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The top stories near you
• The Gainesville City and Alachua County Commissions last night discussed the possibility of an event center, amid a larger discussion about development in East Gainesville. Though they did not reach a consensus on a site nor a budget, Thursday was the first time the city and county commissions jointly discussed a consultant’s recent report publicly. (WUFT News)
• The U.S. Army 81st Readiness Division, which covers nine Southeastern states, is looking to put an equipment concentration site at the old fairgrounds property in East Gainesville. The move is said to create close to 75 jobs paying an average of $50,000 per year. (Gainesville Sun)
• The University of Florida’s 2023 applicant pool has broken its previous record of 41,000 applicants. A week from today, 42,000 high school students will learn whether or not they can attend UF. Its recent jump to top-10 university status means competition is high. (The Alligator)
• The Gainesville Regional Airport set a new record for the number of passengers using its facilities in 2018. Reports show that 476,396 passengers flew into or out of the airport — a 6.5 percent increase from 2017. (Gainesville Sun)
• She’s watched the show since she was a child, and now Jade Ryan — a 25-year-old UF English senior — is a contestant on “Jeopardy.” The episode will air Feb. 5. (The Alligator)
• Mayor Lauren Poe and Interim City Manager Deborah Bowie presented Gainesville’s 2019 state of the city this week. One highlight included the Cade Museum and Depot Park area, which Poe said, “used to be a contaminated, toxic dumping ground and now it’s home to one of the world’s greatest parks and one of the world’s greatest museums for innovation and invention.” (WUFT News)
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Around the state today
• Former Gov. Rick Scott is facing backlash after breaching political etiquette. Former House Speaker Richard Corcoran is backing Gov. Ron DeSantis — who is facing the brunt of Scott’s cold shoulder. According to a text obtained by Politico, Corcoran urged DeSantis to “be statesmanlike” and “be bigger than him.” (Politico)
• According to DeSantis, all resemblance of Common Core in Florida will be erased during the rest of 2019. The governor is also looking to streamline testing; genuine teaching and learning have been major concerns of parents with the constant tests students face. Common Core has been controversial for years, but in 2014 when Florida tried to reshape its Sunshine State Standards, it copied many subjects from Common Core. (Florida Politics)
• Less than one week after the 35-day federal government shutdown ended, FloridaRick Scott urged President Donald Trump to use emergency powers to fund the border wall. “If the Democrats refuse to work with him, then the president needs to use his emergency powers to fund border security and include a permanent solution for DACA and TPS,” Scott said in a statement. (Miami Herald)
• Now may be the best time to see manatees as temperatures around the state continue to drop. In Orlando’s Blue Spring State Park, a massive herd of manatees has come to warm the waters of the park. (Orlando Weekly)
• The UCF Board of Trustees Chairman, Marcos Marchena, will step down amid the university having misspent $38 million. This comes after the university’s president, Dale Whittaker, and former Chief Financial Officer, Bill Merck, lost two years of bonus pay. The investigation continues to search for more executives who are involved. (Orlando Sentinel)