News Update for 2/27/19

A brush fire in the north end of Highlands county yesterday consumed 6-acres of property and shut down State Road 64 for a time. Volunteers from Highlands Lakes and West Sebring joined units from the Florida Forest Service and the Air Force Range Fire/Rescue in containing the blaze.
They say difficult wind and fire conditions caused the temporary closure of State Road 64. The fire is now out and officials say yesterday’s rains helped immensely.

Avon Park city council members have voted to give the Heartland Coalition for the Homeless an early-out on their contract for office space at the Avon Park Executive Airport – but it was not a unanimous vote.
Avon Park city councilwoman Brenda Gray had to recuse herself, inasmuch as she is employed by the organization. Councilman Stanley Spurlock voted no, saying he felt the item was submitted after a deadline to be put on the agenda.
The remaining two council members, Jim Barnard and Mayor Garrett Anderson carried the day on a 2-1 vote with the abstention.

A former Highlands County animal rescue worker has pleaded not guilty to 24 counts of animal cruelty. Jinece Elizabeth Loughry originally had been charged with 72-counts, however, 48 of those charges apparently have been dismissed.
The 66-year-old Avon Park woman was arrested in January when Highlands County Sheriff’s deputies found dozens of dogs being held in decrepit conditions in a house on Memorial Drive. 23 of them had died.
Reportedly, she had been working for an animal rescue operation in Hardee County.

Polk County sheriff’s deputies have arrested the Vice Mayor of Fort Meade on stalking charges. 59-year-old Maurice Nelson Campbell was arrested following a complaint by another women.
Apparently, the situation has been an ongoing one.
In this latest incident – Campbell is said to have called the victim repeatedly, leaving expletive-laced voice messages when the victim did not answer her phone. So far, there’s no indication as to what originally sparked the dispute.