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Celebrating Seuss and the National Read Across America Day

LAKE PLACID — Whether you’re hopping on pop, eating green eggs and ham with Sam I am, no matter if there’s a Wocket in your pocket, you can say a hearty “happy (belated) birthday” to Theodor Seuss “Ted” Geisel. Better known to the world as Dr. Seuss, beloved author and illustrator of 60 children’s books.

Seuss would have been 116 years old on March 2. He was born in 1904 and died in 1991 at 87. His contributions to children’s literature is so important that his birthday March 2, has been deemed National Read Across America Day. That’s just what Lake Country Elementary students did- they read Dr. Suess books and celebrated his birthday.

Classes read stories and learned about the author, the kids colored and laughed at the tales of spooky green pants and talking, naughty cats. The youngsters in Jean Brown’s Pre-K migrant class created hats that would have made “The Cat in the Hat” proud.

In Katie Duncan’s kindergarten class, they read “I Can Read with My Eyes Shut,” “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish,” and “What was I Scared of?” in the morning. Nearly 10 kids sat on a rug focused on Duncan as she held up “The Cat in the Hat” to be read.

The kids oohed and ahhed and tried to predict the twists and turns of the plot as the Cat in the Hat was all but destroying the house while the mother was out. The youngsters called out the rhyming words that matched.

“I knew it,” was called out by many as the Cat in the Hat dropped his balancing act and made a mess.

As the story ended, with the mess cleaned up, Duncan asked the children if they would tell their moms what happened or if they would just stay silent.

“I would tell the truth,” was muttered by all.

Story time was over and it was time for another fun project. The kids drew “The Cat in the Hat” line by line and colored him. Payton Smith said her favorite book from today was “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.”

“It had funny stuff in it and I wasn’t scared of anything,” Payton said.

“We have to learn what an author and an illustrator is, so this fits,” Duncan said. “We also learned about rhyming, so Dr. Seuss is perfect for kindergartners.”

Duncan said her favorite book is “The Cat in the Hat” because of all the made-up characters.

Many of Dr. Seuss’ books have been turned into movies such as “The Grinch that Stole Christmas,” “The Cat in the Hat,” and “Horton Hears a Who!.”

The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss on television keeps Geisel’s lessons alive for children with a Cat in a Hat and a cast of others. A Seussville website is another interactive way for kids to have fun.

Geisel used the pen name Dr. Seuss after being thrown off a Dartmouth magazine because he violated the Prohibition laws, according to Time. Seuss was his mother’s maiden name.

Dr. Seuss has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has many honors and awards, but perhaps the most impressive award was a Pulitzer.

School District & SFSC monitoring coronavirus reports

SEBRING — Information on the coronavirus is being monitored by the School Board of Highlands County and South Florida State College, as Governor Ron Ron DeSantis has declared a public health emergency with two cases of the virus having been confirmed in Florida.

The School District issued a letter to parents on Friday prior to the announcement of two suspected cases in the Sunshine State.

“We know that parents and staff are concerned about the possibility of it spreading,” Superintendent Brenda Longshore stated in the letter.

For information, visit the Florida Department of Health website at www.floridahealth.gov or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, the letter advised.

“At this point, our primary focus is on flu prevention,” Longhsore stated. “We will continue working with the Department of Health on proactive measures to address contagious diseases and will provide additional infomation as it becomes available.”

South Florida State College reports it is “proactively monitoring” the news and information concerning the coronavirus and its impact on the state of Florida.

“We continue to share information with the SFSC community as it becomes available. The college has not canceled or postponed any programming or events at this time, but we will follow the lead of the Department of Education should anything change,” according to Melissa A. Kuehnle, SFSC director, Institutional Communications.

The two cases of coronavirus that have been confirmed in Florida are in adults in Manatee and Hillsborough counties. Both of whom have been placed in isolation.

DeSantis said state labs that are now set up in Jacksonville, Tampa and Miami to test for the virus and produce results within 24 to 48 hours. Previously, tests had to be done in federal labs and results might not be known for three to five days.

DeSantis on Monday reiterated that the risk of the novel coronavirus in Florida “remains low,” despite acknowledging that two residents have tested positive and that the state is anticipating more cases in the future.

As of Monday, a total of 23 people had been tested in Florida for the virus, known as COVID-19, and the state was awaiting test results on another 18 people.

