News Cast for August 8th:

Okeechobee County Commissioners meet this morning and they will be looking at lease conditions and terms of property leased to Martha’s House and they will also be reviewing the selection of the architectural firm that will create the blueprint for the proposed sheriff’s department jail renovation and expansion. The meeting will take place 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 established the millage rate for the county for the next fiscal year. Commissioners decided that the millage rate should be at eight mills. The measure passed by a four to one vote with Commissioner Bryant Culpepper dissenting. Culpepper believes the millage rate should be set at nine mills with the idea that it could be lowered if necessary. Culpepper says the millage rate, once set, cannot be raised because if we do, we’ll have to cut services. Culpepper added that setting the millage rate is premature because of the discussions regarding the sheriff’s budget.

The Okeechobee County Fire Department and the Okeechobee City Fire Department will be working together a lot more in certain situations. At Tuesday night’s city council meeting, councilmembers approved a new agreement that will officially allow both fire departments to automatically aid each other in certain emergency situations such as a structure fire or a major vehicle accident. County Fire Chief Ralph Franklin says the agreement means that if his department needs an extra engine or personnel or equipment from City Fire Chief Herb Smith’s department to assist in a certain emergency, he would automatically have that assistance no matter what so long as it doesn’t adversely affect Smith’s department and vice versa. Franklin says under the old agreement, it was mutual aid where the city would only assist within two miles of the city limits. With this new agreement, that’s no longer the case. The old agreement stood for 16 years but with changes made to stations, staffing and protocol on how they do day-to-day business, this change was needed. Okeechobee County Commissioners approved this new agreement unanimously at a meeting last June.

A Jensen Beach man is in critical condition following a vehicle accident Tuesday morning in Martin County. Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) officers say 86 year old Douglas Welock was riding a motorized scooter on the east shoulder of the 17 hundred block of Indian River Drive in Jensen Beach a little after eleven o’clock when a Buick Park Avenue sedan, driven by 73 year old Richard J. Wibbelt of Port St. Lucie, was approaching on the southbound lanes of Indian River Drive. As Welock was entering the southbound lane, the front of Wibbelt’s car collided with Welock’s scooter. The impact caused both vehicles to end up on the grass shoulder of the road. Welock was airlifted to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center in Fort Pierce for treatment. Wibbelt was not injured in the accident, but charges are pending against him. FHP is investigating the accident.

On the arrest report:

59 year old West Bill Guyton of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for violating probation on past charges of drunk driving. He’s being held without bond.

18 year old Hailey Marie Farley of Okeechobee was arrested for battery. Her bond is set at a thousand dollars.

33 year old Jason Steven Dillon of Okeechobee an inmate at the county jail, was arrested for contempt of court during his hearing on past charges of being involved in a fight at the jail. His bond has not been set.

46 year old Jamey Louis Douglas of Okeechobee was arrested by police for battery and simple assault for following an altercation in a parking lot with another man. His bond is set at $75 hundred dollars.

36 year old Douglas Alan Trimnal of Holiday was arrested for riding a motorcycle without a valid license. His bond is set at one thousand dollars.