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The top stories near you
• More details emerged on Friday of the people involved in last week’s horrific crash on Interstate 75 between Gainesville and Alachua. Officials released the names of the five children who died in a passenger van while headed to Disney World, as well as the names of the two truck drivers killed. The driver whose truck went across the center divider had a history of traffic tickets. And at one point during this decade, the number of crashes involving tractor-trailer trucks between Alachua, Marion and Sumter counties nearly doubled. (WUFT News, AP, Gainesville Sun)
• The Pentecostals of Gainesville are paying for the burials of those five children, who belonged to a Pentecostal church in Louisiana. (WCJB)
• A state legislator will try once again to eliminate gun-free zones on university campuses, including the University of Florida. (WFSU)
• UF parking’s game of musical chairs begins in earnest this week, with a commuter lot closing and those prized spots moving elsewhere on campus. (The Alligator)
• Ocala National Forest is largely — but not entirely — closed during the government shutdown. (Ocala Star-Banner)
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Around the state today
• Ron DeSantis takes the oath of office as Florida’s next governor tomorrow, becoming the state’s youngest governor in more than 100 years. Here’s a rundown of the week’s inaugural events. (News Service of Florida, Florida Phoenix)
• A lawsuit over the quality of Florida’s public schools (with origins in Alachua County) was rejected by the Florida Supreme Court on Friday. (Florida Politics)
• New year, but the same old red tide has returned to the Sarasota area. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)
• Eighteen people died from suicide on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay in 2018. The state is starting to consider solutions to prevent more. (Tampa Bay Times)
• Ex-felons can start registering to vote tomorrow, but unpaid court fees from their past may hinder the process. (WLRN)
• The Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute is working with casts made using 3D printers instead of plaster and fiberglass. (Florida Times-Union)
• People in Flagler and Volusia counties are seeing humpback whales this week. (Daytona Beach News-Journal)
• Bay County remains short on hospital beds in the months following Hurricane Michael. (Panama City News Herald)
News from NPR
• Health: Is It A Nasty Cold Or The Flu?