News Update for 10/3/22

The recovery efforts for Hurricane Ian continue today in Highlands County. Points of Distribution, or PODS are open at South Florida State College in Avon Park, at the Highlands County Health Department on George Blvd South of Sebring and the Save-A-Lot Plaza in Lake Placid. Water, ice and other necessities are being distributed there. They’ll be open until 5pm.
At last report, there still are more than 11,000 customers of Glades and Duke energy without service. Crews still are working to get the power back on again.
Storm debris collection starts today here in Highlands County. Residents are advised not to mix construction or other debris with yard waste. They must be separated for pickup.
Official information continues to be available on the citizen’s hotline at 863-302-6800.
Regular trash collection will continue today, with crews picking up last Friday’s collection today – the rest of the week will be pushed back one day.
On a brighter note, the Highlands County Tourist Tax is getting a shot in the arm with most local hotels and motels filled to near capacity. It appears a number of local residents have taken shelter in the rental rooms, as well as out of area hurricane refugees and recovery crews.

Highlands County commissioners started their emergency meeting this morning by extending the state of emergency. That will help to make the county eligible for additional state and federal assistance.
Currently Highlands is not in the expedited relief area for Federal Emergency Management Agency Funds. Local officials say that designation may come at a later date. It depends on a number of things including damage estimates in the county.

Highlands County officials are warning motorists not to try and use the intersection of Golfview and West Lake, inasmuch as it is in danger of a culvert collapse that could cause severe injury to motorists.
Road & Bridge officials had placed piles of sand in front of the area, but someone already has driven over the barricade.
Engineering officials now are looking for a replacement 72-inch culvert to do road repairs.

Sebring police are investigating a shooting incident. That one happened last night near the intersection of Lemon Street and Martin Luther King jr Blvd in the Washington Heights neighborhood.
The victim was taken to the hospital – no word as to their condition. It’s unclear whether there is yet a suspect in the incident.

Highlands County Sheriff’s deputies were able to grab a carjacking suspect yesterday after a short chase. The 17-year-old juvenile reportedly stole a Chevy Malibu from a woman at the Lake Josephine Dollar General Store at gunpoint.
Deputies later spotted the vehicle on the Panther Parkway and gave chase. The driver bailed out and ran into a wooded area. Deputies, with the help of K9s and the Polk Sheriff’s Helicopter were able to find and arrest a suspect.

An elderly Lake Placid man was killed in a one car crash over the weekend. Florida Highway Patrol reports indicate the 80-year-old driver was northbound on Highway 27 when his Grand Marquis ran off the road and hit a tree.
He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Firefighters from a number of different departments were called out over the weekend ot extinguish a fire in a large pole barn. Units from Sun ‘N Lakes South, Lake Placid, and Highlands Park were called to the scene off Lake Apthorpe. No injuries were reported.

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