News Update for 8/20/19

A 17-year-old Avon Park High School student was arrested and charged yesterday after he allegedly brought a gun to school. According to reports, an Avon Park High School Resource Officer was alerted to the situation by another student.
The deputy and school staff located the student in question, who revealed he had a loaded handgun in his backpack. The young man was charged with having a weapon on school property, possession of a concealed weapon and possession of a firearm by a minor.

Drivers in school zones are getting some extra attention from the Highlands County Sheriff’s office. Deputies have started the so-called STEP-12 Program. That focuses on speeding and reckless driving in school zones.
Motorists will see both signs announcing the program and cruisers enforcing it.
Also being targeted will be those driving all terrain vehicles on community streets.

Highlands County commissioners met this morning in regular session. It was a short-handed commission, as two of the five commissioners apparently are out of town.
Nevertheless, it was a long and spirited meeting. The idea of Phase IV of the Sebring Parkway was raised again, as the commission considered the purchase of right of way for the Parkway project.
The commission also started getting ready for the October visit by the county’s legislative delegation. They outlined a number of issues from recycling to gas taxes for which they will be asking some relief.

Seven health care workers say supervisors at a Polk County government-run clinic warned them to stop speaking Spanish among themselves or they would get fired.
The women work at the Florida Health Department clinic in Haines City. A Monday statement from the community group La Mesa Boricua de Florida says the group filed a human resources complaint and wrote a letter to the Florida Department of Health.
The workers say the job required they be bilingual because of the Hispanic patients. Nurse Mairyli Miranda says she and her coworkers speak in English with non-Spanish-speaking patients and staff but choose their native language to talk to one another.
The health department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states English-only rules may violate federal laws unless they are “justified by business necessity.”