News Headlines Friday, 11/13-18

Black Friday is here – and that’s a red-letter day for retailers, signalling the beginning of the seasonal retail rush and the transition to black INK on store ledgers for the year. The big box stores started early again this year, with Wally World door busters laid out for sale as early as 6pm, and store openings for most of the big chains set for 5am, 6am, and 7am this morning. As of this morning, we’ve been pretty well-haved in Highlands County – Sherriff’s dispatch reported just one incident where an errant shopper needed to be “trespassed” out of a building.

Local businesses want you to know they’d love to see you as well, today – and tomorrow, dubbed “Small Business Saturday” in an American Express ad campaign a few years ago and adopted by retail groups like Sebring’s downtown businesses. The Circle’s neighborhood merchants will keep special hours from 10-4 tomorrow with eighteen local merchants inviting customers to shop their specials, and filling up a punch card for visiting the stores. At 3pm, they’ll be drawing for gift cards worth from a hundred to $500 for customers shopping the downtown district.

The Florida Hospital Foundation has announced their entertainment guest for the 24th Annual Florida Hospital Heartland Foundation’s Gala – it’ll be 2011 American Idol winner, that year’s ACM New Artist of The Year and platinum album artist, North Carolina native Scotty McCreery.

McCreery is known for his charity work and recently married his longtime girlfriend, a nurse, furthering the “fit” with the Hospital. McCreery will perform Saturday, Feb. 9 at SFSC’s Wildstein Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets will go on sale next Thursday.

This is the first full day of a local – and national – tradition, with all fourteen local spots operational for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Drive. Pocket change, currency, checks and the occasional Krugeraand are more than welcome, and the local Salvation Army says they still need volunteers to staff collection points, so your time is also needed.

Highlands County Sheriff’s Detectives say they’re looking for a – quote – vehicle of interest in the case of a credit card skimmer placed in the pumps at an Avon Park gas station. A blue Dodge truck with a large dent behind the cab on the passenger side may be involved in the skimmer scam. The Dodge has stickers in the back window on both the left and lower right-hand corner. Pictures of the truck can be found on the Sherriff’s department Facebook page. If you recognize the truck of know who might own it, Detective Du’Wayne Kelly would love to hear from you at 863-402-7250.