News Cast for September 5th:

Okeechobee County Commissioners will meet this morning and they will proclaim the week of September 17th as Constitution Week in the county and they will also look at approving a work authorization to an outside company to begin engineering and design services for the Animal Control Phase 2 Kennel. The meeting will be held in the Historic Courthouse beginning at nine o’clock and it will be streamed live on the commissioners’ website.

Hurricane Dorian is finally over in Florida. What was billed as a “historic” storm for the better part of a week as it slowly gained strength and intensity throughout, somehow, some way, pretty much spared the Sunshine State and specifically Okeechobee County of its potentially devastating effects. Hurricane Dorian reached a Category 5 storm as it ripped through the Bahamas and gradually weakened before taking a turn north in the Atlantic. Emergency Management Director Mitch Smeykal says we were “very, very, fortunate” the storm took the track that it did, knowing full well that if and when it did hit Okeechobee as a Category 4 or 5, the potential damage could’ve been as bad as the Bahamas or Hurricane Michael which hit the panhandle last year. Smeykal says the fact that it didn’t hit Okeechobee or much of the state could be attributed to just “the luck of the draw”. Smeykal advises to keep your storm shutters or plywood on your windows until at least next week. At last check the storm is situated well in the Atlantic moving in a north-northwesterly direction at around eight miles per hour. Hurricane Dorian is now a Category 2 storm.

Virtually all county offices and businesses re-opened yesterday, with more expected to re-open today. All children will return to school today and students at Indian River State College (IRSC) will be resuming classes today. 19th Circuit Court will also re-open today. All South Florida Water Management Locks have re-opened and boat ramps at Scott Driver, Lock 7 and Okee-Tantie are now re-opened. Waste Management has resumed normal garbage pickup as of yesterday morning and Florida Power and Light (FPL) has reported no power outages in Okeechobee. There have been no reported deaths or injuries or damages. Further information can be found at the county website at

An Okeechobee man is in county jail at this time on a host of charges following an incident last Wednesday night. Sheriff’s deputies were called to a home on the 42 hundred block of SE 23rd Court a little after eight o’clock after receiving reports that 21 year old Jeremiah Warez Rinehart was firing gunshots. Deputies say they found Rinehart in his driveway looking for the shell casings and told them he heard three or four gunshots while he was cooking in his home and ran for cover but he was noticeably sweating and shaking as he said this and admitted he was lying about it. Witnesses say he fired the shots after people came to his home earlier to buy marijuana and accused them of stealing from him and fired the shots. Rinehart was arrested and charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, tampering with evidence and firing a missile into a dwelling on residential property. His bond is set at $135 thousand dollars.

A Clewiston man is dead after a vehicle accident this past Friday night in Palm Beach County. Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) officers say 34 year old Nathaniel Stinson was driving an Infiniti G35 sedan north on State Road 15 in Belle Glade at around 9:45 at the same time a Toyota sedan, driven by 39 year old Illiotaire Aime of Belle Glade, was approaching from the opposite way. As both vehicles were entering a curve, Stinson’s vehicle veered out of its lane and hit Aime’s car head on before colliding with a third vehicle, driven by 28 year old Stephondria Thomas of Belle Glade. Stinson was pronounced dead at the scene. Thomas and Aime were taken to local hospitals for treatment of their injuries. The accident is being investigated.

On the arrest report:

41 year old Erica Charlee Harvey of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on three counts of battery on several individuals at a place of business. She was released after posting a $1250 dollar bond.

31 year old Dewayne Edward Rutherford of Okeechobee was arrested for drunk driving after a traffic crash and field sobriety test. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

32 year old Charles Anthony Bloom of Okeechobee was arrested for petit theft. His bond is set at $250 dollars.

41 year old Shaun Frederick Smith of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia. He was released after posting a one thousand dollar bond.

76 year old William Robert Rupp of Okeechobee was arrested for drunk driving and damaging property following a vehicle accident and field sobriety test. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

46 year old Jessica Lee Allen of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past charges of child neglect drug possession and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. She’s being held without bond.

26 year old Bradley Keith Rosser of Okeechobee was arrested on a violation of a parole warrant from North Carolina for stealing a car. He’s being held without bond.

23 year old Michael Labron Cantrell of Okeechobee was arrested for criminal mischief. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

52 year old John Allen Leggio of Okeechobee was arrested on a warrant from Highlands County for felony petit theft. He was released after posting a one thousand dollar bond.

39 year old Roosevelt Butler Junior of Okeechobee was arrested by police for battery on his sister during a domestic dispute. His bond is set at $25 hundred dollars.

27 year old Kentron Fowler of Clewiston was arrested for felony domestic battery of a woman he was living with by strangulation. His bond is set at five thousand dollars.