News Update for 8/21/19

Members of the Highlands County School Board sent the local Boy Scouts organization packing last night. Scoutmaster Jim Polatty asked that the scouts be allowed to hand out flyers to students regarding the Boy Scout and Cub Scout programs.
However, school board members pointed to a new policy that disallows such activities. They contend that if the scouts were allowed to do it, any other organization also would have to be given the same privilege.
They told Polatty that the scouts would be able to set up during school open houses. However, those are over for this year.

The city of Sebring reportedly has come to terms with Lamar outdoor advertising. The argument revolves around a billboard that was constructed on the lake side of Highway 27, then was heavily damaged by hurricane Irma.
Council members said it was so badly damaged that it would have to be removed, while Lamar contended it could be fixed. The agreement now says it can stay for 18 months but then must be removed.
Councilman Charlie Lowrance blasted the settlement – saying that the company will be allowed to profit – even though, he contended, the board was constructed illegally.

Highlands County commissioners yesterday approved a large scale change to their comprehensive plan. The request comes from Black Bear Citrus to convert some 200 acres along Highway 70 near old State Road 8.
It would change the land use from agricultural zoning to a mixed use designation. Although the zoning allows for residential development, no plans were revealed for the property.
Officials from the Archbold Biological Station lobbied against the plan, saying they had “significant concerns” about hydrology and other issues.

Polk County animal control officials have confirmed another rabid animal there. This time it was in Frostproof. Officials say a homeowner found a bat in her yard that tested positive for the disease. The animal was located in a yard off County Road 630 this past Sunday.

Authorities say a Florida man has been charged with performing a castration on another man he met on a eunuch fetish website.
The Highland County Sheriff’s Office posted on social media that 74-year-old Gary Van Ryswyk was arrested Monday and charged with practicing medicine without a license.
Deputies say they responded to a Sebring home late Sunday after a 911 hang-up. Van Ryswyk led them to a room where they found a man with a towel over his bleeding groin. The victim was taken to a hospital and listed in stable condition.
Van Ryswyk told investigators he had performed a similar procedure at a local motel several years ago and that man had gone to the hospital without calling police.
Van Ryswyk was being held on $250,000 bond. Jail records didn’t list an attorney.