News Update for 5/31/19

By a razor-thin 3-2 margin, Avon Park city council members last night voted to accept a “postcard mural.” It is set to be painted on wall at the tax collector’s office there.
Vice Mayor Jim Barnard said he now will pull himself off the Tourist Development Council, saying his objections to the mural location got him a lecture from TDC Lead Consultant Casey Wohl Hartt.
Council did not appoint a replacement for Barnard, noting that the TDC cared little for the City of Charm, instead focusing on all things Sebring. They agreed to let local activist Gaylin Thomas, who attends all TDC meetings, give them periodic updates on what the tourism board decides to do.

After 15 years, organizers say they have pulled the plug on the US Sport Aviation Expo. A staple each January at the Sebring Regional Airport, officials there say they now will shift their focus to other aviation-related activities and the development of new programs.
That will include youth aviation, drones and emerging technologies. From its small beginnings the expo was designed to grow the sport aviation industry and had become an international exposition.

A new kayak rental facility now is available on Lake Jackson. The business is operating at Veterans Beach on Sundays from 7am until 5pm. There were calls for such a service at a tourism brainstorming session in Sebring earlier this month.
A similar service has been in operation at Arbuckle Creek for several years.

Central Florida is getting a new area code. Starting June 4, anyone getting a new cellphone or landline number in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties will get a 689 area code. Parts of Lake and Volusia counties will also be covered by the “overlay” area code.
Officials say the current 407 and 321 area codes are running out of numbers. The Florida Public Service Commission approved the change last year for the fast growing area. Existing customers will see no changes.

The start of hurricane season is just around the corner. It officially begins Saturday. With it comes a sense of dread and fear for communities that have been hit hard recently or even decades ago. Places like Panama City, Florida, still haven’t recovered from storms in last year’s hurricane season. Others rebuilt themselves over many years after major storms, but still fear another big hit.