News Update for 5/7/19

On a 3-2 margin, Highlands County School Board members last night voted to plough ahead with plans to hire a safety and security director for the system. Members Donna Howerton and Jill Compton-Twist lobbied to hold off the action until budget time when finances became more clear and Sheriff Paul Blackman could indicate what his budget would provide for school resource officers.
Highlands County Superintendent of Schools Brenda Longshore pointed to the $92,000 allocated to the system by the state for the post – urging the board to go along. Members Isaac Durrence, Jan Shoop and Chairman Bill Brantly voted to push forward.

For those who have bemoaned that there’s nothing for kids to do in Highlands County, officials at the Lakeshore Mall have announced The Wipe Out Zone is coming. Reportedly the facility will open in the building once occupied by K-Mart.
Company officials say it will be an indoor inflatable family fun and entertainment area. Among other things there will be inflatable obstacle courses, play houses, a toddler fun area and a mechanical bull.
They reportedly took the space officially yesterday. No official opening date has yet been set.

Highlands County commissioners this morning will look at putting some government-owned land back on the tax rolls. Under consideration is a request to declare 75-parcels of county-owned land at Sun ‘N Lake of Sebring as surplus and give staff the OK to solicit bids. Also on the block will be to move forward with another 27 surplus properties and provide the county commission chairman with the authority to execute sales, purchase and deeds.

Law enforcement officials in Polk County are looking for a hit-and-run driver. Polk County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the intersection of Highway 27 and Washington Avenue early yesterday morning. There they found 59-year-old Raymond Johnson who had been knocked off his bicycle by a passing vehicle.
Johnson was taken to Lake Wales Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries. Authorities are reviewing footage from a nearby security camera. They say they are in search of a full sized sedan – no other description has been given.