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SFSC Board approves Trustee Emeritus title for Lambert

AVON PARK — The South Florida District Board of Trustees honored a fellow board member, Kenneth Lambert, with the title of Trustee Emeritus and with an endowment in his name.

Due to a serious illness, Lambert has been unable to attend the board meetings since October.

At Wednesday’s meeting of the Board, District Board of Trustees Chair Tami Cullens said, “We would like to honor Mr. Lambert. As we all know he has such a great, great love for the college.”

In a recent phone conversation with SFSC President Thomas Leitzel, Lambert said “make sure you are doing everything right for the students,” Cullens said.

“So no matter where he is in his life and how difficult it is, we still know he thinks of others first,” she said.

With the Board’s approval they would like to give Mr. Lambert the special recognition of “Trustee Emeritus” so in perpetuity he will always be a trustee for South Florida State College, Cullens said.

“And, we would also like to have ‘The Kenneth A. Lambert Memorial Endowment,’” she said. “We would like to have something there to that for years to come. Mr. Lambert would not be forgotten at the college. His hand print, his footprint, his journey with all of us will always be out there.”

Executive Director, Institutional Advancement Jamie Bateman said the endowment would provide financial support for SFSC projects with financial needs that are not met from the general fund of the budget.

The initial goal is to reach $100,000 in donations, she said.

The Board of Trustee unanimously approved the title of Trustee Emeritus for Lambert and the endowment in his name.

Cullens said earlier in the meeting that according to a statute, it is the duty of the Board Chair to notify the governor in writing whenever a board member fails to attend three consecutive regular board meetings as it may be grounds for removal.

“Since Mr. Lambert has been unable to attend our meetings since October, because of the statute, no matter what our hearts feel, we have to follow exactly what it says,” she said. “As of this meeting, Dr. Leitzel [SFSC president] and I will be notifying the Governor’s Office that Mr. Lambert ... has not been able to attend our meetings. I imagine we will explain why.”

Wells hosts annual Classics and Customs Car Show

AVON PARK — Wells Motor Company hosted its 23rd annual Classics and Customs Car Show on Saturday. Excited people attended, checking out the many different makes and models of vehicles on display.

Angie and Jeff Wrench brought their 1963 Plymouth Belvedere to the show. The color is called ’12 pack orange’ and is hard to miss. This vehicle, with its 440 cubic-inch Chrysler V8 engine, was overhauled out in California.

“Our car was in the movie, ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’ with Nicholas Cage and Robert Duvall. You could see it sitting up on the lift inside the garage in one of the scenes,” said Angie.

Daryn and Sheila Kobylinski brought their bright yellow Plymouth Road Runner. The car has a 500 cubic-inch, 600 horsepower engine and is a 5-speed.

“We were invited to the 2018 Carlisle Chrysler Nationals, as the featured vehicle,” said Daryn. “This vehicle had a custom makeover and has many special features.”

A group of ladies had a table set up and were playing card games and enjoying the sunshine while their men showcased their prize vehicles at the show. “We’re the wives of the car guys! We do this at every show, no matter where they go.”

Steve Hawthorne brought his 1962 VW Beach Buggy to the event. It was all decked out in a shark theme.

“This one here on the left is a Makko shark and the one on the right is a Great White. It’s a play on Shark Week on TV.” Hawthorne is the basketball coach at Avon Park High School.

There was plenty of opportunity to grab some good food while browsing through the aisles of vehicles. James Brown’s Famous Flames barbecue and Paradise Hot Dogs were there. You could also get some fresh lemonade, which was a must since the day became hot very quickly.

Larry Foster brought his 1923 Model T Pick-Up replica.

“It’s got a lawnmower engine but can easily go 60-70 mph. I use it for my daily driving around town.”

Denis Pulvermacher brought his 1972 VW Super Beetle along with his best furry friend, “Tia.” She was riding in style in her little stroller.

The event was packed with locals, snowbirds and visitors. This is an annual event that is always fun and well-attended. Wells Motor Company is located at 1600 South US 27 in Avon Park.

Soda Fest postponed to October

SEBRING — Sebring’s annual Soda Festival will get some fall flavor this year, then bounce back into spring for 2021, thanks to coronavirus postponement.

The festival, originally set for three weeks from now, on April 3-5, has now been moved to Oct. 16-18. Organizers said they will honor any purchases people have already made on vendor spaces or tasting tickets at that time.

The postponement, like many other events at this time, was made due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“While this decision was not easy to make, we take the safety and health of our guests, staff, volunteers, vendors and community very seriously,” organizers said in a letter to previous vendors and patrons. “We urge everyone to follow the guidelines put forth by public health officials.”

Liz Barber, president/CEO of the Greater Sebring Chamber of Commerce — the lead organizing entity for the festival — said Friday that the format of the festival, a soft drink tasting event with people pouring samples, would raise too many concerns now.

“There’s too much handling of things, even if we are super-safe,” Barber said.

Barber also said she had to remind herself that this event, still a new event in its third year has only been postponed.

“I keep telling myself, ‘Not canceled. Not canceled,’” Barber said.

There are also concerns about hurricanes, with October still being during the more active part of the storm season, and Barber said organizers talked about that when choosing a new date.

“All you can do is plan,” Barber said. “Really, [there] is always something.”

She and organizers chose the new dates Thursday night, and will work now at getting the word out to all their vendors and fans, who hail from all over Florida, as well as out of state.

“It will be exactly the same,” Barber said of the format, although when asked, she said the event might incorporate some Halloween themes, being just two weeks from that holiday.

“We’ll have more time to market the event,” Barber added.

Once it’s done, however, organizers will have to jump back into marketing the 2021 Sebring Soda Festival, which they intend to bring back that April.

As luck would have it, the 2021 Sebring Soda Fest will arrive on Easter weekend, so there may be a chance to incorporate that celebration into the event.

Highlands district testing panic alarm system

SEBRING — The Legislature has approved a bill that requires all district and charter schools in Florida to have a panic alarm system that instantly alerts law enforcement.

If Gov. Ron DeSantis signs it into law, districts will have the option of installing their own systems, which the School Board of Highlands County is already doing.

Highlands School Board Deputy Superintendent Andrew Lethbridge said he believes the district’s new cellphone app would currently satisfy the requirement, but he has yet to review the finalized version of the statute and then also review any guidance of that language by the Safety & Security Department for the Florida Department of Education.

In May the School Board approved an agreement with VOLO, LLC, an Ormond Beach-based communications technology company.

The VOLO app includes a feature that is similar to a “panic button.”

Lethbridge said VOLO company representatives were at the district last week working on a few outstanding issues. The panic button does automatically notify law enforcement/911 dispatch and they would activate response teams.

“We have used the test button many times on each campus practicing,” he said. “We will be also testing the software in a ‘live’ drill shortly. For the live drill we will use the active shooter button but all involved including law enforcement will know that it is a drill.”

The bill is named “Alyssa’s Law,” after 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff, who was one of 17 people killed in the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, and Reps. Michael Gottlieb, D-Davie, and Dan Daley, D-Coral Springs.

It allocates $8 million for the state to provide a statewide mobile alert system for schools. Such a system would allow school staff members to send an alert to law enforcement and paramedics with the press of a button on their cellphone.