News 1/25 – 3/2


When it comes to affordable housing – a new survey shows that the Avon Park/Sebring area is in line with national averages. The new report by Construction Coverage – looking at the US Locations investing the most in affordable housing, shows Highlands County construction comes in at an average of $230,000 per home.
That’s just a shade above the national average of $226,000 per unit. The survey also shows that the average cost of a new home here is about $395,000. The data used for the analysis comes from the US Census Bureau and Zillow.

NEWS 3/2/23 BF

The new Miss Avon Park pageant will be getting a shot in the arm from the city. Now branded the Miss Avon Park City of Charm Scholarship Pageant, council members voted by a 4-1 margin to donate a $500 scholarship to the winner. Organizer Kerri Bryant told the concil she now has taken the reigns of the competition again, and it is being underwritten by Heartland Helping Hands.
She told the council the winner would have to serve a year before recieving the check – which would be written to a school. Councilwoman Bernice Taylor voted against the action, after being unsatisfied with some of the answers.

NEWS 3/1/23 BF

For the third day in a row, dense fog is blanketing Highlands County. The Highlands County Sheriff’s office has issued an advisory that indicates conditions are expected to continue until at least 9:00 this morning.
Motorists are advised to leave a bit early and allow extra time to reach their destination – use their low beams and not overdrive their headlights.
Highlands County school transportation officials say the busses are running, but might be a bit late due to visibility conditions.

NEWS 3/1/23 BF

There was quite a discussion at the Avon Park city council meeting about the installation of a couple of lights on Fred Connor Street. The action comes at the request of neighbors, who said there have been seven shootings at the basketball courts there – four of them have been fatal.
There was a dust-up between councilwoman Bernice Taylor, who maintained it was the city’s job to test lights, and other members of council, who called on citizens to report locations and pole numbers of broken street lights to Duke Energy who provide repair and replacement services.
Mayor Garret Anderson admonished citizes to say something if they see lights that are not operable.

NEWS 3/1/23 BF

Highlands County Sheriff Paul Blackman says he’d like to have a dedicated traffic enforcement unit as part of his operation. Blackman discussed the issue last night at the Highlands County Tea Party meeting. He said that while his deputies now do some speed enforcement, he would like to develop a unit soley devoted to traffic patrols.
The plan reportedly will be part of budget discussions for the upcoming 2023-24 fiscal year when Highlands County commissioners discuss their planned outlays for county departments and constitutional officers.

NEWS 3/1/23 BF

Lake Wales police have recovered nearly a half million dollars in stolen motorsports good in a Miami Street raid. Recovered were two Ford Cobra jet drag race cars, a Polaris ATV, a couple boats including a 23-foot Skeeter, as well as a pair of trailers.
One, a Haulmark Hauler they found, reportedly had been taken from Lake Placid.
Authoritites say the entire cache was valued at about $400,000. Arrested was 51-year-old Billy Joe Byrd. He was booked into the Polk County jail on numerous counts. Police say more arrests are expected.

NEWS 2/28/23 BF

Dense fog once again is shrouding Highlands County. Motorists are urged to use their low beams and not to overdrive their headlights.
Highlands County School Transportation officials say the busses will be running as usual – however, they will pull over if conditions get too bad.

NEWS 2/28/23 BF

It appears Avon Park City Manager Mark Schrader will stay on for at least another three years. After a very public, and sometimes tense negotiation session at last night’s Avon Park city council meeting, the two sides hammered out the details of the city manager’s contract.
It will bring Schrader to an average $130,000 a year, provide him with a vehicle, with health insurance and other considerations. Incidentally, the vehicle will be a 10-year-old Durango already in the municipal motorpool.
All council members had words of praise for the job Shrader has done over the past three years.

NEWS 2/28/23 BF

An illegal burn that got out of hand, brought units from the Venus, Sun ‘N Lake South, Lake Placid and Placid Lakes stations out to extinguish a 20-acre brush fire near Venus yesterday afternoon. According to reports, the flames did get close to a structure, but crews were able to stop the advance before it did significant damage to the home.
No injuries were reported. No cause has been listed. Authorities say there may be lingering smoke in the area of County Road 721.

NEWS 2/28/23 BF

Those who want to learn more about law enforcement in Highlands County will have an opportunity this evening as Sheriff Paul Blackman addresses the Highlands Tea Party. Sheriff Blackman is expected to give an overview of the office, its staff and operation. He also will be asked about the upcoming budget for the Sheriff’s office during the next fiscal year.
The session will be held at the Vietnam Veterans Hall, 33565 Grand Prix Drive -behind the Sebring Walmart. Doors open at 5pm meeting begins at 6pm.

A Manatee County deputy is making sure a fallen Polk County deputy isn’t forgotten. The Police Unity Tour is a 300-mile, three-day bike ride from Norfolk, Virginia to Washington, DC that’ll take place in May. Manatee County Deputy James Racky announced this month that he’ll be riding for Polk County Deputy Blane Lane. The 21-year-old Lane was killed in an on-duty shooting in October. Blane’s mom tells News Channel 8 she’s honored by Racky’s gesture because she’s so scared her son is going to be forgotten, and this is a way to make sure his memory continues to live on.

NEWS 2/27/23 BF

Cars were on track last weekend for the Sports Car Vintage Racing Association’s SpeedTour, but already fans are lining up for this year’s Mobil One 12 Hours of Sebring.
Officials at the Sebring International Raceway say that vans and motorhomes already have started to line up in the parking area across from Gate 4 in anticipation of the 2023 edition of the Oldest Sports Car Endurance race in North America.
In fact, the track had a trio of pace car appearances over the weekend in the area, with another spate set for next weekend. There, they have the new pace car on display and are giving out event posters.

NEWS 2/27/23 BF

Avon Park city council members will be mulling over their contract with City Manager Marc Schrader when they meet in regular session this evening. At their last meeting, Schrader announced this is the end of his current three year pact, and is ready to renegotiate.
In other action, the council will again look at their lease with the Avon Park Historical Society for the train depot on Museum Avenue. Meanwhile, the society has started a fundraising drive to add a baseball museum as an annex to their current location.

NEWS 2/27.23 BF

Highlands County saftey services were busy over the weekend. They first responded to an RV fire. Avon Park Lakes firefighters were called to the Taunton Road address, but the motorhome was completely destroyed – as was a a nearby car. No injuries were reported, the cause remains under investigation.
Later, Desoto City firefighters were called to the Sebring Regional Airport, when a single-engine plane made a hard landing. One person suffered minor injuries when the Globe Swift GC-18 apparently put down without landing gear.
The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate that one.

