News Cast for September 18th:

The case against an Okeechobee man and former city council member is set for trial next month. The attorney for 75 year old Mike O’Connor appeared in court last Thursday on behalf of his client, asking for more time to prepare for the case. O’Connor pleaded not guilty last July to charges of domestic violence and tampering with evidence in connection with an incident involving his stepdaughter in his gun shop on May 25th.  As it was last time, O’Connor was not required to be present in court on Thursday according to Okeechobee County Prosecutor Ashley Albright. O’Connor’s trial is set for October 29th. O’Connor resigned from his city council position a week after his arrest. He is facing at most five years in prison if he’s convicted.

‘Connor Case 1

‘Connor Case 2

With last Tuesday being the 17th anniversary of 9/11, officials from the VFW’s Big Lake Post #10539 honored several first responders in a special luncheon and awards ceremony. Big Lake Post Senior Vice Commander Dennis Conner says the VFW Big Lake Post reached out to the commanding officers of first responders in the county and asked them to nominate two people for their outstanding contributions and they were issued plaques of recognition and were also treated to a lunch cooked by Conner himself. Conner says as much as it means to his fellow VFW members to honor these people, it’s even more so to the first responders. Some first responders who were honored at last Tuesday’s luncheon include Corporal Bryan Lowe and Deputy Gary Cashwell of the sheriff’s department, Sgt. Aurelio Almazan and Raul Marrero of the police department, Okeechobee City firefighters Josh Sanders and Les McGee and Captain Ryan Hathaway of the Okeechobee County Fire Department.

Conner 1

Conner 2

It looks like the Okeechobee County Industrial Park might be getting a new business. Commissioners listened to a plan by Juan Geymonat, president of the Miami-based Institutional Products Inc. (IPI), to lease and purchase a piece of land in the Industrial Park. Geymonat says IPI does architectural casework for institutional plastic laminates for schools, universities, medical complexes and more. Geymonat says he was looking for a second location for his business because of the growing need for his business and he says Okeechobee is ideal for his second location. Commissioners liked the plan and asked Geymonat to return to a future commissioners’ meeting for more discussion on the matter. Geymonat’s business would be located in the area that previously housed Advanced Stone.

A visit to an Okeechobee man’s residence by sheriff’s deputies for an arrest on outstanding warrants turned into an arrest and incarceration for not one, but three Okeechobee residents Thursday afternoon on a long list of charges. Deputies came to a home on the one thousand block of SW 10th Street just before four o’clock to arrest 47 year old Arthur William Smedley on active warrants and found him in one bedroom and arrested him before they noticed several syringes, a measuring scale and a glass pipe with methamphetamine residue on it in his room. Another room in the house, belonging to 24 year old William Fulwider, also had methamphetamine on the dresser and a dirt bike with the serial numbers scratched off, indicating it was stolen and three twelve gauge shotguns in the closet. A search of a third room, belonging to 30 year old Megan Salina Hair, also turned up items used for cooking meth and controlled substances. Smedley, Fulwider and Hair were all arrested and charged with possession of meth and drug paraphernalia, while Fulwider was also charged with possession of firearms by a convicted felon and grand theft. Fulwider’s bond is set at $46 thousand dollars, Smedley’s bond is set at $66 thousand dollars and Hair’s is set at $31 thousand dollars.

An Okeechobee man was cited for careless driving that caused an accident yesterday morning in Manatee County that injured two people. Florida Highway Patrol officers say 59 year old Peter Lynn Johnson was driving a tractor west on Highway 275 east of Route 41 just after nine o’clock when he didn’t stop in time at a traffic light before rear ending a Toyota Corolla, driven by 21 year old Samantha Pennino of Sarasota, who then rear ended a Chevy Equinox minivan, driven by 58 year old Gary Downing of Bradenton. Downing was treated for minor injuries at Blake Medical Center while Pennino is being treated for serious injuries. Johnson, who was not injured, was cited and released. FHP officers say he is facing possible civil charges for the incident.

On the arrest report:

49 year old Scott Alexander Marra of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for petit theft. He’s being held on a $35 hundred dollar bond.

54 year old Robert Patrick Hill of Okeechobee was arrested for simple assault during a domestic dispute. His bond is set at a thousand dollars.

42 year old Lori Ann Snowball of Okeechobee was arrested for drunk driving and damaging property after a vehicle accident. She was released after posting a $750 dollar bond.

34 year old Miguel De Jesus Zefarino of Okeechobee was arrested for driving without a valid license after a traffic stop. His bond is set at five hundred dollars.

35 year old Samantha Ann Thomas of Okeechobee was arrested for trespassing. She was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

32 year old Jared Preston Dennis of Okeechobee was arrested on warrants from Miami-Dade County for violating probation on past charges of burglary, criminal mischief and grand theft. He’s being held without bond.

24 year old Dalton Ashley Boney of Okeechobee was arrested for drunk driving after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a $750 dollar bond.