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Workers free a driver who slammed a dump truck into heavy brush next to Myakkahatchee Creek in North Port on Wednesday.

Blood drive slated

VENICE — OneBlood’s next blood drive in Venice is set for Tuesday, Jan. 5 and Wednesday, Jan. 6 outside Venice City Hall, 401 W. Venice Ave. It’ll take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both days.

“OneBlood officials encourage all city employees and members of the public who feel well to come out and donate the ‘gift of life’ aboard the Big Red Bus to ensure that blood is available for those patients who need it,” it said in a news release.

It noted donating blood remains safe.

“COVID-19 does not pose any known risk to blood donors during the donation process or from attending blood drives,” it said. ‘Donors are asked to wear a mask and will be socially distanced aboard the bus.”

Donor receive a OneBlood T-shirt, a $20 Gift Card and free appetizer coupon for Carrabba’s Italian Grill, it noted. Donors also get a COVID-19 antibody test.

For more information, or to make an appointment, visit www.oneblood.org/donate-now/ and use code #9354, the news release said.

Dump truck crashes into heavy brushNORTH PORT — Emergency workers rescued a driver whose dump truck and trailer careened off Tamiami Trail and became wedged in the thick brush bordering Myakkahatchee Creek.

The crash happened at about 5:15 p.m. on northbound Tamiami Trail, where the trail bridges the creek.


Passing motorist Andrew Doyle arrived at the scene before police and firefighters.

Doyle, who served in the Army as a first responder, said he ran to the truck and pounded on the door, but got no response. He attempted to help the driver, who was stuck inside his cab due to the thick brush.

Emergency workers were able to get the driver out within 5 minutes of arriving, Doyle said. He was awake and talking with firefighters.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Runway work reconsidered

Reconstruction plans for Punta Gorda Airport’s main runway are at a standstill while the federal government decides if it wants to raise the runway by one foot.

Airport Chief Executive Officer James Parish updated airport commissioners of the delay at their meeting earlier this month.

The $15.8 million project is in the design phase, and was scheduled to begin construction in 2021. The airport has already rebuilt and lengthened its one other runway so that the only commercial airline, Allegiant, will have a place to land while the main runway is under construction.

The main runway has not been rebuilt since World War II.

Staff reports

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