News Update for 10/19/18

Highlands County Sheriff’s deputies still are looking for the man who robbed the Mattress Firm location west of Sebring yesterday. They say the man walked into the business at Shelby Crossing and demanded cash. He got an undetermined amount of money then fled on foot.
The suspect is described as an Hispanic male, bald, and about 5′ 8″ tall. They say he had a snake tattoo on one arm and a Chinese or Japanese symbol on the other.
Nobody was injured in the incident. Anyone with information on the suspect is asked to call the sheriff’s office.

A 35-year-old Avon Park man has been jailed and two others are being sought in connection with the illegal use of a debit card. Jessie Wayne Fowler has been charged with fraud and using another person’s identity. He also faces counts of committing a felony while wearing a mask – as he allegedly pulled his shirt over his head while the card was being used.
Highlands County Sheriff’s deputies also are looking for 28-year-old Holly Peoples and 27-year-old Clayton Nathaniel McCaskill in connection with the case.

For years, the county’s tourism board has been pushing the idea of agri-tourism, this weekend a group of locals is going to do something about it. Sugar Sand Distillery, Henscratch Farm & Winery, LaLa Land Animal Farm and Maxwell Groves will be opening their doors to the public.
While many already know about Henscratch winery, which has had a vineyard in operation for better than a decade, others have not yet visited the nearby Sugar Sand Distillery tucked in a stand of locally grown sugar cane.
Likewise, Maxwell Groves in Avon Park has been a must see – especially for their orange ice cream, while LaLa Land has everything from exotic to domesticated animals.
That tour will run tomorrow from around 10am to 5pm depending upon the location.

With tens of thousands throughout the region still without power, Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday relaxed or waived voting rules for eight counties hammered by Hurricane Michael last week. Scott’s order represents a delicate balancing act for the Republican governor since most of the Panhandle counties affected by the decision are GOP strongholds that usually deliver thousands of votes for Republican candidates.

Police in South Florida say a disabled Chihuahua drowned when a man who was fighting with his ex-wife tossed it into a backyard swimming pool. Pembroke Pines police say 40-year-old Juan Manuel Gonzalez grabbed his ex-wife by the face, cutting her lip during a dispute on Thursday night. A police report said Gonzalez and saying “you can’t swim but you’re going to learn tonight,” just before throwing the dog in the pool.

A Florida couple is providing a safe haven for at-risk kids in two crime-ridden suburbs of Miami: group kickball games. For more than a decade, Samantha and Leon Mitchell have picked up kids from their homes and brought them to an overgrown field where they can take a break from the violence in their neighborhoods in Florida City and Homestead.