Local News 12-28-23

The Highlands County Sports complex on Sebring’s south side won’t be the only fresh-dressed sports facility in the County soon. The City of Avion Park has been awarded grants for some serious renovations at the City’s MLK Junior Sports Complex on East State Street. New pavilions, fencing, visitors bleachers and football and basketball playing surfaces are included in the plans. The $200,000 state grant will be matched by the city and the County’s Recreation and Parks Advisory Committee funds.

How about a nice walk though Highlands Hammock to start the new year? Park officials are running the “First Day Hikes” again Monday. Two walks are scheduled – one beginning at 9am from the Cypress Swamp Trail through a restricted area park visitors don’t generally get to see. A second walk begins on the Loop Road at the mammal kiosk and heads for the historic dam at Little Charley Bowlegs Creek. The walks are free once you’ve paid your park admission, they’re said to be easy walks, but dress for the weather and have long pants on.

A former Hardee County deputy fired back in November for alleged animal abuse at a pet care business he was running on the side, is back in trouble. Nicholas Zotto was arrested last week and charged with aggravated animal abuse. Police say a dog left in his care ended up near death after reportedly being denied water for several days.

And down in Lee County, Sheriff’s deputies and wildlife officials responded to a local mall to wrangle a 12-foot alligator caught window-shopping. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office said deputies responded to the Coconut Point Mall in Estero when the 600-pound gator was spotted wandering behind the Five Below store.

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