Local News 12-16-20

Highlands County Sheriff Paul Blackman says he’s had it with the recent spate of violent crime that’s seen 19 homicides in under three years between southside Avon Park, Washington Heights and Highway Park. Those “partner communities” have been the focus of the Community oriented COPS ADAPT program, designed to build trust within neighborhoods where police are too often viewed with suspicion. Blackman took to the Sheriff’s Department Facebook page yesterday announcing that deputies would be stepping up patrols in neighborhoods where crimes have impacted residents. Blackman was flanked and supported by family members of recent crime victims and promised a proactive response, but asked for the community’s cooperation as well.

Florida’s largest hospital system said it was on track to immunize nearly 20,000 health care workers against COVID-19 as Gov. Ron DeSantis yesterday announced a delay in hundreds of thousands of doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Florida began receiving its share of the coronavirus vaccine on Monday – the state was expected to get about 450,000 doses produced by Pfizer over the next two weeks. But production issues could prevent them from being delivered. DeSantis said the first batch of the Moderna vaccine — 370,000 doses — could begin heading here as soon as this weekend and would allow wider distribution of the medicine to hospitals across the state, pending federal authorization.

Yes, the rumors were true – Avon Park’s city computers have evidently been hit by a ransomware attack. That’s the kind of computer virus that locks users out of their computer files until money is paid to unlock them. Normally – but not always – the crooks then release the files. The city hadn’t received a ransom demand yet as of yesterday and were getting help from the IT people at the Sheriff’s Department.