3 To Know: Beached whale, tax deadlines, more
1. A 21-foot killer whale washed up on Palm Coast and died. Here's what we know
On Wednesday morning, the Flagler County Sheriff's Office reported an orca at least 21-feet-long had washed up on the shore of Palm Coast. Deputies kept the crowd of onlookers back as marine biologists from SeaWorld and officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission worked to evaluate the whale and remove it to be studied. Early reports indicate the elderly female whale probably died of an illness.
The orca, an adult female at least 21 feet long and approximately 5,000 lbs., washed ashore on the beach south of Jungle Hut Park in Palm Coast.
"This was an older female, with no signs of human interaction or trauma. There were signs of various illnesses," said Allison Garrett, Communications Specialist with NOAA Fisheries. "We will know more once necropsy results come back. Samples are taken and sent to the lab for analysis.” – C. A. Bridges/Staff
2. Tax deadlines 2023: Jan. 23 is the first day you can file your taxes, IRS announces
Mark your calendars: Monday, January 23 is the official start of tax season.
That’s the day the Internal Revenue Service will begin to accept and process tax returns, the agency announced on Thursday.
“Many software providers and tax professionals are already accepting tax returns,” the IRS said in a statement. “They will transmit those returns to the IRS when the agency begins accepting tax returns on Jan. 23.”
The IRS said more than 168 million individual tax returns are expected to be filed this year "with the vast majority of those coming before the April 18 tax deadline."
If there are no issues with your return, your refund should be delivered within 21 days if you file your return electronically and opt to have your refund directly deposited in your bank account, the IRS said.
Taxes are due by April 18 since April 15 falls on a Saturday and Emancipation Day, a holiday observed in Washington, D.C., is April 17. – Elisabeth Buchwald/Staff
3. Fort Myers Beach woman, 82, confirmed as latest Hurricane Ian victim after body recovered
Two days after news of a body recovered from the Fort Myers Beach mangroves began circulating, officials have confirmed its link to Hurricane Ian.
Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno provided the grim update during a Thursday news conference at the Lee County Sheriff's Office headquarters.
Marceno confirmed Ilonka Knes, 82, is the latest hurricane victim recovered.
"Most of us have gotten back to a sense of the new normal," Marceno said. "For some, still missing their loved ones every day since the storm has been difficult."
On Oct. 7, a wellbeing check was called in for Ilonka Knes, Marceno said, adding that most homes in that area were completely destroyed.
"After several attempts to locate Ilonka, she was entered as a missing person on Oct. 15," Marceno said.
On Tuesday, remains were discovered off Tropical Shores Way on Fort Myers Beach. Workers with a debris removal company made the discovery deep within the mangroves.
"She was one of two people still missing from Hurricane Ian," Marceno said. "I hope this discovery can bring the family some closure."
Knes was found about 800 feet away from her home. – Tomas Rpdriguez/Staff