News Update for 5/3/23

South Florida State College appears to have been the victim of a so-called swatting call yesterday. Authorities say they occured across the Sunshine State.

The Highlands County Sheriff’s Office received a call claiming there had been a shooting on the Highlands Campus.
SFSC’s college resource officer responded to the scene and determined that NO SHOOTING had occurred. Deputies also responded to the campus and cleared the scene.
SFSC was one of a number South Florida colleges and universities that got such calls. They also occured in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties. All the calls were found to be hoaxes.
No arrest has been announced, and it’s not clear if the calls are connected.

South Florida State College Trustees are slated to get together for a special meeting today. At issue there will be the selection of a new president, to replace outgoing chief Thomas Leitzel. He is slated to step down next month.
College officials had narrowed a short list to three candidates. However, according to reports, all of them now have pulled their resumes. It appears that Governor Ron Desantis’ office instead has contacted the school with a recommendation for the top post.
Trustees will discuss the issue at today’s session.

Highlands County commissioners took action on a couple of traffic issues when they met in regular session yesterday. They first approved a agreement to improve County Road 64 from South Angelo Lake to East Butler Road – that project will cost nearly $1.2 million dollars.
They also voted to widen the Catfish Creek Road bridge. That work is slated to cost nearly $400,000.
During a special break, commissioners dedicated the new centennial mural for the county. It’s now hanging in the foyer of the Government Center.

Lake Wales police say they have located a suspect in connection with a fatal shooting incident and are trying to take him into custody. 38-year-old Al Joseph Stenson is wanted on first degree murder counts in connection with the shooting death of a mother and her three children.
Apparently, two of the siblings are aduts. According to reports, the incident happened early yesterday morning at the Sunrise Apartements – but the bodies were not discovered until last night.
Victims names and other details have not yet been released.

It’s already pretty dry out there. Highlands and a number of surrounding counties enacted burn bans last month in response. Now, The National Weather Service has issued a Fire Weather Watch for today including Polk, Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties.
Weather authorities say high winds and low relative humidity could spread fires rapidly. Outdoor burning is not recommended.
A brush fire in Lake Placid near Lake Apthorpe charred some 80 acres on Monday. No cause for that one has been released.

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