news Update for 2/22/19

Florida tourism authorities have announced that better than 126 million tourists visited the Sunshine State last year. That’s a record. Spokespersons for VisitSebring – the local tourism arm of Highlands County – report we recorded just over 200,000 visitors here.
The number – which amounts to about .16-percent of the statewide totals – was furnished by a company called Arrivalist.
At least some of that number apparently came from the 2018 Mobil One 12 Hours of Sebring presented by Advance Auto Parts. Sebring International Raceway officials say last year’s attendance was the largest since their 50th anniversary.

The man accused in the January shooting at the Sebring SunTrust location that claimed five lives, has entered a plea of “Not Guilty.” The plea was entered by attorneys for 21-year-old Zephan Xaver who faces murder charges in the incident.
Attorneys also have filed a waiver for an appearance at a scheduled February 25 arraignment.
Meanwhile, totals in a GoFundMe effort to help provide relief to the families of the victims continues to inch up. It stands at just short of $90.000. The goal there has been set at a half million dollars.

The transition to a countywide fire service is taking another step forward with a fleet of new vehicles. The emergency cars will be painted “Siren Red Tintcoat” – a rather deep maroon color. The EMS, Fire, Battalion, and Chief’s Sport Utility Vehicles are being striped, decaled and marked.
County officials say they will make their road debut soon.