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Sebring CRA to consider firm for Master Plan update

SEBRING — The Sebring Community Redevelopment Agency will consider at its Monday meeting entering into an agreement with a firm to update the CRA’s Master Plan.

Four firms submitted proposals to perform the updating of the Master Plan.

The CRA Master Plan selection committee met Sept. 1 to begin negotiations with the top-ranked firm S&ME of Orlando. The firm’s proposal includes a total price of $107,270.

The selection committee’s recommendation is to approve of the utilizing S&ME for these services at the stated price in the proposal, according the the CRA meeting agenda.

For reference, the CRA’s last master plan update that was conducted in 2004 at a total cost of around $96,000, the agenda notes.

S&ME’s proposal said it will prepare an update of the 2004 Community Redevelopment Plans for the City’s CRA that will reflect the existing condition of the CRA and identify additional capital projects and redevelopment programming.

The kick-off and data collection on the update to the plan will include an S&ME project manager coordinating closely with the CRA program manager on the various aspects of the project including establishing the initial project schedule and performance milestones, identifying resources, reviewing public hearing/workshop options, planning the key stakeholder interviews, reviewing the project budget and scope and establishing a standing briefing schedule (bi-weekly) to provide the City timely project budget status and project completion updates.

Also the CRA will consider a design review application for 446 South Franklin St. and facade grant applications for 159 S. Commerce Ave., 204 S. Ridgewood Drive and 130 N. Ridgewood Drive.

The Sebring CRA will meet at 5:30 p.m., Monday, City Council Chambers, 368 S. Commerce Ave., Sebring.


Highlands_news-sun
Thorpe gets by with a little help from her friends

SEBRING — Carol Thorpe is 102 years young and said she is blessed to be able to stay in her home she bought with her husband Alton in 1995.Thorpe said it is only possible because of family and Nu-Hope caregivers.

After her husband died in 2009, Carol’s children, Sue Udy and Peter Thorpe decided to keep their mother in the home she loved. Sue is from Niagra Falls, New York and Peter is from Brevard, North Carolina and they split their time between Florida and their home states to ensure Carol is not alone.

The family turned to Nu-Hope for assistance in keeping their mother in her home.

“Carol’s family is amazing,” Jona Allan, her case manager said. “They take care of family members generation after generation. Carol is such a sweet and humble person. She has always been active in local churches and anywhere she can help.”

Nu-Hope Executive Director Ingra Gardner explained Nu-Hope’s goals.

“During these difficult times, Mrs Thorpe is a beacon of hope. Since 1975, Nu-Hope has assisted seniors with one primary goal - to reduce premature long-term placement,” she said. “Annually, the agency provides support to nearly 500 seniors. Services including home-delivered meals, personal care, and respite for caregivers help older adults age in place.”

Nu-Hope fills in some of the gaps for the family by assisting with personal care, cleaning and emergency response units. Carol appreciates the freedom of being in her home as opposed to an assisted living facility.

“I am much happier in my own place,” Carol said. “I can do as I please. I have two wonderful kids and a wonderful niece. I am extremely blessed. If I can’t sleep at night, I turn on the telly, if I want to make a sandwich, I can.”

When COVID-19 arrived on the scene, Carol’s family and Allan decided to have Nu-Hope caregivers do the shopping to limit the family’s exposure.

Lucinda Rodriguez has been with Nu-Hope for 20 years and helps Carol and her family.

“I don’t like my job — I love it,” Rodriguez exclaimed.

Peter said he really appreciates Rodriguez, especially when it comes to his mother’s personal care and housekeeping.

“ It would be extremely difficult to keep my mom at home without Nu-Hope,” Peter said.

“As a man, there are areas that I am inept at,” Peter said. “The house always looks better when Lucinda cleans.”

Peter is not inept at reading to his mother, as her eyesight is not as good as it used to be. When the pandemic is over, Carol plans to return to work at the thrift store at Church of the Redeemer.

“I have always been supported in my life, I am returning the favor,” Peter explained. “My mom took care of her mom and mother-in-law, and my sister took care of her husband’s mom. It’s the golden ticket.”

“Aging effects an entire community. Mrs Thorpe’s success is one that is due to the concerted efforts of invaluable donors and community partners,” Gardner said. “Though we are currently faced with unprecedented challenges, our community’s commitment to older adults and their caregivers is unwavering.”