NEWS 2/278/23 BF

One person was killed and another seriously injured in a Lake Wales traffic accident. According to police in the Crown Jewel of the Ridge, a Chevrolet Camaro was southbound at a high rate of speed, and slammed into the back of a pickup.
The car flipped several times, ejecting both occupants. Dead is 38-year-old Eliecer Padilla, a second occupant, Jeanette Gonzalex was airlifted to Lakeland Regional in serious condition.

(Lakeland, FL) — A search is underway to find the driver who killed a woman in a hit-and-run in Polk County. That one happened Saturday night in Lakeland on West 10th Street. Lakeland Police say a female pedestrian was found lying unresponsive in the street. The 37-year-old died at the scene. Investigators are looking for a silver car with front-end damage and maybe a dent on its right rear bumper.

NEWS 2/24/23 BF

Action picks up in earnest at the Sebring International Raceway today as practice and qualifying sessions begin for the Sports Car Vintage Racing Association’s SpeedTour event.
All groups, including the International GT and Trans-Am series will be setting the grids for this weekends’ races. The event runs through Sunday.

NEWS 2/24/23 BF

Highlands County parent Jesse Sapp is warning other parents that videos on Social Emotional Learning that have not been reviewed or approved by Highlands County School Board members – are being shown to local middle school students.
Sapp said that he personally was “very upset” with what his eighth grader had taken away from the session.
After speaking at this week’s school board meeting, Sapp said he was admonished by the Lake Placid Middle School principal for “spreading inaccuracies.” He reportedly corrected Sapp by saying only two videos had been shown, and not three videos as the parent had alleged.
In the meantime, Sapp says he is attempting to contact the district office to learn more about the local S-E-L curriculum.

NEWS 2/24/23 BF

And the winner of the Champion for Children 2023 Youth Award is Carlyn Bobo. The Lake Placid High School senior was crowned last night in ceremonies at the First Sebring Church.
Bobo is a member of the Green Dragon cross country & track team, and a Highlands County Sheriff’s Office Explorer. She’s described as a hard worker who puts others before herself.
In all, 23 students had been nominated, that was whittled down to seven finalists last night. The honorarium, noting service to others, is modeled after the Champion For Children/Judge Clifton M. Kelley Award for adults.

NEWS 2/24/23 BF

The Sebring area golf course where a giant alligator was spotted now has been identified as Spring Lake. The photo of the massive gator, estimated at 12-14 feet, went viral on the internet – comparing the course to “Jurassic Park.”
Seeing alligators at golf courses is fairly common in Florida – it was the size of this one that drew attention.
Apparently it came and went without incident.

NEWS 2/24/23 BF

Sebring city council candidate Bobbie Smith Powell will continue her series of town hall meetings tomorrow with a session on healthcare. It’s the third of a half dozen such meetings.
It will be held at 11:00 tomorrow morning at the Highlands County Democrat Party Headquarters on the Sebring Parkway

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is mourning the loss of one of their own. Detention Deputy Drake Perry died after an off-duty crash in Lake County. It happened in the community Groveland.
The 22-year-old Perry had been with the sheriff’s office a few months, working at the South County Jail in Frostproof.
Sheriff Grady Judd hailed Perry as an outstanding cadet in the academy and a natural-born leader.

A judge has ordered a mental evaluation at the request of the attorney for a man who was arrested in North Carolina while driving the car of a dead Lyft driver from South Florida and who is also charged with murder in a separate case in Hardee County.
The order came as Florida officials worked to extradite 35-year-old Matthew Scott Flores, who is a person of interest in the death of Lyft driver Gary Levin.
Flores appeared in court for a probable cause hearing in Rutherford County, where he was arrested after a vehicle pursuit in multiple counties and charged with a parole violation, being a fugitive, felony speeding to elude arrest, and driving while impaired. His attorney requested the evaluation, and the judge granted it.
In Hardee County, Flores has also been charged with first-degree murder, grand theft auto, possession of a firearm by a felon, and tampering with evidence in the fatal Jan. 24 shooting of Jose Carlos Martinez, 43, in Wauchula.

NEWS 2/23/23 BF

The Cracker Trail Riders have passed their half-way point and are headed out of Highlands County. They arrived here Tuesday afternoon and made the annual crossing of Highway 27 about noon yesterday.
The group spent the night in Lorida and will be saddling up now headed to Okechobee. Plans are for them to spend the night in beautiful Bassinger.
The ride commemorates Florida cowmen driving their cattle to market. It will finbish Saturday n Fort Pierce.

NEWS 21/23/23 BF

Cars and drivers in town for this year’s Sports Car Vintage Racing SpeedTour will get their first official taste of the Sebring International Raceway beginning this morning.
Groups will start test and tune sessions beginning at 8AM with sessions to run through 2:PM. That will include competitors in the International GT and Trans-Am races.
Practice and qualifying starts tomorrow.

NEWS 2/23/23 BF

Highlands County Sheriff’s officials have arrested a convicted drug dealer in connection with a 2018 murser. Miguel Angel Molina-Etchechury faces first degree murder charges in connection with the beating death of 22-year-old Jonathan Diaz.
Described as a “local drug kingpin,” Molina-Etchechury recently was sentenced to 11-years in prison on federal drug charges.
Authorities believe Diaz was slain due to a drug debt.

NEWS 2/23/23 BD

Avon Park city council members will get together for a special meeting tonight. They’ll again meet with members of Florida Airport Management and municipal consultants to determine progress a pending Federal Aviation Administration Airport Investment Partnership Program grant.
The city has been working on the grant for better than a year now. The AIPP progam reportedly is designed to let airports explore privatization as a means to generate access to sources of private capital. Florida Airport Management wants to take over operations of the Avon Park airport facility.

NEWS 2/23/23 BF

Seven Highlands County Students are slated to be recognized this evening at the Champion For Children Youth Awards. The honorarium, noting service to others, is modeled after the Champion For Children/Judge Clifton M. Kelley Award for adults.
23 Nominees have been whittled down to seven finalists. This year’s winner will recieve an all-expenses paid theme park trip. The ceremonies will be held this evening at the First Sebring Church.

