News Cast for August 2nd:

We’re in the thick of the summer and with the days getting warmer and more humid, that’ll mean more mosquitos, possibly the kinds of mosquitos that carry diseases. Okeechobee County Emergency Management officials are announcing that mosquito control efforts will begin tonight, weather permitting, in the north end of the county. Emergency Management Director Mitch Smeykal says there will be surveying and/or spraying of areas where mosquitoes are running rampant. Smeykal says this treatment will be performed by officials from Illinois-based Clarke Environmental, an environmentally friendly company. Weather permitting, Smeykal says the surveying and spraying will begin at ten o’clock and last until five o’clock Saturday morning. Be sure to keep your pets and pet food bowls indoors at night and keep your grass cut short. If you see your area with an excessive number of mosquitoes flying around, please call 1-800-203-6485.

It looks like it will be option number two for Fire Station #2 in the SW area of Okeechobee County. At their meeting last week, county commissioners decided to go with the option of renovating Fire Station #2, securing its foundation and expanding it. County Fire Chief Ralph Franklin says currently the station is too small, only built to accommodate four people and based on current and future staffing needs, and the future of the needs of that area, the 35 year old station needed this work. The cost of this project will be just over $770 thousand dollars, with $472 thousand dollars of that being covered by a state grant the fire department has received and the rest will be covered by the county, which Franklin says will come from the county’s fire rescue reserve funds. Franklin says he’s quite happy with the commissioners’ decision following several weeks of discussion. The other option was to just repair the station without expansion, which would’ve cost just over $530 thousand dollars. Plans for the project should be ready by the beginning of next year and the station should be completed by the fall of 2020.

A report of not one but two brush and grass fires in St. Lucie County required the attention and assistance of Okeechobee County firefighters Tuesday evening. Crews were called to the 12 thousand block of SE Center Street in St. Lucie County a little before 5:45 and found the two separate fires about a mile into the property. Firefighters from both Okeechobee and St Lucie Counties extinguished the fire in the NE area of the land while using about 750 gallons of water and then made their way to the SW area of the land and got the other fire extinguished. Both fires took about an hour and a half total to get under control. The sizes of both fires are not known. No one was hurt and no structure damages. Causes of both fires are under investigation.

A Pahokee area girl is dead and several others injured following a vehicle accident Tuesday evening in Lee County. Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) officers say 39 year old Christina Darling was driving a Nissan Altima sedan west on Route 80 approaching the intersection of Joel Boulevard in Lehigh Acres a little after six o’clock when Darling failed to yield to an oncoming Ford Explorer as she was turning onto Joel Boulevard and her car hit the Ford Explorer on it’s right side. The impact sent the Ford Explorer rolling over and ended up on its roof on the intersection. Darling, 18 year old Siuna Stone, a 16 year old girl and a 14 year old boy, all from Pahokee, were seriously injured and taken to Lee Memorial Hospital for treatment. The 16 year old girl was later pronounced dead by medics. The Ford Explorer driver, 59 year old Thomas Farabee of Palatka and his three passengers were all treated for minor injuries at Lee Memorial. Darling was cited for failing to yield to oncoming traffic. The accident is under investigation.

On the arrest report:

30 year old Billy Ray Starnes of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for trespassing. He was released after posting a $750 dollar bond.

34 year old Joshua Lamar Houston of Okeechobee was arrested for contempt of court on charges of driving without a valid license. He’s being held without bond.

33 year old Rolando Ryan Pena of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past charges of giving false information to a pawnbroker and trafficking stolen property. He’s being held without bond.

32 year old Jeremy Lamont Jones of Okeechobee was arrested for battery on a law enforcement officer. His bond is set at five thousand dollars.