News Update for 3/12/19

The local celebration of Race Week kicks off tonight on the Circle in downtown Sebring with the second annual FanFest. It will feature a parade of nearly 40 big transporters – full of race cars and equipment – wending their way up Ridgewood Drive, around the Circle, then out Commerce Street and back to Sebring International Raceway.
Also on tap is a Q&A with some of the drivers set for the 12 Hours, followed by an autograph session. There also will be food and live music.
That event will run from 5-8pm this evening in downtown Sebring.

The weather looks pretty good for this year’s Super Sebring, but there’s one thing that fans won’t have to put up with – a recurrence of last year’s smog. The track was blanketed last year due to a 300 acre brush fire, set off by an illegal burn.
Charged in that incident was 58-year-old Douglas Glenn Smith.
Highlands County fire officials say the Sebring Airport is considered a “smoke sensitive area,” and controlled burns around the facility rarely are approved.

Many residents have heard about the new steel manufacturing facility coming to southern Polk County. Tonight, residents will have an opportunity to hear about it from company representatives.
There will be a presentation from 5:30-8 at the Bert J. Harris Agricultural Civic center, with representatives outlining the company and its planned new facility.
Officials say they are looking to hire as many as 200 workers, and especially are looking to hire women.

Avon Park city councilwoman Maria Sutherland is continuing to push to get back $8,000 she feels was wrongly paid to former city manager June Fisher. The money reportedly represents a month’s worth of work Fisher did not perform after she was terminated.
Sutherland said a couple of calls on the issue have not gotten results.
Councilwoman Brenda Gray said the action was signed off on by city staff and represents the city’s error, and the city should eat the mistake.
By a 3-1 vote, council voted to send Fisher a letter. Gray dissented.

A trucker trying to take a curve too fast reportedly lost his load of scrap metal yesterday. Highlands County Sheriff’s deputies say the incident occurred yesterday morning on County Road 17-A just east of Avon Park.
The driver, identified as 52-year-old Scot McClain, reportedly was taken to AdventHealth Sebring, then airlifted to Tampa General Hospital. It took crews several hours to clean up the mess.

A Sebring man seriously injured in a February traffic crash reportedly has expired from his injuries. Florida Highway Patrol reports indicate 81-year-old Philbert Neil Pettigrew pulled his car from Davis Citrus Road onto Highway 27, then into the path of another vehicle, driven by 36-year-old Aimee Michelle Wilson of Lake Wales.
Troopers say Pettigrew since has passed away.