NEWS 2/23/23 BF

It looks like supervisor of Elections Karen Healy will be getting some new machines. Highlands County commissioners have approved the purchase ExpressVoting devices for her office.
In other action, they agreed with changing the definition of a county park to include a municipa benefit taxing unit and approved a zoning change for seven acres of property off Lake Mirror. That will allow for a low density residential residential project at the Fish Hawk Reserve.

NEWS 2/22/23 BF

Drivers in Highlands County beware, it’s foggy out there again this morning. A dense fog advisory was issued earlier this morning.
Motorists are advised to leave a bit early, use low beams and allow a bit of extra time to get where they’re going.
Highlands School transportation officials say the busses will be running as usual – but may be slowed if it gets too dense in spots.

NEWS 2/22/23 BF

A lot of horsepower is coming to Highlands County starting today. First, the Cracker Trail Riders are slated to cross Highway 27 at the interchange of US 98 and State Road 66. That’s scheduled for about noon.
The crossing by more than 100 riders and wagoneers marks the halfway point in their annual cross-state treck. The ride commemorates historic Florida cowmen driving their cattle to market.
Meanwhile, cars and drivers for the Sports Car Vintage Racing Association begin loading in for this weekend’s event at the Sebring International Raceway. In addition to vintage and historic sports and stock cars, the International GT and Trans-Am series will open their seasons here.
Cars will take to the track beginning tomorrow.

NEWS 2/22/23 BF

For the next 20 days, citizens will have an opportunity to review materials slated to be used in the sex education portion of Highlands County School’s comprehensive health education program.
The goals & objectives, powerpoints and student worksheets in the Relationships Under Construction program will be available online at Relationships Under Construction dot com.
Following the review time, the matter will come before the school board to be considered for final approval.

NEWS 2/22/23 BF

It looks like supervisor of Elections Karen Healy will be getting some new machines. Highlands County commissioners yesterday approved the purchase ExpressVoting devices for her office.
In other action, they agreed with changing the definition of a county park to include a municipa benefit taxing unit and approved a zoning change for seven acres of property off Lake Mirror. That will allow for a low density residential residential project at the Fish Hawk Reserve.

(Lakeland, FL) — Four teenagers are accused of breaking into over a dozen cars in Polk County. The sheriff’s office announced yesterday four 17-year-olds were arrested Monday in Bartow for burglaries at three apartment complexes in Lakeland and Mulberry. One victim says a gun was stolen. Deputies say all the cars involved were unlocked. Three of the teens are from Tampa, and one is from Bartow. All are facing charges that include grand theft of a motor vehicle and grand theft of a firearm.

NEWS 2/21/23 BF

Drivers in Highlands County beware, it’s foggy out there this morning – especially in Sebring and Avon Park. Motorists are advised to leave a bit early, use your low beams and allow a bit of extra time to get where you’re going.

NEWS 2/21/23 BF

Highlands County commissioners will take care of a wide variety of business when they meet in regular session this morning. More agricultural land will disappear in favor of a housing designation as commissioners consider a seven acre parcel in the Fish Hawk Reserve off Lake Mirror for a low density residential project.
In other action, commissioners will look at changing the definition of a county park, to include a municipal benefit taxing unit and will mull over the purchase ExpressVote machines for Supervisor of Elections Karen Healy’s office.

NEWS 2/21/23 BF

After a nearly hour long discussion, Highlands County Commissioners took no action on a request related to environmental clearance requirements in the Carter Creek area.
A number of environmental concerns came forward in support of the action – however, landowners in the area pleaded with commissioners, saying that it was destroying their property rights and making their land virtually worthless.
Commissioner Kevin Roberts suggested the county research finding funds to purchase the properties at market value.

NEWS 2/21/23 BF

It will be a short-handed school board meeting this evening with two of the five board members expected to be absent. Both members Jan Shoop and Reece Martin reportedly will not be in attendance.
Nevertheless, the quorum will be asked to make the “Relationships Under Construction” materials available to the public. It’s the cirriculum that is being looked at as the sex education portion of students’ comprehensive health education.
They also expect to hear citizen input on a vote to send administrators to a controversial conference in Chicago.

NEWS 2/21/23 BF

Units from Lake Placid and Desoto City were called to a Holiday Park Drive address yesterday afternoon to extinguish a recreational vehicle fire. The blaze started around 3:00 yesterday. It consumed a motor home and and burned three cars before they got it out
No injuries were reported. Crews kept it from spreading to two additional motor homes and several other vehicles in the area.

NEWS 2/20/23 BF

Saturday they saddled up, Wednesday they’ll be here. The 2023 Cracker Trail Ride is underway. The 120 mile treck is in its 35th year, with about 120 riders and wagonners making their way from Bradenton across central Florida to Fort Pierce.
It’s the annual tribute to Florida cowmen – who used to drive cattle along the route to market.
The Half-Way mark is at Highway 27, where the riders make their ceremonial crossing carrying American flags. That will happen about noon Wednesday.
The processional currently is making its way through Hardee County.

NEWS 2/20/23 BF

One person was killed and another seriously injured in a 2-car accident yesterday near the Bear’s Den at Highway 27 and State Road 70.
Florida Highway Patrol reports indicate a vehicle driven by a 41-year-old Lake Placid woman was traveling north in the southbound lane of Highway 27 and ran head-on into a car driven by an Immokalee man.
A passenger in her car – a 69-year-old Sebring man was killed, and a passenger in the second vehicle, a 30-year-old Immokalee man, was seriously injured.
The incident remains under investigation.

NEWS 2/20/23 BF

Two people were killed Friday in a Hardee County traffic crash. Florida Highway Patrol troopers say a 52-year-old Fort Lauderdale man was driving west on State Road 66 near Skipper Road when his Toyota
Corrola went left of center and slammed into an oncoming car.
The Fort Lauderdale man was killed, as was a passenger in the second vehicle, a 46-year-old Wauchulla woman. The driver of the second car, a 47-year-old Wauchulla man was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
The incident remains under investigation.

NEWS 2/17/23 BF

It hardly seems possible, but it’s been three years since Marc Schrader was hired as the city manager of Avon Park. Well it has, and his contract now is up for renegotiation.
City council members have ordered city attorney Gerald Buhr to come up with a tentaive contract. Schrader already has said he wants more money and health care coverage.
Council members were urged to get with the city manager for one-on-one meetings before their planned public negotiation session.

