News Update for 8/29/22

Despite the nationwide housing boom, a new report by Stressa shows the Avon Park-Sebring metro area experienced only a two-percent increase in housing. Over the past decade we added just short of 1100 new homes.
The local numbers are dwarfed by the 6.5-percent increase in new home construction nationwide. Locally, Highlands showed just a 5.8-percent shift in population while there ws a 7.4-percent change in population nationwide.

Avon Park Mayor Garrett Anderson wants to talk about Planning & Zoning when the city council convenes tonight in regular session. It was Anderson who pushed to allow business and property owners to be allowed to serve on the board, even if they do not reside in the City of Charm.
Anderson also has called on the board to develop policies encouraging business growth in the city. In other action this evening, the council will look at a facilities plan for the Wastewater Treatment Plant and will discuss Avon Park city employee health insurance.

A man is dead after a shooting in Polk County. It happened yesterday afternoon in Lake Wales at the Grove Manor Apartments on West Sessoms Ave.

Police in the Crown Jewel of the Ridge say two other people were hospitalized, but they’re expected to survive. No arrest has been announced, and there’s no word on a motive.

Two new restaurants are headed to the historic core of Lake Wales. “Smokin’ DJ’s” is set to open on First Street downtown this winter. “Whadda-Wings” is scheduled to begin construction on Lincoln Avenue this fall.
Both restaurants were awarded grant money by the Lake Wales Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) through the restaurant incentive program.
The incentive program offered dollar-for-dollar matching funds to assist qualified applicants in establishing a food-related business in the northwest redevelopment area and downtown Main Street District.
“Smokin’ DJ’s” received $50,000 by the CRA while “Whadda-Wings” was awarded $100,000.

A police officer is hurt after an on-duty crash in Polk County. Haines City Police say officers Jose Ramirez and Gedrick Vargas pulled over Orlando 19-year-old Robert Lee Smith, the Third on Saturday, but Smith pointed a rifle at them and drove off. While chasing Smith, the patrol car Ramirez and Vargas were in was hit, and both officers were taken to the hospital. Vargas was released yesterday, but Ramirez is in critical but stable condition in the ICU with a brain bleed, a broken arm and facial injuries. Deputies arrested Smith at his dad’s house in Poinciana. He’s facing two felony charges of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.

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