News Update 6/11/19

Reimbursement money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency is a step closer to actually being in Highlands County. FEMA has approved $4.3 million for the State of Florida to help Highlands County defray the costs of debris removal for Hurricane Irma under FEMA’s Public Assistance Program.
The FEMA funds will reimburse the county for the collection, reduction, disposal and site management of debris here in the wake of the September 2017 devastation of Hurricane Irma.
More than 324,000 cubic yards of vegetative debris and 270 cubic yards of construction/demolition debris was gathered and hauled away.

Highlands County officials wrapped up the last of three public budget presentations last night in Lake Placid. This morning, they will hold a workshop on the spending plan.
Up on this morning’s agenda will be the capital financial improvement strategy as well as budgets for individual departments. That session will commence in the commissioner’s board room this morning at at 9:00.

Highlands is one of three Florida counties that has been selected for Duke Energy’s “Site Readiness” program. This afternoon at 2:30, local officials will gather at South Florida State College to talk about it.
The program aims to increase the number of competitive industrial sites in Duke’s service territory. The North Highlands Industrial Site is the 123 acres near the recently announced Nucor Corporation’s micro-mill steel rebar facility – just north of the Highlands County line.
Sumter and Lake counties also have been named as part of the program.

It appears not everybody is following the Highlands County Sheriff’s office “9PM Routine.” Deputies were out during the early morning hours chasing some car burglars.
In all, eight cars were ransacked in the Sunny Pines and Ort’s mobile home parks. At this time it appears none of them had been locked.
It remains unclear what was takes, and it appears the thieves got away. Sheriff’s officials recommend residents stop at 9:PM each evening and make certain all their doors are locked – including their car doors.

A traffic crash in Frostproof claimed a life yesterday. Polk County Sheriff’s officials say 59-year-old Michael Kempe was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer rig. Kempe reportedly was either walking his bike or riding it across Highway 27 at George Street near the Friendly City, when he was hit by a Colorado Box Beef Company truck.
No charges have been reported in that incident.

Florida Highway Patrol officials say nearly 40 cows were killed when a Wauchula man lost control of his semi-truck in Hendry County. Paul Waynevan Sickle told troopers he was Northbound on Sam Jones Trail near Zipper Grove Road, when the cattle in his truck shifted.
The rig went off the road through a ditch then overturned. Sickle was not seriously injured, but 37 of the 95 cattle he was carrying died.