Journalist retires: ‘It’s been a good ride’

OKEECHOBEE — To quote Dandy Don: “Turn out the lights. The party’s over.” When the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback would try to sing that refrain at the end of a Monday night NFL contest, I never thought that it would ever have anything to do with me. Heck, after having a long conversation with Uncle […]

Drug offenders spend more time in jail than prison

OKEECHOBEE — It’s all about the score sheet — that three-page state-issued form used by Florida prosecutors and judges to determine if a defendant has ‘scored’ enough points to be sentenced to prison. “Score sheets are geared to put the more violent criminals in prison rather than drug crimes. Otherwise, our prisons would be filled […]

S.R. 70 crash claims Okeechobee man’s life

OKEECHOBEE – A 64-year-old Okeechobee man has died as an apparent result of the injuries he received in a two-vehicle accident Friday on State Road 70 East at its intersection with Shinn Road in St. Lucie County. A Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) press release stated Guadalupe Pulido Valdez was pronounced dead Sept. 22 at Lawnwood […]

Repeat offenders’ jail time is costly to county

OKEECHOBEE — Sheriff Noel Stephen is quick to point out that at a rate of $58 per day one local family, with an extensive incarceration rate, is creating a heavy burden for Okeechobee County taxpayers. Brothers Walter ‘Freak’ Jackson and Walter ‘Nunee’ Jackson Jr., along with their sister Merita Jackson, have been arrested a total […]

Okeechobee hurricane shelter to open at 2 p.m. Friday

OKEECHOBEE — Okeechobee County will open a hurricane shelter at South Elementary School, 2468 S.W. Seventh Ave., at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8. Other shelters may be opened as needed over the weekend. According to Mitch Smeykal, the county’s emergency management director, rain total amounts from Irma could be 8 to 10 inches. Okeechobee County […]

Preparations for Irma continue

It’s looking like residents can expect Hurricane Irma to be a category 3 to category 4 storm by the time it reaches Okeechobee County, said Mitch Smeykal, the county’s emergency management director. Mr. Smeykal said as of Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 6., he is expecting the county to be under a state of emergency by Friday […]

Officials plan for Irma

OKEECHOBEE — As Hurricane Irma draws a bead on Florida, local officials are busily making plans to provide the local citizenry with current information to help keep them safe and make informed decisions. “If people don’t feel their home is safe for a potential category 4 or 5 storm and they feel they need to […]

Doctor’s office ravaged by fire

OKEECHOBEE — An early morning blaze Sunday at the Eye Center of Okeechobee did an estimated $150,000 in damages to the building and $575,000 to its contents, stated an Okeechobee County Fire/Rescue (OCF/R) report. The business, owned and operated by Dr. Miguel Espiritu, reportedly sustained heavy damage to interior rooms, electrical tools and medical equipment. […]

Alleged drug dealers given bonds

OKEECHOBEE — Nearly every one of the individuals picked up Tuesday in a drug roundup throughout Okeechobee County are being held in the county jail on bonds topping $100,000. The Aug. 29 operation started with a 6 a.m. briefing and continued for much of the day with law enforcement personnel from multiple agencies picking up […]

32 arrested in drug roundup

OKEECHOBEE — After Jim Stephenson was cuffed early Tuesday morning, Sheriff Noel Stephen walked up and began to talk to him. As the suspect in the illegal sale of prescription pills inquired as to what was happening at roughly 7:30 a.m., the sheriff didn’t mince words. “You know exactly what’s going on: You play — […]