News Cast 1/14

News Cast for January 14th:

Officials from the Okeechobee County Road Department say there will be a temporary road closure in the area for the next few days. NE 2nd Street between NE 14th and NE 15th Avenues will be closed to traffic from now until the end of this week because of repairs being made to underground pipes in that area. Please use alternate routes if you can and be cautious of workers in that area if you need to be there. The road will be re-opened to traffic on Thursday afternoon, January 16th at 5:30. Any questions can be forwarded to the Road Department or the County Administrator’s office.

If you haven’t noticed it already, the name of the 38 year old senior center in Okeechobee’s has been different since the beginning of 2020 and today there will be a grand reopening of the senior center. At the Okeechobee County Commissioners’ July 25th meeting, they approved the change of the senior center’s name from the Lottie Raulerson Senior Center to the Young At Heart Center of Okeechobee. Senior Services Manager Tom Leach says he’s excited for the change and it’s designed to not diminish the contributions of Lottie Raulerson to the center but to provide a warmer and more welcoming atmosphere to people who’ll be coming there someday with a desire to stay active. Leach says if Lottie Raulerson were alive today, she’d definitely approve this name change.

The name change officially took place January 1st and Leach believes people who use the senior center will welcome the name change. The grand re-opening of the Young at Heart Center will be held at three o’clock this afternoon and it’s located on the 16 hundred block of NW 9th Avenue.

A defendant in the case of three Okeechobee juveniles accused of spitting into sheriff’s deputies’ food last spring will be back in court again tomorrow. 16 year old Molly Spearow will be facing an Okeechobee County Court judge to answer for charges of violating the Florida Anti-Tampering Act for Food and Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer when she and 17 year old Logan Pope and 17 year old Alex Armstrong spat into deputies’ food in April of last year while they were working at the Highway 55 Restaurant. All three were caught on surveillance cameras and were immediately fired from their jobs and arrested. While Pope and Armstrong have changed their pleas to no contest, Spearow is still pleading not guilty. Lead Prosecutor Ashley Albright says while he doesn’t expect that to change, he’s ready for anything.

Spearow is facing anything from probation to possible jail time if it goes to trial and she’s found guilty. Meanwhile Pope, who changed his plea to no contest last November, will be sentenced Thursday and Armstrong was sentenced last month to six months’ probation and six months in jail with credit for 16 days already served after he changed his plea. Spearow’s attorney, Shannon Eighmie (Amy) could not be reached for comment.

A report of a trash and rubbish fire caught the attention of Okeechobee County firefighters Thursday evening. Crews were called to an open farmland-like area on the 44 hundred block of NW 30th Street a little after seven o’clock and found the fire, mostly burning heavy vegetation. Firefighters used about five hundred gallons of water to get the fire controlled, which they achieved in about twenty minutes with no one getting hurt and no structure damages. Cause of the fire is under investigation.

A Vero Beach man is dead after a vehicle accident last Wednesday morning in St. Lucie County. Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) officers say 41 year old Ronald Lamar Mosely Junior was driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV north on Interstate 95 on the entrance ramp to the rest area at Mile Marker 133 in Ft. Pierce at around 7:30 when for unknown reasons, Mosely drove his SUV off the roadway to the left, went over some grass and collided with a tree. Mosely was pronounced dead at the scene by medics. The accident remains under investigation.

On the arrest report:

25 year old Thad Ashley Chandler of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for domestic battery. He was released after posting a $15 hundred dollar bond.

46 year old Rey Gomez of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

41 year old William Edward Lewis the Second of Okeechobee was arrested for trespassing. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

37 year old Valerie Lynn Kirtley of Okeechobee was arrested for battery. Her bond has not been set.

70 year old Jim Leon Yates of Okeechobee was arrested for unlawfully removing a no trespassing notice from a posted land site. His bond is set at a thousand dollars.

57 year old Wendy Jo Wheeler of Okeechobee was arrested for trespassing. She was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

40 year old Neal Lee Minton of Okeechobee was arrested by police for driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a $750 dollar bond.

21 year old Jesse James Mond the Fourth of Ft. Pierce was arrested for contempt of court during his hearing on past charges of cyber sexual assault. He was released after posting a five thousand dollar bond.