Local News Headlines 12-20-18

It’s a day of unsettled weather in our neck of the woods. There’s a squall line pushing across Florida’s peninsula, followed by a front carrying even more rain with it – that combination could get us some strong winds and maybe a severe thunderstorm or two between now and late tonight. There’s a Tornado WATCH posted for the County till 4pm this afternoon. Highlands County’s considered in the “light” risk category for the serious stuff, but empty trash cans and stuff that blows around easily – or pets allowed outside – might be best left inside or secured today through this evening.

By the end of the evening, Avon Park will probably have its next City Manager. City Council members meet in a special session tonight at 6pm to choose from six finalists culled from an original 15 applications, most of whom got bounced for not living in Avon Park proper, one of the Council’s posted preferences for applicants. The city’s latest manager, June Fisher, submitted her 30-day resignation notice shortly after the November elections changed the power balance on the Council, but was let go within days.

The County Sherriff’s Department’s Tactical Anticrime Team did one of those underage liquor sales sweeps recently and released the report yesterday. 27 locations tested, 23 refused service to the underage customer. Four did sell the teen, and that means those clerks get Notices To Appear in court. The decoys are sent into stores without fake ID’s and are told not to lie if they’re asked their age, so fair play is part of the equation, it’s said.

If you’re nostalgic for the good old days when driving through the area was like a trip through darkened country roads, some stretches of Highway 27 might feel like a trip back in time. Problem is, there are supposed to be working street lights in lots of those places, and the dead lights came up in post meeting comments at this week’s County Commission meeting. County Engineer Gator Howerton told Commissioner Greg Harris that he and County Administrator Randy Vosberg have been on the phone with the state D-O-T almost daily trying to get them to put those hurricane Irma damnaged lights on the front burner. Howarton said they plan a face-to-face meeting with state personnel between Christmas and New Years to try stepping up the pressure.