News Update for 2/3/21

Highlands County commissioners are in search of a way to clean up their recycling program. According to reports, between half and 70-percent of the recycling loads picked up by waste connections contain non-recyclable materials.
That means the whole load is spoiled – meaning additional costs to having as much as 400-tons per-month dumped at a landfill and not going to a re-use facility. Officials are looking at ways to get citizens to cooperate and put only recyclable materials in the green cans.

Highlands reportedly is one of thirty-one Florida counties that have agreed to provide Spanish-language elections ballots and other materials in Spanish as part of a lawsuit settlement.
U.S. District Judge Mark Walker approved the settlement between the county election supervisors and Latino advocacy groups who complained the counties were in violation of the Voting Rights Act.
Highlands already is doing more than the terms of the settlement.Under the agreement, the counties must have Spanish-language ballots, have Spanish-language polling place materials, provide vote-by-mail ballot request forms in Spanish, have a hotline to help Spanish speakers and provide a Spanish-language translation of the elections supervisor’s website.

Two vehicles collided yesterday morning near Lake Placid. The accident sent one person to the hospital. According to the Florida Highway Patrol a sport utility vehicle, driven by a 33-year-old Lake Placid woman, was eastbound on County Road 621, when a pick-up collided head-on with her near the intersection of Clay Drive.
The driver of the truck, a 24-year-old man from Highlands City, was seriously injured. Charges are pending further investigation.

In Polk County yesterday, a volunteer firefighter was struck and injured by a CSX train. The accident happened in Fort Meade near 14th Street NW shortly after noon.
The firefighter, whose name has not been released, was transported to the hospital with a broken leg.
According to reports, firefighters had been in the process of stopping the spread of a grass fire when a CSX train was approaching the area.
The firefighter saw that the door was open on one of their trucks, so he ran over to shut the door of the truck, but he arrived just about the same time as the train and was struck.