News Update for 10/16/18

Amid the news that Sears has filed for Chapter 11 bankrupty protection, comes word that they will be closing another 142 stores across the nation. Apparently, the one in Sebring will remain open.
Sears stores in Lakeland, Bradenton, Ocala and Melbourne will be shutting their doors as will the Gainsville K-Mart.
Liquidation sales at the additional stores are expected to begin within two weeks, according to the court filing. The company has a combination of 687 K-Mart and Sears stores remaining.

It appears that a couple of different critters have added to the expense of Phase III of the Sebring Parkway. Highlands County Road and Bridge Director Kyle Green revealed last night that Sand Skinks and Gopher Tortoises have added a quarter million dollars to the bill.
In an appearance before the Avon Park Lakes Homeowners Association, Green said it cost the county $40,000 to relocate 28 Gopher tortoises found in the right-of-way.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, much of the world’s attention has been focused on Florida’s battered coastal communities, but rural communities all the way into Georgia and Alabama also felt its fury. Many are still struggling days after the storm passed. The small city of Marianna, Florida, is without power and will likely remain so for a month after being hit with its strongest storm in recorded history.

Police say a 49-year-old man is accused of trying to kidnap an 8-year-old girl at Orlando International Airport. Witnesses told police that on Saturday night Alfredo Sanchez grabbed the child as she was standing with her parents near the east checkpoint of terminal B. An arrest affidavit says the girl was screaming as Sanchez tried walking away with her. Alexis Vargas tells the Orlando Sentinel that he and another man intervened, pinning Sanchez to the ground while they waited for police.

Officials in Miami are hoping police officers will be able to steer opioid addicts into to treatment rather than jail. A plan announced Monday will offer addicts an opportunity to go into rehabilitation. The Miami Herald reports Miami police will use $1.6 million in federal grants to develop a pre-arrest diversion program where people with small amounts of opioids can enter a one-year outpatient treatment program.

The somber task of determining how many people died in Hurricane Michael’s rampage is proving elusive. The storm that smashed into the Florida Panhandle last week left widespread destruction. But state officials say they will announce storm-related fatalities only once they are certified by local medical examiners – a task that will unwind slowly.