NEWS 2/17/23 BF

Controversy errupted at the Highlands County School Board session over a proposal to send a number of administrators to Chicago for a College Board conference on African Amerian Studies.
Board member Reece Martin pointed to actions by Governor Ron Desantis surrounding the issue, saying that it could at best be a moot subject.
Board Chair Donna Howerton noted that while there were some things that did not meet the Sunshine State Standards, there were some usable courses.
School board member Nicole Rodonski called some of the topics “divisive.”
Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Programs Danielle Erwin accused detractors of “cherry picking” topics on the agenda.
Board member Isaac Durrance asked for a list of conferences that would be attended – but drew fire from a teacher in attencance at the board meeting for asking for such documentation.
In the end, the board approved the trip by a 3-2 margin with Martin and Radonski dissenting.

(Lake Wales, FL) — Speed is suspected in a deadly motorcycle crash in Polk County. The crash happened Wednesday night near Lake Wales on US 27. The sheriff’s office says the 28-year-old motorcyclist was speeding and passing other drivers when they rear-ended another driver. That driver was gone by the time deputies got to the scene.

NEWS 2/16/23 BF

Avon Park city council members have agreed to work on a lease with the Avon Park Historical Society for a building they use on Museum Avenue. But it won’t be for quite as long as had been requested.
Council members instructed city attorney Gerald Buhr to work on 21-year agreement – less than half the 50-year pact that Historical Society officials wanted. Council members agreed that two decades is about as long as they want to go before review.
Historical Society officials are beginning a fund raising drive to get money to build a baseball museum adjacent to the current depot museum in the City of Charm. They say they need the long term agreement to apply for grants.

NEWS 2/16/23 BF

Residents in the northern part of Highlands County reported smoke hanging in the air yesterday. Officials of the Highlands County Sheriff’s office attributed the conditions to the more than 400 acres of controlled burns that were being conducted.
It was unclear about the level of the local smoke dispersion index for the area yesterday.

NEWS 2/16/23 BF

A concerned parent came before Highlands County school board members this week, expressing concerns about a Lake Placid school teacher, who was sporting a “mermaid makeover” complete with makeup during class. Jesse Sapp noted the same educator had worn a dress in the past. After asking the school’s principal about the issue, He said he was told the principal had worn a tutu around the school previously.
Sapp called on school board members to codify measures against the process, saying that dressing in drag was not appropriate.
A subsequent speaker, noted that teachers are role models and such garb could be confusing to students.
Board members had no immediate comment.

(Lakeland, FL) — Two Polk County men are facing charges for a mass shooting in Lakeland. Federal prosecutors announced yesterday that two men from Lakeland have been indicted for last month’s drive-by shooting that hurt eleven people. Two victims are still in the hospital. Thirty-two-year-old Nicholas Hanson and 22-year-old Marcus Mobley, Jr. are facing charges that include possession of ammunition by a convicted felon. A 15-year-old boy had already been arrested, and two other suspects remain at large.

NEWS 2/15/23 BF

There won’t be much use of the Avon Park Civic Center for a while. It appears the place is riddled with termites. The Main Street building, which once was an NCNB Bank, hasn’t been tented in years – and may never have been treated.
That’s all about to change. But city council members found out it’s going to cost more than previously anticipated.
Although the first floor has been shut down, the Peter Paul Museum of the Arts on the second floor remains open – at least until the tenting procedeure takes place. There’s no word on when that will occurr.

NEWS 2/15/23 BF

Motorists – be advised – CSX Railroad is planning to do some work on the crossing in Lorida today. That means U.S. 98 at Bluff Hammock Road and Cowhouse Road will be shut down through tomorrow.
Drivers will have to use Bluff Hammock Road get around. The crossing is expected to be closed through Thursday morning.

(Davenport, FL) — A teenager is hurt after she was hit by a truck in Polk County. It happened yesterday morning at CR 547 and Sophie Lane while the girl was walking to Davenport High School. The sheriff’s office says the 15-year-old was in a crosswalk when she was hit by a box truck. She was taken to the hospital and is in critical but stable condition. No charges have been announced, but an investigation is underway. Sheriff Grady Judd says the driver was going below the speed limit, and the lights at the crosswalk were not scheduled to go on for another 45 minutes.

NEWS 2/14/23 BF

Increased lighting may be coming to Aline McWhite Park in the City of Charm. Residents of the city’s southside came before the Avon Park city council to ask for the additional illumination, saying there had been seven shootings in the area off Fred Connor Street – with four of them being fatal.
They also asked that the city put up surveilance cameras to help monitor activity there. They noted that a nearby church already had taken such action.
Mayor Garrett Anderson reported that all the lights in the area currently are working, but assured the citizens the city would contact Duke Energy to see what could be done.

NEWS 2/13/23 BF

Three people were killed Saturday in a two vehicle accident west of Sebring. Florida Highway Patrol reports indicate a sport utility vehicle carrying a couple of elderly Sebring residents was attempting to make a left turn from Highway 27 into the Tanglewood community, when they were hit broadside by a motorcycle.
Troopers say the 31-year-old Avon Park man was riding at a high rate of speed when his cycle hit the car. Both he, and both occupants of the vehicle were killed.

NEWS 2/13/23 BF

A fire yesterday in Hardee County claimed a life. Units were called to the house on the Old Dixie Highway shortly before 4:AM where they found the structure fully involved in flames.
Two adults were treated at the scene. A juvenile was taken to the hospital. After the fire was extinguished, firefighters found the remains of 63-year-old Martin De La Rosa inside the house.
The state fire marshal’s office has been called in to determine the cause of the blaze.

NEWS 2/13/23 BF

Avon Park city council members will gather for their first meeting in February this evening. Among other things, they’ll look at a new lease for the Avon Park Historical Society. The group has announced plans to build a baseball museum next to their current location.
In other action the council will be asked about lighting at Alina McWhite Park, and will asked to donate a scholarship to the Miss Avon Park pageant.

NEWS 2/13/23 BF

Officials at Duke Energy have announced their crews have installed a light pole in Lake Wales at Dr. J.A. Wiltshire Ave and Miami Street. That’s where 13-year-old Jadin Galindo was hit by a pickup truck.
Authorities say it was dark and foggy when the accident occurred, and the driver was not charged. The Lake Wales student apparently had been waiting for the school bus when he was struck and killed.