“We are anticipating there will be additional positive tests,” DeSantis told reporters in Tampa outside a Department of Health testing laboratory, while stressing that overall, “I would just tell people the risk remains low.”

The Manatee County case involves a man in his 60s who has not traveled abroad to any of the countries considered hot spots for the virus. He is a patient at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota and is in isolation, according to a memo the hospital sent Sunday to some of its physicians.

The Hillsborough County case involves a woman in her 20s who returned from northern Italy, the site of a large outbreak of the virus. DeSantis said the woman had a roommate while abroad but said the roommate was not a state resident and that he didn’t have any additional details.

The Hillsborough County woman is isolated at home, according to Florida Department of Health Secretary Scott Rivkees.

The CDC currently recommends community preparedness and everyday prevention measures be taken by all individuals and families in the United States, including voluntary home isolation when individuals are sick with respiratory symptoms, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue and disposal of the tissue immediately thereafter, washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers with 60%-95% alcohol if soap and water are not readily available and routinely cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects to increase community resilience and readiness for responding to an outbreak.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

Teachers, students raise money for playground equipment

LAKE PLACID — The Lake Placid Montessori Academy has been educating children in town for 20 years. The school is operated by owner Jennifer Payne and has grown to encompass two campuses. The original campus is at 9 Lakeview St. and the second campus is at South Florida State College’s Lake Placid campus at 500 E. Interlake Blvd.

The satellite campus at SFSC opened about three years ago, according to teacher Juli Coker. When RCMA left the building, Montessori moved in. However, the playground conveyed with RCMA.

The dedicated teachers and students at Montessori Academy are raising funds for new playground equipment and an overhaul to the fenced-in play area at the school. Frank Hartzell was an integral part of the chicken dinner fundraiser and the children held a garage sale.

A walk-a-thon and bike-a-thon will be planned for 8:30-9:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 11 at the campus at 500 E. Interlake Blvd. The children are seeking to be sponsored per lap.

A silent auction will be held at the Interlake Boulevard campus and is open to the public. Tables with the items will have a bid sheet. Patrons can bid from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. the week of March 9-13.

Area businesses and companies that provide services have donated very nice items such as a guided bass fishing tour worth $300 and a pressure wash service worth $300, gift baskets from Chic Chick and The Blueberry Patch, gift certificates from Mr. Sammy’s Pizza and Glenda Jean’s Country Kitchen and more. Coker said more items are being added.

Jaime Wood explained why she and her fellow students want a new playground.

“It’s boring out there,” she said. “We get to play kickball, but we want more activities. We want swings because it makes you feel like you’re flying. A slide would be nice. Everyone would have more fun.”

Coker said they would like to see the area mulched and have pavers in different areas. There will be a tether ball and a portable basketball hoop. There will also be a new playground as well.

Early voting starts for Sebring Council election




SEBRING — Early voting started Monday at the Highlands County Supervisor of Elections Office for the City of Sebring City Council election.

There are four candidates for three council seats.

The candidates include the three incumbents seeking re-election — Tom Dettman, Mark Stewart and Lenard Carlisle, and the only challenger, Mark Wilson. The top three vote-getters will serve a three-year term on the City Council.

Early voting will continue 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., daily, through Friday at the Supervisor of Elections’ Office, 580 S. Commerce Ave., Room A201, Sebring.

Highlands Supervisor of Election Penny Ogg said on voting day (March 10) there will be six precincts open at four locations. The results will be tabulated at the Supervisor of Elections Office after the polls close at 7 p.m.

The City of Sebring election day will be on March 10.

The precincts that will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day are as follows:

Precinct 7 & 11S – Sebring Elks Lodge, 2618 Kenilworth Blvd., Sebring.

Precinct 8 & 15S – Sebring Recreation Club, 333 Pomegranate Ave., Sebring.

Precinct 9 – Boys & Girls Club, 111 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Sebring.

Precinct 10 – Sebring Masonic Lodge, 1809 Home Ave., Sebring.

The voter registration books closed on Feb. 10 for the election.

If you have any questions about voter registration, polling locations or vote by mail ballots, call the Supervisor of Elections’ office at 863-402-6655.

If your signature has changed since you registered to vote, you may need to provide a signature update to the Elections’ office. Signatures on petitions and absentee ballots are always checked against the original voter registration signature and it is the responsibility of the voter to be sure the signature is updated when it changes.

If you need to update your signature, call the Elections’ Office at 863-402-6655 to have a form sent to you.