News Update for 3/13/23

The Sebring Walmart was shut down early this morning due to a small fire. Sebring police say it occured in the freezer section of the grocery department before 6am.

Units from the Sebring police and fire departments responded. The store was evacuated without incident. No injuries were reported – cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Raceweek excitement continues today as the Fifth Annual 12 Hour Fanfest comes to downtown Sebring. In addition to driver interviews, live music and an autograph session, transporters hauling racers set to compete in Saturday’s 71st Mobil One 12 Hours of Sebring will parade through downtown.
Leading the event will be WWOJ’s own Donnie Shaffer in the Pfaff Motorsports hauler, with live reports.
This past weekend was the World Endurance Championship Prologue. It was the first time this year WEC cars had a chance to run the Sebring International Raceway.

It has been known for decades that the Sebring International Raceway has a profound impact on the local economy during the month of March. However, a new report due out tomorrow reportedly will look at the revenue the raceway generates in Highlands County over the course of the entire year.
The track reportedly is in operation more than 300 days out of the year for practice sessions, instructional courses and ticketed events. Earlier this year, SIR officials indicated there are 14 ticketed events to be held at the track during 2023.

Sad racing news out of Avon Park. Officials from the lawnmower racing group NASGRASS say it has become impossible for them to continue racing at the Avon Park airport facility known as the Mowerplex. The group cites hurdles thrown at them by the city of Avon Park as the reason.
They now have announced that they will build a for-purpose lawnmower racing facility at the Florida Flywheelers Park. So far, there’s no word on when that might be constructed and open for their first race.

The Avon Park city council will meet in regular session this evening. They’ll take a look at the possible redesign of Fred Connor Street, where a number of fatal shootings have occurred.
They’ll also hear a request to reduce a lien, built up due to code enforcement infractions.

An incident in Polk County should be a warning for those selling items online. The Polk County sheriff’s office shared details yesterday of a robbery that took place last month in Lakeland. A man named Melik saw a 2009 Toyota Prius for sale online and contacted the seller. Melik showed up at the seller’s house, and the two went for a test drive. After returning to the seller’s home, the seller went inside to get some paperwork, but when he came back outside, Melik and the car were gone. The man called the sheriff’s office, and deputies, in a matter of minutes, found Melik in the car just eight miles away and arrested him. The sheriff’s office says meet-ups with strangers for sales can be risky, and they should take place in public locations and never alone.