NEWS 2/10/23 BF

A Sebring man reportedly was killed yesterday morning in a Hardee County traffic accident. Florida Highway Patrol reports indicate the 64-year-old was riding his mortorcycle west on State Road 66 near Crewsville Road when the accident occurred.
Apparently, he was in a no passing zone when the biker pulled his cycle out to overtake a pickup, which made a left turn. The cycle hit the side of the truck.
The motorcyclist was airlifted to Lakeland Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead. No charges have been filed.

NEWS 2/10/23 BF

The Highlands County Fair will end up with a bang this evening with a Friday night concert. The Shannon Reed band will take to the Budweiser Hospitality Tent for music from 6-9.
Tommorow evening the Zinc & Copper Youth Jazz Ensemble will close out the 86th running of the fair. No attendance numbers are yet available, but good weather is expected to bump up the totals for this year’s crowd.

NEWS 2/10/23 BF

A Sebring city council candidate will be holding yet another town hall-style meeting tomorrow in an effort to find the opinion of voters in the City on the Circle. This time. Dr Bobbie Smith-Powell will address the issue of Food Insecurity.
The session will be held tomorrow morning at 11am in the Democrat Party Headquarters at 4216 Sebring Parkway.

NEWS 2/10/23 BF

It may be a while before the city of Lake Wales and developers go to court over the progress on refurbishing the historic Walesbuilt Hotel. The city and the Lake Wales Community Redevelopment agency have filed suit against the firm – Walesbuilt LLC, saying they obtained the title to the property by deceit.
Developers have pointed to the work accomplished at that location and have filed for a jury trial in the matter – pushing the court date now back to September.

NEWS 2/9/23 BF

Hearing or seeing more jets in the area? Yes, officials from the Avon Park Air Force Range say they are training again today from late morning until midnight. Noise levels will be high.
They have declined to indicate what kind of aircraft are utilizing the facility or where they might be from.

NEWS 2/9/23 BF

It’s a big day at the Highlands County Fair, as the Junior Livestock Auction winds up the agricultural portion of the annual exposition. All the goats, swine and cattle that have been shown over the past week now will go on the block for sale.
This will be an educational experience for the youngsters who have shown these animals, as they hope the selling price will exceed the amount of money they have put into raising them.
For those who cannot afford to bid on or buy an animal, they can donate in the form of add-ons. That money goes to youngsters to help in their efforts.
The auction gets underway this evening at 6pm in the Junior Livestock Arena.

NEWS 2/9/23 BF

Highlands County officials say they are excited about yet more state dollars being funneled into the coffers here. The money comes from the Broadband Opportunity Grant Program. Local internet providers will be getting cash to bring the world wide web to what are termed “underserved locations” such as Venus.
Avon Park and Sebring also are in line for more than $1.3 million dollars. That will be used to deploy fiber optic cable internet service to over 700 unserved households in those communities.

NEWS 2/9/23 BF

Florida Highway Patrol officials say there were no injuries yesterday afternoon when a sport utility vehicle rear-ended a school bus. According to reports, the bus was stopped on Lake Francis Road at the intersection of Highway 27 when the accident occurred.
Neither of the drivers, nor the four elementary school children aboard the bus were injured.

NEWS 2/8/23 BF

Highlands County Sheriff’s officials have the second of three shooting suspects in custody.
Joel Marroquin of Lake Placid has been arrested and charged with numerous counts including attempted second-degree murder, in connection with a shooting that took place last Saturday night.
Marroquin has been implicated in the shooting of 42-year-old Manuel Benitez Reyes Guzman. He was found shot in the head at the BP Gas station at US 27 and SR 70. At last report, he was listed in stable but guarded condition.
The 21-year-old Marroquin’s bond was set at $140,000.
Sherriff’s officials still are looking for 25-year-old Shavartae Makel Deloach for the murder of 57-year-old Arthur Scurry Jr.
He was found Sunday shot to death in the Highway Park neighborhood south of Lake Placid.
Deloach is a black male, 5’6″ tall, 130-pounds with brown hair and eyes. Authorities say he should be considered armed and dangerous.

NEWS 2/8/23 BF

The Highlands County Fair continues this evening with a half-price gate admission. Among the local events will be a a Pee Wee Show for small animals, as well as the poultry judging and showmanship.
At the Market Steer show last night, Hannah Sheffield from the Avon Park High FFA showed the Grand Champion while the Reserve Grand Champion Market Steer was presented by Rae Lynn Owens of the Lorida Livestock 4H Club. Reagan Richards walked off with Grand Senior Showmanship honors.

NEWS 2/8/23 BF

A rally for local non-profit organizations will be held today at the Jack Stroup Civic Center in Sebring. The exposition will feature many of the non-profit groups in the area that provide a wide range of services throughout Highlands County.
In addition to the booths and displays, there will be classes on CPR, Tai-Chi and backstage tours of the nearby Lakeside Theater.
The program will run today from 10am until 2pm.

(Lake Wales, FL) — A safety change is coming after a Polk County teenager was struck and killed by a car.
Mayor Jack Hilligoss, says the city is working with Duke Energy to install a streetlight where Jadin Galindo was hit. Hilligoss says the city will also see if more lighting is needed at other bus stops.
The 13-year-old Jadin Galindo was waiting for the bu when the accident occurred. Police say it was dark and foggy in the alleyway where the McLaughlin Middle School eighth-grader was hit. No charges have been filed against the driver.

NEWS 2/8/23 BF

Highlands County commissioners yesterday heard from a group of citizens from Fairmount Mobile Estates. They reportedly are unhappy about a residence that apparently has been overtaken by people who have let the property go. They allege there’s no water, sewer or electric service at the home – and the people there are armed and have caused crime in the neighborhood.
Commissioners explained that the code enforcement effort has been cumbersome, and recommended purchasing the tax certificate on the property in an effort to forclose.

NEWS 2/7/23 BF

One man is being sought and another is in custody in connection with a couple of shootings in Highlands County over the weekend. Deputies still are looking for 25-year-old Shavartae Makel Deloach for the murder of 57-year-old Arthur Scurry Jr.
He was found Sunday shot to death in the Highway Park neighborhood south of Lake Placid.
Deloach is a black male, 5’6″ tall, 130-pounds with brown hair and eyes. Authorities say he should be considered armed and dangerous.
A second suspect, 34-year-old Gary Ralph Jowers is in custody. He was captured by Hardee County Sheriff’s deputies
Jowers is being held on attempted second-degree murder charges in a shooting that took place Sunday night on Lake Sebring Drive. The victim was hospitalized with serious injuries.
A suspect still is being sought in connection with the shooting of 42-year-old Manuel Benitez Reyes Guzman. He was found with a gunshot wound to the head in his vehicle at the BP Gas Station at US 27 and SR 70 Saturday night. He reportedly remains in critical condition.

