News Update for 5/12/23

It’s been 80 years and tens of thousands of miles, but the remains of a local World War II veteran finally are coming home. 2nd Lieutenant Pharis E Weekly was shot down during a mission he was flying with the 93rd Bombardment Group.
Modern technology was able to identify his remains at a mass grave in Romania. Late this afternoon, a motorcade will escort Weekly and his remaining family from Orlando to Avon Park.
It will proceed south on Highway 27 to East Main Street. It then will stop at the Stephenson Nelson Funeral Home. Residents are encouraged to line East Main Street with their American Flags.

Avon Park city officials have extended the request for proposal for property once occupied by the Wilde Building. That structure was leveled earlier this year after being deemed unsafe.
One group reported they had put a bid in on the Main Stree lot, but were turned down after being told city officials wanted to see a two-story structure built there.

Osceola County lawmaker Fred Hawkins says he believes he’s the right fit as the new president at South Florida State College, but a former school official disagrees.
The SFSC Board of Trustees has named State Rep. Fred Hawkins as its lone finalist for the top slot there.
However, former SFSC dean Michelle Roberts, says Hawkins should not have been chosen because of a prior arrest. She says the arrest in 2020 shows a clear lack of judgment, and it’s unfathomable that the board would even consider him.
Hawkins, though, says the arrest was driven by a Democrat prosecutor and Democrat sheriff who smelled blood in the water. He also maintains that his work in the community, the corporate world and the legislature has positioned for the SFSC job.

A search is underway to find the person who left a baby in a dumpster in Polk County. Lakeland Police say the newborn’s remains were found yesterday in a dumpster behind a gym called Just Move.
Police Chief Sam Taylor says the boy was found in a plastic bag with the placenta and umbilical cord still attached. Taylor estimates the baby was in the dumpster for about ten hours.
The medical examiner is investigating how the boy died. Taylor says it’s especially sad because there are several places nearby where the baby could have been dropped off, no questions asked, under the state’s Safe Haven Law.

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