News for 6/1/18

Highlands County commissioners have taken the next step in the establishment of countywide fire protection – they’ve sent out a notice of the bill. Residents across the county are receiving letters informing them of the charges.
This year’s assessment has been set at $108 per household, with a future maximum set for $115. Businesses will be assessed on a square-footage basis, depending on whether it’s commercial, industrial or institutional.
The levy is expected to raise just over $7.5 million dollars.

The Lake Placid Noon Rotary reportedly has created a scholarship in memory of slain Highlands County Sheriff’s deputy William Gentry.
The memorial scholarship is designed to send a cadet to the law enforcement academy at South Florida State College. Club President Mary Birge says the club has made a five-year commitment to fund the scholarship, and intends to continue it well past then.
The scholarship recipients will have to make a commitment to work in Highlands County for at least two years after graduation.
The presentation was made yesterday to Highlands County Sheriff Paul Blackman.

Florida Highway Patrol officials are investigating yesterday’s death of a trucker. Troopers say the semi-tractor-trailer rig being driven by Pedro Cruz was westbound on Highway 70, when it crossed the road several times, then ran into a fence.
They say the 53-year-old Tampa man was buckled up, and alcohol was not a factor. It remains unclear whether Cruz died as a result of the crash or had a medical issue.

A Polk County man faces 15 years in prison after being convicted in a drunken driving crash. Nick Nicholas pleaded guilty Thursday to DUI manslaughter. His sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 2.
The Florida Highway Patrol reports that the 34-year-old Nicholas stopped his SUV in the left lane of westbound Interstate 4 near Lakeland on an early morning in February 2015. Investigators say 21-year-old Michael Jovanie Millan Perez crashed his car into the stopped SUV and died at the scene.
Authorities say Nicholas admitted to drinking two shots of alcohol at an Orlando restaurant several hours earlier. Nicholas was arrested about nine months later.