News Update for 2/17/20

A state law which allows judges to bar anyone deemed dangerous from possession a firearm has been used in Florida 3500 times since its enactment in 2018.
Highlands County is the number one place it has been used with more than 100 so far. According to reports, by population, Highlands residents are 35 times more likely to have a so-called “Risk Protection Order” issued against them than anywhere else in the Sunshine State.
Sheriff Paul Blackman has told reporters he does not know why Highlands ranks so high on the list. In some counties, no risk protection orders ever have been issued.

Traffic crashes kept first responders busy last night. The first occurred about 6:45 when two cars collided at State Road 98 and Spring Lake Boulevard. There were no serious injuries but the roadway was closed for a time.
About 20 minutes later, a car and a motorcycle came together on Highway 27 near the Wild Turkey Tavern. The motorcyclist reportedly was taken to a hospital with what were described as non-life threatening injuries.
A third accident involved a car and a bicycle. That was on Highway 27 near the Pizza Hut restaurant. Rain in the area was attributed as a factor in at least a couple of the mishaps.

If you were planning to go to the WipeOut Zone at the Lakeshore Mall today – it’s closed. Officials at the Retro Arcade say they will be working today to fix some vandalism that occurred, there.
They say in addition to repairing some of the damaged equipment, they will be reviewing security video to determine how it happened and who’s responsible for it.

A stabbing Thursday night reportedly has become a fatality. Highlands County Sheriff’s reports say 33-year-old Patrick Shea Robinette was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center where he expired from his wounds.
Deputies arrested 51-year-old William Edward Streif in connection with the incident. He was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, but since has bonded out. Officials say the investigation is continuing.

Highlands County Sheriff’s officials say they have suspended the search for Margaret Helen Becker. They say the 81-year-old Sebring woman is presumed to have drowned in the Kissemmee River.
Becker went missing a month ago following a shopping trip to the Southgate Shopping Center. Detectives have pieced together the last minutes of her life, using information from her cell phone.
That was recovered from her truck, which was found submerged off the boat ramp at the Avon Park Bombing Range. She reportedly drove through a checkpoint there, without being stopped.

An orangutan who was granted legal personhood by a judge in Argentina and later found a new home in Hardee County celebrated her 34th birthday on Valentine’s Day with a special new friend.
The director of the Center for Great Apes says the orangutan has adjusted beautifully to her life at the sanctuary.
Prior to coming to Florida, Sandra had lived alone in a Buenos Aires zoo. The center is home to 22 other orangutans.
An Argentine judge’s landmark ruling in 2015 declared that this particular orangutan is legally not an animal, but instead is classified as “a non-human person,” and thus entitled to some legal rights enjoyed by people.