News 1-30-2020

A Belle Glade man has been named Principal of the year for his years of work to raise Royal Palm Beach High Schools performance. When he took over as principal in 2010, Jesus Armas predicted that overseeing the struggling school would not be a one-year or two-year job. A decade later Armas continues leading the 2,270-student campus, where he’s overseen its transformation into a success story of higher academic performance, more specialized programs and the most satisfied public high school staff in Palm Beach County, according to a recent study.  Born in Belle Glade, Armas started his education career in 1987 as a teacher at a private Christian school in Belle Glade. He was selected from the county’s more than 170 public school principals. As winner Armas receives a $2,000 cash prize and four tickets to Universal Orlando theme parks.

80 Burmese pythons in 10 days from the clutches of the Florida Everglades, where they’re decimating wildlife. State wildlife officials turned the Burmese python invasion problem into a game and named it the 2020 Python Bowl. More than 750 people competed from 20 states in the annual Florida Python Challenge that wrapped up on Jan. 19. The event was sponsored by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and South Florida Water Management District.

The top python catcher was Mike Kimmel, who won for capturing eight of the huge creatures. Kristian Hernandez won rookie grand prize for snagging six of the invasive reptiles, the FWC said in a statement announcing the winners. The longest one brought in was 12 feet, 7.3 inches, a prize picked up by Tom Rahill.

Yesterday at about 6:30 in the morning, Okeechobee residents Ivan Cruz and Timothy Hall were traveling southbound on US-441 approaching SE 126TH Boulevard. A third driver from Pahokee, Efrem Crawford, was traveling northbound approaching SE 126TH Boulevard. A 4th vehicle was unoccupied and parked. Hall slowed down to make a left turn at SE 126th Blvd. Cruz lost control of the vehicle and swerved to the left to avoid a rear end collision with Hall, to no avail. After impact with Cruz, Hall swerved to the right where it struck the parked vehicle. Cruz’ vehicle rotated travelling into the path of Crawford, a 49 year old Pahokee man. The collision caused both vehicles to catch fire. Crawford was not able to exit the vehicle after impact and due to the injuries he expired on scene. This case is still pending investigation.

An Okeechobee man will be in prison for the next couple of years after being sentenced in Okeechobee County Court earlier this month on battery charges from an incident over two years ago. Judge Michael Heisey sentenced 41 year old Thor Jason Arnold to four years in prison, with credit for 648 days of time served, in connection with an incident on the night of December 9th 2017 when he reportedly stabbed 46 year old Robert Clark Marshall Junior, his ex-brother in law, in the back with the four inch blade of a folding knife during a party. Police say Arnold fled the scene after stabbing Marshall and was found a short time later by authorities at a home on NE 4th Lane. Arnold was found guilty after a three-day trial last October. Okeechobee County Lead Prosecutor Ashley Albright says while he was pushing for Arnold to get the maximum five years in prison, he is still satisfied with the judge’s decision. Arnold’s attorney, Alex Nelson, spoke during the sentencing hearing and said his client has no record of violence. Arnold, who claimed police corruption during the investigation, says he plans to leave Okeechobee County when he finishes his jail sentence. Albright jokingly says that would be better for Okeechobee. Nelson declined to comment.