News Update for 2/7/23

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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