Tuesday, January 7th News

The Okeechobee City Council will meet tonight for the first time in 2020 but it will be a relatively short meeting with their only listed item on their agenda will be considering amendments to the Education Reimbursement Agreement related to firefighters obtaining certification to become paramedics, something that has become a need not just here in Okeechobee County but across the country. The meeting will be held tonight at City Hall beginning at six o’clock.

Recently the Okeechobee County School District released some data on the success of last year’s graduating class of students participating in the districts Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program and the results were excellent. The AVID program is a non-profit college readiness program to help students develop the skills, academically and more, needed to do well in college should they decide they want to go to college. Assistant School Superintendent Dylan Tedders says last year, 97 percent of Okeechobee High School (OHS) seniors participating in the AVID program completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), compared to the national rate of only 61 percent. Likewise, all the AVID students applied to four year colleges and all were accepted. Tedders says this program has become so effective here in Okeechobee that it’s now being started by middle school students (Tedders-AVID Program 1). Besides academic skills, AVID students also learn “soft skills” which involve being able to learn and work with other students on classroom problems. Okeechobee County Schools joins over seven thousand schools and districts across the country that partner with the AVID program. For more information, log on to www.AVID.org.

A report of a rubbish fire caught the attention of Okeechobee County Firefighters shortly before the beginning of New Year’s Day but the fire turned out to be somewhat different. Crews were called to a home on the 36 hundred block of SE 36th Avenue shortly after 11:30 and arrived to several garbage cans and a power pole on fire. Firefighters assisted the homeowner in putting out the fire in just a few minutes. Investigators say the garbage cans and power pole were damaged as a result of the fire and a phone box was also damaged. Representatives from Florida Power and Light (FPL) were called in to shut off power to that area. No one was hurt and no structure damages reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Two Immokalee men are dead and three other Immokalee men are in serious condition following a single vehicle accident on New Year’s Eve night in Collier County and the driver is facing serious charges as a result. Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) officers say 22 year old Danielle Lopez was driving a Lincoln Navigator SUV southbound on County Line Road near the intersection of Oil Well Road in Corkscrew sometime before 10:30 when he failed to stop at a stop sign and continued driving. FHP officers say Lopez lost control of the vehicle and drove off the road and struck a dirt embankment. The accident claimed the lives of 27 year old Edwin Jimenez and 26 year old Alfredo Mendoza Gomez, who were both passengers in the vehicle. Lopez and his two other passengers, 37 year old Sebastian Jimenez and 41 year old Romeo Jimenez Lopez, were all seriously injured and taken to area hospitals for treatment. Danielle Lopez was charged with driving without a valid license causing death and disregarding a stop sign. It remains under investigation.

On the arrest report:

61 year old Frank Andrew Buettner of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for drunk driving after a traffic stop and field sobriety test. His bond is set at three thousand dollars.

22 year old Dwan Sharrod Marshall Junior of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past charges of burglary and possession of and carrying a firearm by a convicted felon. He’s being held without bond.

34 year old Sheena Maria Egan of Okeechobee was arrested on a warrant from St. Lucie County for past charges of possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell and possession of drug paraphernalia. She’s being held without bond.

19 year old Dillon Jason Hill of Okeechobee was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

30 year old Jordan Lynn Bohannon of Okeechobee was arrested on a warrant from Glades County for violating probation on past charges of possession of burglary tools. She’s being held without bond.

38 year old Jason Michael Oyong of Okeechobee was arrested by police for simple assault and battery during a domestic dispute. His bond is set at $15 hundred dollars.

48 year old Peter Garcia Rivera of Okeechobee was arrested on a fugitive warrant from New Hampshire for possession of cocaine with intent to sell. He’s being held without bond.

49 year old Crystal Hicks of Okeechobee was arrested for drunk driving after a traffic stop and field sobriety test. Her bond has not been set.

21 year old Logan CJ Ortiz of Okeechobee was arrested for driving without a valid license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

41 year old Elia Garcia of Okeechobee was arrested for sexual cyber harassment. She was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.