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The top stories near you
• Just after midnight yesterday morning, a Florida Highway Patrol struck and killed a pedestrian who was wearing black and walking on an unlit stretch of U.S. 441 near Ocala. (Ocala Star-Banner)
• John Kasich, the former Ohio governor who finished behind Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio during the 2016 Republican presidential primary, is visiting the University of Florida next week. (Florida Politics)
• These are the three finalists for Alachua County teacher of the year. (Gainesville Sun)
• A UF College of Pharmacy professor has accused 57 of her students of cheating. (The Alligator)
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Around the state today
• U.S. Sen Rick Scott wants to see Coast Guard employees paid as the shutdown drags on. More than 1,000 prison workers at Coleman Federal Prison in Sumter County are going unpaid. And at least a handful of Florida Congressmen have the right idea — refuse their own paychecks until the mess is resolved. (Tampa Bay Times, WMFE, Tallahassee Democrat)
• Scott and Marco Rubio split on whether to lift sanctions on Russia. (Tampa Bay Times)
• There are rocky days ahead at Bethune-Cookman University, with an alumnus saying, “there is no doubt that people are in a panic” as the school begins to deal with a financial crisis. (Daytona Beach News-Journal)
• Gov. Ron DeSantis yesterday toured parts of the Panhandle that are still trying to clean up from Hurricane Michael. The process is taking an enormous emotional toll on survivors. And someone is probably going to have to throw out a massive collection of unopened water bottles left behind last fall. (News Service of Florida, Panama City News Herald)
• Unlikely partners in advancing medical marijuana research, Florida’s Matt Gaetz and New York’s Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, may be trying to team up for a legalization push. (Florida Politics)
• There were four other mass shootings in Jacksonville in 2018 aside from the high-profile tragedy in August at Jacksonville Landing. (News4Jax)
• More than 3,000 teacher vacancies still exist statewide this year. (WFSU)
• Marsy’s Law, or Amendment 6 as you might have known it in November, is taking effect this month, but not without a few hiccups. (Florida Phoenix)
• “The most endangered big cat,” the Amur leopard, now numbers one fewer as a species after a euthanization at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens this week. (Florida Times-Union)