Local News Headlines 8-31-22

Highlands County Courts have had a busy week, cleaning up cases that stick in a lot of minds. Monday, the guy who pled guilty to 35 counts of credit card fraud in a string of thefts in the spring of 2020 that bit at least eleven Highlands County residents got sent up the river for seven years. Phillip Conze got an additional five years on another count that runs concurrently with the seven, but he’ll have eight years of probation and owes his victims restitution.

And a DUI manslaughter suspect dating to a 2017 wreck who’d fled to Ireland appeared in court last week after extradition proceedings brought him home. Samuel Tucker’s car hit a utility pole, flipped and killed his passenger while he was under the influence in June of 2017. Last week he entered a best-interests plea to a DUI manslaughter charge and was sentenced to 11 years in state prison and four years of probation.

If you live within the Jack Creek watershed area in central Highlands County, heads up – the Southwest Florida Water Management District looking for virtual public comment now through Sept. 30 on preliminary data for flood prone areas within the watershed. After addressing the public comments, information will go into the District’s future regulations. It’s not going into FEMA’s Flood Insurance Rate Maps YET; however, it may be used in future updates. Your comments are welcome online at WaterMatters.org/Floodplain.

August may well join 1961 and 1997 as the only years on record with no tropical storms or hurricanes in the Atlantic basin during the month. The most likely suspect out there still carries the title of just an “investigation,” located well east of the Windward and Leeward Islands, but is showing signs of organization. If it develops, models almost all have it making a hard northerly turn around Bermuda in three to five days.

Sorry, drivers! The downward trend at the pump is over. AAA reports Florida’s average gas price has risen for the first time since June. It now sits at $3.61 a gallon, up 7 cents from last week. The increase comes after a 70-day streak of declines that began in mid-June, when the average was at an all-time high of $4.89 per gallon.