NEWS 2/7/23 BF

Highlands County commissioners heard from a group of citizens from Fairmount Mobile Estates. They reportedly are unhappy about a residence that apparently has been overtaken by people who have let the property go. They allege there’s no water, sewer or electric service at the home – and the people there are armed and have caused crime in the neighborhood.
Commissioners explained that the code enforcement effort has been cumbersome, and recommended purchasing the tax certificate on the property in an effort to forclose.

NEWS 2/7/23 BF

The Highlands County Fair continues this evening with half price night. The Market Steer & Showmanship competition will take to the Livestock arena at 6:30.
Last night was the Commercial Heiffer and Showmanship competition. Grace Lynn Miller of the Lorida Livestock 4H Club showed the Grand Champion Heifer. The Reserve Grand Champion was shown by Tera Lyn Price of the Boots & Buckles 4H Club.
The fair runs through Saturday.

NEWS 2/7/23 BF

Avon Park has a new Executive Director for their Chamber of Commerce. Kamala Long has been selected to fill the slot left vacant with the departure of George Karos. Long most recently worked with the Heartland Cultural Alliance to stage a Fusion Fest in the City of Charm.
She’s hit the ground running. Her first event for the Chamber will be the monthly luncheon.

NEWS 2/7/23 BF

Highlands County commissioners will get an end-of-year update from the tourist development council when they meet in regular session. Local efforts are expected to mirror statewide numbers in an increase in tourism – despite a couple of major storms.
In fact, Highlands may have benefitted from the weather, as costal residents fled inland to escape the storms.
Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency have not yet revealed how many room nights they financed for those refugees.

NEWS 2/6/23 BF

Highlands County Sheriff’s detectives are currently investigating a pair of unrelated shootings.
The first was reported at the BP station at the intersection of US 27 and SR 70 late Saturday night. There, deputies found 42-year-old Manuel Benitez Reyes Guzman in a vehicle with a gunshot wound to the head.
He was airlifted to a trauma center and was in critical condition at last report. Apparently the shooting happened after a verbal altercation.
A suspect is being sought
Yesterday, deputies were called to a home in the Highway Park area, south of Lake Placid. There they found 57-year-old Arthur Scurry Jr. Officials say he was discovered deceased after being shot multiple times.
A shooting last night also sent a local woman to the hospital. Sheriff’s officials say the victim was hit by at least one bullet at a Lake Sebring Drive address. That incident also is under investigation.

NEWS 2/6/23 BF

Officials at the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission have announced a man injured in a boat crash on Lake Damon now has died. According to reports, it was 63-year-old Richard Young of Wisconsin that suffered fatal injuries when the craft went out of control and overturned in the lake near Avon Park.
Witnesses said speed may have been a contributing factor. The incident remains under investigation.

NEWS 2/6/23 BF

It was a busy weekend at the Highlands County fair, with the opening livestock competition and beauty pageants. Activities will continue today with a Pee Wee Show for large animals plus the Commercial Heiffer Show and Showmanship.
The Nerveless Nocks Thrill Show, the Piano Juggler and Scott’s Magic Show also will have performances throughout the weekend. The fair runs through Saturday.

NEWS 2/6/23 BF

Highlands County has some new royalty. Four beauty pageants were held over the weekend. Emmy Bolin was crowned as Miss Highlands County for 2023 in proceedings Saturday night. Taking the tiara as Junior Miss Highlands County was Maura Wohl.
Carlysle Kenyon has been tapped as Teen Miss Highlands County, while Little Miss Highlands County for 2023 is Miss Kyleigh Lewis.
They will reign through the balance of the year.

NEWS 2/6/23 BF

The Market Swine Show was held yesterday at the Highlands County fair. Emma Mellow of Lorida Livestock showed the Grand Champion Market Swine. It’s a Hampshire Cross weighing in at 243 pounds.
Reserve Grand Champion was shown by Bray See O’berry of the Boots & Buckles 4-H. He also walked away with Senior Showmanship honors.

NEWS 2/6/23 BF

A Sarasota man was killed Saturday in a Hardee County traffic crash. Florida Highway Patrol indicates a Toyota Rav4 piloted by the 63-year-old driver, went left of center on State Road 64, and ran head on into an oncoming GMC pickup.
The vehicles colided head-on. The Rav4 driver was dead at the scene. The driver of the pickup, a 32-year-old Port Charlotte man, was not hurt.

There could be a sad development in the case of a missing Palm Beach County man. The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office says human remains were found Saturday morning during a search for Palm Beach Gardens’ Gary Levin. The 74-year-old was driving for Lyft when he went missing after dropping off a passenger Monday. The body was found near the drop-off location. Levin’s car was found Thursday in North Carolina, and the driver was arrested for a murder in Hardee County.

NEWS 2/3/23 BF

They’ll open the 86th edition of the Highlands County Fair this afternoon. It’s Highlands Radio Group Day featuring the Nerveless Nocks Thrill Show, Scott’s Magic Show and the Piano Juggler.
It’ll also be the first of four beauty pageants with the Jr. Miss Highlands County competition on stage at the Alan Jay arena.
Over the course of the fair there will be livestock competitions, a number of different music groups, boths, exhibits and displays in addition to the Reithoffer Rides and plenty of good ol’ fair food.
Gates open at 5pm at the Highlands County Fairgrounds.

NEWS 2/3/23 BF

One man was injured yesterday when a boat went out of control and wrecked on Lake Damon south of Avon Park. Officials of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission say the 63-year-old man was taken to the hospital with what were described as “serious injuries.”
Witnesses say the 16-foot Hoffman Racing Boat went out of control in the shallows area of the lake after what was described as a “speed run.”
It remains unclear if they were part of the Buckshot Racing Tunnelboat team that was also at the lake. Good Samaritans reportedly ministered to the victim until First Responders arrived at the scene.

