Meet the Firefighter: Forest Service Duty Officer Carla Richards

OKEECHOBEE — Forest Service Duty Officer Carla Richards was born and raised in Columbus, Ind., where she attended Bethel Holiness Christian High School with her two brothers and three sisters. When she was growing up, she dreamed of becoming an attorney and majored in secretarial science with legal emphasis. She said her favorite subject was […]

Inspiring Okeechobee: Clint LaFlam is never leaving Okeechobee High School

OKEECHOBEE — Born and raised in Okeechobee, Clint LaFlam graduated from Okeechobee High School in 2001 and went on to Florida Southern in Lakeland, majoring in Music Education. During his last year of high school, Mr. LaFlam said he had the unique opportunity to take charge of the band because his band director was on […]

Feral cat shot with an arrow

OKEECHOBEE — OCSO Deputy James Hartsfield responded to a call on Jan. 14 regarding a feral cat with an arrow protruding from its body. Mrs. Virginia Smith, Northeast 326th Trail, explained she regularly places food out for the feral cats in the neighborhood, and shortly after placing food out that morning she noticed a red […]

Mayor Watford is appointed for second term

OKEECHOBEE — At the first meeting of the new Okeechobee City Council on Jan. 15, newly re-elected council member Dowling Watford was appointed to serve his second term as mayor of Okeechobee. Mayor Watford was the only nominee; however, there was some discussion on changing the length of the term of office held by the […]

Local woman celebrates 100th birthday

OKEECHOBEE — Dollie Tillman celebrated her 100th birthday on Jan. 8 at the Okeechobee KOA. Campground Manager Wendy Woodman, and Activities Director Lisa Nixon organized a surprise party for the well-loved resident of the KOA community. Judy Swanson, a former neighbor, described by Mrs. Tillman as a dear friend, even flew in for the event […]

When I grow up: Nic wants to protect the good people

OKEECHOBEE — “I don’t like that there are bad people out there who hurt others,” says 9-year-old Nicholas Cole, and that’s why his goal is to become a K-9 officer when he grows up. He wants to protect the good people. Officer Ramon Liberato Jr. wanted to be a police officer when he was Nic’s […]

Meet the Code Enforcement Officer: Fred Sterling

OKEECHOBEE — Born in Santiago, Chile in 1937, Code Enforcement Officer Fred Sterling spent some of his childhood in Lima, Peru and some in Miami. He explained his parents were actually U.S. citizens living in Chile when he was born. Officer Sterling graduated from Warren School in Olney, Md. in 1956, and he says he […]

Second suspect in McDonald’s purse snatching is behind bars

OKEECHOBEE — The second suspect in the Dec. 6 purse snatching which left an elderly woman hospitalized after being hit by a car is now behind bars. Christina Alexis Stankiewicz AKA Stratton, 45, of Loxahatchee, was arrested by OCSO Deputy Ben Vuleta on Jan. 10. She was charged with grand theft, robbery by sudden snatching […]

Inspiring Okeechobee: Ouf brothers care about their customers

OKEECHOBEE — Becoming a successful business owner is difficult on its own, but imagine doing it in a country where the language is not your native language, and the culture is not your native culture. Brothers, Omar and Fahed Ouf have done exactly that. Born in Puerto Rico, but of Middle Eastern descent, they came […]

Chandlers were Audubon wardens

OKEECHOBEE — Conservation has always been important to the Chandler family, with the first and possibly most famous story on record being that of Marvin Chandler, the first Okeechobee warden for the Audubon Society. According to, the job of Audubon warden was created in Florida in 1901 because, although laws had been passed to […]