News Cast for June 14th:

The Okeechobee County Commissioners will be turning over the responsibility of looking for an architect for the county jail renovation and expansion project to the community. At their meeting yesterday, commissioners announced they’ve selected three residents to be on that committee. The committee would be tasked with evaluating, receiving presentations, ranking and recommending to the commissioners their selection of an architectural firm. Commissioner Kelly Owens says those people selected for this committee should always be asking questions, be detail oriented and be concerned with costs as it pertains to quality of service not just for the project itself but also for the community. The committee thus far is made up of John Williams, Wes Williamson and Frank Irby of the Economic Development Council. Two more members will be added later. Sheriff Noel Stephen will also serve on this committee, along with a designee of his choosing.

Owens-Jail Renovation Project Committee 1

Owens-Jail Renovation Project Committee 2

An Okeechobee man and woman are in county jail at this time on drug-related charges following an incident Wednesday afternoon. Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the four hundred block of NW 2nd Street just after noon to serve civil papers to 33 year old Craig Michael Martin and 40 year old Heather Rose Perry. Deputies approached their vehicle and smelled the odor of marijuana emanating from the car and saw a colorful pipe in plain view of the deputies. Perry was asked to exit the car and she grabbed a small plastic bag from her purse that contained an envelope which had a powder in it and a yellow pill was also found and it was the controlled substance diazepam, of which she didn’t have a prescription. Martin was found to have marijuana and drug paraphernalia on him. Both were arrested and charged with drug possession. Martin’s bond is set at $1250 dollars and Perry’s bond is set at $25 hundred dollars.

Turgeon-Educational Documentary 1

Turgeon-Educational Documentary 2

Okeechobee County Commissioners listened to a presentation from representatives of the county’s Tourist Development Council (TDC) yesterday regarding a great opportunity. TDC Coordinator Sharie Turgeon presented the opportunity for Okeechobee to be a part of an educational documentary that not only promotes the county as a great place to vacation but also to live, work and raise a family. If the county is selected, there will be a series of  videos depicting the features of the county which will be shown on public broadcasting in between programs on major networks and it will be hosted by Oscar nominated actor Laurence Fishburne. Turgeon says the issue is funding for this the project but she believes the county, city and economic development corporation will help secure the funding because the project will benefit the community. The decision as to whether or not Okeechobee is selected for the project will be determined next week. Information Matrix will be the company that films the project.

A report of plastics burning caught the attention of Okeechobee County firefighters Wednesday evening but it turned out to be a lot less serious. Crews were called to the four hundred block of NE 342nd Trail a little before six o’clock and found a small fire in the backyard of the home and the homeowner was watching it closely. Investigators say the homeowner was burning wood and not plastics. The homeowner had a garden hose ready in case the fire got out of control. Firefighters advised the homeowner of burn laws and allowed the fire to continue burning. No one was hurt and no damages.

On the arrest report:

37 year old Rebecca Ann Ruiz of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on a warrant from Pasco County for an undisclosed charge. Her bond is set at just over five hundred dollars.

39 year old Amanda Lee Olivas of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia. Her bond is set at five hundred dollars.

20 year old Kevin D. Lamar Junior of Okeechobee, who is an inmate at Eckerd Youth Development Center, was arrested for battery on a fellow inmate and child abuse. His bond has not been set.

20 year old Darrius Tyreese House of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. His bond is set at $250 dollars.

22 year old Robert Lee Griffin of Okeechobee was arrested for drunk driving after a traffic stop and field sobriety test. His bond is set at $750 dollars.

37 year old Esteban Villalpando of Vero Beach was arrested for contempt of court during his hearing on past charges of driving on a suspended license and failing to appear in court. He’s being held without bond.