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The top stories near you
• As hurricane season approaches, some Gainesville residents are fearful and frustrated. With the lack of county support, people in one northwest neighborhood are anticipating floods blocking the only entrance and exit for the Hills of Santa Fe. Commissioners have acknowledged this issue but said there are both legal and financial limitations to their offering a solution. (WUFT News)
• The Florida Forest Service Waccasassa District in Gainesville yesterday performed 10 small controlled burns. A district wildlife mitigation specialist said they were needed because of the lack of rain for the past month — a dry spell that ended overnight. (Gainesville Sun)
• After traditional cigarette litter pick-up did not drastically help the issue of litter, Keep Alachua County Beautiful decided to use a new method by partnering with local businesses that frequently have smokers. Now, volunteers pick up buckets they provided to local businesses filled with cigarettes and take them back to headquarters. (WUFT News)
• Alachua County is working on updating rules on public fireworks. This includes raising the insurance policy for those with a permit to covering no less than $100 million in damage. Previous rules only required $100,000 in insurance coverage. The county manager would be responsible for issuing permits. The county fire marshall and Sheriff Office must also give written approval. (Gainesville Sun)
• The Gainesville Native American Festival this coming weekend will celebrate the native culture through music, art, dance and food. (WUFT News)
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Around the state today
• The Florida legislature is considering having notarized documents available online instead of tangible copies. Though this would make things more convenient for the state, critics say it would open the door to more fraud. (WUFT News)
• The Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation and Gulf Coast Community Foundation commissioned the University of South Florida to conduct research on mental health services. Results showed that there was a willingness, but still a high level of untreated mental illness among youth. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)
• The Florida Legislature has made efforts to fight against the opioid crisis by considering the use of E-prescriptions. Florida law enforcement officials said there is still an issue of people stealing prescription pads, illegal printing of prescription pads, alternating prescriptions and people seeing multiple physicians in one day. Other states have already adopted this legislation. (Florida Politics)
• A healthcare panel yesterday approved a bill that would allow counties across the state to create syringe and needle exchange programs. This would help combat the spread of hepatitis C and HIV. (News Service of Florida)
• U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott voted against the “Green New Deal” on Tuesday, a progressive resolution to help fight climate change. (Florida Politics)
• A bill that would make it a primary offense to text and drive passed its first House committee yesterday. Such a new law would allow police officers to pull drivers over if they suspect them of texting while operating the vehicle. The bill would also require the race and ethnicity of the driver to be reported to ensure that there is no racial profiling in its enforcement. (Florida Politics)