News Cast for December 7th:

Okeechobee County Commissioners and Sheriff Noel Stephen met during the commissioners’ meeting yesterday to determine a time to formally meet with the Coquina Water District Board and no meeting date was set. A workshop was originally planned for this week, but according to Commissioner Bryant Culpepper, the county attorney needs time to address all of the Coquina Water Board’s concerns and legal issues that could emerge from it before a meeting can happen. The issues between the county and Coquina Water Board stem from the constant complaints by residents 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. Culpepper says it could be a while before this meeting will happen. Meanwhile, Sheriff Stephen says he’s hoping for some understanding from the Coquina board in terms of the excessive amount of patrol he has to send there. As reported previously, one of Coquina’s board members, David Law, was arrested last week for marijuana possession after a traffic stop. He’s since bonded out.

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Officials from the Florida Forest Service say there is a possibility that you can get some tax dollars back from the government. Forest Service Spokesperson Melissa Yunas says there will be a webinar today where people can learn if they can deduct eligible losses on their tax returns if their timber home or timber business sustained considerable losses from wildfires or hurricanes. The webinar will focus on the new tax law changes that Congress passed last year that affect casualty loss deductions starting in this tax year. Yunas says while this webinar is new, she suspects the possibility of tax deductions has probably been in place for a while considering that the timber industry has been around forever and people sometimes have timber homes. The webinar begins at one o’clock today and it’s at www.forestrywebinars.net.

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An Okeechobee man is in county jail at this time for his actions at a county school Wednesday afternoon. Police were dispatched to Okeechobee Christian Academy on the seven hundred block of South Parrott Avenue sometime before three o’clock after witnesses stated they observed 44 year old Danny Ray Austin walking around the parking lot of the school and looking into several classrooms. Police say Austin was wearing blue jeans, a baseball cap and a gray sweatshirt at the time and he looked visibly intoxicated. School officials imposed a lockdown and Austin, who was slurring his speech and could not stand on his own, became belligerent when he was asked by officers to leave the school and he refused. School officials released the lockdown when police arrested and charged Austin with disorderly conduct and booked him into county jail. His bond is set at five hundred dollars. No one was hurt.

Okeechobee County firefighters had a call of a reported brush fire to contend with Wednesday evening, which turned out to be not as bad as reported. Crews were called to the 83 hundred block of NW 30th Street just after six o’clock and found multiple large piles burning, with a piece of equipment monitoring the piles. Investigators say the operator of the burn piles had a permit through the Department of Forestry, who were also called to the scene to take care of the complaint. No one was hurt and there were no damages. All of the burn piles were reportedly under control.

On the arrest report:

31 year old Wesley Allen Williams of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for violating probation on past charges of grand theft and drug possession. He’s being held without bond.

45 year old Edward Presley Barsh Junior of Okeechobee was arrested for obstructing without violence after deputies arrived at his home to serve him a warrant. He was released after posting a thousand dollar bond.

37 year old Matthew Steven Raynor of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. He was released after posting a $15 hundred dollar bond.

26 year old George Lewis Bradley the Third was arrested by police for simple assault and battery on his girlfriend during a domestic dispute. His bond has not been set.