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The top stories near you
• WUFT reporter Emily Mavrakis recently spent a lot of time with a woman named Alecia Abel. Abel is a Newberry resident who has seen firsthand the discrimination of transgender people. Despite the troubles she has faced, Abel is completing her transition from man to woman.
• Every year, families across America travel to Waldo Motorcross to hone their skills in the perfect environment. When the cold weather and snow make it impossible to practice elsewhere, Waldo Motorcross welcomes these snowbirds into its family. (WUFT News)
• Workers from The Centers mistaken released a jail inmate as he was going through a mental health assessment. Johnny Allen was brought to the Salvation Army shelter instead of the Marion County jail. He was found and arrested north of Lake City in a stolen pick-up truck and with a gun on Wednesday. (Ocala Star-Banner)
• Hawthorne resident Caroline Anaya teaches yoga classes at Hawthorne Fitness Center specifically for senior citizens. She has exercised and taught fitness classes her whole life – doing yoga for 25 years. Now at 86-years-old, Anaya yoga has helped her and her students regain some strength and flexibility. (WUFT News)
• St. Francis House, one of Gainesville’s homeless shelters, yesterday added a new playground for families with children who stay there. (WUFT News)
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Around the state today
• Though the day looked beautiful, a somber hush fell over Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as the students, staff, and parents remembered the anniversary of last year’s tragic shooting. The school chose to have a “Day of Service and Love” event to feed first responders and pack lunches for undernourished children. Here are three reflections from a father, a teacher, and a student on what happened that day and what the year since has been like. (Miami Herald, WUFT News)
• St. Augustine is a good place for business when snowbirds flock south for the winter. The prime season begins in December and can last through March. The largest category of visitors, according to a St. John’s County Tourism Development survey, are those aged 55 to 64. (St. Augustine Record)
• Twelve members of the Orlando Police Department have been disciplined since December for misusing the Driver and Vehicle Information Database, a system that allows law enforcement officers to look up personal details about drivers. (Orlando Sentinel)
• In November, Florida voters chose to pass Amendment 4 – returning the right to vote to convicted felons who have completed their sentence and are not sexual offenders nor murderers. However, state lawmakers are having trouble defining exactly a “completed sentence” and “murder.” (Tallahassee Democrat)
• Leadership at the South Florida Water Management District continues its transition with executive director Ernie Marks’ resignation. Marks had worked for Florida’s largest water management agency for more than 10 years. It oversees flood control, water quality and Everglades restoration in 16 counties. (Palm Beach Post)
• Florida wildlife officials are investigating an increase in deaths of manatees in the Everglades over the past two months. Nine manatees have been reported dead, though only two bodies have been recovered. This comes after a rare Bryde’s whale beached itself on the shore in January. (FLKeysNews)
News from NPR
• Business: Amazon Drops Plans For New York Headquarters