It was back to school today for Highlands County students for the first time in nearly a week. It remains unclear how much damage may have been sustained by buildings in the system, but classes will go on as usual. South Florida State College reportedly had damage on its campus, they will be closed through October 9th.
Meanwhile, the response to Hurricane Ian continues. Highlands County officials have announced they have received word that Highlands County is now included on FEMA’s individual assistance list.
Residents will SOON be able to apply for assistance online at www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362 – that’s F-E-M-A.
The points of distribution – or PODS – will be open again today from 8am – 5pm. The locations again will be located at South Florida State College in Avon Park, the Health Department on George Blvd south of Sebring and the Save-A-Lot Plaza in Lake Placid. They will be open while supplies last.
Most electric has been restored to homes and businesses across the county last night, Duke only had about a hundred customers without service, Glades still had a couple thousand.
It appears phone and internet service is coming back. Local officials say of the 80 cell towers in the county, 13 of them still are out – that affects roughly 7,800 customers – repairs continue.
Debris collection continues today. Residents are reminded that construction debris, furniture and construction debris MUST be separated from yard waste in order to have it picked up. They also ask that yard debris be left loose – and not bagged up. A detailed flyer is available on the county’s Facebook page.
Tipping fees have been waived at the landfill for residents bringing in hurricane debris, the county also has made a form for local commercial contractors removing debris from residential customers in the county to take advantage of the waived fees as well.
Official information is available on the Citizens Hotline at 402-6800. That will be open until 7:00 this evening.
Firefighters were called out early this morning to battle the flames at a house in Lorida. The call to the Hicks Road address came in shortly after 1:AM. It appears there were no occupants in the dwelling at the time of the blaze.
Cause of the fire has been turned over to the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
Highlands County Sheriff’s officials now have identified a suspect apprehended in connection with a carjacking incident Sunday evening. Charged with armed carjacking, grand theft auto and fleeing to elude was 17-year-old Tyrease Nashawn Perry.
The car was taken from a woman at gunpoint at the Dollar General store off Twitty Road. But deputies were able to locate it via the vehicle’s ONSTAR system. They were able to use the system to shut the car off during a pursuit on the Panther Parkway.
Perry was arrested a short distance from the traffic stop and taken into custody without further incident.
A Highlands County man has been sentenced to 20-years in prison on drug and weapons charges. 38-year-old Shelton Andrews drew the sentence yesterday at a Federal Court in Miami. Andrews had been charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.