News Update for 1/29/20

It appears that the city of Avon Park may be in search of a police officer. Councilman Jim Barnard warned that the State of Florida currently is looking at police pension plans, and without at least one officer – they might move to close the Avon Park plan.
That could cost the City of Charm as much as $12 million dollars in direct pay-outs. When the city contracted with the Highlands County Sheriff Office to take over law enforcement in the city – they did keep three people as “public safety officers,” who paid into the plan. But they’re all gone now.
Council discussed how they might use such an officer – including overseeing code enforcement, but took no action.

The Council also discussed the possibility of hiring a building official. The idea would be to keep a tighter handle on un-permitted construction. Councilwoman Maria Sutherland suggested taxes might be raised to help pay for such an employee.

Florida Highway Patrol officials now have identified a Sebring man killed yesterday in an accident near Spring Lake. Troopers say 62-year-old Joseph Michael Deisignore died when the car he was in went out of control, spun overturned and hit a tree.
Troopers say the driver of the auto, 58-year-old Bobbie Lynn Smith – also from Sebring – was not buckled up. She was thrown from the car and into a nearby wooded area. Smith was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center in “serious” condition.
Duane Palmer Boulevard was closed for several hours as a result of the mishap.

We’re headed into day 12 of the search for 81-year-old Margaret Helen Becker. Reportedly, she last was seen at the Southgate Shopping Center in Sebring january 16. Neither she nor her 2018 Blue Chevrolet Colorado have been heard from since.
Highlands County Sheriff’s officials say they have tried to ping her cell phone repeatedly and have not been able to find the vehicle through use of the auto’s GPS system.
She last wearing a blue checked shirt and knee length blue pants. Family members speculate she may have been the victim of a carjacking.
The Chevy Colorado has Ohio license tags. Anyone with information is asked to call the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office.

Highlands County law enforcement officials are looking into a threat made at the Avon Park Middle School. Apparently, there was a message left in one of the restrooms indicating the school might be quote “shot up.” That information subsequently was shared a number of places on social media.
It caused a massive absenteeism on Monday, with nearly 350 youngsters out of class. Things reportedly have returned pretty much to normal today, with no other incidents reported.
Detectives now are working to determine who might have left such a threat and how it subsequently was dispersed.