News Update for 5/24/22

Avon Park city council members last night took another step forward to getting in synch with the election cycle. They approved on first reading a charter change amendment that would lengthen the council’s terms of office from three to four years.

That would put the Avon Park elections on both the general and off-year ballots.
The measure would also impose term limits on the board, allowing only two four-year terms. The measure will have a second reading, then will go to the voters in the upcoming election.
If passed by voters, it will go into effect immediately.

Highlands County officials reportedly are taking some heat for something that’s not their fault. A planned Sebring Hot Air Balloon festival did not come off as planned this past weekend. Those who had tickets for event now are clamoring for refunds.
Officials say it didn’t take place at the County’s Sports Complex because the event organizer never completed the rental requirements for securing the venue or obtaining the event permit.
Those wanting refunds now must contact the event organizer or the ticket agent where they purchased tickets. County officials say they only rented the facility, and did not sell tickets.

A former Lakeland city commissioner has been sentenced to three years in prison for fatally shooting a shoplifter at his store.
Michael Dunn was sentenced yesterday in Polk County court. He pleaded guilty in March to manslaughter with a firearm. Dunn resigned from his seat on the Lakeland City Commission several weeks after the October 2018 death of Christobal Lopez.
Officials say Lopez had been attempting to shoplift a hatchet at Vets Army & Navy Surplus when Dunn, who was armed with a handgun, confronted Lopez. Video surveillance showed Lopez try to flee the store. Investigators say Dunn grabbed Lopez and then shot him twice in the torso.