News Cast for November 7th:

Okeechobee County Commissioners will be meeting this morning and among the items on their agenda, they will look to approve a contract with Winter Park-based Vose Law Firm to be the successor to John Cassels as the new county counsel and they will also hear a presentation from Megan Smith, president of the Okeechobee County Economic Development Corporation. The meeting will be held in the Historic County Courthouse beginning at nine o’clock this morning and it will be streamed live on the commissioners’ website.

The commissioners’ meeting this morning doesn’t start until nine o’clock, but the commissioners will meet about an hour earlier for a very special occasion. County commissioners will be holding a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house to celebrate the grand opening of the new county Public Works Facility. It will be the new home of the County Public Works Department and Road Division. Donnie Oden, Director of Facilities Maintenance and Development Services says it’s a “long time coming” for this building considering that they’ve been working in a trailer for quite a while and they were “due for a new building.” Oden says this building will be different than previous ones because it’ll be backed up with its own generator. Commissioner Bryant Culpepper says the building only took about five or six months to build and the credit for that goes to Oden and his involvement on a very personal level with this project. The grand opening of the new Public Works facility will begin at 8:15 this morning and it’ll be located on the eight hundred block of NW 2nd Street.

At Tuesday night’s Okeechobee City Council meeting, councilmembers gave the green light to contract with an outside law firm to give a forensic analysis of the city’s computer system following a cyberattack last month. City Administrator Marcos Montes De Oca says City Hall’s computer system suffered what he calls a “brute force attack” of ransomware on the city’s computer server. Ransomware essentially takes your system’s data and holds it hostage until you pay a fee. De Oca says this happened sometime on or around October 23rd just before the system’s Wednesday files were backed up. De Oca says because of this, they didn’t lose much data and he commended his staff for getting on the problem right away. De Oca says though it could’ve been much worse. The Ft. Lauderdale-based law firm Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard and Smith LLP will be handling the forensic analysis and De Oca says it may not cost much more than $10 thousand dollars. De Oca conceded that despite filing a police report, the odds are slim to none that the person or people responsible for this will be apprehended.

An Okeechobee man is in county jail on a host of charges stemming from a fight with another man that took place Friday night. Sheriff’s deputies were called to the six hundred block of NE 13th Avenue shortly before midnight after receiving reports of battery going on. Deputies say a man, who was intoxicated at the time, was accosted by 19 year old Robert Lamonte Futch and after punching the man several times, he took his wallet with about eighty dollars in it and also took the man’s eight hundred dollar smartphone. Deputies say Futch ran off as they arrived and he was eventually found Saturday evening near 13th Avenue. He was arrested and charged with battery, grand theft, strong arm robbery, obstruction and possession of oxycodone without a prescription when a pill was found in his pocket. He was booked into county jail and his bond is set at just over $15 thousand dollars.

On the arrest report:

29 year old Erminia Meras of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on two counts of aggravated battery, robbery with a weapon following an incident in a mobile home park. Her bond is set at $125 thousand dollars.

58 year old Esta Dodd Huls of Okeechobee was arrested on a local warrant for possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell. Her bond is set at $60 thousand dollars.

34 year old Joshua Bo Duke of Okeechobee was arrested on a local capias warrant for tampering with evidence. He was released after posting a five thousand dollar bond.

39 year old Nicolas Ruiz Hernandez of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on an expired license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

22 year old Jose Marcos Jimenez Slone of Okeechobee was arrested for contempt of court during his hearing on past charges of drunk driving. He’s being held without bond.

37 year old Armando Augustin Rodriguez of Okeechobee was arrested for disorderly intoxication. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

34 year old Richard Marvin Chapman the Third of Okeechobee was arrested on a local capias warrant for corruption by threat. His bond is set at five thousand dollars.

51 year old Paul Edward Harris of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. His bond is set at five hundred dollars.

28 year old Michael Ronald Holmes of Okeechobee was arrested for criminal mischief. His bond is set at $25 hundred dollars.

34 year old Kevin Allen Wolf of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia after he was spotted in a parking lot on his bicycle late at night. His bond is set at five thousand dollars.

58 year old Jeffrey Scott Hultman of Okeechobee was arrested on a local capias warrant for battery. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

31 year old Jessica Pinon of Okeechobee was arrested for robbery with a weapon. Her bond is set at fifty thousand dollars.

22 year old Dakota James Carter of Okeechobee was arrested by police for driving on a suspended license and fleeing law officers in a high speed pursuit while officers were trying to perform a traffic stop. His bond is set at $25 thousand dollars.