News Headlines 5-14-18

A little unwanted excitement at Sebring High School Friday morning caused a little over an hour’s worth of lockdown at the school, and gate closures at other area schools when what was deemed a – quote – credible threat was made by a student from the school. As it turned out, the threat involved a senior prank, a gorilla suit and a squirt gun, but given high sensitivities after recent events in the news, school authorities reacted with an abundance of caution and lockdowns and gate closures were lifted just before 10am.

Memorial Services for Highlands County Sherriff’s Deputy William Gentry are scheduled for tomorrow at the Firemen’s Field Convention Center at 11am. It’s open to the public. The date coincides with Peace Officer Memorial Day, an observance dating to 1962 when President Kennedy declared the observance every May 15. This week is designated National Police Week, and a salute to Peace Officers in general has been scheduled for Thursday morning at 9:30 at the County Government Center on South Commerce Street in downtown Sebring. Local School student bodies have been pitching in; Cracker Trail Elementary donated $755 in proceeds from their annual Talent Show this past Friday to the Gentry family, and Lake Placid High’s Student Government ran a “Minute Madness” event to benefit the family, raising over $2,255.

Highlands County’s Tourism Development Council wants a little more cash. Member voted last week to ask the County Board to raise the short-term lodging tax – also known as the “bed tax” – to 4% in the County. The Council voted to set aside one cent of that tax to be designated for asset improvements that impact visitor experiences – like seawalls, dock and boat ramp repairs and the like. Any changes in the Council’s policies must be approved by the County Board, expected to take the matter up at its June 5th meeting.

Bargain hunters hitting the Nu Hope Thrift store south of Sebring may go into culture shock this week when they find the place closed. Friday was the last business day at the old location in the Ren-Mar Plaza across from the Bert J. Harris Agri-Civic Center, but never fear … it’s a move, not a closure. Temporary “digs” are opening in early June at 3412 Office Park Road in Sebring, to be followed by a permanent move to the old E.O. Koch offices behind Dunkin’ Donuts on Sebring’s south side. The organization owns the former Koch location and is working on renovations and a permanent move there as soon as work is complete.