News Cast for July 11th:

Okeechobee County Commissioners meet this morning and they will discuss a resolution regarding the realignment of the Martin Highway at its approach to Route 710 and they will also receive a report from County Fire Chief Ralph Franklin on the Fire Station 2 project. The meeting will be held in the Historic County Courthouse beginning at nine o’clock and it will be streamed live on the commissioners’ website.

Speaking of the county commissioners, at their last meeting they decided to honor a local war veteran who paid the ultimate price. Local resident Betty Williamson appeared before the commissioners and requested that a part of Route 70 in the Bluefield area that stretches between Okeechobee County and St Lucie County be renamed in honor of Corporal Earl Henry Hansel. Cpl. Hansel served with the US Navy in World War II and again in the Korean Conflict. Cpl. Hansel was captured and died a Prisoner of War (POW) in Korea. Williamson was a childhood friend of Hansel and she described him as a “humorous, well-liked Okeechobee guy” who loved chewing tobacco. Commissioners eventually decided to consider several street options to be renamed in honor of Cpl. Hansel and it will be revisited at a later meeting. Cpl. Hansel was the recipient of several awards including the Prisoner of War medal, National Defense Service medal, Combat Infantryman badge and United Nations Service medal.

It may have been just a formality, but it was an important one for this year for Okeechobee County schools. At Tuesday night’s school board meeting, board members approved the agreement between the school system and the Sheriff’s Department for the School Resource Officer (SRO) program. The funding needed for the SRO program was just over $1.1 million dollars, with the school board covering a little over $618 thousand dollars of that amount. County School Superintendent Ken Kenworthy says he’s thankful that all the entities-city, county and the school board-came together to get the needed funding for this all too important program. The agreement funds 13 SRO’s for county schools for the upcoming year. Kenworthy says having SRO’s in county schools provides a level of comfort for not just students and faculty, but parents as well.

A Lehigh Acres man is dead following a vehicle accident early Sunday morning in Lee County. Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) officer say 18 year old Chris Johnson was dressed in black and walking eastbound on West 12th Street in the middle of the eastbound lane in Lehigh Acres a little before 2:45, right ahead of a Ford Edge SUV that was coming from behind Johnson. For unknown reasons, the driver of the SUV, 37 year old Markett F. Cherry, also of Lehigh Acres, struck Johnson. FHP officers say after the collision, Cherry stopped his vehicle on the shoulder of the road. Medics pronounced Johnson dead at the scene. The crash is under investigation.

On the arrest report:

35 year old Jennifer Marie Garcia of Okeechobee was arrested on out of county warrants for undisclosed charges. Her bond is set at just over a thousand dollars.

29 year old Telitha May Barksdale of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia and violating probation. She’s being held without bond.

20 year old Nathan Lee Starcher of Okeechobee was arrested for contempt of court. He’s being held without bond.

34 year old Tanya Leigh Law of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of heroin, alprazolam, drug paraphernalia and introducing contraband into a detention facility. Her bond is set at $16 thousand dollars.

34 year old Dawn Marie Inman of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia. Her bond is set at five hundred dollars.