News Cast for September 13th:

Okeechobee County Commissioners meet this morning after a three week hiatus and they will be considering street lighting for bus stops on NW 192nd Avenue and hear updates on the plans for the repairs of Bridge #910045 on NE 304th Street. The meeting will be held at the Historic County Courthouse beginning at nine o’clock. The meeting will be streamed live online at the board of county commissioner’s website.

With Hurricane Florence expected to hit the Carolina and northeastern Georgia coasts hard sometime today, people in those areas have evacuated or are evacuating or staying and preparing for the worst. For some, having enough gas in their vehicles is of the utmost importance and that means gas prices will be rising because of the likely impacts on gas supply. But here in Okeechobee and much of the state, AAA Spokesperson Mark Jenkins says gas prices won’t be impacted. Jenkins says gas prices in Florida are averaging two dollars and seventy-seven cents per gallon, nearly four cents less than a week ago and five cents less than last month.

Jenkins-Hurricane Impacts on Gas Prices 1

Jenkins-Hurricane Impacts on Gas Prices 2

An Okeechobee woman will be in court today for a status hearing regarding charges stemming from an incident where her pet spider monkey attacked someone last June. 56 year old Tina Darlene Ballard is charged with several offenses including maintaining captive wildlife in a neglectful manner and culpable negligence causing harm when her spider monkey named Spanky attacked a Home Depot employee on June 4th. Prosecutor Ashley Albright says Ballard’s most likely serious offense is tampering with evidence. Ballard, who missed two bond hearings after she fled the area, was picked up last July at a North Carolina county jail after she had been incarcerated on a fugitive warrant and brought back to Okeechobee County.

Albright-Ballard Status Hearing 1

Albright-Ballard Status Hearing 2

At their last meeting, the Okeechobee City Council voted unanimously to proclaim the month of September as Hunger Action Month in the city of Okeechobee. Krista Garofalo of the Treasure Coast Food Bank in Fort Pierce was on hand to accept the proclamation and she says it’s a time to encourage people to spread awareness and take action against food insecurity or the uncertainty of where your next meal comes from in your community. Garofalo says the statistics depicting food insecurity in this area is not good. Garofalo, who is proud of this proclamation, says September was designated as Hunger Action Month in the city because of the proximity to the major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Garofalo 1

Garofalo 2

A routine traffic stop turned into a chase on foot and arrest for a Pahokee man in Okeechobee County Tuesday night. Sheriff’s deputies stopped a Toyota sedan on the nine hundred block of NW 9th Street, driven by 21 year old Robert Mairs for failing to stop at a stop sign. Deputies say Mairs verbally provided a false name but he didn’t provide a driver’s license or identification card. As soon as deputies’ backs were turned, Mairs got out of the car and ran off. Deputies ordered Mairs to stop and when that didn’t work, they dispatched a K-9 unit to pursue Mairs, who was eventually caught just off NW 6th Street. Mairs was arrested and charged with driving without a valid license, giving false identification to a law officer, resisting arrest and failure to obey. He was booked into county jail and his bond has not been set.

On the arrest report:

44 year old Shawn Matthew Pyper of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on three counts of felony battery; his second such offense. He was released after posting a $15 thousand dollar bond.

61 year old Corveda Smith of Okeechobee was arrested for failing to appear in court on past charges of driving without a valid license. Her bond is set at two thousand dollars.

32 year old Travis Lee McCrummen of Okeechobee was arrested on an out of county warrant for dealing in stolen property. He was released after posting a five thousand dollar bond.

59 year old Robert Lee Harris of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

20 year old Joshua Madrigal of Okeechobee was arrested by police on a warrant from Glades County for violating probation. He’s being held without bond.

33 year old Kimberly Ann Flateau of Okeechobee was arrested for petit theft after she was caught stealing items from Wal-Mart. She was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.