Highlands_news-sun
Highlands sees 7 more deaths; Florida sees 98

SEBRING — Highlands County has recorded another seven deaths from or related to COVID-19, pushing the local death toll to 77.

The county’s number of cases also climbed by another 12 cases to 1,986, according to the Saturday morning report from the Florida Department of Health.

Health Department records indicate Saturday’s total was the largest single-day death toll for the county since June 1 — also seven deaths.

The Health Department also reported Highlands had 27 hospitalized with the virus on Saturday. There were 29 on Friday’s report and 21 on Thursday’s.

Highlands and many other counties in Florida still have higher death tolls than the entire states of Vermont, still with 58 deaths; Alaska, now with 43, and Wyoming, still with 42.

Meanwhile, Florida saw another 98 deaths in Saturday’s report, for a total of 12,600.

It was a marked drop from the 176 new deaths the state recorded on Friday and the more than 200 deaths recorded on Wednesday and Thursday.

The state has also passed the 660,000 mark in total number of COVID-19 cases Saturday. The total of 661,571 represented a 3,190 increase over Friday.

The state saw a jump of 3,650 cases in Friday’s update and 2,583 more cases in the Thursday report.

Friday’s report showed Florida had 43,399 COVID-19 patients in long-term care facilities, and another 21,548 in correctional facilities.

A county-by-county national database and COVID-19 dashboard at www.arcgis.com still ranks the county as “spreading.”

The same site listed the county as “epidemic” several weeks ago ago. Almost all surrounding counties still carry an “epidemic” status.

Cases in Florida’s Heartland, as of Saturday, were as follows:

- Polk County had a total of 18,337 cases, with a second day of a 109-case increase. Polk had 488 deaths, up five from the Friday report.

- Hendry County added another six cases Friday to have 2,014 cases, with still 41 deaths.

- DeSoto County added three more cases to now have 1,533 cases, with still 23 deaths.

- Okeechobee County, which added six cases on Thursday and another 18 on Friday, added another 12 in the Saturday report for a total of 1,325, along with another death for a total of 21.

- Hardee County, added another nine cases for a total of 1,211 cases, with still just nine deaths.

- Glades County, which had added 22 on Thursday and two cases Friday, added another four cases Saturday, but still has the lowest regional total with 474 cases — 14 fewer cases than Polk’s total deaths — and only four deaths.

Gilchrist County had a zero increase in Friday’s reports, the only county to do so that day, and had another zero increase on Saturday.

The Johns Hopkins University of Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center records 6,452,607 cases in the United States, 35,421 new cases from the Friday morning tally, and fewer new cases than those reported Friday and Thursday morning.

U.S. deaths are at 193,177, Johns Hopkins reports, an increase of 796 from the Friday morning total, but a drop in the number of new deaths from the 937 new deaths reported Friday and the 1,472 new deaths in the Thursday total.

Worldwide, Johns Hopkins reports the pandemic had 28,545,999 total cases as of Saturday morning, up 277,029 from Friday’s total, and 916,670 total deaths, up 5,388 from Friday.

Tallies of new cases and new deaths, both nationally and globally, represent sight drops from the report on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Highlands County Board of County Commission, in partnership with the Highlands County Department of Health and AdventHealth Sebring, will have free COVID-19 drive-up testing 5-6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday at the AdventHealth medical complex at 4240 Sun ‘N Lake Blvd. in Sebring.

Testing will be available by appointment from 5-7 p.m. on those days at that location, weather permitting.

Another testing event will have drive-through testing 8-9 a.m. Sept. 22 in the north end of Lakeshore Mall parking lot at 901 U.S. 27 South, near the old Sears.

Testing by appointment will be 8-10 a.m. Sept. 22.

Appointments can be made by calling 863-386-5690 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays.

All ages are welcome. People being tested must be Highlands County residents, according to a valid government identification card, and must be prepared to provide their date of birth, address and contact number.

Those being tested must stay in their vehicles.

Anyone who feels sick or believes he or she may have been exposed to the virus is urged to their primary care physician or the local health department to be tested as soon as possible.

As always, people are advised to wear masks in public, especially indoors, to wash their hands thoroughly and to keep a safe physical distance of six feet or more from others to help slow and stop the spread of the virus.