News Cast for September 19th:

Okeechobee County Commissioners will have a busy day beginning this morning. First, they will have their regular meeting and among the items up for discussion include the proposed human trafficking public awareness signs ordinance and they will also be looking to proclaim this month as National Preparedness Month in Okeechobee. The meeting will begin at nine o’clock in the Historic County Courthouse.

Later in the afternoon, commissioners will reconvene and they will have their last public hearing on the proposed $93 million dollar county budget for the next fiscal year and establish the millage rate. That will also be held in the Historic County Courthouse beginning at five o’clock. Both the commissioners’ regular meeting and budget public hearing will be streamed live on the commissioners’ website.

Speaking of the county commissioners, at their last meeting they gave the green light to an outside company to begin plans for a new kennel for Animal Control. Facility Maintenance and Development Director Donnie Oden says Port St. Lucie-based Kimley-Horn and Associates will be performing the engineering and designs for the Animal Control Phase 2 kennel. This new kennel, which Oden says was needed because the existing kennel is no longer large enough to accommodate the influx of animals, will be a 23 hundred square foot building and it’ll be nearly identical to the existing kennel. Oden says Kimley-Horn and Associates is being hired for this project because of their past working relationship with the county. Kimley-Horn’s services will cost the county just over $33 thousand dollars. The plans for the new kennel should be completed by November and go out for bidding in December.

Oden-New Kennel Plans

It was a rather busy day in the Okeechobee County courts yesterday, as three Okeechobee juveniles charged with violating the Florida Anti-Tampering Act for Food and battery on a law enforcement officer went before a judge. Prosecutor Ashley Albright says 17 year old Molly Spearow, 18 year old Alex Armstrong and 17 year old Logan Pope are still pleading not guilty on charges of violating the Florida Anti-Tampering Act for Food and Battery on a law enforcement officer in connection with an incident where a surveillance camera caught the three spitting into the food of sheriff’s deputies while working in the Highway 55 restaurant last spring. Albright says it’s likely this case will be resolved, one way or another, very soon. Albright says there’s a possibility that Armstrong may be changing his plea as early as next week. While it’s very unlikely and very unrealistic, all three are looking at a maximum of 30 years in prison. They are scheduled to be back in court on October 23rd.

Albright-Three Juveniles Case 1

Albright-Three Juveniles Case 2

An Okeechobee man and woman are in county jail on some serious drug offenses, the result of a series of sting operations that have been going on since last May. Narcotics officers in the sheriff’s department met with a confidential informant beginning in May and told this informant to purchase dilaudid, a controlled substance, from 36 year old Tacara Kantrail Lawton-Holmes, someone the informant has purchased the drug from previously. The informant bought the drugs from Lawton-Holmes and her boyfriend, 20 year old Harvey Hugh Barr Junior at her home. These drug buys were done several times between May and August, with narcotics officers recording the drug purchases for evidence. Barr and Lawton-Holmes were identified through photographs and were arrested Tuesday night. Barr and Lawton-Holmes were arrested and charged with selling hydromorphone within a thousand feet of a place of worship on several occasions. Barr’s and Lawton-Holmes’ bonds are set at $200 thousand dollars’ each.

On the arrest report:

27 year old Augusto Chavez Ramos of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for battery on his wife during a domestic dispute, driving without a valid license and resisting arrest following a traffic stop. His bond is set at two thousand dollars.

48 year old Shelley Anne Goist of Okeechobee was arrested on a warrant from Hendry County for violating probation on prior theft charges. Her bond is set at $25 thousand dollars.

28 year old Reinaldo Zamora of Okeechobee was arrested on a warrant from Hillsborough County for violating probation on past burglary and grand theft charges. He’s being held without bond.

24 year old John David Brighton of Okeechobee was arrested for driving without a valid license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

52 year old Michael Bruce Morris of Okeechobee was arrested for burglary of an unoccupied vehicle. His bond is set at five thousand dollars.

61 year old Clarence Lee McDuffie of Okeechobee was arrested for cocaine possession after a traffic stop. His bond is set at five thousand dollars.

27 year old John Francisco Andres of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license for the second time after a traffic stop. His bond is set at a thousand dollars.

40 year old Cesar Salgado Renteral of Moore Haven was arrested for driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.