News Cast 2/11

News Cast for February 11th:

The Okeechobee County School Board will be meeting tonight and they will be recognizing students, staff and members of the community for the Shooting for the Stars Employee Recognition Banquet and they will also consider spending of school recognition funds for North Elementary School. The meeting will be held in the school board office beginning at six o’clock.

Speaking of the Okeechobee County School Board, the Okeechobee Utility Authority (OUA) is the owner of some new property, thanks to the school board. At their last meeting, the school board voted to sell off two acres of a forty acre property to the OUA so they can build a pump station to serve residents of that community and make the conversion of septic to sewer service. County School Superintendent Ken Kenworthy says the school board bought the property 15 years ago with the intent of building a school for kindergarten through eighth grade students because of increasing enrollment at the time, but the property market fell apart and enrollment numbers fell and they haven’t built anything or sold the property since then. Kenworthy says the OUA came to the school board offering to buy the two acres and he’s not only happy with the purchase, it’s also a relief. OUA bought the two acres of the unused property for $72 thousand dollars. Kenworthy says while anything can happen, it’s unlikely that a new school will be built on that property. The sale of the two acres to OUA will benefit their customers and the school board in terms of the property’s value.

A grass and brush fire caught the attention of Okeechobee County firefighters last Thursday morning. Crews were called to an area on the two hundred block of NE 10th Street a little before 11:30 and arrived to find a half-acre sized area of burning grass. Firefighters used a brush truck to get a wet line around the fire to keep it from growing. They got the blaze controlled in about a half hour with no one getting hurt and no structure damages. County firefighters were assisted in this incident by Okeechobee City Fire Crews. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Tonight, for the second time in as many months, the Highlands Hammock State Park will be the site for a guest speaker. Dr. Caren Neile, a professional storyteller and professor in the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies at Florida Atlantic University (FAU), will be presenting “Short Takes: A Grab Bag of Old Florida Stories.” Park Services Specialist Carla Kappmeyer-Sherwin says thanks to a grant from the Florida Humanities through friends of Highlands Hammock State Park, there will be host speakers who will be coming to the park to celebrate Florida and its rich cultural heritage that will examine keystones in the state’s history, culture, folklore and art from the beginning of the 20th century to present day. This is the second of three such events happening in the park. Kappmeyer-Sherwin says these speaker series are very popular events to people at the park, specifically for the central area of the state and have been since they began in 2013. Highlands Hammock State Park is located on the 59 hundred block of Hammock Road in Sebring. The event is free and park entry fees are waived after six o’clock at night. The event begins at seven o’clock at the park’s recreation hall.

On the arrest report:

21 year old Javier Hernandez of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for violating probation on undisclosed past charges. His bond is set at five thousand dollars.

22 year old Tessa Marie Van Houten of Okeechobee was arrested for drunk driving, damaging property, possession of cocaine and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription after a traffic stop and field sobriety test. Her bond is set at $5750 dollars.

31 year old Esteban Medrano Arellano of Okeechobee was arrested for driving without a valid license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a $250 dollar bond.

55 year old Heriberto Gispert of Okeechobee was arrested on a warrant from Broward County for not paying child support. He was released after posting a three hundred dollar bond.

42 year old Michael Vasquez of Okeechobee was arrested for trespassing. His bond has not been set.

53 year old Maryann Puglia of Okeechobee was arrested on multiple counts of contempt of court on undisclosed charges. She’s being held without bond.

41 year old Ramiro Ruiz of Okeechobee was arrested by police for resisting arrest and for local warrants for driving on an expired license and giving a false name to law enforcement. He’s being held without bond.