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Sebring Circle Park gets tabled

SEBRING — Sebring Circle Park has a new feature that seemed to have popped up after the removal of the holiday decorations.

The park now features six metal cafe-style round tables with attached seats and a metal umbrella covering.

Sebring Community Redevelopment Agency Board Member Kelly Cosgrave said, “We want to provide some seating and shade area for just anyone who wanted go and visit the circle and relax and have lunch or visit with one another, maybe grab a coffee, pick up a sandwich or something and enjoy the Circle.”

Metal tables with metal umbrellas were chosen because they are sturdy, made for outdoors and can withstand the weather, she said. Also, they are ADA accessible with certain tables having a spot to accommodate a stroller or a person in a wheelchair.

“We are always trying to add improvements that make it more user friendly to our residents in the community and guests when they visit,” Cosgrave said.

The CRA is always trying to improve the district and entice people to want to be downtown.

It is nice if kids come to the Children’s Museum and then get an ice cream and walk up to the Circle, she said. Those of any age can spend some time there including people on their lunch break from work.

“It is something we felt would be an asset to the Circle,” Cosgrave said.

Since the table don’t have removable chairs there is no worry about things getting knocked over. It is the type of seating and tables that are used on university campuses and other public spaces in other city’s so the CRA thought it was a good fit for Sebring.

Assistant City Administrator Bob Hoffman said, it is a welcome addition; they look very nice and they provide some shade.

Museum of the Arts looking picture perfect

SEBRING — Highlands Art League (HAL) held a reception showcasing their talented local artists on Friday, Jan. 3rd at Museum of the Arts. Guests had the opportunity to view the impressive gallery of photography as well as enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres while browsing. Many of the artists were present and were available to visit with.

“In this exhibit, ‘Looking Back – Leaning Forward’, we celebrate Highlands County photographers of all ages in an exhibit that invites visitors to look back and to anticipate the future in this month-long display of juried works,” said Museum of the Arts Curator and HAL’S Executive Director, Janell Marmon.

Photographers whose works are on display include Donald Lipps, Aurora Lipps, Marty Layne, Theresa Biedler, Cindy Rose Eaton, Pam Jessiman, Brenda Fishbaugh and Kevin Collier.

Aurora Lipps won Best of Show in Teen Photography with her piece titled “Water Reflection.”

“I was just riding my bike in a friend’s neighborhood and took some photos,” she said. “I’m really getting into it now. I’ve taken pictures for our (Sebring High School) yearbook and am working with Photoshop.”

Photography skills must run in the family because Donald Lipps won Best in Show for “Bird in Flight.”

“We were at Cocoa Beach and as always, had my camera with me,” he said. “I was looking for some osprey and this big bird kept flapping his wings and circling around. So, I just set up and took a few shots of him.”

“Swiss Village Scenic” won First Place for Cindy Rose Eaton in the Nature-Scenic category.

“This was actually taken in Switzerland in a little village called Grindelwald,” Eaton said. “It’s a beautiful alpine vista.”

The winner in the Photo Journalism category was Kevin Collier with “Fordissimo.”

“This is a 1966 GT40,” Collier said. “It ran in the HSR Races last spring. That’s one of the races prior to the big race in March.”

“Amsterdam,” by Brenda Fishbaugh, was the winner in the Architecture category.

“We were just there in September, right before the floods Fishbaugh said. “I shot this on the bridge with a six minute exposure to make the water look smooth.”

HAL also introduced and welcomed their new artist-in-residence, Caleigh Bird.

“I’m from Charleston, South Carolina, but lived in Hawaii for the last four years,” Bird said. “My parents live in Lake Placid. I’ll be here about seven weeks or so.”

Bird says she is classically trained and studied in Europe. Her favorite saying is “love to teach, love to learn.”

She is primarily an oil painter, but is also known for her signature gray-scale portraits in graphite and conte.

She will be offering classes in Portraiture (portraits), Little Brushes (ages 4-12) and Teen Studio (13-18).

The photography exhibit is available for viewing at MoTA until Feb. 8.

For more information on upcoming events and classes, please visit their website at www.highlandsartleague.org.

Recreation Club seeks assistance from City of Sebring

SEBRING — The Sebring Recreation Club wants the City of Sebring to pay for repairs to the roof over its shuffleboard courts that reportedly could fail at any time.

In a letter to City Administrator Scott Neoethlich, Sebring Recreation Club President Larry Lane stated the City-owned Sebring Recreation Club is in need of a roof repair over the shuffleboard courts.

The roof has been repaired in the past but a recent quote has indicated it should be done professional as the roof could fail at any time, he stated. This would possibly involve injury to shuffleboard players and spectators. The recent quote is estimated at $2,840 from K Aluminum, Inc.

“We are asking if the city of Sebring can assist/pay this cost for our club. The club brings in many out-of-town guests throughout the winter season and maintenance is definitely necessary at this time.”

The quote from K Aluminum, Inc. includes the addition of five downspouts to move water away from three roofs to keep them from collapsing.

Assistant City Administrator Bob Hoffman said the City’s relationship with the Sebring Recreation Club goes back “forever.”

They used to be known as the Sebring Tourist Club, he said. The club’s headquarters used to be at the site of the vacant Wachovia Bank building on North Ridgewood Drive on property that was given to the city after World War II.

When the structure was torn down to make way for the Wachovia (originally the First National Bank) building the property was sold to the bank, Hoffman said. The City built the Tourist Club a new building, which is at its current location behind the Police Department at 333 Pomegranate Ave.

The Sebring Recreation Club’s request is on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, at 6 p.m., of the Sebring City Council.

6 DUIs in county during short holiday week

SEBRING — Anytime someone gets in a car, they are at risk of being in a car wreck. During the holidays, that risk goes up exponentially because of alcohol consumption increases. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, young people are at higher risk during the month of December.

The NHTSA said in December 2017, the most fatalities were among those ages 21-34. A sobering statistic. The Highlands News-Sun reached out to the three local law enforcement agencies to find out how many arrests there were in the county for Dec. 24 through Jan. 1.

The Lake Placid Police Department reported one DUI arrest in the short time frame. Sebring Police Department did not have one DUI during that week. Highlands County Sheriff’s Office reported the most with five DUI arrests.

“I would say there are more people driving while under the influence during the holidays,” Lake Placid Police Chief James Fansler said. “People are going from one party to another. People don’t know what their limit is and over indulge. They think they can navigate themselves but they’re wrong.”

The NHTSA says impaired drivers increase during the winter holidays.

“I think people would be shocked to know how many people are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol out there,” Fansler said.

The blood alcohol concentration, or BAC limit, is .08 in the State of Florida and in most states. Some states, such as Utah, are trying to get the legal limit lowered to .05. Organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) are behind the lawmakers. MADD released its study of reducing the BAC to .05 and said it would save many lives. MADD said by lowering the BAC, 538-1790 lives could be saved per year. For complete details on the MADD .05 campaign visit Madd.org.

Fansler did not necessarily agree with writing more laws. He said organizations should lobby instead to provide law enforcement officers with the manpower to enforce the laws that already exist and funding traffic units for departments that do not have them.

Fansler did urge people to plan ahead and use designated drivers or ride-share services if they are going to be consuming alcohol, not just during the holidays, but throughout the entire year.