News Cast 8/26

News Cast for August 26th:

Social media presence a no-no for sexual predator 

A convicted sexual predator in Okeechobee got on Facebook and got arrested. 

Kevin Blackmon violated terms of his sentence simply by going on social media and not telling the state. 

He works as a taxi cab driver.   

Okeechobee detectives posed as a 15 year old girl and phoned Blackmon who had included his phone number on the Facebook post.  They claimed they needed a ride and they arrested Blackmon when he showed up to pick up the girl. 

Florida announces new crime reporting initiative 

Florida’s Attorney General Ashley Moody is working with convenience stores to solve crimes. 

The Florida Petroleum Marketers Association agreed to display stickers about crime stoppers and rewards for unsolved crimes at stores around the state. 

Moody said there is a lot of traffic and customers who will see these stickers and it should help solve crime. 

She said the state has removed almost all the barriers in the way of reporting crime or crime tips that can help law enforcement. 

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said time matters when you are fighting crime. 

Chronister said the biggest barrier for crime reporting is jurisdictional boundaries.   These tips will be sent to the appropriate crime stoppers in that area. 

A new phone app will allow people to dial TIPS to report information on crimes. 

Domestic violence case results in arrest after drone captures suspect 

A 46 year old Okeechobee man, Don Johnson II, was charged with throwing a brick at a woman, striking her several times, slamming her to the ground and dragging her across the gravel pavement on NE 13th Avenue. 

Deputies said he ran from police but a drone helped to catch him. 

The female victim was able to run into her home and call law enforcement. 

Pahokee still fighting amongst themselves 

Things got heated again at the Pahokee city commission meeting. 

All five of the members met for the first time since the Mayor issued two emergency declarations due to alleged unrest and threats of violence. 

Allegations of corruption came from both sides of the political aisle at the meeting. 

The commission rejected forcing the mayor to pay for emergency declarations that cost city workers their pay. 

They did seek to pursue criminal charges against former manager Chandler Williamson for some $16,000 in suspicious spending. 

Commissioner Clara Murvin said the city has to get a hold of this crisis, and do their jobs. 

She opposed digging up things that occurred three years ago. 

Resident Otis Harvey said the commission has disrespected the city and its residents with their actions and attitude. 

Resident Richard Brown said the three member majority of Regina Bohlen, Sarah Perez and Juan Gonzales were bobble-heads that do whatever City Attorney Gary Brandenburg wants them to. 

It was the first meeting for interim City Manager Greg Thompson.  He is also a city council member in Clewiston. 

He urged calm and patience and said he has directed city staff to now accept direction or harassment from any commissioner. 

The commission rejected an attempt to charge former interim manager Rodney Lucas for the costs of changing locks at city hall because he didn’t return his set of keys. 

441 expected to see improvements 

Local officials took part in a summit to discuss improvements to 441. 

The state is studying the area between SW 23rd Street to NE 120th street for improvements. 

A turn lane north bound at the hospital and a red light or round- a-bout at 36th Street were among the ideas. 

Project manager Vitor Siguri said public input helps in the design of road improvements. 

The acquisition of land for a round-a-bout would likely delay improvements for several years. 

A red light at Cemetery Road could take about two years. 

Siguri said the current plan does not include any additional lanes on 441 north of town. 

He said that could change if it is something the study or the community demands it   

That section of 441 north between Cemetery Road and NE 120th Street has had multiple fatal crashes this year.