Local News 12-27-23

If you take advantage of the extended three-hour VPK “enrichment” program at the Highlands County Schools’ Pre-K Center next year, be prepared to pay a bit for it. The School Board last week agreed to institute a $50 weekly fee for the extended hours at the center for the 2024-2025 school year. The three-hour morning and afternoon session will remain free, but parents who use the extra hours will be asked for $10 a day to cover the costs.

The County School Board says it’s getting hoisted on the petard of some state regulations designed to prevent colleges in the state to give preference to so-called “woke” political views in procurement and purchasing. The legislation with that intent, said some members, may also require the County’s schools to hire blind while hiring training services for staff – one declared early candidate in next year’s elections, Lauren Bush, told the Board last week that one upcoming teacher training session includes social justice material that both she and current members found objectionable.

The annual Leapfrog reports for local hospitals are out and among the high notes, Advent Health Lake Placid was named on of Florida’s top Teaching Hospitals. Family and Internal Medicine residencies are new this year at the Lake Placid campus, with 19 Internal Medicine residents and 16 in the family medicine program. Advent Health Wauchula scored a top grade among rural hospitals in the same report. The Fall 2023 Leapfrog safety ratings rate Advent’s Sebring and Lake Placid campuses as “A” rated for overall patient safety … the only “A” scores given in the County.

A Christmas weekend tragedy up in Polk County took the life of a 40 year old Plant City woman Christmas Eve. The woman was riding her motorized wheelchair on a street in Lakeland when she was struck and killed by a 67 year old Plant City man with a blood alcohol content nearly double the legal limit. Please, this upcoming holiday weekend … have a designated driver in your posse if you spend time partying.

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