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Today’s top stories
• Hurricane Michael survivors were living in tents in a church parking lot after their homes were destroyed in October. When Bay County dismantled the tent community, one woman decided to help. Shelly Summers now cooks, cleans and offers warm showers for 14 people who live in tents in her backyard. As our reporter Mackenzie Behm found, her next goal is to create permanent housing for them and any other survivors who need help.
• Floridians may need to prepare for some brisk wind chills in the 20s tomorrow morning, but that’s nothing compared to the numbers listed on this map of the Midwest. (Florida Storms)
• An organization in Ocala called “Love Built Tiny Homes” constructed small yet practical homes for those in need. It’s eager to serve in more cities. (Ocala Star-Banner)
• The Alachua County Conservation Trust and Alachua County have purchased 578 acres of land, all for protecting wildlife and water systems. (Gainesville Sun)
• For years, Airbnb didn’t collect bed taxes for Florida county governments. But in one year, the company doubled the amount of tax revenue collected for those counties. (Florida Politics)
• Former federal prosecutor Laurel Lee will be Florida’s new Secretary of State. (Tampa Bay Times)
• Red tide had a major effect on hotel occupancy in Sarasota, making it the worst period for that area’s tourism since the months following Sept. 11, 2001. (Herald Tribune)
• After the longest shutdown in U.S. history, Kennedy Space Center employees are heading back to work, eager to be paid again. (Florida Today)
• State Sen. Jeff Brandes filed a bill that would allow medical marijuana to be smoked if it passes. The legislation follows Ron DeSantis’ request for such a change earlier this month. (Florida Politics)
• The Orlando nonprofit Come Out With Pride bid to host WorldPride in 2026, a celebration for the LGBTQ community that would happen 10 years after the Pulse shooting. (Orlando Sentinel)
Today’s sponsored message
There’s no denying the importance of a good education.
Millhopper Montessori is one of only two area private schools accredited by FCIS, due in part to our highly-credentialed teachers and STEAM-enhanced curriculum. Millhopper’s unique methods allow each preschool through middle school student to explore and learn, all in a safe and secure environment. Millhopper students develop into poised, compassionate and creative leaders who are prepared for the next level. Call 352-375-6773 or visit millhopper.com today to schedule your tour.