News Update for 10/18/23

Highlands County School Board members were slated to review a couple dozen new state policies when they met in regular session last night. But they ended up tabling about half of them, due to language objected to by some of the board members.
The verbiage indicates board members cannot consider the social, political or developmental stances of vendors when making their selections for a job.
Board members Reece Martin and Nicole Radonski called on State Representative Kaylee Tuck and State Senator Erin Grall to clarify what the board could, and could not do.
They’ll take the issue up again at their next meeting.

Describing it as “a cleanup item,” Highlands County commissioners yesterday dissolved the municipal services benefit units in regards to volunteer fire departments in the county.
Commissioners emphasized that the move would not do away with volunteers or their respective departments. They noted that the county currently is getting funding from the annual fire assessment, which was hiked again this year.

Hardee County Sheriff’s deputies reportedly have diffused a potential conflict between a couple of local school students. They’re conducting an investigation in regards to a threat of a shooting between two middle school students at a bus stop.
They say details still are unfolding. However, one juvenile was taken into custody in connection with the incident.
Hardee County Sheriff Vent Crawford says at this time there is no reason to believe students will be at risk of any danger when attending school today.

A Seminole County man has been identified as the person killed in an apparent Polk County road rage shooting.
Polk sheriff’s officials say Altamonte Springs’ Kevin Berry died yesterday after being taken off life support.
The 58-year-old was shot Sunday morning in Davenport on the I-4 ramp to US Highway 27. Deputies believe he was shot by another driver, but no arrest has been announced.

There will be a familiar face leading the Florida Senate this year. State Senator Ben Albritton of Wauchula – whose district once included Highlands County – officially was selected among the Republican caucus to be the president-designate for the 2024-2026 Legislative Term during a ceremony yesterday.
Albritton said he was “humbled” by the selection. The senate president leads the Florida Senate as the chamber approves legislation.

There’s been a traffic accident on Highway 27 South near the Watering Hole restaurant. No indication on injuries, how badly traffic has been impacted or other details.

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