News Cast for August 1st:

A report of a structure fire caught the attention of Okeechobee County firefighters Tuesday afternoon. Crews were called to the 46 hundred block of Highway 441 North a little after 12:15 and found a travel trailer with smoke emanating from the SW corner. Firefighters got into the trailer and found the fire in the south side of the trailer on the floor and the ceiling. Investigators say the fire started in the SW corner of the trailer and spread up the cabinets into the ceiling. Firefighters needed about 15 minutes to get the fire extinguished, while using about two thousand gallons of water to put out the blaze. Investigators say the cause of the fire was an electrical issue and not intentionally set. Red Cross officials were dispatched to the scene after the fire was extinguished. The blaze completely gutted the trailer to the tune of about $27 thousand dollars in property and contents. No one was hurt in the fire.

For the third time in a month, the Okeechobee County School Board will meet up again tonight. Board members will discuss the proposed county school budget and millage rates for the 2019-2020 fiscal year and they will also hear a presentation from 2018 Okeechobee High School (OHS) graduate Cristian Rios, now a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), regarding the Academic Framework Forum of which he was once president. The meeting will be held in the school board office beginning at six o’clock tonight.

Speaking of the school board, at their last meeting on July 24th, the board recognized two very important members of the community who have been the longtime directors of the Okeechobee Community Theater (OCT). Bob and Jacque Hayes were recognized for the performances they’ve helped put together since the OCT was founded in 1979. Ron Hayes says his favorite part of being the OCT director has been the people he and his wife Jacque have worked with over the years and friendships they’ve developed with people who’ve performed there over the years. Hayes says it’s hard to pinpoint a favorite show they’ve put together of the 88 shows they’ve done over these last forty years but he says a performance of “Oklahoma!” from this year does stick out in his mind because it was rather nostalgic. Ron and Jacque Hayes retired as OCT directors as of last June but they will still be involved with the company, specifically with selecting music for the shows.

An Okeechobee man is facing charges of grand theft in connection with an incident at Wal-Mart Monday morning. Police were called to the store on Parrott Avenue after receiving reports from the Asset Protection Manager that a large amount of cash was missing from a register at around 11:30. Police arrived and were told that a customer service manager was emptying a self-check-out register vault and she accidentally left a bag of money out next to the register. When she returned, the bag was missing. Video surveillance tapes identified the thief as 61 year old Carlton C. Alderman and he performed the theft sometime at around 6:45 in the morning. Police say the amount of money that was taken was in excess of $45 hundred dollars. Alderman was met by police detectives at his job at Raulerson Hospital and he cooperated, showing them the bag which was in the trunk of his car. Alderman was arrested and charged with grand theft and booked into county jail before being released on a $25 hundred dollar bond.

On the arrest report:

25 year old Jesus Onesimo De La Paz of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on a warrant from Lee County on an undisclosed charge. He’s being held without bond.

42 year old Eva Hofer Blackwood of Okeechobee was arrested for contempt of court during her hearing on charges of driving on a suspended license. She was released after posting bond.

29 year old Cory Ray Jenkins of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past charges of criminal mischief. He’s being held without bond.

27 year old Ryan Jeffrey Euard, an inmate at the county jail was arrested for fighting with another inmate. His bond is set at $750 dollars.

34 year old James Thomas Prince of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past charges of driving on a suspended license. He’s being held without bond.