News Update for 4/14/20

New statistics from the Florida Department of Health show that Highlands County’s Coronavirus count has jumped. By one. The latest reports indicate, 62 local cases of the disease have been registered here. Although the severity of the infections are not known, 20 have been hospitalized at some time during the course of the illness.
Florida Department of Health officials say they are not tracking recovery rates. Of the 494 tests administered, 422 have come back negative.
Five deaths have been recorded here. Federal officials say anyone who dies and tests positive for the Corona now will be listed as a fatality.

Avon Park firefighters were called out last night to a large structure fire on West Bell Street. Units from Highlands Lakes and Sun ‘n Lake also responded to give mutual aid on keeping the flames from spreading to adjacent structures.
The building, a Citrus Company, located behind the Burger King Restaurant on Highway 27 was declared a total loss. No injuries were reported.
The Fire Marshal’s office has been called in to determine the cause.

Avon Park city council members joined the crowd last night by meeting online. The virtual session went fairly smoothly, with the council moving through a long agenda.
They agreed to use $98,000 of insurance money to make a parking lot across from the old fire station building. The rest of the money is to be used for demolition of the structure. Officials of the Church Service Center have asked for use of the land to house their assistance ministry to local individuals.
Officials of the ministry say they have plans and donations to put up a metal building on the site.

Avon Park city residents might be in line for a bit of local stimulus. City Councilwoman Maria Sutherland suggested the city might use unspent funds to send checks to residents and businesses in the City of Charm.
Other council members agreed it was a good program, but said they preferred a credit on utility bills rather than a straight payout. Mayor Garret Anderson asked staff to research the costs and work with Sutherland to come up with a plan.
They will look at implementing it at their next regular session at the end of the month.