News Update for 3/8/23
A joint meeting with Avon park city officials and the Florida Department of Transportation set for today has been postponed. Reportedly there were problems with notifications so it has been put off until later this month.
The meeting was scheduled to take public input on a plan to change the parking and traffic patterns on main street through the downtown area.
The Highlands County landfill is back up and running again. It was shut down after a Sunday fire that charred more than 5-acres before it was brought under control.
County fire officials believe it may have been started by an errant battery – perhaps a lithium battery – which are particularly difficult to extinguish. Authorities are calling on residents not to dispose of such batteries in their trash, but rather to wait for e-waste collections.
Highlands County commissioners yesterday voted to spend $1.3 million dollars for a new landfill compactor and hydraulic cover spray unit for the solid waste department.
Although the action comes in the wake of the latest fire at the Highlands County landfill, officials reported the item had been on the agenda for several months. The new machine apparently does a better job with more fuel efficiency than current equipment.
In light of the fire, Highlands County Commissioner Scott Kirouac called for the installation of cameras on the pile to monitor conditions there and spot fires at an early stage.
Highlands County Superintendent of Schools Brenda Longshore started her portion of last night’s school board meeting by calling on Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services Melissa Blackman to explain so-called “Resiliency” videos that have been shown to local middle schoolers.
The explanation did not mollify parent Jesse Sapp, who referred to the explanation as “ramblings” and “excuses.” He also questioned if there had been sunshine law violations if a cirriculum committee had voted on them without proper public notification.
Blackman said some of the videos now have been posted for parental review.
Four people are dead after two planes collided in mid-air in Polk County. It happened yesterday afternoon in Winter Haven over Lake Hartridge. One of those killed was Winter Haven 19-year-old Zachary Mace. He was a student at Polk State College. Winter Haven 24-year-old Faith Baker was also killed. The sheriff’s office says Baker was a pilot and flight instructor at Sunrise Aviation in Ormond Beach. A third victim was identified as a 67-year-old man from Pennsylvania. The fourth victim has not been identified. Mace and Baker were in one plane. The other two were in the other plane. No one else was involved. The FAA and NTSB are investigating.
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