Local News Headlines 12-15-23

Bad news for fans of the old Santa Rosa Hotel in Downtown Sebring. Not only has the building permit for the old building for work on the old building expired, matters have been complicated further. Before the permit can be renewed, an inspection will be needed, and with a collapse of a portion of the third story walls, city officials say the entire project may need a whole new permit. The current owner of the Santa Rosa bought the place on North Ridgewood in December of last year. The prior ownership had been holding it since 2015, but had racked up code enforcement fines over $300,000.

A local fundraising drive with a national inspiration comes to a head tomorrow morning. “Wreaths Across America” is a project with goal of laying a wreath on the grave of every fallen veteran in time for the holiday. Locally, Lakeview Memorial Gardens has been spearheading the drive and holds a pre-wreath laying ceremony tomorrow morning at 11:40am, followed by placement of wreaths on the graves at that location with the names of each veteran said aloud. Lakeview Memorial Gardens in on Memorial Drive between Sebring and Avon Park.

There’s evidently a door-to-door scammer out there asking for money to support local school sports teams – or, on occasion, posing as a solar power salesperson. The fellow was door knocking in Sun N Lake and Sylvan Shores earlier this week claiming to be supporting Lake Placid JV basketball. The school says they have no affiliation with him, and if you do get a visitor of that sort, a call to the sheriff’s department is in order.

If you’re heading out of town by car over the holidays, the good news is that gas prices in Florida are atast their lowest of the year. This last week’s AAA gas price survey for the state found the state’s average price per gallon at $2.91 a gallon, versus the national average of just over $3.10. Sound a little low for what we see around here? Sebring and vicinity WAS listed as the third-highest metro area in the state, with a $3.09 average. The cheapest? Fort Walton Beach, at $2.83.

Highlands County Sheriff’s deputies think they made a dent in the drug trafficking business with a bust on a home Wednesday on Cherokee Drive in Avon Park. 36-year-old Omar Juqsue Rushing was allegedly trafficking drugs out of the home, selling up to 58 grams of fentanyl-laced methamphetamine at a time. Rushing was being held without bond yesterday on eight drug-related counts and a gun charge. Another man living in the home, 58-year-old Willie Henry Smith was also arrested. Detectives say the bust came after months of undercover work.

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