News Cast for March 28th:

To help as many Floridians as possible repair and rebuild their homes that were damaged by Hurricane Irma a year and a half ago, the deadline to register for assistance with Rebuild Florida is tomorrow. Tiffany Vause, spokesperson for the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, says Rebuild Florida was created to help people of low to middle income families have long term recovery from their damaged homes and belongings as a result of the hurricane. Rebuild Florida receives funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to, as Vause puts it, repair, rebuild and recover fully. Vause says this program is a last resort for those who’ve gone through FEMA and insurance. The difference here is people who register for Rebuild Florida don’t need to have insurance. Remember, the deadline to register for Rebuild Florida is tomorrow. To register, log on to or you can call (844) 833-1010.

While it was made official earlier this month, it was made official, again, earlier this week. At their meeting on Tuesday, Okeechobee County Commissioners formally accepted the donation of a doctor’s horse drawn buggy from 1876 to be placed in the Historic County Courthouse. There was a bit of a twist to the commissioners’ decision however; they decided to have the buggy remain in the historic courthouse for a full year and then it will be transported to the Okeechobee Historical Society Museum for display there. Commissioner Bryant Culpepper, who spearheaded the purchase of the buggy at an earlier meeting, originally wanted the buggy to remain in the courthouse permanently, but he did vote in favor of putting it in the museum after a year. Commissioner David Hazellief came up with the idea to move it to the historical society museum next year, where he believes it’s the right place for it (Buggy 3). The buggy will be moved into the historic courthouse either tomorrow or Monday.

A report of a cooking fire caught the attention of Okeechobee County firefighters Tuesday afternoon. Firefighters were called to a home on the 62 hundred block of NE 8th Way a little after 2:15 and found no fire present near the stove where the fire apparently happened and was already extinguished before firefighters arrived. Crews shut off the gas and electricity to the house and left instructions with the homeowner to contact an electrician. No one was hurt and no damage to the house. Total damage to the stove is about $350 dollars. The cause of the fire is being investigated.

A traffic stop turned into a major drug related arrest for an Okeechobee man Sunday night. Sheriff’s deputies stopped a Ford Explorer on the 43 hundred block of SE 26th Street for a traffic violation and noticed the passenger of the vehicle, 61 year old Robert Owen Hendershot, was looking very nervous when deputies were speaking to him. A K-9 unit was brought in to search the vehicle while deputies searched Hendershot. The search on Hendershot revealed some cocaine he had in a contact case and there was more cocaine belonging to Hendershot that was found in the vehicle, along with synthetic cannabis, methamphetamine and alprazolam pills. Hendershot was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, methamphetamine, cocaine and synthetic cannabis. He was taken to county jail and his bond is set at $20 thousand dollars. The driver of the vehicle was not charged in the incident.

On the arrest report:

29 year old Garrett Wade Fowler of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for violating a pre-trial condition from a previous domestic incident with his estranged girlfriend by contacting her through text and voicemail. He’s being held without bond.

44 year old Joseph Paul Shirey of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on previous felony battery charges. He’s being held without bond.

29 year old Tiffany Marie Garrett of Okeechobee was arrested for violating an ordinance from Fish and Wildlife. She was released after posting bond.

18 year old Javanta Jamar Ford of Okeechobee was arrested on out of county warrants for criminal mischief. His bond is set at a thousand dollars.

41 year old David Cardona of Okeechobee was arrested by police for possession of marijuana after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.