News Cast for May 22nd:

Okeechobee Police are investigating some vandalism done to some of the attractions at Flagler Park. Police say this past weekend, the Huey helicopter received damage to the paint. Where the paint had oxidized, offenders reportedly wrote and walked on the paint leaving marks. Police took photos of the damages and the helicopter was also processed for latent fingerprints. Damage is valued at around three hundred dollars and it’s since been repaired by ex-service personnel. If you have any information as to who may be responsible, please contact the Okeechobee Police Department at 863-763-9784.

It looks as if the conservation easement and wetland mitigation that has hamstrung the development of Industrial Park at the Okeechobee County Airport and the airport itself is on the way to being removed. At their last meeting, county commissioners received a report from representatives of Orlando-based engineering firm Avcon concerning the easements on the airport land and commissioners gave staff direction to move forward on funding the removal of the easements and wetlands. Airport Director Adam Hied was happy with the commissioners’ decision and this will benefit not just Industrial Park, but the airport as a whole. The removal of the easements will cost around two million dollars. The issue will be discussed further at a later meeting.

Recently, officials at the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) declared this week as Water Re-use Week in Florida. Libby Pigman of the Water Management District says April and May are typically the driest months of the year and it’s the time of heightened awareness of how precious our water availability is and what we can do to better conserve it. Pigman says besides taking shorter showers and flushing your toilets only when necessary, you can also limit your irrigation water usage. Water Re-use Week was also approved by Okeechobee County Commissioners and the City Council as proclamations at recent meetings.

Okeechobee Police arrested a local man Friday afternoon on a host of charges in connection with a stolen debit card. Police arrested 47 year old Alton Aquilar Hunt Junior after it was discovered he stole a debit card that belonged to woman he was renting a room from. Police say the woman contacted police saying there was suspicious activity on her debit card after receiving an email from her bank saying it only had ten dollars on it. She told police that Hunt had been residing in her home and the debit card, normally in her bedroom, was now gone and there was no one else in the home. She believed Hunt took it and made six hundred dollars in purchases with it. Hunt was questioned and then arrested and charged with larceny and credit card fraud. He’s in county jail in lieu of a $21 thousand dollar bond. The case is being investigated.

A trash fire caught the attention of Okeechobee County firefighters Saturday morning. Crews were called to the 18 hundred block of SE Highway 441 a little before 10:30 and found an area measuring about three by five feet where some yard debris was burning near the roadway and left unattended. Firefighters say a witness was trying to put it out himself with dirt but to no avail. Crews got the fire extinguished in about five minutes with some water and with no one getting hurt and no damages reported. It’s under investigation.

On the arrest report:

26 year old Ryan Andrew Tiger of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for violating probation on past charges of discharging a firearm while in a moving vehicle and fleeing and eluding a law officer in Broward County. He’s being held without bond.

40 year old Juan Garcia of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on an expired license for more than six months following a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

44 year old Jack Madison Bunting the Fourth of Okeechobee was arrested for battery on his girlfriend during a domestic dispute when he reportedly strangled her. He was released after posting a five thousand dollar bond.

30 year old Melinda Amy Gonzalez of Okeechobee was arrested for passing a forged check. Her bond is set at five thousand dollars.

23 year old Austin Shane King of Okeechobee was arrested for failing to appear in court on past charges of grand theft auto fleeing law officers at high speeds and driving on a suspended license. He’s being held without bond.

55 year old Renee Bethene Lang of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license and introducing contraband into a detention facility when she tried bringing marijuana into the jail. She was released after posting a three thousand dollar bond.

27 year old Gregory Thomas Junior of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past simple battery charges. He’s being held without bond.

39 year old Tracy Wayne McKinney of Okeechobee was arrested for fraud after not returning leased property. His bond is set at five thousand dollars.

42 year old Ernie Paul Higginbotham of Okeechobee was arrested on a warrant from Hernando County for failing to pay child support. His bond is set at almost seven hundred dollars.

49 year old Raymond Lloyd Herndon of Okeechobee was arrested for withholding child support. His bond is set at $15 hundred dollars.

59 year old Tony Allen Harlow of Okeechobee was arrested for petit theft. His bond is set at five hundred dollars.

35 year old Vanessa Sirmons of Fort Pierce was arrested for leaving the scene of an accident after she reportedly hit a pedestrian. Her bond is set at five thousand dollars.

49 year old Julian Martinez Calderon of Fort Pierce was arrested for driving on an expired license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.