News Cast for June 3rd:

This past Saturday was June 1st and that means Hurricane Season is officially underway. With that, officials at FEMA are reminding people to start making a disaster plan now because we are moving to a time when things are changing and you don’t know what to expect and it could mean the difference between you and your family being safe or not safe during a hurricane. FEMA spokesperson Curtis Allen says one of the most important things to remember when creating a disaster plan is communication. Allen also recommends planning ahead when you have to evacuate and do not ignore the evacuation warnings. Creating a disaster kit is important and while it should contain food and water, it should also contain enough medication for at least 72 hours. Governor Ron DeSantis approved a disaster preparedness sales tax holiday from now until June 6th. That means no sales tax on items like batteries, generators and other supplies. For more information, you can log on to floridarevenue.com/disasterprep.

Okeechobee County firefighters had a report of a rubbish fire Thursday afternoon that required their attention. Crews were called to the 14 hundred block of SE 14th Terrace a little before 3:30 and found two small piles that were smoldering. Investigators say a table and logs were burning in one pile close to the road and the second pile appeared to be an old television set and a mattress, with the pile measuring 15 by 15 feet in size. Sheriff’s deputies on scene say the people who had lived there were recently evicted and the landlord was burning their stuff. Firefighters extinguished both piles within about twenty minutes with no one getting hurt. Cost of damages is estimated at five hundred dollars.

While Hurricane Season is officially underway, it didn’t stop grass fires from happening. Okeechobee County firefighters were called to assist crews from Highlands County in fighting a grass fire on the 30 thousand block of NW 72nd Avenue Friday morning. Firefighters arrived on scene shortly before ten o’clock and found a quarter acre sized grass blaze with minimal flames and moving slowly. Crews got the blaze controlled in ten minutes but not before it damaged a power pole. Firefighters waited until Florida Power and Light (FPL) crews arrived to repair the damaged pole. No one was hurt. Firefighters from the Department of Forestry also assisted in fighting this fire. Cause is under investigation.

While May is officially in the rearview mirror, it’s important to remember it was a month full of proclamations made official by county leaders. Well, believe it or not, there’s one more proclamation to talk about and that’s National Community Action Month, which was proclaimed by Okeechobee County Commissioners at their last meeting. Commissioner Bradley Goodbread, a member of the Treasure Coast’s Community Action Agency, accepted the proclamation on behalf of the county and it identifies people who are living in extreme poverty and desperately need help, by giving them food and teaching them a trade so they can gain solid employment. Goodbread says it’s a great feeling to accept this proclamation. Community Action Agencies were first created by then US President Lyndon Johnson in 1964 as part of his War on Poverty.

A Stuart man is facing some time in prison after pleading guilty last week to filing a false tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Officials from the US Attorney’s office in the southern district of Florida say 80 year old Joseph J. Ferry the Third pled guilty to one count of willfully filing a false income tax return for his landscaping company, Ferry Enterprises, Inc., for the 2015 tax year. According to court documents, Ferry’s company provided landscaping services under contracts with Martin County and the city of Port St. Lucie and served customers in the Treasure Coast area. Ferry filed tax returns with the IRS which understated his total income for himself and his company from 2012 thru 2016. Ferry used funds from his corporate bank accounts to pay personal expenses and purchasing firearms. He’s facing a maximum of three years in prison when he’s sentenced July 26th. He’ll then be facing supervised release, restitution to the IRS and monetary penalties.

On the arrest report:

21 year old Athena Jo Katelyn Garland of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for possession of methamphetamine, a controlled substance without a prescription, marijuana and introducing contraband into a detention facility. Her bond has not been set.

30 year old Ryan Joseph Bosold of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and introducing contraband into a detention facility. His bond is set at five thousand dollars.

40 year old Zontina Jackson of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past charges of armed robbery, kidnapping  and sexual battery. He’s being held without bond.