Local News 1-28-22

Highlands County Emergency Management is opening a cold weather shelter from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday at the Bert J. Harris Jr. Agricultural Center, south of Sebring at the corner of George Blvd and Highway 27. We’re looking at some of the coldest weather of the season Saturday and Sunday nights … down to freezing and below. There is officially a “freeze” watch from the National Weather Service in effect for the area from now until the 30th. A reminder to keep portable heaters away from up against walls and fabric surfaces, do NOT use anything not intended for heating inside, and look out for the cats and dogs – they make look like they have fur coats, but remember they’re also not equipped for freezing weather in Florida. It’ll be a good night to give Fido or Fluffy and treat and let ‘em indoors.

It may feel like the year’s just beginning, but Super Sebring weekend is less than two months away. One of the first signs of spring each year is the naming of the Grand Marshall for the annual race weekend. This year, Sebring International Raceway announced yesterday Hall of Fame member Jackie Ickx will serve in that role for this year’s race. Ickx won the Twelve Hours twice – this year will be the fiftieth anniversary of his second win. The track also announced that some of the fan favorites that took a break during the more cautious days of last year will be back in March – the Grid Walk, Open Paddock, driver autograph sessions and – oh, yes – the Bikini Contest are all expected back this March.

Governor Ron Desantis has asked the state’s Chief Inspector General to investigate the process by which former members of the State Board of Education bid on a contract to help Jefferson County’s schools transfer control from a charter operator to another operator. Former Board member Andy Tuck was among a group of officials who planned to form a private company doing that kind of work after Tuck’s term on the State Board expired. Tuck resigned from the State Board in November after a Department of Education Inspector General raised an eyebrow over the process and timing.

The Sebring Community Redevelopment Agency Board this week approved a final draft of a redesign plan for the Downtown Lake Jackson Waterfront, and plans to send its request to the City Council for approval at the Council’s February 1 meeting. The CRA unveiled a group of revised plans for public comment a month or so ago preserving some of the historic structures in the area, but still eliminating the Jack Stroup Civic Center. The Civic Center hasn’t been self-supporting from a money standpoint, and Board members suggested the existing Womens’ Club Building on the other side of the lake as an alternative site for activities that have used the Civic Center in the past.