News Cast for September 13th:

The issue of funding school resource officers (SRO) for the next few years was a topic of discussion at Tuesday night’s Okeechobee County School Board meeting. The topic came up by way of the possibility of introducing a referendum to fund the SRO program but because of what school board members say is a constant back and forth between county commissioners and school board members with letters and calls, no referendum was approved. School board member Joe Arnold says possible sources of future SRO funding should’ve been discussed at the workshop held last June between county commissioners, school board members and law enforcement, but he says everyone was “silenced” and that the county commissioners say they would fund it but no sources of future funding were discussed. Arnold says because of this, it has led to bickering between both county commissioners and the school board and it’s led to miscommunication as well. Arnold says there needs to be a time when the county commissioners and the school board can meet and discuss all the possible sources of SRO funding as far as who’s willing to fund at what level and what is expected.

For the first time this month, there will be mosquito control spraying in Okeechobee County tonight. Okeechobee County Emergency Management officials say there will be mosquito control efforts in the north central part of the county tonight, weather permitting. Emergency Management Director Mitch Smeykal says there will be spraying of adulticide, an insecticide designed to attack adult mosquitos and control their breeding. Smeykal says adulticide is approved and regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) but it’s probably best to stay indoors while the spraying is going on. If you do go outside, wear long sleeves, use a mosquito repellent with the DEET chemical in it and make sure your pets are prepared. If the weather is unacceptable, the spraying will be done during the early morning hours tomorrow. If you see your area with an excessive number of mosquitoes, please call 1-800-203-6485. Any further questions can be forwarded to the Emergency Management Center at (863) 763-3212.

Okeechobee County Sheriff’s deputies have a local man in county jail on charges of assault and battery in connection with an incident early Tuesday morning. Deputies were called to an unknown location in the county after receiving reports that 47 year old Robert Lee Bell had assaulted the boyfriend of his niece. Deputies say the man had come to Bell asking him for a ride to his probation officer and Bell charged at him and fired a pellet from a BB gun at the man’s neck. Deputies say Bell, who is diagnosed as schizophrenic, did not take his medication that day. After Bell shot the man with the BB gun pellet, his niece called 911. Law enforcement arrived and arrested Bell. He was charged with aggravated assault and battery with a deadly weapon. His bond is set at $200 thousand dollars. The victim was treated for his injuries at Raulerson Hospital.

An Okeechobee man is in county jail at this time on charges of animal cruelty in connection with an incident on Wednesday. Sheriff’s deputies arrested 26 year old Bradley James Chism after deputies received reports about a possible animal abuse. Deputies say they arrived at Chism’s residence and found a young dog chained out in the yard and the dog was looking very skinny. There was no food or water for the dog and he looked very emaciated. The dog was taken to Okeechobee County Animal Control officials and seen by the veterinarian for evaluation and treatment. Deputies say the dog was dehydrated and emaciated and has heartworm. The two year old dog, whose name is Frog, weighed only 33 pounds. He remains in the care of Animal Control. Chism’s bond is set at five hundred dollars.

On the arrest report:

64 year old Van Robert Miller of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for drunk driving after a traffic stop and field sobriety test. His bond is set at five hundred dollars.

36 year old John William Mendel of Okeechobee was arrested by police for trespassing. His bond has not been set.

55 year old Robert Earl Coney of Pahokee was arrested for failing to appear in court and contempt of court in connection with previous charges of driving on a suspended license. He’s being held without bond.

38 year old Shannon Ray Teele of Montura was arrested for driving a motorcycle without a valid license, having no endorsement and fleeing and eluding law officers during an attempted traffic stop and subsequent pursuit. His bond is set at $12 thousand dollars.