Tropical Storm Nicole has come and gone, without any apparent damage here in Highlands County. The storm came ashore early this morning as a minimal Category One Hurricane but quickly downgraded. It ticked north, and passed through Polk County at its closest approach.
There were some 571 customers without electric service during the storm, and no road blockages or personal property damage has yet been reported.
Local officials now are going into post-storm mode. The Emergency Operations Center is set to go from a Level 2, to a Level 3 this afternoon.
Both storm shelters will close at noon today. That includes the Special Needs Shelter at the Health Department and the General Public Shelter at Fred Wild Elementary School.
Highlands County school officials have indicated classes will resume for local students again tomorrow.
Trash collection will start again tomorrow after a hiatus today as the storm. Today’s pick-up will be tomorrow, with Friday’s slated pick-up to be collected Saturday.
Despite the incoming weather, Lake Wales police continued to work on a cold case file. Yesterday they worked with the Polk County Medical Examiner’s office to excavate sand under a residence on J.A. Wiltshire Avenue, in a search for the remains of Debbi Williams.
The Lake Wales woman has been missing since 1990 and is rumored to have been killed by a former boyfriend. The search proved to be unsuccessful.
Authorities say the investigation will continue.
The University of Florida has a new president. The Florida Board of Governors yesterday confirmed the appointment of Ben Sasse. As part of the deal, the Republican senator from Nebraska agreed to not speak at political events. He also told the board he aspires for Gainesville to be the center of a revolution for higher education in America. He’ll get a five-year deal at a base salary of one million dollars a year. With bonuses, he could earn over one-and-a-half million a year.