News Update for 7/28/23

The 32nd Annual Caladium Festival got underway today in Lake Placid. Over the past three decades, the event has grown into one of the largest in Highlands County.
Some 150 booths, exhibits and displays from arts & crafts and other vendors are drawing tourists from all over. Today also marks the inaugural Little Miss Caladium Pageant.
The 26th Annual Caladium Festival Car & Bike Show will be held tomorrow. Dozens of classic, custom and vintage cars, trucks, vans and motorcycles will be parked in Devane Park.
The Highlands Radio Group radio stations will be broadcasting live from the event both days.

It looks like The City of Charm is looking to do something about the homeless problem. Avon Park City Councilwoman Bernice Taylor brought up the issue at the council meeting, asking what the city was going to do about it. Local members of the clergy already have indicated they would be willing to attend a workshop, and Highlands County officials have spoken with Sebring representatives about addressing the issue as well.
Avon Park Mayor Garrett Anderson says he’s received "a ton of complaints," especially about an assortment of vagrants, hobos and others camping out around the historic gazebo on Main Street.
So far, no meeting date has been set.

More questions have been raised about the Highlands County Student Code of Conduct for the upcoming academic year. Board Chair Donna Howerton said she was asked whether or not students would be permitted to wear pajama pants to class.
That was a question neither she, the board, or Superintendent of Schools Brenda Longshore was able to answer. Howerton opined that the issue might be taken care of at the individual schools.
She also noted that she has been approached about problems with respect for teachers in the system by school students. Apparently, there are issues with enough space in their remedial facilities.

Over the last year, dozens of new surveillance cameras reportedly have been installed throughout Polk County.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office apparently is paying for them, but not talking much about it.
They’re called "Flock Safety Cameras." They are "license plate reading cameras which provide 24/7 monitoring for every home, business, and neighborhood."
The solar-powered cameras capture images of license plates and are then run through a national database, which then can alert law enforcement officials.
Among other things, they register a vehicle’s make, type and color, the license plate – and notes missing or covered plates, as well as the state of the license plate.
The cameras also can spot unique features such as roof racks, bumper stickers and window stickers.
The intended use of these surveillance cameras remains unclear.