News Cast for January 4th:

The beginning of next week will mark the end of an era in the Okeechobee County Courts. Judge Jerald Bryant will be serving his last day as a County Court judge on Monday. Bryant will be retiring after serving on the bench for the last twelve years. After his stint in the US Marine Corps and graduating from law school, Bryant began his law career in 1982 first as a public defender in Okeechobee then opening his own practice two years later, which he had until his election to the bench in 2007. Bryant says he was inspired to have a law career during his time as a Marine when he was assigned the job of escorting prisoners to their court martials. Bryant says he is especially proud of the Okeechobee Drug Court, which became the sixth county in Florida to have one during his tenure. Once retired, Bryant, an Okeechobee native, will spend more time with his family and do some traveling. Bryant’s successor, veteran local attorney Bill Wallace, will be sworn in later this month or early next month.

Bryant 1

Bryant 2

Tomorrow will be the 6th annual “Ride for the Fight” event to benefit people stricken with cancer. Ride for the Fight is a day of bull riding and bronco riding and rodeo at the Okeechobee Cattlemen’s Arena. Okeechobee resident Nanno Corona, a cancer survivor himself, put this event together during his recovery beginning in 2013. Corona says for the first time in six years of this event, the bull riding and bronco riding will be held at night. Corona says the barrel race will begin at eleven o’clock in the morning and there will be a calf scramble for the kids as well.

Corona-Ride for the Fight 2019

An Okeechobee man who was recovering from injuries he sustained from a vehicle accident on Christmas Eve has died. Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) officers say 48 year old John Zachary Cline was driving a Chevy SUV north on Route 29 in Glades County just after 9:30 on Christmas Eve when he didn’t approach a left turn properly, causing the SUV to go onto the shoulder of Route 27 and strike a tree. Cline was recovering from his injuries for a week before succumbing on New Year’s Eve. The accident is still being investigated.

An Okeechobee man is in county jail at this time on felony battery charges in connection with an incident on New Year’s Eve night. Sheriff’s deputies were called to the 36 hundred block of NW 3rd Street after receiving reports from witnesses that 38 year old Enrique Meras Junior was trespassed from the area because he doesn’t live there and he came there to cause problems. Deputies say Meras came over there looking to fight someone and when the man’s roommate told him he couldn’t come in, Meras pushed him, injuring the man’s roommate and then punched and kicked him before taking off. Meras was eventually found by deputies before being arrested and charged. He’s being held without bond.

Okeechobee County Sheriff’s deputies have a local man in county jail on a host of charges following an incident Wednesday morning. Deputies say 18 year old Wayna Sands was arguing with his now ex-girlfriend at her home on the 16 hundred block of NE 7th Street just after six o’clock when he snatched her phone out of her hand as she was calling 911 and pushed her before leaving the house. Deputies say Sands also took his girlfriend’s debit card. Sands was eventually found on the three hundred block of NE 17th Avenue and deputies arrested and charged him with robbery by snatching, battery and thievery. His bond has not been set.

Okeechobee County firefighters had a report of a lawnmower fire on New Year’s Eve but it turned out to be a lot less serious. Crews were called to the eleven hundred block of 10th Street just before noon and found some excess fuel on the mower caught fire but the homeowner quickly put it out just before firefighters arrived. No one was hurt and no damages.

On the arrest report:

31 year old Charles Ive Garrett Junior and 31 year old Desmond Franquel Smith, both of Okeechobee and both inmates at county jail, were arrested by sheriff’s deputies for fighting. Smith’s bond is set at five hundred dollars and Garrett is being held without bond.

63 year old Paul Edward Schoolden of Okeechobee was arrested for vehicle burglary and retail theft. His bond is set at $55 hundred dollars.

63 year old Pamela Lynn Nettle of Okeechobee was arrested for petty theft, burglary and driving without a valid license after a traffic stop. She was released after posting a $55 hundred dollar bond.

61 year old Lee Eugene Cockfield of Okeechobee was arrested for not paying cab fare. His bond is set at $25 hundred dollars.

19 year old Jaquan Antwan Thompson of Okeechobee, an inmate at the county jail, was arrested for making threats of rioting in the jail. His bond has not been set.

20 year old Tyler Le Henry Chouinard of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to sell. His bond is set at $30 thousand dollars.

49 year old Drexel Kennon Williams of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past drug and alcohol charges. He was released after posting a $25 hundred dollar bond.

37 year old Elizabeth Marie Rivas Starcher of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell near a place of worship. Her bond is set at $100 thousand dollars.

28 year old Bryan Daniel Corwin of Okeechobee was arrested for grand theft and burglary. His bond is set at $20 thousand dollars.

46 year old Lisa Aguilar Garcia Cardena of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past drug possession charges. She’s being held without bond.

39 year old Amy Elizabeth Fink of Okeechobee was arrested for retail theft after being caught stealing items from Dollar General. She was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

54 year old Scott Denton Salmon of Okeechobee was arrested by police for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. His bond is set at $15 hundred dollars.