News Cast for October 9th:

With the end of 2019 drawing closer, the Okeechobee County Commissioners have narrowed their choices on who will become the next county attorney. At their meeting yesterday, commissioners decided on three state law firms, as opposed to individual attorneys, as candidates to succeed John Cassels, who announced in July that he would not be renewing his contract with the county after nearly 30 years. After interviewing representatives from several law firms, commissioners decided on Vose Law Firm out of Winter Park, Nason Yeager of Boca Raton and Saul Ewing Arnstein and Lehr of Ft. Lauderdale as the top candidates to succeed Cassels. Wade Vose of Vose Law Firm, who has represented rural areas like Pierson in Volusia County and is currently the Village of Indiantown’s attorney, says besides having the legal qualifications for this post, legal creativity is what separates his firm from the others. Commissioner Bryant Culpepper says Cassels’ successor needs to have the ability to communicate well and all three law firms definitely have that quality. Representatives from all three law firms will now negotiate with County Administrator Robbie Chartier and independent counsel to determine which firm will be selected to succeed Cassels.

Okeechobee County Commissioners also took the time at yesterday’s meeting to recognize this week as a very important week as it pertains to fire prevention. Commissioners unanimously approved this week as Fire Prevention Week in the county. County Fire Chief Ralph Franklin was on hand for this special proclamation and he says there’s been a theme each year that Fire Prevention Week comes up and this year it’s called “Escape Plans from the House”. National Fire Prevention Week is recognized nationally and in Canada and has been since the Chicago Fires of the early 20th Century. Last year alone, US home fires resulted in the deaths of nearly 25 hundred people.

Fire Prevention Week 1

Fire Prevention Week 2

A Hendry County woman who worked as a schoolteacher is facing a considerable amount of prison time following a one day bench trial towards the end of last month in connection with drug related crimes. 37 year old Maria Otilia Rivera, a teacher at Clewiston Middle School, was found guilty on September 19th on two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell within a thousand feet of a school and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor when she sold illegal drugs to two female students, ages 12 and 14, beginning in 2017. Court records say Rivera took the girls off campus and taught them how to prepare and ingest the drugs. She also took money from a male student and promised to deliver illegal drugs to him. Rivera will be sentenced next week in LaBelle and she’s facing a maximum of 35 years in prison. She’s currently out of law enforcement custody until her sentencing day.

On the arrest report:

32 year old Charles Wayne Suarez Junior of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

31 year old Stephanie Ann McDowell of Okeechobee was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest without violence after yelling at a neighbor in a trailer park. Her bond is set at a thousand dollars.

21 year old Mark Thomas Russelberg of Okeechobee was arrested on warrants from St. Lucie County for drug possession and having an unassigned tag on his vehicle. He’s being held without bond.

30 year old Edwin Zazueta Pelarion of Okeechobee was arrested for contempt of court during his hearing on past drug charges. He’s being held without bond.

30 year old James William Mungai of Okeechobee was arrested for contempt of court during his hearing on past drug possession and tampering with evidence charges. He was released after posting a $25 hundred dollar bond.

48 year old Paul Lee Rosier of Okeechobee was arrested for failing to re-deliver leased property. His bond is set at ten thousand dollars.

65 year old Tommie David Huff of Okeechobee was arrested on a local capias warrant for failing to appear in court on past charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and contempt of court. He’s being held without bond.

29 year old Garrett Wade Fowler of Okeechobee, an inmate at the county jail, was arrested for battery on a fellow inmate. His bond is set at $35 hundred dollars.

42 year old Tammy Lynn Chapman of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past charges of grand theft and fraudulent use of a credit card. She’s being held without bond.

35 year old Shaun Anthony Tedford of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license and resisting arrest after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a one thousand dollar bond.

49 year old Bryan Glenn McCauley of Okeechobee was arrested for battery on his girlfriend during a domestic dispute. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

50 year old Joseph H. Nebergall of Okeechobee was arrested for drunk driving and resisting arrest after a traffic stop and field sobriety test. He was released after posting bond.

37 year old Phillip Hawkins Hoy of Okeechobee was arrested for contempt of court during his hearing on past charges of driving without a valid license and leaving the scene of an accident. He’s being held without bond.

21 year old Dalton Gage Pelham of Okeechobee was arrested for battery after getting into a fight with another man at a bar. His bond is set at a thousand dollars.

46 year old Livan Ramos of Okeechobee was arrested by police for possession of methamphetamine, driving on a suspended license and introducing contraband into a detention facility after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a $55 hundred dollar bond.