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• The Williston General Hospital will remain in operation after paying off its utility debt. The city council had come to an agreement on a specific payment plan to keep the facility up and running. (WUFT News)
• Scott Rivkees of the University of Florida Shands Hospital has been named the state’s surgeon general. Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed him, and Rivkees will serve as secretary for the Florida Department of Health. (WUFT News)
• Thomas Frazer, University of Florida’s Natural Resources and Environment director, has been selected by DeSantis as Florida’s chief science officer. Frazer is also a biologist who specializes in how pollution affects water quality. (Miami Herald)
• From 30 at one point to now six, dairy farms in Lafayette are struggling to stay afloat. Many farmers are going bankrupt because people are consuming less milk: “There are other alternatives for people to use, and people are just not drinking as much milk.” The average family now buys 18 gallons of milk annually. (WUFT News)
• Parking decals for non-students at the University of Florida are set to increase by $18, and one faculty member is not too happy about it: “I just don’t feel in favor of this regulation to increase parking prices for faculty.” (The Alligator)
• The Florida House’s part of an initiative for major new roads in Florida — one of which would come through our region — includes setting aside $45 million to study the plan, with construction beginning as soon as 2022. (WUFT News)
• Gainesville City Commissioner Harvey Ward wants to talk about the recent Gainesville dog attacks at the city’s meeting on Thursday. (WUFT News)
• What started out as a comical fundraiser involving zucchinis has now turned into 35 years of a festival, raising money for the fire department of Windsor. Alachua County Commissioner, Robert “Hutch” Hutchinson has been there from the start, helping come up with the idea of a zucchini festival. The festival includes zucchini inspired food, a zucchini carving contest, a sand pile coin hunt, live music, a Cook-a-Zuke contest, raffle giveaways, a plant sale, pony rides, and many more activities for people of all ages. The event will take place on May 11. (WUFT News)
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Around the state today
• Dead trees left behind from Hurricane Michael last year have worsened wildfires near Panama City. A wildfire spreading 600 acres this past weekend forced the evacuation of two dozen homes, and the fallen trees made it difficult for the firefighters to get where they needed to go to help put the fires out. These wildfires could potentially be a scare for another disaster. “Even a normal fire season in the Panhandle could be catastrophic because of all the fuel.” (Tampa Bay Times)
• Cane toads could be a serious threat to pets. These poisonous amphibians are rampant in South Florida, especially in Palm Beach Gardens. (WUFT News)
• Eighteen months after Hurricane Irma hit the Florida Keys, 172 canals have officially been cleaned. Everything from a toilet to a minivan was found in the canals. The project was funded with federal money and was done under budget and ahead of schedule. (FLKeysNews)
• Congressman Francis Rooney wants answers and wants them by May. He is pressing the Center for Disease Control to give him a well-explained answer on the toxic algae that took over South Florida waters just last year. (Fort Myers News-Press)
• Central Florida is looking to welcome new neighbors — millions, in fact. According to a report, by 2030, there will be 5.2 million residents living in Central Florida with 1,500 people moving in per week. (Orlando Weekly)
• The Florida Department of Transportation has imposed a $4.2 million fine on Conduent State & Local Solution for having many issues during last year’s SunPass conversion. (Orlando Sentinel)