News Update for 1/15/19

Lack of planning and documentation paid off last night for members of the group Avon Park Community Awareness who are planning the Martin Luther King birthday celebration in Avon Park. City council members voted to give the group $2,000 to stage the event – which will be held this coming Monday at the Martin Luther King Complex.
When questions were raised about insurance for the event, Adrian Diaz of the Heartland Lions Universal Football League team stepped forward and pledged to add the event to their policy.
At the end, organizer Arnold Davis stepped forward and asked council members why they did not participate in the annual parade. At least one member, Jim Barnard, said he had attended last year’s event.

Citizens who want to have their voices heard on countywide issues will have an opportunity this evening. Commissioner Don Elwell will host another of his town-hall meetings at South Florida State College.
The session will be held in the University Center beginning at 6:00. Top items on the agenda will be updates on Highway 27 improvements, new phases of the Sebring Parkway and economic development issues among other things.
There also will be a number of executive county staff officials there for a question and answer session.

Members of the Highlands County School Board will be out and about today and tomorrow. It’s the annual school walk thru, where board members have an opportunity to look at the condition of the schools. They will look at improvements made to buildings, which several years ago were described as decrepit and falling apart.
Since then, a half-cent sales tax has been instituted to pay for improvements. Issues of safety and security now will be at issue.
Recently, board members voted to spend the tax money to underwrite a tracking system for students.

New Avon Park City Manager David Flowers has been on the job for a week. Among his many tasks, he has been working to fill positions left vacant under his predecessors.
At last night’s city council meeting, Flowers announced that he has reached an agreement to hire a new Finacial Officer. Ricky Helms will take the job on a part-time basis. Helms formerly was an award-winning head of the Highlands County office of Budget & Management and served a stint as Highlands County Administrator.