News Update for 4/23/20

New numbers from the Florida Department of Health show Highlands County now has had 72 cases since Corona Virus numbers started to be tallied. There are 27 people who have been hospitalized at some point during their illness.
Seven local fatalities have been attached to the disease. Anyone who dies with the virus now is listed as a victim of the virus.
Recovery rates currently are not being tracked by the Florida Department of Health. The numbers do not include the 340 tests done by AdventHealth last Sunday.

Highlands County Commissioners are preparing to deal with Governor Ron DeSantis’ Task Force and plans to begin re-opening Florida. The commissioners have called a special session for next Tuesday to see how the new rules and regulations may or may not affect Highlands County.
Among the issues they may address is the re-opening of small businesses, parks and church services. The governor has said he wants recommendations for the first phase of that plan by the end of the week.

Firefighters from Highlands Lakes were called out yesterday afternoon to put out an illegal burn pile off C-Hill Road in the northern reaches of the county. Officials say trees located next to the large pile caught fire as well. They say the property owner had water on standby, but it wasn’t enough to do the job.
Units from the Sun ‘n Lakes South and Lake Placid departments were called out to put down a brush fire along Highway 27 north of State Road 70. No cause for that one has yet been released.
A burn ban is in effect for Highlands County until further notice.

Officials at the Highlands County School System are scrambling to try and figure out what to do about graduation ceremonies. Governor Ron DeSantis has cancelled classes through the end of the year and large-scale gatherings still are prohibited.
School officials now have reached out to affected seniors with questions about how to handle the situation for the class of 2020.

There were some tense moments at the Sebring Regional Airport yesterday when a disabled plane made a landing there. The aircraft reportedly was missing a wheel. But the pilot was able to put it on the ground without incident.
No information as to the plane or the pilot has been released.

Highlands County Sheriff’s officials say they have been having ongoing problems with car burglaries. They have arrested a pair of teens allegedly involved in what’s “car fishing” incident.
Deputies say they found a group of several individuals in a Sebring neighborhood they believed were involved in the activity. Most took off on foot. Lawmen did, however, apprehend Robert Wayne Smith of Okeechobee and William Nathan Ward IV of Sebring, who are both 18, and a 17-year-old from Avon Park.
Smith and Ward were booked into the county jail on two counts of vehicle burglary and one count of resisting arrest without violence.