in a domestic-related incident on Darnell Drive in Sun ‘n Lake of Sebring. Yang and Hall fled the scene before authorities arrived. Dressel says Hall and Yang turned themselves in the next day. Both victims, whose names were not released, received serious injuries but both are expected to make a full recovery. Yang and Hall are being held in excess of $570 thousand dollars’ bond apiece.

An Indiantown man is in Okeechobee County jail at this time on charges of drug possession following an incident Thursday morning. Sheriff’s deputies were called to a traffic crash on the 18 hundred block of SE 441 just after 11 o’clock. No one was hurt in the accident but officials say 30 year old Miguel Diego threw out a white bag containing plastic bags full of different strains of marijuana after the crash took place and he and his passenger, Cristina Francisco of Okeechobee, sped away. Deputies found the car on the east end of the parking lot near the scene of the crash thanks to a trail of leaking oil and both Diego and Francisco were arrested. Diego was charged with possession of marijuana and cannabis oil. He was booked into county jail with a bond of $30 thousand dollars. Francisco’s charges and bond amount were not disclosed.

On the arrest report:

47 year old Juan Felipe Rebollo of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for driving on an expired license of over four months after a traffic stop. His bond is set at $250 dollars.

40 year old Albert Rodriguez Lewis of West Palm Beach was arrested on a warrant for selling cocaine. His bond has not been set.