Local News Headlines 8-16-21

US Marshals have arrested a man wanted here in Highlands County in connection with a June shooting in Avon Park. 18-year-old Elijah James Worsley was picked up last week in New Jersey on a warrant connected with a June 20 shooting that wounded a 16-year-old boy and a 21-year-old man. Worsley will be returned to Highlands County to face four counts of attempted first-degree homicide, and single counts of firing a weapon in public, firing a weapon into a vehicle, burglary with assault or battery, criminal mischief and improper exhibition of a firearm.

Local firefighters are mourning the loss of one of their own this week – William (Bill) Miller, a longtime member of the West Sebring Volunteer Fire Department, passed away after a lengthy illness late last week. Miller served Highlands County both through his membership at WSVFD and his previous employment with the Sebring International Raceway.

If you just can’t stand the wait for a pretzel any longer, you don’t have long to wait … Wawa announced that two of the three stores slated for Highlands County will be open in mid September. The Lake Placid and South Sebring stores’ Grand Openings are scheduled for September 23. Work continues on the north side Sebring store at Highway 27 and Sun N Lake Boulevard – its Grand Opening will follow later.

Just in case you didn’t realize it, the panicked-sounding news stories about the latest variation of the Coronavirus ARE hitting here as well. The state Health Department reports last week, 952 Highlands County residents tested positive for the bug, and hospitalizations range up to triple the rate we saw back in early July. The good news is that 57% of the population in Highlands County over 12 has been vaccinated against severe cases of the disease … that’s below the state average of 65%, but well above Hardee County’s 41% and DeSoto County’s 49% and on par with Polk County’s 56% rate.