News Cast for April 2nd:

Okeechobee City Councilmembers will be meeting tonight in this second day of April and they will officially present the city’s new website and they will also present a resolution to Mayor Dowling Watford from the Florida League of Cities for 35 years of service to the city of Okeechobee. The meeting will begin at six o’clock in City Hall.

Indian River State College (IRSC) will be the site of a very special ceremony this morning. The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Department will be holding a special welcoming and swearing in ceremony for several new officers to the department. Community Relations Specialist Deputy Jack Nash says there will be four new employees to the department, three law officers and one corrections officer who will be receiving their badges and name tags from Sheriff Noel Stephen. Nash says this ceremony was put on to welcome new officers who in most cases didn’t have the benefit of a graduation ceremony. These new officers not only provides the department with some new blood, but Nash says it also gives them a sense of security and a hometown setting which often times makes them want to finish their law enforcement careers here as opposed to taking higher paying jobs in bigger departments in other cities. Besides welcoming new officers, there will also be awards given out to a couple of graduates of the National Honor Guard and a new Canine Instructor and a Drug Recognition Officer. The ceremony begins at ten o’clock in the Williamson Center of IRSC.

Nash-Welcoming Ceremony

The month of April has begun. With that, the Florida Highway Patrol is reminding motorists that April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. It’s a time for motorists to focus solely on the task of driving and don’t allow texting or other means be a distraction to you when you are driving. FHP Captain Thomas Pikul says distracted driving involves not having your eyes on the road or your hands on the wheel while driving. He also says distracted driving doesn’t just involve texting. There were a reported 52 thousand crashes caused by distracted drivers in 2018 in Florida; an average of over a thousand a week. Pikul recommends planning ahead: write that text or eat that meal before you go out driving.

Pikul 1

Pikul 2

A downed power line caught the attention of Okeechobee County firefighters Friday evening. Crews were called to a home the 45 hundred block of SE 141st Avenue a little before 5:30 and found a few power lines down and arcing. Firefighters say the lines were still hot, prompting them to keep people out of the area and waited for the arrival of Florida Power and Light (FPL) crews to assess and repair the downed lines. FPL crews secured the power to the lines and made it safe for people to return. No one was hurt and no damages reported. FPL is investigating the incident.

Okeechobee County firefighters were called into action again an hour later after receiving a report of a grass and brush fire. Crews were called to a home on the 66 hundred block of NE 7th Lane a little before 6:15 and found a small area of grass and vegetation that the property owner was burning. Firefighters say the winds began to pick up, causing the fire to get out of control. Crews got the fire controlled in about fifteen minutes while using about 250 gallons of water to get it under control. No one was hurt and no damages reported.

Okeechobee County Sheriff’s deputies have a local man in county jail at this time in connection with a domestic incident Saturday morning. Deputies were called to the 45 hundred block of SE 23rd Court just before 11:30 after receiving reports that 60 year old Robert Eugene Thompson had allegedly hit his 69 year old sister in the head and arm with a black belt containing a metal buckle. Deputies say the issue stemmed from Thompson’s sister complaining that she couldn’t hear her TV because the noise from Thompson’s TV was too loud. Thompson’s sister then went to her brother and asked him to turn it down and when he refused, she disconnected it. This caused Thompson to begin hitting her with the belt. Deputies arrived and arrested Thompson, charging him with domestic battery on a person over the age of 65. Thompson is being held in county jail without bond.

On the arrest report:

27 year old Heather Roxanne McDonald of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for driving without a valid license and possession of methamphetamine after a traffic stop. She was released after posting a bond of just over five thousand dollars.

29 year old Garrett Wade Fowler of Okeechobee was arrested for armed burglary of an occupied home with assault and battery and criminal mischief. His bond is set at $50 thousand dollars.

46 year old Andrew Joseph Luzar of Okeechobee was arrested for violating a pre-trial condition on a previous domestic abuse charge with his estranged girlfriend after he contacted her several times by phone. His bond is set at $25 hundred dollars.

56 year old Geneva Guyton of Okeechobee was arrested for drunk driving after a traffic stop and subsequent field sobriety test. She was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

21 year old Marc Anthony Rivas of Okeechobee was arrested for unarmed burglary of an unoccupied home and battery by strangulation. His bond is set at ten thousand dollars.

34 year old Lus Del Carmen Landeverde of Okeechobee was arrested for battery on her boyfriend during a domestic dispute. Her bond is set at five hundred dollars.

55 year old Lyman De Carlos Smith of Okeechobee was arrested by police for driving on a suspended license for the second time after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

24 year old Julianna Rose Herrera of Clewiston was arrested for contempt of court during her hearing on past drug possession charges. She’s being held without bond.

44 year old Efrain Bruno Robles of Moore Haven was arrested for drunk driving following a traffic stop and field sobriety test. He was released after posting a one thousand dollar bond.