News Update for 9/6/19

Highlands County Sheriff’s deputies were busy overninght. Reportedly, there was a home invasion incident in Avon Park during the early morning hours. Authorities say it occurred at a home on Willie Avenue on the Southside of the City of Charm.
According to reports, four suspects forced their way into a home shortly before 1:AM. They robbed the homeowner, killed his dog, then fled on foot. Those suspects currently are being sought. The homeowner was not injured in the incident.

Highlands County commissioners met last night in a special session. They ratified action taken earlier – making a seven percent annual increase in the fire assessment an automatic thing – at least for the next three years. Originally, commissioners were to have considered it as an individual issue. However, they now have set it as an automatic increase.
In three years, they say, the plan is to have a study done to see how much more money they might need.
Commissioners also approved the purchase of ballistic vests for firefighters in the county. There would be such vests on all EMS vehicles and for EMS supervisors.

Now that Hurricane Dorian has passed, the call again has come for Highlands County to create a pet-friendly shelter. Longtime resident Patty Dumont called on commissioners to create such a facility. She noted that in the past, she and others had created such an impromptu shelter, using a vacant building she owns.
Commissioners noted that as a government entity, they operate under different rules and regulations. Nevertheless, they ordered staff to investigate the possibility.

Highlands County commissioners got introduced to a couple of new employees at their special meeting last night. Both Legislative Grants Coordinator Sydney Armstrong and new Assistant county Attorney Matt Cullen now are working for the county.

There were no serious injuries yesterday when a Sport Utility Vehicle went out of control and overturned. The vehicle. which apparently was towing a trailer, went off Highway 27 and crashed in front of the Buttonwood Bay Mobile Home community.
No names or other details have yet been released.

Four Polk County teenagers were taken to a hospital after authorities say they drank ecstasy juice.
Polk County sheriff’s officials responded to a Lakeland high school after reports that a 14-year-old reportedly gave a water bottle filled with juice and dissolved MDMA to another student.
Four students were taken to the hospital and treated for exposure to ecstasy. One of the girls was held at the hospital for observation.
Two of the students, both 14-year-old boys, were also arrested on drug charges.
Deputies say they searched the teens’ backpacks and also found an anxiety medication with no prescription and a small bag of crystalline rocks.