News Headlines 12-26-18

It’s been a crummy Holiday traffic weekend on our roads in the area. A two-vehicle accident claimed four lives at the intersection of Highway 70 and County Road 721 near Brighton in Eastern Highlands County about 12:30 yesteday. Positive ID of the driver and passenger in an unknown vintage Buick are still pending after the Patrol says the Buick apparently tried to pass on a turn near the intersection and collided almost head-on with a 2006 Toyota driven by 56 year old Judy Mounts of Port St. Lucie. She and her passenger, 16 year old Destiny Franz of North Fort Meyers both died at the scene. The Buick overturned into a ditch and caught fire. No need to be graphic about how bad this one was – suffice to say the Highway Patrol could use help figuring out who the occupants of the Buick were. Call them at 239-938-1800.

And Christmas Eve evening up near Lake Wales, a motorcyclist needed to be flight-for-lifed out of the scene of a wreck on Highway 27. The cyclist was making a U Turn about 6pm at the intersection in front of the Chevy dealership up there when he was hit by a Black 2012 Ford Focus witnesses say was driving without its lights on.

Florida Highway Patrol personnel have released the name of the second victim in that double fatality on State Road 62 near Bowling Green Sunday. 30 year old Norberto Ramirez Granados of Bowling Green was killed along with a passenger in his car when it took the ditch and rolled near the intersection of 62 and rolled into a utility pole early Sunday morning. Patrol reports indicate none of the three people in the car were wearing seat belts.

If you’re scheduled for trash pickup out in the County today, don’t panic – but they aren’t coming. Holiday modifications to the schedule are in effect; today, pickup will be made for Tuesday scheduled pickups, and tomorrow it’s Wednesday – one day delayed. It’s lawn waste week, by the way; Commissioner Don Elwell recently assured a Facebook questioner that yeah, the company will take live Christmas trees on lawn waste weeks, but recommends cutting them up into less than full-length pieces.

It’s back to work for government offices – for a couple days here, during the shortened week between Christmas and New Years. Monday is going to be a mixed bag if you plan on interacting with the government. The County Commission has given New Years’ Eve OFF to County workers, but that doesn’t include the Clerk Of Courts’ office, where they do what the judges tell ‘em to, so they’ll be open. The Sheriff’s department will – of course – handle calls, but the main business desk will close. The city of Sebring says yeah – they’re working New Year’s Eve, so y’all come if you need to.

Highlands County Commissioners got an update last week from their Public Safety Director on progress toward a unified County Firefighting system. Mark Bashoor told the Board that he plans on hiring a dozen new members this month – three batallion chiefs, three lieutenants and six firefighters. One of those hires has now got a name; Daniel Spillman has been retained as Deputy Chief of Operations for the Department. He’s retired from the Tallahassee Fire Department, and has 35 years of service in the line of firefighting, including a number of chief-level positions. Bashoor also announced Batallion Commander appointees including Jason Luke Andrews, from his current post at Highlands County Fire Rescue and the county’s fire marshal’s office, as well as West Sebring Volunteer Assistant Chief William “Billy” Kingston. The third battalion chief will be Zack Smith, paramedic lieutenant hired out of Okeechobee County.