News Cast for February 7th:

Officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will be in Okeechobee this evening holding a public meeting to gather community input about the agency’s aquatic plant herbicide treatment program in Florida’s bodies of water. The meeting will be held at The Okeechobee County Civic Center on the 17 hundred block of Highway 98 North beginning at 5:30.

Speaking of bodies of water in Florida, Okeechobee County residents filled the Williamson Conference and Education Center at Indian River State College (IRSC) last night to provide their input to the US Army Corps of Engineers on the new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual. Project Manager Tim Guyson says they’re in the beginning stages of the plan and the two main things residents seem to want are for the engineers to take their time in developing this plan and more importantly, make sure the lake never gets down to ten and a half feet high. Guyson says having the lake that low would ensure aquatic plants would not survive. The lake also needs to have a natural fluctuation for the lake’s overall health. Former Okeechobee City Councilmember Gary Ritter was one of many who spoke and he says if the lake ever got as low as ten and a half feet high, it would be devastating and not just to communities around the lake. That sentiment was echoed by Pat Anthony, a winter resident of Okeechobee. The plan should be completed by the end of 2022. The US Army Corps of Engineers will be at the John Boy Auditorium in Clewiston next Monday to solicit residents’ thoughts on the plan.

Lake Okeechobee Plan 1

Lake Okeechobee Plan 2

Lake Okeechobee Plan 3

Lake Okeechobee Plan 4

Lake Okeechobee Plan 5

Lake Okeechobee Plan 6

A traffic stop turned into a drug related arrest for an Okeechobee man Tuesday evening. Sheriff’s deputies stopped a Kia Four door passenger car, driven by 37 year old Camille Lamar Leach, on the eight hundred block of NW 9th Avenue at around 6:15 for a window tint violation. As the deputy was gathering Leach’s driver’s license and registration, he was not making eye contact with the deputy and he was chewing as though he had finished eating something but there was no food in the car. Deputies say they smelled marijuana in the car, even though Leach told them there were no drugs in the car. A K-9 unit was called in to search the car and it revealed a torn plastic bag on the front seat and a marijuana flake. Leach, who was still chewing, was ordered to open his mouth. Deputies found marijuana on Leach’s teeth and also found some on his shirt. Leach was arrested and charged with tampering with evidence. He was booked into county jail and later released after posting a five thousand dollar bond.

Okeechobee County firefighters had a grass fire to contend with this past Sunday morning. Crews were called to the 17 thousand block of NW 38th Avenue a little after 11:30 and found some construction debris burning as part of a controlled burn. Investigators say the burn got out of control and set fire to about a tenth of an acre of grass and brush. Firefighters got the fire controlled in a few minutes while using about fifty gallons of water. No one was hurt and no structure damages reported.

A Jensen Beach man is dead after sustaining injuries from a vehicle accident Monday night. Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) officers say 85 year old Le Roy Phillip Haas was walking east on South Ocean Drive in St. Lucie County a little after 7:30 when an oncoming Hyundai sedan, driven by 70 year old Hae-Oak Kim, also of Jensen Beach, collided with Haas. Haas was taken to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center in Fort Pierce for treatment where medics pronounced him dead sometime later. Kim was not injured in the accident. FHP is investigating.

On the arrest report:

21 year old Montana Cheyenne Margeson of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on an out of county warrant for violating probation. Her bond is set at $25 hundred dollars.

25 year old Jermarcus Demetre Bradley of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license and being a habitual offender of that crime after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five thousand dollar bond.

45 year old Charles Edward Morris of Okeechobee was arrested by police for driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

49 year old Kenneth E. Carter of Okeechobee was arrested by Florida Fish and Wildlife officers on a warrant from Glades County for an undisclosed charge. He was released after posting a $25 hundred dollar bond.