News Update for 3/7/19

Some good news for the “Sebring Strong” Go fund Me account set up to help the families of five victims killed this past January in a shooting at the main branch of the Sebring SunTrust location.
They have passed the half-way mark in their goal of raising a half million dollars. In fact, at last report, the total was sitting at over $300,000.

Highlands County Sheriff Paul Blackman is looking to build a regional training center here. To be named after slain Highlands County Sheriff’s Deputy William Gentry, the facility would provide instruction on active shooter engagement, tactical planning & response, counter-terrorism and the use of artificial intelligence.
The plans are to locate the center at the Sebring Regional Airport. It would be a hub to serve a dozen southwest Florida counties from Highlands to Charlotte and Lee counties north to Sarasota and Manatee.
Blackman has been seeking local support in an effort to get a state grant for the project.

As race week approaches, this year’s honorariums are being announced. The Fan of the Year for 2019 is Dave Westphal. The Winter Haven man’s Green Park campsite is best known for the iconic signpost he sets out at the WFO corner, which he maintains and paints every year.
Westphal holds a “Champaign Toast to Sebring” the Thursday of each race week and has been featured on several television segments.
This year marks his 50th year at the 12 Hours.

Dozens of drivers and vehicles have been arriving in Highlands County for a big race. No, not the 12 Hours, it’s this weekend’s Southern Regional Snowbird Nationals Lawn Mower Race at the Avon Park Mowerplex.
Competitors from all over the United States are expected for the two-day event, which begins with an open house this evening at 5:00. Races will get underway tomorrow and Saturday and run all day and into the night.
The track is located on Herrick Road off State Road 64 at the far west end of the Avon Park Executive Airport.