News Cast for November 21st:

For the second time in as many meetings, Okeechobee County Sheriff Noel Stephen addressed the county commissioners yesterday regarding the problems between his department and the 25 square mile subdivision in the Viking/Prairie area that’s run by the Coquina Water District Board. The tension has gotten so bad now that commissioners voted unanimously to schedule a workshop between the county and the Coquina Water District to hopefully stop the constant complaints by year-round residents who are tired of people who use the area to party and do dangerous things like shoot guns off. Stephen says his deputies have been having to patrol the area excessively and cannot adequately patrol other areas that are their responsibility. Stephen says it’s gotten to the point where people in question there are now engaging in behavior that might be threatening to his deputies . Commissioner Bryant Culpepper hopes this workshop will make a difference and both sides can find common ground. The workshop is scheduled for December 3rd or 5th at 6pm.

Coquina Water District Problems 1

Coquina Water District Problems 2

Coquina Water District Problems 3

Coquina Water District Problems 4

Speaking of the Viking area, Okeechobee County Commissioners got a visit from a local man who wished to put his single wide trailer in that area only to be told no. Steve Haasfield addressed the board, saying he purchased land out in the Viking area because it’s quiet and away from the city but commissioners, according to Haasfield, essentially told him to live in his van, of which he has been living in since June. Haasfield says it’s basically unfair that he cannot put his trailer in the Viking area. Haasfield, who is on disability, is seeking legal representation in the matter.


The Okeechobee County School Board last night met for the first time in nearly a month and a half and the board now officially has a new member. Melisa Jahner, who previously worked as an Exceptional Student Education paraprofessional, was sworn in by Judge William Hendry. Jahner says she’s “excited” to be on the board and will look at it as a great learning experience. Jahner also says it will be a challenge and she’s always up for a good challenge. Jahner also says she will provide a different perspective to the board. Jahner hit the ground running; she was appointed to the Value Adjustment Board and District Employment Wellness Steering Committee. Jahner defeated Dixie Ball for the spot on the board at the August Primary Election.

Jahner-New School Board Member 1

Jahner-New School Board Member 2

Okeechobee County Sheriff’s deputies have a local man in jail on charges of grand theft of a firearm in connection with an incident Monday afternoon. Deputies were called to the nine hundred block of NW 3rd Street just before 3:45 after someone who was playing basketball there told deputies that 23 year old Bruce Lee Snell Junior had taken the man’s backpack which contained his wallet, a Glock 26 handgun and several magazines. Deputies say the man chased Snell to a home on the eight hundred block of NE 14th Avenue. Once deputies arrived, Snell was arrested and charged. His bond has not been set at this time.

Okeechobee County Firefighters had a call of a gas leak early yesterday morning. Crews were called to the two hundred block of NE 39th Boulevard just before one o’clock and they detected a very faint smell of mercaptain mixer, which is mixed with natural gas to give it an odor. Firefighters searched the area and found no leaks. Investigators say the gas company was called to better determine any gas leaks before firefighters left the scene. No injuries or damages reported.

On the arrest report:

69 year old James Arthur Snell of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for violating probation on past undisclosed charges. He’s being held without bond.

26 year old Anthony Gerald Vickers of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past undisclosed charges. He’s being held without bond.

35 year old Sonja Jean Buck of Hollywood was arrested for possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. Her bond has not been set.