News Headline 8-3-18

The annual Florida Back to School Sales Tax Holiday is officially on for today through Sunday. It means MOST of the items parents need for back to school are tax free. “Most,” as in sneakers for $60 and under – sorry, no hundred dollar Nikes, kids. Back packs, lunch boxes, clothing, notebooks and the like – sales tax free today through Sunday.

The County Commission made most of its headlines this week talking budgets and taxes, but did make a zoning change to a plot of land just under 10 acres with some rare access to Highway 27. Developers’ representatives asked the Board to rezone the land to B-3 Zoning – that’s the classification with the most possible commercial uses. Neighbors in the residential neighborhood to the immediate north protested, saying that heavy commercial use would fall to close to their neighborhoods. The Board passed the zoning change with some requirements for walls and vegetation between the subdivision and the property. The plot had been originally zoned B-3 when it was slated to be a car dealership in the late 80’s. It was changed to a residential category when aborted plans for affordable housing were being pursued shortly after 2000.

Just a warning here – if you have business with the County Tax Collector, don’t plan on doing it in Avon Park midweek next week. The East Main Street office will be closed Tuesday through Thursday for some maintenance work. Sebring and Lake Placid will be doing business as usual, and the Avon Park office is expected to re-open Friday.

In a story that reads like an episode of CSI, Highlands County Sherriff’s deputies yesterday arrested a suspect on a 2012 burglary on the basis of five year old DNA – off a spoon the suspect allegedly used while in the victims’ house. At the time detectives checked the spoon out, no DNA matches were in the system. But just like on CSI, they save those records, and when Blake Dwight Baker was arrested in Oklahoma on another matter, his DNA test there matched up with the old one here in Florida, and Baker got the buy-one, get-one special. He was formally charged with the Placid Lakes burglary Wednesday after being brought back to Florida by Highlands County Deputies.