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5 Things To Know On Thursday, February 18, 2021

Posted at 6:49 AM, Feb 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 06:48:59-05

While you were sleeping, we compiled the biggest stories of the day in one place. Each story has a quick and easy summary, so you're prepared for whatever the day brings. Just click on the links if you want to know more!

1. Mission to Mars: Watch Perseverance land live
NASA scientists are cautiously optimistic as Perseverance, the Mars rover that launched on July 30, 2020, is set to land on the red planet this afternoon.

According to NASA, the rover’s landing will be the most challenging touchdown on Mars attempted by the agency. The landing will conclude a 293 million mile journey the craft.

The rover will land on Mars around 3:55 p.m. ET Thursday. We will stream the landing live on our website and social media pages.

NASA's Mars rover to land on the red planet Thursday

2. The most wonderful time of the year: Girl Scout Cookies are back!
While you still might run into the troops at Publix and Walmart locations, other scouts like Charley Jankosky are getting creative selling in the digital space due to the coronavirus pandemic.

She not only sells online, but for every 'A' Charley gets on her assignments, her grandpa is donating one box to the military.

If you don't know a Girl Scout, you can use the camera feature of your phone to buy cookies by scanning this QR code.

Thursday is the big day it's the first official day the Girl Scouts start selling their tasty cookies.
Thursday is the big day it's the first official day the Girl Scouts start selling their tasty cookies.

If you want to donate cookies to the military, you can use your phone's camera to scan this QR code.

Donate Girl Scout Cookies to the military.
Donate Girl Scout Cookies to the military.

3. Former President Donald Trump, Florida lawmakers react to Rush Limbaugh's death
Following the death of legendary conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh on Wednesday, some of Florida's top Republican lawmakers shared their thoughts about his life and career.

Former President Donald Trump, who awarded Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom during his State of the Union Address last year, released a statement saying, "His honor, courage, strength, and loyalty will never be replaced."

Gov. Ron DeSantis released a statement saying, "Casey and I are truly saddened to learn of the passing of fellow Floridian and our friend, Rush Limbaugh." You can read their full statements and more at the link above.

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh dies after battle with lung cancer

4. Speaking of DeSantis: Gov. responds to criticism saying vaccine will go to 'counties that want it'
The Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch pop-up site, which will administer 3,000 doses to patients, is controversial because it's only open to residents living in two particular zip codes in Manatee County.

Critics point out these are two of the wealthier zip codes and that residents in the two eligible ZIP codes only make up about 8 percent of Manatee County’s overall 30,557 confirmed coronavirus cases.

"If Manatee County doesn’t like us doing this, then we are totally fine with putting this in counties that want it. And we’re totally happy to do that," DeSantis said. "So anyone that is saying that, let us know. If you want us to send it to Sarasota next time, or Charlotte, or Pasco, or wherever, let us know. We’re happy to do it."

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis talks COVID-19 vaccine controversy

5. Happy Gilmore challenges Shooter McGavin at Boca Raton Resort & Spa
Happy Gilmore hasn't lost his slapshot swing. Adam Sandler, who owns a home in Boca Raton, shared a video on his Twitter page in which he teases the return of his hot-headed, foul-mouthed, ex-hockey-player-turned-golfer.

It was obvious by the background that Sandler recreated his character's signature swing at the Boca Raton Resort & Club.

Actor Christopher McDonald, who played Shooter McGavin, and Ben Stiller got in on the fun.

BONUS: Local gator does his best Happy Gilmore impression
Marc Goldstein and his two playing partners were surprised when they saw the gator grab his golf ball after an errant shot at Pelican Sound Golf Club in Estero.

He started recording with his cellphone when it became apparent the gator wasn't giving up the ball.

Luckily, Marc didn't make Chubb's mistake and try to get the ball back.

Alligator grabs golf ball and swims away at Florida golf club

Today's Forecast
Temperatures soaring again on Thursday:

Latest Weather Forecast: Thursday 5 a.m.

Get your complete hour-by-hour forecast here.

On This Day In History
On February 18, 2001, Dale Earnhardt Sr., considered one of the greatest drivers in National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) history, dies at the age of 49 in a last-lap crash at the 43rd Daytona 500.

Remember, you can join Mike Trim and Ashleigh Walters every weekday on WPTV NewsChannel 5 beginning at 4:30 a.m. And you can always watch the latest news from WPTV anytime on your favorite streaming device. Just search for "WPTV."