News Update for 5/16/19

Firefighters in various departments were kept busy here yesterday with calls all over Highlands county. Shortly before 1:00 yesterday afternoon units from DeSoto City and Leisure Lakes were called to a home on Henscratch Road where they found a 21′ SeaRay boat on fire.
They got it extinguished quickly but preliminary damage estimates were set at $10,000.
Later there were two oven fires – one at the Fairmount Mobile Estates in Sebring, the other on Rachard Drive in Lake Placid. No injuries were reported in any of the incidents.

For months the Avon Park city council has been working to turn their Community Redevelopment Agency over to another board. Now, questions have arisen as to whether they will be allowed to do it. Avon Park City Attorney Gerald Buhr says he has found plenty of provisions for the city council to take over CRA duties, but none that say the council can constitute another board to do that work.
Buhr says he now has requested a formal opinion from the Florida Attorney General’s office to see if it can be done.

Florida’s First Lady Casey DeSantis is taking on mental health as a major issues. DeSantis announced Thursday at a Tampa elementary school that she’s starting a program called “Hope for Healing.”
She plans to coordinate state agencies to look at existing mental health and substance programs to see what works, and what doesn’t to see how state money can be better spent.
DeSantis is also working with private businesses to compile and print resource guides to be distributed statewide on where people can go for help with mental health and substance abuse issues.
A website is also being developed to provide similar information.

A Florida police officer who opened fire on a shoplifting suspect as he drove away is facing a manslaughter charge.
Jail records show that Orlando Police Officer Anthony Wongshue was arrested and then released early Thursday from the Orange County Jail after posting bond. Wongshue remains employed by the Orlando Police Department on an administrative status pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings.
Wongshue and another officer were investigating a crash at an Orlando shopping plaza when they were told about a shoplifting by a group of people.
Wongshue and the other officer reportedly fired at one of the suspects, Juan Silva, as he drove away, killing him.
There were no online court records filed yet and it was unknown if Wongshue had an attorney.

Staff at a U.S. Air Force base in Florida had to bring in a front-end loader to remove an alligator that was lounging on a runway.
The large reptile reportedly was spotted Tuesday morning on a MacDill Air Force Base flight line. The base shared a photo of the creature on Facebook, saying the friendly alligator was just “preparing for take-off.”
MacDill spokesman 2nd Lt. Brandon Hanner says alligator sightings are common around the base, which is located on Tampa Bay. He says the alligator probably surfaced from one the base’s bodies of water.
The wing safety office’s wildlife manager organized the animal’s removal, scooping it into the bucket of the loader.