News Cast for February 13th:

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, a Thursday, and that also means the Okeechobee County Commissioners will be having their meeting tomorrow. Commissioners will consider a proclamation for this week to be Foster Family Appreciation Week and they will also consider Sheriff Noel Stephen’s comments in regards to a proposed sound ordinance in the county. The meeting will begin at nine o’clock in the Historic County Courthouse and it will be streamed live on the commissioners’ website.

Firefighters from Okeechobee County and the Florida Forest Service teamed up to fight a wildfire that unfortunately caused some structure damage Sunday afternoon. Crews were called to an area at NE 101st Street just west of NE 128th Avenue sometime after noon and found the blaze which had already burned about five to seven acres of brush by the time they arrived. Firefighters say gusty winds blowing out of the southeast at ten miles per hour caused the blaze to spread toward a mobile home, two campers and a barn. The mobile home did catch fire and the smoke caused some damage to one of the camper trailers before it also caught fire and was eventually lost in the blaze. Crews needed about two to three hours to get the fire controlled, which eventually burned about 25 acres of brush and grass. The $60 thousand dollar mobile home, while slightly damaged, was saved but one of the camper trailers was destroyed to the tune of about seven thousand dollars. No other structures were damaged. The fire resulted in no one getting hurt. Cause of the fire is under investigation.

This past Monday was February 11th, the eleventh day of the second month of the year, otherwise known as 2/11. The numbers 211 are significant this week because it’s 211 Helpline Awareness Week in Okeechobee County, thanks to a proclamation approved by commissioners at their last meeting. Community Relations Specialist Colleen Phillips, who was on hand to accept the proclamation, says 211 Helpline is a community resource referral helpline and a crisis hotline to connect people to needed services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Phillips says it serves as a “gatekeeper” for social service agencies. 211 Helpline began in the 1970’s in Palm Beach County as a drug and alcohol referral system before added funding from the United Way in 2000 made it what it is today. It serves Okeechobee, Palm Beach, St. Lucie, Indian River and Martin Counties.

A traffic stop became a drug related arrest for an Okeechobee man Friday morning. Sheriff’s deputies pulled up behind a Pontiac sedan that appeared to be broke down on the 53 hundred block of NW 30th Street a little before eleven o’clock. Deputies say the driver, a woman, and her passenger, 29 year old Alvin Eugene Crowell Junior, appeared very nervous and not making eye contact as they were giving their identification. A K-9 unit was called in to search the driver, Crowell and the vehicle. Nothing was found on Crowell or the driver but about three grams of crack cocaine belonging to Crowell was found under the floor mat of the passenger seat. Crowell was arrested and charged with cocaine possession and booked into county jail. He was released after posting a five thousand dollar bond. The driver meanwhile was not charged in the incident and she was released.

An Okeechobee woman is in county jail at this time on domestic battery charges following an incident Monday night. Sheriff’s deputies were called to the 35 hundred block of NW 7th Street at around 9:15 after receiving reports that 31 year old Chandra Yasheika Franklin threw a box at her girlfriend. Deputies say the two got into an argument after Franklin’s girlfriend didn’t want to take Franklin to get her tax paperwork. Franklin threw a box at her face. Franklin’s girlfriend told deputies that she and Franklin had been having problems for a while. Franklin was arrested and charged with domestic battery and booked into county jail and her bond has not been set. Franklin’s girlfriend meanwhile was treated at the scene for her injuries.

A couple of unattended burn piles got the attention of Okeechobee County firefighters Monday afternoon. Crews were called to the two thousand block of Highway 78 West shortly before two o’clock and found two small piles of debris burning with no water present or equipment to put the fires out. Crews got the fire controlled in about forty minutes with no one getting hurt and no damages. Causes of both fires are being investigated.

On the arrest report:

47 year old Raymond Daryl Cook of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on a warrant from St. Lucie County for violating probation. He’s being held without bond.

57 year old Michael Allen Anderson of Okeechobee was arrested for trespassing at a local gas station. His bond is set at five hundred dollars.

20 year old Harley Dean Henderson of Okeechobee was arrested for disorderly conduct and trespassing at someone’s home. His bond is set at five hundred dollars.

63 year old George Walter Jarosik of Sebring was arrested for fraud when he tried depositing a bad check into his bank. His bond is set at five thousand dollars.

29 year old Erminia Meras of Okeechobee was arrested by police for simple assault and battery, giving a false name to authorities and local warrants for not completing a treatment program for substance abuse, violating probation on petit theft and failing to appear in court. She’s being held without bond.