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Today’s top stories
• After a long 16 months, red tide counts along the southwest Florida coast are back to normal and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission maps have not shown any recent outbreaks, just days of clear water. (Fort Myers News-Press)
• An 11-year-old who attended Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland was charged with resisting arrest, having a confrontation with school officials and a law enforcement officer and disrupting a school function. It all started after he did not want to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance saying, “the flag is racist and the national anthem is offensive to black people.” The story has gone viral nationally. (Lakeland Ledger)
• Gainesville is looking for residents to help keep the wastewater clean. Most sewage overflows are from household fats and greases. “We want to encourage people to enjoy local water resources, but we want to keep them safe.” A 2018 report noted approximately 2,000 gallons of wastewater spilled into a storm retention pond due to blockage in the pipes. (Gainesville Sun)
• Ron DeSantis has asked lawmakers to send him a bill so he can change education policies in Florida, one of which would eliminate the private school waitlist. (Tampa Bay Times)
• Five fires occurred in Lake County over the course of two days. Officials are investigating to figure out what caused this. No one was injured, however, one of the fires is being investigated as arson. (Orlando Sentinel)
• There haven’t been any recent space shuttle launches out of Florida. Still, Space Coast residents are eager to watch the new launch by SpaceX on Feb. 21. (Florida Today)
• A bill has been proposed that residents fleeing natural disasters will be able to apply for a Florida license or professional license while keeping their existing license. (Florida Politics)
• “It’s free to everyone. You do not have to be an AARP member.” This is the 51st year that Florida has received free guidance with tax filing from AARP and anyone is welcome as long as a valid photo ID and Social Security Card is present. (Panama City News Herald)
• The New York Mets might move their spring training home in a few years from Port St. Lucie if the county commission there doesn’t vote today to fund $57 million in renovations to their ballpark. (TCPalm)
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