News Cast for December 3rd:

Looks like the much anticipated meeting between Okeechobee County Commissioners, Sheriff Noel Stephen and the Coquina Water District Board will have to wait. The scheduled workshop for this week is cancelled because members of the Coquina board wrote a letter to the commissioners detailing a list of questions to go over and commissioners cannot legally discuss those questions unless they’re in a formal meeting with them and determine how they can formally answer those questions. The issues between the county and Coquina Water Board stem from the constant complaints by residents of the 25 mile subdivision in the Viking/Prairie area who are tired of weekenders partying excessively there and the Coquina Water Board is allowing it to happen, forcing sheriff’s deputies to patrol the area excessively. Despite the cancelled workshop, Commissioner Bryant Culpepper is not disappointed. In an interesting development, Coquina Water Board member David Law was arrested early Friday morning for possession of marijuana after a traffic stop and is now facing expulsion from the board. A new date for a meeting with the Coquina Board will be discussed at the next commissioners’ meeting on Thursday.

Today, there will be a prescribed burn on Lake Okeechobee. Officials from the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) say there will be a prescribed burn conducted on eight thousand acres of Lake Okeechobee east of the Moore Haven Canal this morning to improve fish and wildlife on the lake. Water Management Board member Randy Smith says it’s also beneficial for lake ecology because it burns up thick layers of muck that have formed on the lake’s surface (Smith-Lake Okeechobee Burn 1). The burn, which begins at eight o’clock this morning, will be conducted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and US Army Corps of Engineers with the Water Management Board managing it.

A traffic stop turned into a drug related arrest for an Okeechobee woman early Friday morning. Sheriff’s deputies stopped the driver and passengers of a Toyota passenger car near the five hundred block of Route 70 West shortly before 1:30 for not wearing seatbelts and the driver was weaving across the middle lines. Deputies say they smelled alcohol and marijuana as they approached the car and found one of the passengers, 20 year old Camryn Rae Cashwell, not wearing her seatbelt. A search of the car was conducted and it revealed several open beer cans on the floorboards and a smoking pipe inside a makeup purse belonging to Cashwell which had marijuana in it. The search also turned up heroin belonging to Cashwell. Cashwell was arrested and charged with possession of heroin, marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Her bond is set at $55 hundred dollars. Driver and other passengers were not arrested.

Another Okeechobee woman is facing drug charges of her own after a traffic stop Wednesday night. Narcotics officers from the sheriff’s department stopped the driver of a Chrysler van on the 23 hundred block of Route 70 West a little after nine o’clock after the vehicle was reported stolen. Officers say the passenger, 28 year old Melissa Ann Carter, threw a black colored object out of the passenger side window before the van was stopped. It was recovered and officers confirmed it contained two bags of marijuana and methamphetamine, respectively. Officers arrested Carter and charged her with possession of marijuana and methamphetamine. She’s being held without bond. Meanwhile, the driver was not charged because the owner of the van refused to press charges.

On the arrest report:

53 year old Lesley Marguerite Callahan of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for child abuse. Her bond is set at five thousand dollars.

30 year old Justin Brown Chism of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past charges of credit card fraud. He’s being held without bond.

52 year old Brad Guyton Mims of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on previous charges of not registering as a sex offender. He’s being held without bond.

27 year old Richard Shane Miller of Okeechobee was arrested for sexual battery and several counts of lewd and lascivious behavior on a 12 to 15 year old girl. His bond is set at $110 thousand dollars.

19 year old Serena Berzoza of Okeechobee was arrested on an out of state fugitive warrant for sexual assault on a child. She’s being held without bond.

26 year old Guage John Gonzalez of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past burglary charges and weapons possession. He’s being held without bond.

38 year old Michael Ford Stires of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of cannabis and drug paraphernalia after a traffic stop. His bond is set at six thousand dollars.