News Cast for February 6th:

A call for a brush fire turned out to be a lot more than that early yesterday morning. Firefighters from the Okeechobee County Fire Department were called to the 16 thousand block of NW 308th Street just after four o’clock for what was initially a brush fire but as crews got closer to the scene, they instead found a double wide mobile home completely covered in flames. Firefighters arrived a little after 4:30 and needed about a half hour to put out the blaze while using about nine thousand gallons of water to extinguish it. Investigators say the mobile home was completely unoccupied; no one was living there at the time and there was no furniture inside. The fire had already destroyed a third of the mobile home by the time firefighters arrived. No one was hurt. Total estimated cost of damages to the mobile home is just over $65 thousand dollars. The cause of the fire is being investigated by the state fire marshal.

Members of the United States Army Corps of Engineers will be in Okeechobee this evening for a special meeting regarding Lake Okeechobee. The purpose of the meeting is to engage public opinion in the process of developing Lake Okeechobee’s system operating manual as we move into the future. Project Manager Tim Guyson says this is especially important for those who count on the lake for different uses. Guyson says the development of this system operating manual for the lake is necessary for the lake’s management. The meeting will be held at the Williamson Conference and Education Center at Indian River State College (IRSC) beginning at six o’clock and is open to the public. It will begin with a short presentation on the process itself and then people who attend can voice their opinions on it.

Guyson 1

Guyson 2

A welfare check turned into a drug related arrest for an Okeechobee man Monday morning. Sheriff’s deputies were called to the 17 hundred block of NW 47th Terrace just before eleven o’clock when the homeowner, who was in Missouri for work reasons, called the sheriff’s office asking to check on his wife after she called him to say she felt she was in danger. Deputies say 42 year old James Carlos Gillis the Third was living in the house with the homeowner’s wife, and he had been drinking and she didn’t feel comfortable around Gillis when he drank. Deputies say Gillis had bonded out of jail earlier and under pretrial conditions, he was not to be drinking alcohol. Gillis was visibly drunk and made death threats to the homeowner. A search of his room revealed a coffee container with marijuana in it and a plastic bottle being used as a bong. Gillis was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. He was booked into county jail and his bond has not been set.

A Port St. Lucie man was sentenced in federal court on Monday of last week for falsely claiming to be a veteran of the US Armed Forces in order to apply for employment and obtain free medical services. 47 year old Edward Louis Liroff pled guilty in November to theft of government property and making false claims of military accomplishments. US Federal Court records say Liroff submitted two job applications last spring in Port St. Lucie claiming to be a decorated military combat veteran in the US Army to get preference for hiring. He submitted a fraudulent certificate of discharge from active duty along with his resume. Liroff was sentenced to four years’ probation and ordered to pay just over four thousand dollars in restitution.

On the arrest report:

28 year old Jayme Lee Casanova of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for violating probation on past drug offenses. He’s being held without bond.

41 year old Michelle Lee Jones of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past charges of grand theft. She’s being held without bond.

31 year old Everado Hernandez of Tampa was arrested for driving without a valid driver’s license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a thousand dollar bond.