NEWS 2/3/23 BF

A hopeful for the Sebring city council is starting her campaign with a series of town hall meetings. Bobbie Smith-Powell will conduct a session on housing at the Democrat Party Headquarters on the Sebring Parkway tomorrow morning at 11am.
In all, there will be a half dozen such sessions on topics ranging from Food Insecurity to Eldercare.
Smith-Powell is the local Democrat Party’s State Committeewoman.

NEWS 2/3/23 BF

Officials at the Wauchula Police say a man wanted in connection with a local homicide case has been apprehended in Rutherford County, North Carolina. Reportedly, Matthew Scott Flories was taken into custody following a high speed chace.
The car he was in finally crashed in the city of Ellenboro.
Flores reportedly will be charged with second-degree murder for the killing of Jose Carlos Martinez. A second suspect – Stephanie Velgara – has also been arrested and is being charged as an accessory after the fact.
The case remains under investigation. Police officials say there still could be more arrests.

NEWS 2/2/23 BF

You may have noticed increased air traffic over Highlands County the past few days. Officials at the Avon Park Bombing Range say they’re hosting training exercises – and we can expect more today. The sessions will run from mid-morning until very late tonight. Noise levels are expected to be high.

NEWS 2/2/23 BF

Things are almost in readiness for tomorrow’s opening of the Highlands County Fair. Highlands Radio Group Day will signal the opener, with the debut of the Reithoffer rides, the Nerveless Nocks Thrill Show, Scott’s Magic Show and a Piano Juggler.
Friday also will be the first beauty pageant during the run of the fair, with the Junior Miss Highlands County competetion to take to the stage at the Alan Jay Arena.
The gates will open at the Highlands County Fairgrounds tomorrow evening at 5pm.

NEWS 2/2/23 BF

There are rumblings that the “Super Sebring” format involving both the 12 Hours of Sebring and a 10-Hour World Endurance Championship sports car race may not last.
According to Reports, the FIA World Endurance Championship is evaluating a “rethink” of its joint race weekend with the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship 12-Hour classic at Sebring.
Principals say It’s difficult for the sponsors and manufacturers to have two races on the same weekend and are looking for a solution.
The format was inaugurated in 2019.

NEWS 2/2/23 BF

It will be next year before the man accused in the Sebring Suntrust shooting incident will ge to trial. The hearing will come to the courtroom in January of 2024.
Five tellers at the Sebring Suntrust South location were gunned down in an incident in January of 2019. Zephen Xaver has been implicated in the case. The Sebring man was apprehended shortly after the incident.
At a hearing yesterday, public defenders declined to raise an insanity defense, and asked for more time.

NEWS 2/2/23 BF

As many as a hundred private aircraft are expected to touch down at the Avon Park airport today, as the Old Fart’s Flying Club comes to the City of Charm.
The group meets regularly at different airports to gather for lunch and fellowship. Today they will be dining at the Jacaranda Hotel.

NEWS 2/2/23 BF

According to reports, The Mosaic Company has sold its Streamsong Resort golf resort near Bowling Green in Hardee County for $160 million. Apparently, it has been purchased by Lone Windmill LLC, a subsidiary of Kemper Sports Management.
Mosaic, the phosphate mining company, had converted a former mining site 10 years go into three golf courses to develop Streamsong Resort as part of its reclamation process of former mines.
The phosphate giant owns some 380,000 acres in Hardee, Polk, Manatee and Hillsborough county.

NEWS 2/1/23 BF

It appears folks in Highlands County now are willing to plunk down a bigger downpayment on a house. A new survey by Construction Coverage shows that the Avon Park-Sebring metro area showed a 33-percent increase in downpayment amounts over 2019, while the national average showed only a 20-percent bump over the same time period.
Nevertheless, Highlands downpayments are dwarfed by the national average. While the median downpayment here was set at $40,000, the national average was set at $60,000.

NEWS 2/1/23 BF

The Highlands County State Delegation will be here today to listen to citizens.
Florida District 29 State Senator Erin Grall and District 83 Florida House Representative Kaylee Tuck will receive legislative requests and address critical issues to work to advancing Highlands County’s priorities.
The session will be held in the commissioner’s board room of the Highlands County Government Center on S. Commerce Ave. in Sebring. The meeting will commence at 9:30.

NEWS 2/1/23 BF

A Sebring driver has been implicated in connection with a fatal traffic accident yesterday in Frostproof. Polk County sheriff’s officials say 61-year-old Perry Jock was northbound on Highway 27 when he hit a Frostproof woman.
According to reports, 43-year-old Janice Barnett was on the east shoulder of the road just before sunrise yesterday when the accident occured. Apparently, she was being picked up by a relative near the Camp Inn Resort, when she was struck by the pick-up.
The incident remains under investigation.

NEWS 2/1/23 BF

The cattle are on the loose again in Hardee County. This time it was a bull and a couple cows that were were found roaming at large on Alderman Road outside of Fort Green. They have been impounded.
Owners are asked to call the Hardee County Sheriff’s office.

NEWS 1/31/23 BF

Highlands County school board members met last night in a four hour workshop to discuss a pair of vendor proposals to present a “comperhensive health education program” to local middle and high school students.
After hearing a pair of hour long presentations, then a stream of comments from educators, citizens and members of a committee appointed by Highlands County Superintendent of Schools Brenda Longshore, the board called for a special meeting to deal with the “sex education” portion of the cirriculum.
The February 8th session will be held in the afternoon and will discuss the “Relationships Under Construction” program. In the meantime, the RUC staff will be getting a printed copy ready for citizen review, and county staff reportedly again will contact the state for direction on the issue.

NEWS 1/31/23 BF

It’s that time of year again, the Highlands County Legislative Delegation will make a whistle stop here tomorrow.
Florida District 29 State Senator Erin Grall and District 83 Florida House Representative Kaylee Tuck will receive legislative requests from local dignitaries and address critical issues and work to advance Highlands County’s priorities.
Both Grall and Tuck also may comment on local bills and other issues.
The session will be held in the board room of the Highlands County Government Center on S. Commerce Ave. in Sebring. The meeting will be held beginning at 9:30 in the Commissioners’ Board room.

NEWS 1/31/23 BF

It appears that a plan to put a Sam’s Club in on propoerty off Bayview Street officially has fallen through.

NEWS 1/31/23 BF

Ten people were injured – two seriously – in a Polk County drive-by shooting yesterday
Lakeland Police Chief Sam Taylor says apparently four shooters opened fire from a dark blue, four-door Nissan with tinted windows and a temporary tag, then sped off.
Two victims reportedly are in critical condition, the other eight have injuries that are said to be not life-threatening. The victims are men between 20 and 35. No names have been released and no arrests have been announced.
There’s no word on a motive, but Taylor believes the victims were targeted, and drugs may have been a factor.

