News Cast for July 10th:

For the better part of three hours yesterday, the Okeechobee City Council held a workshop to lay the groundwork for a strategic plan for the city in the coming years. The plan addressed the city’s needs or goals for the next one, three, five and ten years and the objectives needed to attain those goals. The first year’s goals will mainly be about the beautification of the city, with landscaping and maintenance in the downtown area and re-striping of roads and re-doing sidewalks and roads. Councilmember Bobby Keefe, who spearheaded the idea of a strategic plan for the city at a previous meeting, says he’s “pleasantly surprised” with how the workshop went and says this plan was sorely needed. The idea of making the beautification of the city a top priority in this plan is a welcome thing for Councilmember Bob Jarriel. Other aspects of the plan in the first year include signage and parking and in the third year, working on putting together a viable workforce for economic development. In the fifth year, the strategic plan will address housing availability. The plan over the next few years will also address the issues of septic to sewer and implementing storm water plants for water quality improvement; something that former councilmember Gary Ritter says is essential. Other aspects of the plan in the first year include signage and parking and in the third year, working on putting together a viable workforce for economic development. In the fifth year, the strategic plan will address housing availability.

Strategic Plan Workshop 1

Strategic Plan Workshop 2

Strategic Plan Workshop 3

Strategic Plan Workshop 4

The city of Okeechobee is the proud recipient of forty thousand dollars. Last week, officials from the office of Governor Ron DeSantis say Okeechobee was one of six rural Florida communities to receive part of a $240 thousand dollar grant from the Competitive Florida Partnership Program. The grant is designed to fund the creation of a strategic plan to generate economic growth in the community. City Administrator Marcos Montes De Oca says he applied for this grant with help from Central Florida Regional Planning and he was “honored” that Okeechobee was one of the six recipients of this grant. De Oca says a big factor in Okeechobee getting part of this grant is the support of the community. The grant will supplement ongoing efforts to generate economic development and, as De Oca says, keep Okeechobee thriving as a community. Other communities receiving this grant include Fort Meade in Polk County, Labelle in Hendry County and Crestview in Okaloosa County.

De Oca-Grant 1

De Oca-Grant 2

A traffic stop turned into an arrest for more serious charges for an Okeechobee man Friday morning. Police stopped an Audi sedan, driven by 61 year old Charles Cleveland Crispin, on the 37 hundred block of Route 70 East a little after 10:15 for speeding. A check of Crispin’s license through dispatch revealed he had an active warrant from Martin County for soliciting prostitution and using his car for prostitution. He was arrested and booked into county jail before being released on a $25 hundred dollar bond.

A grass fire caught the attention of Okeechobee County firefighters Saturday night. Crews were called to the 14 hundred block of NE 356th Court a little before nine o’clock and were told there were two fires burning, one on NW 356th Trail and the other on 365th Lane. Two sets of two fire crews were sent to each blaze and got them controlled in about two hours with no one getting hurt and no structure damages. Firefighters from the Department of Forestry assisted Okeechobee County firefighters in fighting the blazes. Causes of both fires are being investigated.

On the arrest report:

46 year old Sigfredo Estrada of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, child neglect, dealing in stolen property and violating probation. He’s being held without bond.

38 year old Michael Clayton Stewart of Okeechobee was arrested for assault, breach of peace and obstructing without violence during a domestic dispute. He was released after posting a bond of just over $17 hundred dollars.

21 year old Bret McClain Corrales of Okeechobee was arrested on an out of county warrant for an undisclosed charge. His bond is set at $22 hundred dollars.

47 year old James Bryan Phillips of Okeechobee was arrested for aggravated battery. He’s being held without bond.