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The top stories near you
• State Rep. Stan McClain wants to see state funding for Ocala-area water projects and is requesting more than $4 million during this year’s legislative session that begins next month. Here’s some background on what’s been done so far and what he still seeks. (WUFT News)
• The University of Florida is still eager to hire at least 500 new faculty members by August of this year. The school plans to do so in hopes of being ranked a top-five public university. (The Gainesville Sun)
• Three of Gainesville’s four mayoral candidates discussed issues facing the city as part of a UF College Democrats event last night. (The Alligator)
• The head of Gainesville’s department in charge of duties like permitting, planning and annexation has resigned. While battling breast cancer and being states away from her husband, Wendy Thomas decided she was ready to move on. “It just seemed to be the right time,” she told The Gainesville Sun.
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Around the state today
• In 2018, the U.S. Senate race doubled Florida’s previous record for campaign costs. The final total was almost $205 million. (Florida Politics)
• Florida doctors and dentists will face repercussions if they do not comply and take a two-hour education course on proper opioid prescribing, and so far only 74.2 percent of these professionals have complied. (News Service of Florida)
• Gov. Ron DeSantis is pushing for an increase in scholarship funding for children ages 3 to 22 with special needs. He has proposed a $91.3 million budget that could take about 2,000 families off the Gardiner Scholarship waiting list. (Florida Politics)
• Three Parkland parents will be attending President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address. They were invited by Florida’s members of the U.S. Senate or House to sit in the House chamber and listen to the president’s address tonight. (Miami Herald)
• A Pensacola antique mall is in hot water after having a KKK figurine for sale. An African-American woman was shopping at Uncle Billy’s antique shop when she noticed an offensive item, and after questioning the store manager, the response was that it was a part of American history. (Pensacola News Journal)
• “These collectibles are symbolic of an era when we didn’t know much.” The dolphin exhibits that created a craze for Florida tourists dating back to the 1940s are now either closing or becoming less of an attraction due to the push to keep these mammals out of captivity. (Collector’s Weekly)