News Cast for May 23rd:

Okeechobee County Commissioners meet this morning and they will proclaim the month of May as National Community Action Month and they will consider a draft letter compiled by officials from Martin County staff for five other counties including Okeechobee, regarding the management of Lake Okeechobee. The meeting will begin at nine o’clock in the Historic County Courthouse and it will be streamed live on the commissioners’ website.

Speaking of the Okeechobee County Commissioners, they have given the green light to the Tourist Development Council (TDC) to submit a proposal to host next year’s Bass Pro Tour Major League Fishing Tournament. TDC coordinator Sharie Turgeon presented the proposal at the commissioners’ last meeting and they voted unanimously in authorizing funds in the amount of $55 thousand dollars to cover the host fee and host deliverables such as hotels, meeting rooms and a couple of motor homes for interviewing the fishermen and base of operations. Turgeon says she was approached on the idea of Okeechobee hosting from a man running Major League Fishing who was incidentally her contact when the county previously hosted the Bass Master Elite Series two years ago. Turgeon says she hopes the issues surrounding the levels of Lake Okeechobee will not be a concern when the tournament begins next year. The host city for this tournament should be known in the next few months.

Turgeon-Bass Pro Host Proposal 1

Turgeon-Bass Pro Host Proposal 2

The Okeechobee City Council recently approved a proclamation deeming this week as National Public Works Week. This is a time to recognize and appreciate the importance of your public works department as put together by the American Public Works Association. Okeechobee City Public Works Director David Allen was on hand to accept the proclamation and he says whether it’s turning on your lights or using your bathroom, it’s all because of public works. Allen also says the best part of his job is that no two days are alike. Allen says he’s discovered that public works tends to be unappreciated or taken for granted until something goes wrong such as a power outage or backed up plumbing. Allen has been Okeechobee’s Public Works Director for six years.

A traffic stop turned into a drug related arrest for an Okeechobee man Tuesday afternoon. Sheriff’s deputies stopped the driver of a Dodge four-door sedan on the five hundred block of Route 70 East a little before 2:30 for having a malfunctioning taillight. The driver looked very nervous, as was the passenger, 38 year old Mitchell Andrew Douglas, when they were questioned by deputies and they were not making eye contact. A K-9 unit was called to search the vehicle and the search revealed a cigarette box in the glove compartment with a clear bag in it containing methamphetamine and it belonged to Douglas. Douglas was arrested and charged with methamphetamine possession and booked into county jail with a bond set at five thousand dollars. The driver was given a verbal warning regarding his taillight and released.

An Indiantown man is dead and several others are in serious condition following a vehicle accident early Sunday morning in Martin County that kept the roads closed to traffic for several hours. Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) officers say 38 year old Lavar Fairfax-Byrd of Port St. Lucie was driving a Mercedes sedan west on SW Citrus Boulevard in Palm City a little after 5:30 at the same time a GMC van, driven by 54 year old Miguel Marroquin of Indiantown, was approaching from the opposite way. For unknown reasons, Fairfax-Byrd drove onto the opposite lane and collided head on with Marroquin’s van. The impact sent the van rotating counterclockwise and ending up on the right shoulder of the road where another vehicle approaching from behind Marroquin’s van hit it head on. Marroquin was pronounced dead at the scene. His passengers, 79 year old Juan Diego Marroquin, 65 year old Juan Tomas Gabino, 18 year old Francisco Andres Frances and 49 year old Andres de Andres Lorenzo, all from Indiantown, were airlifted to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center in Ft. Pierce for treatment. Fairfax-Byrd, who has charges pending against her in this accident, was seriously injured and taken to Martin Memorial South Hospital for treatment. The accident remains under investigation.

On the arrest report:

27 year old Ryan Jeffrey Euard of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for failing to appear in court for past undisclosed misdemeanor charges. He’s being held without bond.

32 year old Ashley Nicole Harden of Okeechobee was arrested on two counts of contempt of court during her hearing on past charges of drug possession and introducing contraband into the jail. She’s being held without bond.

47 year old Sandra Jean Allen of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license and driving with a stolen license plate attached to her vehicle after a traffic stop. Her bond is set at $15 hundred dollars.

35 year old Marc Doffy Jeune of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past charges of battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest. He’s being held without bond.

27 year old Jolanda Mekal Chamberland of Okeechobee was arrested for obstruction during an investigation. Her bond is set at $750 dollars.

43 year old Christy Dawn Kackley of Okeechobee was arrested for contempt of court during her hearing on past charges of drug possession. She’s being held without bond.

38 year old James Michael Kendall of Okeechobee was arrested for grand theft of another man’s equipment for his job and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond is set at six thousand dollars.