News Update 7/25/18

Florida Governor Rick Scott was in Highlands County yesterday. Scott stopped by the American Legion Post 69 in Avon Park for a campaign appearance.
Saying people had to “fight for good government,” Scott first discussed his “Make Washington Work” program saying he wanted to “change the direction of DC.” He then took questions from the audience and held a “meet and greet” afterward.
Scott, a Republican, is an American Legion member. He now is challenging Democrat Bill Nelson for one of Florida’s two senatorial seats.

The Highlands Tea Party held a candidate’s debate last night featuring two candidates in the running for the Highlands County School Board. There was not much disagreement between incumbent Charlene Edwards and challenger Isaac Durance as they answered questions on a wide array of school related topics.
Both discussed their background in financing, with Edwards pointing to her work in grant writing and Durance highlighting his work on getting the half cent sales tax passed and his work with Superintendent Brenda Longshore.

A lasting memorial has been set in memory of Highlands County Sheriff’s Deputy William Gentry. A spot outside The Sheriff’s Office headquarters now home to a magnolia tree planted in his memory.
Many will remember the space is where Deputy William Gentry’s patrol vehicle sat in the week following his death. Gentry was shot and killed this past May while responding to a neighborhood dispute.
The tree was donated by Marmer Construction and it was installed by Edgewood Landscaping.

The primary elections won’t be until August 28th, but some 9,100 vote-by-mail ballots went out yesterday. Highlands County Supervisor of Elections Penny Ogg reminds residents that the voter registration books will be closing next Monday for those who wish to to register or change their party affiliation.
Sample ballots and other information are available on their website at

A Lakeland convenience store owner who shot a suspected shoplifter, now has been charged with second degree murder after the suspect died.
According to Polk County Sheriff’s deputies, 43-year-old Rennie Defoe took three 18-packs of Natural Ice Beer and ran out of the store. As Defoe tried to drive away, he was shot by the shop owner – 22-year-old Mehedeun Hasan.
Hasan is being held in the Polk County jail without bond.