News Cast 3/13

News Cast for March 13th:

A 90 year old woman died in Lakeport Saturday after a traffic accident.

The Florida highway patrol said she was operating a golf cart on the west shoulder of State Road 78 near Pine Way, when she attempted to cross the travel lanes on the road, and was struck by a west bound sport utility vehicle.

The victim died at the scene.

The driver of the SUV, a 75 year old Okeechobee man, suffered minor injury.

Earl Wooten will become the next Okeechobee County Public Safety Director on April 28th.

The county commission approved his appointment.

Ralph Franklin is retiring after 8 plus years in the job.

County Administrator Deborah Manzo said Wooten is very qualified for the position.

“Public Safety Director Wooten has been preparing for this position and is interested in the position.  He has been a resident for over 30 years.  He has served as Deputy Director since 2018.”

Wooten said he has gotten nothing but support from Okeechobee County during his career.

“To all the employees in fire rescue I pledge to do my best each day to move the department forward just like Chief Franklin has done.”

A bill to allow Florida residents to carry concealed firearms is likely to gain passage this year.

The only question is will open carry of firearms be approved.

The Florida Police Chiefs Association are supporting the concealed weapons bill.

Fellsmere Police Chief Keith Touchberry is President of the Association this year.

He said the residents can do this lawfully and safely.

“Understand what you are doing.  You are walking around with a loaded gun in public where we cannot see it.  So what are the responsibilities that go along with that.  Law enforcement supports your right to do that but we also want y ou to understand the law in what you are doing and that it is important to be responsible in how you carry it.”

Prosecutors in North Carolina dropped charges against accused killer Matthew Flores on Friday. The move opens up an extradition hearing and the return of Flores to Florida. He had been involved in a high speed chase in northwest North Carolina last month. He remains a person of interest in the death of 74 year old Gary Levin. He was found driving the dead man’s vehicle in Rutherford County, North Carolina.

Once Flores is extradited back to Florida,  he will face a murder charge in Wauchula.

A Broward County jury convicted Analiz Osceola of aggravated manslaughter, child neglect and providing false information to law enforcement on Friday.

She had denied killing her step son, 3 year old Aziyah Osceola back in 2015 and pointed to others living in the home.

She reported him missing and a large search for two days failed to find the boy.

She eventually admitted she had hidden the child’s body in a toy box in the home.

The medical examiner said the boy may have survived had he received medical treatment.  He had ingested deadly drugs like cocaine and fentanyl.

Abdiel Zamora was the all around cowboy at the 74th Annual Cowtown Rodeo in Okeechobee this weekend.

He excelled in tie down roping and team roping.

Taylor Broussard won the bareback riding, Gus Maraman the steer wrestling in 3 point 6 seconds, Keven Daniel and Justin Yost the team roping, Ira Dickinson the saddle bronc, Macon Murphy and Zamora the tie down roping, Erin Wetzel the barrel racing, and Riggin Shippy the bull riding with a score of 85.5 points on board the Bull Blue Print.

Josie Conner won the breakaway roping in 2 seconds flat to earn $7,238 dollars.

The total payoff for the PRCA rodeo was over $39,600.

The Board of County Commissioners issued a proclamation of appreciation for the OHS Bass Club for the help they give the community and the David Daniel Memorial Scholarship for an OHS senior.

Fireworks were restricted to three days per year in the city.

The council limited them to New Years Eve, New Years Day and July 4th.

There also won’t be any sale of fireworks in the city.

Public shows can still apply for permits.

The Okeechobee Historical Society was given the go ahead to work with city staff on placing signs near historic buildings downtown like the Raulerson Department store.

The city plans an open house on the Primitive Baptist Church Museum on May 20th. The society has received about $8,000 in private donations for this project. They also plan a ribbon cutting March 15th for downtown landscaping improvements.

Glades County Schools want to work something out with Hendry county over school capacity. Many West Glades Middle School students opt to attend LaBelle high school when they reach the ninth grade. However LaBelle was at capacity this year and out of county students couldn’t attend.

School Board member Jean Prowant wants to make Moore Haven high more alluring to these students. “The bottom line is we want our students to attend our schools.  We want those kids from West Glades to come to Moore Haven Middle High School.” Superintendent Dr. Beth Barfield said they’ve gotten some assurances from the state on the Moore Haven Elementary replacement project.

They are fully funded in the governor’s proposed budget.

Dr. Barfield suggests the board consider seeking funds to add a classroom wing at West Glades because it is at 93 percent of capacity.

An Okeechobee woman, Danielle Edwards, was sentenced to 20 years in prison and over $103,000 in fines and court costs for drug trafficking. She has asked to rehear the plea in one case as drug testing at the lab on one of her cases showed 13.78 grams of methamphetamines, less than the trafficking amount of 14 grams.  The original report had 24 grams of methamphetamine in the incident in the 3500 block of SE 28th Street last April 5.

Another case involved a traffic stop in Treasure Island where 26 grams of methamphetamines were seized in December, 2022. Patrick Nolan was named the Indiantown village public works director. The village wants to improve lighting downtown on 710. Councilmember Angelina Perez had two priorities, one is she wants the village to consider selling land they own next to the grocery and shopping plaza on Warfield Blvd.

The second, adopted in a 3-2 vote, was to keep the village manager awhile longer. Taryn Kryzda will stay on for an undetermined amount of time as Indiantown Village Manager and a search for a permanent manager has been cancelled for now.