News Cast for March 15th:

Officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission say there will be a prescribed burn today in the south end of Lake Okeechobee near Belle Glade. FWC crews and others will be burning about a thousand acres of green cattail, or cattail that has not been sprayed by herbicides. FWC biologist Dan Roberts says this prescribed burn is being done to help preserve and improve the habitat of fish and wildlife in Lake Okeechobee, reduce the threat of wildfire and ensure ecosystem. Roberts says this burn will be conducted by crews using a helicopter. The burn will be conducted by FWC and crews from the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and the US Army Corps of Engineers. It is set to begin at eleven o’clock this morning.

Roberts-Prescribed Burn 1

Roberts-Prescribed Burn 2

With this being the week of the Okeechobee County Fair, it’s also a busy time for those involved in the Okeechobee Youth Livestock Show. This week, Ben Butler, president of the Livestock Show, spoke to members of the local chapter of the Kiwanis Club and talked about what this show is, what it does for Okeechobee students in the 4H and FFA youth clubs and what this opportunity of raising and then showcasing animals at the show does for the development of young people. Butler says the Okeechobee Youth Livestock Show and the Kiwanis Club are quite similar in their missions regarding youth (Butler 1). The Okeechobee Livestock Show, Inc., a non-profit organization designed to help promote and develop Okeechobee’s youth since 1969, will take place tomorrow at the Agri-Civic Center.

Butler 1

Butler 2

Okeechobee County now has a resolution to support a healthy Lake Okeechobee. At their meeting yesterday, county commissioners voted unanimously to create and adopt a resolution to support the lake; something that has never been in effect before in Okeechobee County. Commissioner Bradley Goodbread says the reason why it’s never been in effect before is simply because people took Lake Okeechobee for granted. Goodbread says agriculture must be a part of this resolution because counties like Okeechobee would not survive without agriculture. Agriculture is the second largest economy in Florida behind tourism. Other concerns that are to be a part of this resolution include navigation, recreation and commercial fishing. Commissioners began discussing this issue at their February 28th meeting.


Goodbread-Lake Okeechobee Resolution

An Okeechobee man has died while receiving treatment for injuries he received in a vehicle accident last week in Highlands County. Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) officers say on the afternoon of March 5th, 27 year old Philip Kinzie was driving a golf cart south across Highway 98 from the driveway of a gas station near the 79 hundred block of Highway 27 in Sebring a little after 12:15 when the driver of a Cadillac Escalade was approaching the gas station driveway at the same time. FHP officers say Kinzie drove into the path of the Cadillac Escalade, and Kinzie’s golf cart was hit on the right side. The impact caused the golf cart to go onto the shoulder, ejecting Kinzie from it. He ended up in the westbound lane of Highway 98. Kinzie was taken to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center in Fort Pierce for treatment and was pronounced dead by medics Wednesday. The Cadillac driver was not injured. FHP is still investigating the accident.

Okeechobee County firefighters had their hands full with a fire to a water heater early Wednesday morning. Crews were called to a house on the 36 hundred block of NW 30th Avenue a little after 2:30 for what was originally reported as a structure fire but arrived to find the water heater of the house was actually on fire. Investigators say firefighters probed the water heater and did not find any signs of fire but they found signs of heat all over it. Firefighters removed the cover plates and the water heater flamed up again, forcing them to extinguish the fire by dousing it with some water. Firefighters then drained the water heater and cut off power to it until it can be checked by an electrician. No one was hurt. Total damage to the water heater is estimated at five hundred dollars. Cause is being investigated.

A traffic stop led to a drug related arrest and incarceration for two local women Tuesday night. Okeechobee County Sheriff’s deputies stopped a Chrysler four door passenger van, driven by 48 year old Lisa Janeen Sills, on the 15 hundred block of Route 70 East a little after 8:30 for having a defaced license plate. Deputies say both Sills and her passenger, 44 year old Mildred Inez Hardison, were very nervous as deputies were talking with them, causing deputies to request a K-9 unit to search the van. Prior to the search, Hardison says there was methamphetamine in the van and told deputies where it was. Deputies found two plastic bags of the drug and there was also a morphine pill in the van which belonged to Hardison, as well as a methamphetamine pipe and a wooden pipe with marijuana residue on it. Hardison and Sills were arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. Both were taken to county jail and are being held without bond.

On the arrest report:

48 year old Patricia Jane Edwards of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for violating probation on past charges of cocaine possession. She’s being held without bond.

35 year old Rjay Armstrong of Okeechobee was arrested by police on warrants of driving on a suspended license and driving through a stop sign. He’s being held without bond.

20 year old Erik De Soto Garcia of Okeechobee was arrested for disorderly intoxication and resisting arrest after he was found at a house party. His bond has not been set.

28 year old Danielle Erin Harden of Okeechobee was arrested for battery on her mother after a domestic dispute. She’s being held without bond.