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Gainesville immigrants lean on community in the face of challenges

Paula and her family left their native Mexico to chase their dream of opportunity in the United States. A lot of paperwork and a two-day bus ride later, they arrived in Gainesville in May. Since then, Paula’s family has struggled to get their feet on the ground. Paula and her husband do not have the legal documentation to work in the U.S. Their efforts to find schools for their sons and a way to earn an income while dealing with their legal status have been nearly impossible to navigate, said Paula, who is waiting for her family's 2024 court date to seek asylum. Paula’s story exposes the challenges that immigrants face in Gainesville and other parts of the country.

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Photo story: Bobby Two Hats

Bobby Two Hats, whose official name is Robert Johnson II, spends his mornings in front of Wawa on University Avenue, across from the University of Florida, in Gainesville, Fla. He always has a cup of coffee in hand and sometimes a side of bacon, too. He’s never had a bank …

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Montbrook Fossil Site volunteers unearth pieces of life millions of years old

Five to 6 million years ago, the area of the Montbrook fossil dig site in eastern Levy County was likely a river. Now, eight years after the discovery of bones in the area, it is one of the most productive fossil sites in the Southeastern United States. Over 70,000 specimens have been collected by the Florida Museum of Natural History and crews of volunteers. 

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Infamous Diamonds dance competition team dazzles Gainesville crowds

Step up and get bucked down. It’s as simple as that. And the Infamous Diamonds of Gainesville always bring their A-game. Majorette-style dance began in the 1960s, with dance lines at historically Black colleges and universities that typically accompanied marching bands. Shows such as “Bring It!” popularized the hip-hop style of majorette dance and competition in 2014, making it a household dance style for many who were unfamiliar with it.

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Weathering the storm: Homeless Micanopy couple spent two hurricanes in a tent

Of the thousands of motorists who drive southbound Interstate 75 every day, hundreds take the Exit 374 ramp toward Micanopy, and they all pass Sharon James and Tim Rader. James and Rader have been “off and on” homeless for over 20 years and have been in Florida since 2016. They spend their days panhandling at the exit and return to their tent in the woods at night, where they weathered Hurricane Ian and Tropical Storm Nicole. 

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Data do not account for families experiencing homelessness in Alachua and surrounding counties

An accurate record of the number of families experiencing homelessness in Alachua County and surrounding areas is nonexistent. According to Patrick Dodds, the director of Continuum of Care in Gainesville, there are currently about 10 homeless families in the coordinated entry system in need of housing assistance. “I think the number’s probably 10 times that,” Dodds said. “Families are often kind of the invisible homeless.” 

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