News Headlines 5-16-18

Deputy Sherriff William J. Gentry Jr. was sent home to be with his maker yesterday at the Highlands County Fairgrounds. In a packed convention center attended by In a ceremony attended by Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, more than 2,000 officers from other agencies and over 1,500 County residents, Gentry was euologized by family, friends and coworkers. The Convention Center service was followed by a traditional law enforcement graveside ceremony outdoors with 21 gun salute, the traditional dispatch final call, riderless horse and flyover. The predicted rain even cooperated – it stayed away until after the end of the ceremony. Highlands County deputies return to the roads this morning after Polk County offers took 36 hours of calls to allow Gentry’s coworkers to attend and mourn.

One of the victims of a Saturday car wreck north of Lake Placid has died of her injuries. 93 year old Josephine Burkhart of Lake Placid died Sunday at a Fort Myers hospital after a Saturday accident at the intersection of Lake Francis Road and Highway 27. Six people were injured in the wreck including Burkhart; she was reportedly trying to turn her Toyota Corolla onto Lake Francis Road when she was struck by a Highlander driven by 33 year old Cristela Tintin of Apopka and then by a Chevy Malibu driven by 39 year old Reinaldo Irizarry of Lake Placid.

Expect some lane closures and slowdowns on Highway 27 over the next few months as Florida Department of Transportation work begins on a number of projects in coming weeks. The state issued road advisories for work ranging from an agricultural driveway entrance just north of Sun N Lakes Boulevard south of Lake Placid, another driveway improvement at the hotel construction project near Golfview in Sebring, median work at Shop 16 Road near the Avon Park Walmart, long-awaited improvements at the corner of Highway 64 and 27 in Avon Park and utility work north of Avon Park to the Polk County Line. Off 27, repaving and lane improvement work continues on State Road 66 going toward the Hardee County line through midsummer. Drive carefully – they’re working out there.

Good news from Sebring High – the school’s Junior ROTC Unit has been awarded the 2017-18 Distinguished Unit Award. The honor goes to Air Force Junior ROTC Units that excel in school and community service. Only 274 units nationwide got the Distinguished Unit Award this year.