News Update for 10/17/18

Sebring city council members last night approved the next phase of a project to revitalize the City on the Circle. They OK’d a plan that will improve West Center Avenue. David Leidel of the Sebring Community Redevelopment Agency said that the work on West Center is designed to link the Circle to the waterfront area of Lake Jackson.
There will be expanded sidewalks and additional landscaping to increase pedestrian traffic to the Alan Altvader Cultural complex. A future vision would include a water park.

Prosecutors in Polk County are trying to determine whether a Lakeland city commissioner should be charged in the fatal shooting of a man he accused of shoplifting a hatchet from an Army-Navy surplus store.
Surveillance video shows the store’s co-owner, Lakeland Commissioner Michael Dunn, shooting Cristobal Lopez on Oct. 3.
It shows Dunn holding a gun in his right hand while trying to keep Lopez from carrying the hatchet out of the store. Dunn grabs a fistful of his shirt and Lopez is partly out the door, raising the hatchet, when Dunn fires and Lopez falls, mortally wounded.
Dunn’s attorney, Rusty Franklin, told the Tampa Bay Times it was justified because Lopez was holding the hatchet. Prosecutor Jacob Orr said Monday that keeping the video secret didn’t benefit the investigation.

The somber task of determining how many people died in Hurricane Michael’s rampage is proving elusive. The storm that smashed into the Florida Panhandle last week left widespread destruction. But state officials say they will announce storm-related fatalities only once they are certified by local medical examiners – a task that will unwind slowly.

In Hurricane Michael’s aftermath much of the world’s attention has been focused on Florida’s battered coastal communities, but rural communities all the way to the Georgia and Alabama borders also felt its fury. Many are still struggling days after the storm passed. The small city of Marianna, Florida, is still without power and will likely remain so for a month after being hit with its strongest storm in recorded history

People in the Florida Panhandle are still trying to locate loved ones several days after Hurricane Michael. Joanne Garone Behnke is still searching for her 79-year-old aunt, whose Mexico Beach home is a pile of rubble. As the hurricane closed in, emergency authorities expressed frustration that many residents weren’t evacuating. City Clerk Adrian Welle said Sunday that 46 people were unaccounted for.

President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, listened to stories of survival and struggle as they surveyed the wreckage of Hurricane Michael in Florida and Georgia. The president and first lady toured devastated coastal communities by air, land and foot Monday before helping hand out bottled water at a FEMA aid distribution center in Florida. Trump also visited with Georgia farmers who lost their crops.