News Cast for August 1st:

This is just a reminder that motorists need to be aware of a road closure, per the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office. This closure is necessary in order to replace a culvert underneath SE 40th Avenue at the intersection of SE 8th Street. Detours are set up at SE 6th Street and SE 10th Street for the duration of the work. This closure will be in effect until tomorrow.

Just when you thought the workshops for the Okeechobee County budget were finished, they had one more yesterday. Commissioners met and discussed some ways to tweak the budget and they had another discussion with Sheriff Noel Stephen regarding his budget. As it stands, Stephen’s budget for his department stands at $17.8 million dollars and he is looking to increase it to $18.8 million dollars mainly to help raise the salaries of his deputies to keep them from leaving Okeechobee for better paying work elsewhere. Stephen says while the idea of the upcoming power plant and Bass Pro might help initially with needed county revenue to help fund the sheriff’s budget, it’s not sustainable. Stephen says what will ultimately help is more economic development in the county. Stephen says he’s looking forward to more workshops with the commissioners and the general public to help solve his budget issue.

Seventh Budget Workshop 1

Seventh Budget Workshop 2

Seventh Budget Workshop 3

Seventh Budget Workshop 4

Okeechobee County Sheriff’s deputies have a local man in custody on a host of charges after an incident Monday night. Sheriff’s deputies on patrol in Lock 7 came across some people standing by a bench just after ten o’clock and as he came up to them he smelled marijuana emanating from a pickup truck. The truck belonged to 20 year old Felipe Aguirre and as deputies looked in the truck, they noticed an alcoholic beverage, a black scale and a rolled up dollar bill. The scale and dollar bill had powder on them and it tested positive for cocaine. Further searches turned up bags of marijuana. Aguirre was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, cocaine, drug paraphernalia, alcohol by a minor and intent to sell drugs within a thousand feet of a specified area. His bond has not been set.

That was not the only one; sheriff’s deputies have an Okeechobee woman in county jail for drug charges as well after a traffic stop Monday night. Deputies stopped a car, driven by 38 year old Christina McCourts on the two hundred block of Highway 98 for not wearing her seatbelt. A check through dispatch revealed McCourts’ license was recently suspended. A search of her car turned up a marijuana “roach” on the floor and she had an electronic cigarette capsule on her that had cannabis in it. McCourts was arrested and booked on charges of marijuana possession and driving on a suspended license. Her bond has not been set.

Officials from the Highlands County Sheriff’s office say they’ve recently arrested two Sebring men in connection with a shooting at a restaurant in Avon Park last month. Detectives say 19 year old Somore Versace Fagan and 25 year old Erick Joseph Rondil were arrested July 13th for the shooting that took place at Maryland Fried Chicken on June 21st that left a man with a bullet wound in his leg. Spokesperson Scott Dressel says thankfully the victim will make a full recovery. Reportedly, Rondil, who had Fagan shoot the man, had a past friendship with the victim. Dressel says Rondil and Fagan were already in custody on unrelated charges. No one else was hurt in the incident.

On the arrest report:

45 year old David Peewee Herrin of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on a warrant from Polk County for failing to appear in court. His bond is set at a thousand dollars.

25 year old Patrick Neal Naugle of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past drug possession charges. He’s being held without bond.

20 year old Gabrielle Doctor of Okeechobee was arrested on four counts of fraud while making a bank deposit and failing to appear in court on past charges of lying to a pawnbroker. She’s being held without bond.

19 year old Travis Julian Williams of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

52 year old Scott Wesley Reiss of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation. He was released after posting bond.

36 year old Randy Ted Thornton was arrested for violating probation on past charges of burglary and trafficking stolen property. He’s being held without bond.