News Update 9/4/18

Highlands County commissioners this morning spent some time talking about recycling, trash collection, contract compliance and the shortcoming of Waste Connections – who have been doing the work. There has been what was described as “an undercurrent” of residents who want to see things done about the pick-ups – or lack thereof.
The idea of twice a week pickups was floated, but commissioners said they wanted to hear from the Waste Connections officials.
Commissioners called on the company to bring back a plan for any changes they might take. Staff said that could come up sometime in October.
The board will meet again Thursday for a rare night meeting. There they are expected to wrap up the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

There were no serious injuries early yesterday when a car hit a pole near Venus. Fire officials there say a car went off County Road 731, through the parking lot of the Venus United Methodist Church and hit the only power pole in the area.
Both Highlands County Sheriff’s deputies and Florida Highway Patrol troopers responded to the call.
The driver, who has not been identified, was determined to have been impaired and was charged with driving under the influence.

A 6-year-old Polk County boy died after an all-terrain vehicle driven by another child flipped and fell on him. Clayton McLaughlin was pronounced dead at a Tampa hospital Sunday.
According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Clayton’s family brought him to a fire station after the crash.
Investigators said Clayton was a passenger in an ATV being driven by an 8-year-old. The boys were riding on a dirt track in Lakeland when the ATV struck two dirt mounds and flipped onto its side.
The ATV landed on Clayton. Authorities said he suffered “massive head injuries.” The 8-year-old driver was not injured.
Authorities said the boys initially wore helmets but removed them after taking a break and did not put them back on.

The city of Lakeland reportedly is evaluating traffic safety after five of its signature swans were struck and killed by motorists.
Lakeland Police spokesman Gary Gross said distracted driving appeared to be to blame for the swans’ deaths over the last three weeks.
A sixth swan was injured. About 70 swans live on Lakeland’s Lake Morton.
City officials and nearby residents plan to meet Thursday to discuss ways to slow or reduce traffic along the shoreline. An estimated 4,600 vehicles drive daily around the scenic lake.
The birds are considered city property. It’s a criminal violation to harm them or any bird or wild fowl within city limits.
Most of Lakeland’s swans are descendants of a pair donated to the city by Queen Elizabeth in 1957.