Wow! Lots have changed in the last week. I think people are finally taking the advice to adhere to social distancing. Even most of the bigger businesses in our area are limiting how many people are cramming through their doors. Going to the grocery stores can just be eerie.

As information and anecdotal evidence is collected from around the world, more symptoms associated with COVID-19 have come to light. For example, if you’ve recently lost your sense of smell or taste, it could be a symptom of the novel coronavirus. Up to now, we’ve only heard the alarm sound …

This week, we are all concerned about proper precautions for avoiding contracting the coranavirus. Naturally, we want to take precautions — like washing hands thoroughly, sanitizing door handles and surfaces, and avoiding crowds. But, there are also psychological effects that need to be cons…

Between social distancing and self-quarantining, grocery store shelves are stocked with limited supplies as many people try to stock up knowing they can’t leave the house for 14 days. Debra Silverman, a Mayo Clinic dietitian, says that shopping for 14 days at home doesn’t have to become stressful.

Native Floridians probably grew up listening to the rhythmic call of the Chuck-will’s-widow, singing its name over and over. The Chuck-will’s-widow is nocturnal, a member of a family of birds known as nightjars.

You are reading this on April Fool’s Day (and I’m writing it on a beautifully clear New Year’s Day, 2020). You might wonder if I’m trying to trick you with a story about Christmas and New Year’s. But I’m not.

We can’t pretend the current world crisis with COVID-19 is not happening. It is and it is life changing for us all. We may have a ‘new normal’ for months ahead. We need to tap into our inner strength, and our creativity, to help us face new and unexpected challenges.

Stay-at-home orders, how the virus that causes COVID-19 behaves, and specific surfaces the virus lives on make up some of the many questions that Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and director of Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group recently answered.

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NEW YORK — A nurse with asthma, a grandfather with cancer and a homeless man with no known family are wracked with coronavirus-induced fevers. They are struggling to breathe, and a ventilator could save their lives. But who gets one when there aren’t enough to go around?

About 35 years ago, two local residents first met while helping a friend to move. All three were tennis players and the two helpers ended up being tennis partners and best friends.

There have been many stories over the years regarding the meaning behind the Buck Island Ranch 2S brand. Some say it had no significance at all. However, those in the cattle business know there is always some meaning behind a ranch’s holding brand.

Did you know that you can check out e-books and audiobooks through the public libraries’ website? All three public libraries in Highlands County are closed until further notice for public health safety, but there are still plenty of ways to get new material during this time. Most of the onli…

Children are not immune to COVID-19. They are getting infected with the disease and can spread it, but they do not get as sick as adults. Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a Mayo Clinic pediatric infectious diseases specialist, offers some insight as to why.

NEW YORK — Doctors and nurses pleaded for supplies such as masks and ventilators that are critical in their battle to treat a surging number of coronavirus patients, while governments on Tuesday continued to roll out measures that have put more than one-fifth of the world’s population under …

Good news: There is no evidence that dogs and cats can get coronavirus! The AJC website says, “It is always a good idea to wash your hands before and after petting or feeding the dog, according to veterinarians.”

On behalf of the volunteers of the Avon Park Historical Society, Nancy Fisk and Elaine Levey accept the Yard of the Month Award presented by the AP Founders Garden Club. These volunteers show up each month to do maintenance of the garden at the AP Historical Museum. Pictured are Nancy Fisk, …

Everybody hanging in there? Hopefully when this goes into print there are still no cases in Highlands County. Praying this coronavirus will just dissipate. Hopefully none of our seniors are having any unexpected health issues.

Did you know that aspirin can cause hearing loss? Aspirin is one of many ototoxic drugs, drugs that are toxic to the ear, specifically the cochlea, the auditory nerve and occasionally the vestibular system, or the inner ear and balance.

Older adults and those with serious chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, are at higher risk of developing serious complications if infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

AVON PARK — Each month the Avon Park Founders Garden Club presents a Yard of the Month Award to parties who maintain their landscape. The March award was presented to a group of ladies who are members of the Avon Park Historical Society. On the first Saturday of every month these volunteers …

The show started as practically a shot-for-shot remake of the British version of “The Office” that aired in the United Kingdom and starred Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. The folks at NBC were not impressed, but they gave the series a shot anyway with an initial six-episode order.

Directors, employees and volunteers of Heartland Food Reservoir, Inc., d/b/a Heartland Food Bank, wish to express our sincere thanks to the multitude of parties who contributed to the successful acquisition of our new truck which was delivered within the last week.

Lake Placid Men’s Senior Softball league ended their 2020 season on Monday, March 16, having played 20 games of the 23 game schedule. Highlands County closed the softball sports complex in response to the growing coronavirus outbreak. Players were disappointed at the abrupt end to the season…

The Freshwater Fishing Forecast for the second half of the fourth week of March gives anglers the end of the new moon phase and an ideal fishing weather forecast.

Businesses are shutting down. People are out of work. Supplies are in high demand. Social distancing is being implemented. And now, churches are closing their doors. Why? The coronavirus that has wreaked havoc around the world is now spreading throughout our nation, our state, and even our o…

SEBRING — The Board of Directors, employees and volunteers of Heartland Food Reservoir, Inc., d/b/a Heartland Food Bank, wish to express our sincere thanks to the multitude of parties who contributed to the successful acquisition of our new truck which was delivered within the last week.

With attention diverted to coronavirus social distancing and the imminent travel required of many Canadian members, the Golf Hammock ladies maintained excellent focus to finish two 18-hole League Championship rounds. With plenty of virus-friendly “elbow bumps” and encouragement, these ladies…

Recruitment refers to a person’s sensitivity to sound. It also has to do with the speed in which the sound becomes uncomfortable. Recruitment is when sounds rapidly become too loud. In other words, not gradually.

It might be closer to spring than winter, but it’s still flu season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there will be 34 million flu illnesses and 350,000 hospitalizations, as well as 20,000 deaths from the flu for the 2019-2020 season. The number of deaths include…

In February 2000, President Clinton designated March as National Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Each year, in growing numbers, patients, survivors, physicians, and other advocates work together to heighten the awareness of the prevalence and the preventable nature of the disease.

Nearly three of every 1.000 babies are born with some form of hearing loss. In most cases, hearing issues aren’t discovered in children until they are at least 2 years old.

Vegan Raw Food Group (Heartland Vegan Society) — meets the second Thursday each month. Learn to prepare healthy, plant-based dishes free of gluten and added oils. Call Bren at 863-385-5413.

This past month the SAR was very proud to award the Certificate of Commendation to Humphrey H. Pachecker (center) and his beautiful wife, Guadalupe Martinez (left), by SAR flag chairman, James Dean (right), for exemplary patriotism in the display of the flag of the United States of America.