NEWS 1/30/23 BF

Highlands County School Board members will get together this afternoon for a workshop. They’ll be looking at the comprehensive health education program for middle and high school students – which may include the sex education portion of the cirriculum.
It was sex education that drew sharp criticism last year both for the what was being taught and the way the iMAD program was presenting the material to youngsters.
The workshop will commence at 4:30 this afternoon at the Garland Boggus meeting room at the Highlands County School Board offices.

NEWS 1/30/23 BF

Avon Park was crawling with law enforcement Saturday as Highlands County Sheriff’s deputies conducted a weekend raid. Four arrests were made by the Criminal Investigations Unit at the South Carolina Avenue address.
34-year-old Anthony Brice Smith was charged with: Trafficking in fentanyl, manufacture or delivery drug equipment, possession of a controlled substance and concealing evidence.
50-year-old Willie Henry Gammage Jr. was charged with: Possession of cocaine, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug equipment.
32-year-old Demetrius Lamar Jones was charged with: violation of probation and giving false identification to law enforcement.
And 39-year-old William Alston Clarke was charged with: a warrant for failure to appear.
All were taken to the Highlands county jail.

NEWS 1/30/23 BF

A Lake Alfred man was killed Saturday evening in a single-vehicle crash in the Frostproof area.
Deputies from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the scene where they found 38-year old Bryam Torres. Reports say the gray 2011 Isuzu Trooper was northbound on US 27 when it left the roadway and flipped multiple times.
Torres, who not wearing a seatbelt was ejected.
The two northbound lanes of US 27 were shut down for about an hour. The crash remains under investigation.

NEWS 1/27/23 BF

The search is on for a new executive director for the Avon Park Chamber of Commerce. Former chamber director George Karos reportedly tendered his resignation and left town.
Apparently, he has moved out west to take a position in public policy for a non profit organization. Karos headed the chamber in the City of Charm for six years, spearheading numerous events and growing the membership.
It is unknown how many hopefuls have applied for the opening.

NEWS 1/27/23 BF

One person was critically injured and County Road 64 east of Avon Park was closed for a time last night due to a three-vehicle accident at the 4-way stop on the truck route.
Florida Highway Patrol reports say a truck pulling a trailer ran the stop sign there, hitting two other vehicles. The driver of the car – a 26-year-old Avon Park man – was flown to Lakeland Regional Hospital in critical condition. No other serious injuries were reported.

NEWS 1/27/23 BF

The Highlands County Sheriff’s Office has announced their first female K-9 officer. Deputy Alex Brock will be working with K-9 Drax. The pair reportedly already have started the process of team building and training to become certified.
Brock started with the Sheriff’s office in 2014, working as a dispatcher and in the Detention Bureau. She then became a Uniform Patrol Deputy, and worked as a Detective in the Special Victims Unit.

NEWS 1/27/23 BF

Earlier this month Florida House Representative Kaylee Tuck introduced what was termed “landmark legislation” on school choice. Today, a number of citizens plan a demonstration in favor of the measure.
Known as House Bill One, it would establish Educational Savings Accounts for parents, which would allow them to send their children to a school of their choice.
The flag wave will be held at 3:00 in front of the Fairmount Cinema Square shopping plaza on Highway 27. Tuck’s district includes Highlands County.

NEWS 1/26/23 BF

If you’re looking for a mechanically-inclined person, you’re in the wrong place. A new report by Construction Coverage shows that fewer than 12-percent of workers in the Sebring-Avon Park metro area hold occupations that require a mechanical inclination as part of their reguler activities.
The 11.7-percent figure places Highlands County third from the bottom in all the places surveyed. That’s more than 45-percent below the national average of better than 21-percent.

NEWS 1/26/23 BF

Another Blue-Green Algae bloom has been found in Highlands County. This time it’s at the Lake Placid boat ramp. The first was discovered at Lake Glenada in Avon Park.
Authorities say such blooms have the potential to produce toxins, although what triggers them to do so remains poorly understood.
It is important to exercise caution. Residents are urged not to drink or come in contact with the water – or event to boat or ski in such conditions. Moreover, pets and livestock should be kept clear.
Those who do come in contact with such water are urged to wash thoroughly.

NEWS 1/26/23 BF

The 12 Hours of Sebring won’t arrive until March, but nominations are fixing to close for this year’s Stan Durrance Fan of the Year honors.
Every year the Sebring Fan of The Year Advisory Board chooses one lucky person to be named “Sebring Fan of the Year.”
Nominations include the name, hometown, years of attendance, favorite Sebring memories, pictures and a description of why he or she should be nominated.
Deadline for the nominations will be at the close of business tomorrow.

NEWS 1/25/23 BF
70 crash

State Route 70 was closed at County Road 721 for a time this morning. Highlands County Sheriff’s officials say that was due to a traffic accident there.

NEWS 1/25/23 BF

A couple of Highlands County municipalities have some downtown property for sale. Avon Park city council members are issuing a request for proposals for a Main Street lot that at one time was the Wylde Building. That structure was demolished last year when it became unsound.
The Sebring Community Redevelopment Agency is taking another run at selling off property on Ridgewood Drive where the Nancessowee Hotel once sat.
Previously, developers had proposed a housing unit there – but that project did not materialize.

NEWS 1/25/23 BF

Some residents south of Sebring are asking for help in finding the person or persons that are shooting deer on their property.
Over the past five months, they say three red stag bucks and three axis bucks have been shot with arrows and left for dead on the property off Payne Road.
In one instance, someone in a truck pulled up to the gate entrance shot an animal, cut a hole in the fence and took the deer.
Others – including a doe – were shot, wounded and simply left. Anyone with information on the incidents is asked to call the Highlands County Sheriff’s office.

NEWS 1/25/23 BF

Wauchula police are on the lookout for Mathew Scott Flores. He reportedly is being regarded as a person of interest in connection with a homicide that occured yesterday in Hardee county.
Flores is an Hispanic male, approximately 5’8″ tall, average build with brown eyes and hair.
Details on the incident have not yet been released, other than to say a man was shot and killed inside the city limits of Wauchula. Authorities say Flores should be considered “armed and dangerous.”

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