GET READY FOR MORE SHOCK AND AWE HERE AT HOME!
The Avon Park Air Force Range which straddles across Polk and Highlands counties is getting ready for a lot more business, including a real "boom" of sorts...live bombs!
Seems that the Navy wants to triple it's bombing missions at the range, making Avon Park AFR among the primary ranges for training pilots. This is as a result of the end to training runs on Visques Island in Puerto Rico after protests in 2003. The bombs would range from 500 to 2000 pounds each, in addition to dummy bombs.
A couple of problems, though: Avon Park Correctional Institution would be within the range that officials say inmates would experience 115 decibel noise, but the State Department of Corrections is saying "No Problem!" 115 decibel noise can adversely affect hearing after only about 1 1/2 minutes. A rock concert averages about 110 decibels.
There are also two endangered plants and two endangered animals that are located on the range: The scrub jay and the Eastern indigo snake. The reaction of Congressman Adam Putnam (R - Bartow):
"The scrub jays know how to duck and cover."
Final decisions are expected by the end of the year.