Local News Headlines 5-29-20

We had a bump in the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the County yesterday – Highlands County has now registered 119 confirmed cases of the virus, an increase of five in one day after a few days steady at 114. No more death reports here in town – eight persons locally have died from the disease or complications related to the disease. Our neighbors to the north experienced a “bump” up as well – Polk County’s total case count hit 939 yesterday, with 54 deaths so far up there. If you feel a need for a test, there’s a Florida Division of Emergency Management “Express Test” Bus testing event happening until 5 p.m. today at Sebring High School; enter via the Sebring Parkway and Commerce Avenue entrance to the complex.

So, how ARE we doing in Highlands County beyond the raw virus numbers? Pretty good, compared to the rest of Florida. About 4% of Highlands County’s population has now received a Covid-19 test … and our 119 positives amount to around 2.9% of those tested. The state’s standard for re-opening is a target rate under 10%. Last week, the state as a whole showed about 4.3% of the tests given coming back positive.

If you have a court date today or next week, you’re off the hook – for a while. As if 2 ½ inches of rain wasn’t enough, a water pipe burst in the Highlands County Courthouse last night, cancelling court for today, and the Clerk of Court’s office tells us, hearings through next week. If you WERE scheduled, you’ll get a notice in the mail.

Need a mask or a pair of gloves to feel safe – the Sebring Moose Lodge Auxililiary is there to help. They’ll be doing a mask and glove drive through giveaway tomorrow morning beginning at 10am at the Sebring Moose lodge on Highway 98 south of Sebring. Drive though only, one mask and a pair of gloves for the asking for each passenger in the car. Free, and it’ll go from 10am until supplies run out.

It was a tough virtual meeting for the Avon Park city council last night as heavy weather hit town … both Mayor Garrett Anderson and Deputy Mayor Stanley Spurlock were knocked off line as the storm came though. The council did give the go-ahead for this year’s Independence Day celebration over Lake Verona, and moved ahead with plans for a stimulus both for businesses and residents.

Finally, it looks like the city is on the hook for a significant water line extension. They had hoped to finance that project with revenues from that proposed WAWA store. It was supposed to go in at the intersection of Highway 27 & Valerie Boulevard. Now city officials say construction of that project could be off for as much as a year.

Tomorrow afternoon’s rescheduled launch of the SpaceX rocket carrying manned passengers to the International Space Station MAY happen, but you may not be able to see the launch on our northeastern horizon. The forecast calls for a better day tomorrow than today, but there’s still a chance of afternoon rain, and the best chance of rain here looks to be between 2 and 5pm – about the window where they hope to take off. NASA estimated around 1.7 million people watched the prelaunch preparations Wednesday afternoon online – you may want to be logged onto one of those video streams tomorrow in case the weather cooperates on the Cape, but doesn’t here.