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The top stories near you
• The City of Gainesville and Unversity of Florida are working to have dockless scooter sharing on campus and around the city. They have no fixed station and resemble two-wheeled electric scooters. The two entities have an agreement to make sure “scooters aren’t just left all over the place,” says spokesman Chip Skinner. However, House Bill 453, which prevents cities from regulating scooter sharing services, may pose a threat to the entire deal. (WUFT News)
• Reichert House, a local after-school program that cares for about 100 children, is working to bridge the gap between East and West Gainesville. Caleb Young, a program manager, says he and the children have noticed a difference in available services such as grocery store locations and bus routes. Reichert House offers well-rounded services, including education, mentorship and case management to at-risk and high-risk young men in Alachua County. (The Alligator)
• One Gainesville mother’s frustrations with baby changing tables missing from public bathrooms comes at the same time as new legislation that would require them as part of the state’s building code. Lira Oehl took to Facebook to express her anger after having to change her two children in her car. Two lawmakers have proposed bills for that building code update, though neither one has yet to have a committee hearing. (WUFT News)
• The “plastic bag ban” coming to Gainesville has been pushed back by Gainesville city officials. Originally planned to take effect on August 1, 2019, the City Commission has moved to extend its deadline to the beginning of 2020. The ban would restrict local businesses, markets and retailers from using single-use plastic bags. This is in coordination with the city’s plans to become waste-free by 2040. (The Alligator)
• One Gainesville farm has recently introduced handicap-accessible picking to its strawberry fields. Roger’s Farm uses repurposed pipes to lower bushes and make them easier to reach. Farm owner Mike Stephens said he’d notice elderly and disabled family members ostracized from the family fun. Strawberry season has just begun and will last for a couple more months. (WUFT News)
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Around the state today
• The newest team project from our newsroom, “Invisible Aftermath,” documents the mental health and other unseen effects of Hurricane Michael as the Panhandle region crosses the six-month threshold since the storm hit. Read what we found has most impacted families in the region, as well as possible solutions to the situation. (WUFT News)
• A federal judge is threatening to block Carnival Cruises from docking in the U.S. as punishment for possibly violating terms of its probation. Carnival has been on probation for two years as part of a $40 million settlement for illegally dumping oil into the ocean from its Princess Cruises ships and lying about the scheme. (Florida Today)
• A Melbourne child diagnosed with a rare disease had her Wish fulfilled by softball professional Alex Powers. Brookelynn Dolin, 10, has Juvenile Dermatomyositis, a rare and complex, life-threatening autoimmune disease which affects her muscles and skin. Softball keeps Brookelynn active and helps her build muscle and body mass, which can be difficult under this disease. (Florida Today)
• Terror attack training sessions in Florida hospitals are helping medical centers prepare for the worst. Forty hospitals from eight counties, along with dozens of city and county agencies and more than 1,500 volunteers “victims” participated in a full-scale disaster drill to help prepare for potential “mass casualty” scenarios like a plane crash or terrorist attack. (TCPalm)
• Officials are setting aside this week to keep people aware of what they can do to prevent more wildfires and safeguard their properties. Florida in 2019 has already had 489 wildfires that have burned 7,360 acres. The Florida Forest Service will train its workers with a four-day course in the proper ways to cut down trees, cut fire lines and clear roads. (St. Augustine Record)
• Florida Senate Democrats have an agreement with the Republican majority to consider not making all teachers eligible to have guns in the classroom. Senate Bill 7030 would raise the gun purchasing age to 21, add more mental health services to schools and allow school staff to volunteer to be trained by local law enforcement to carry guns on campus. This comes after a Marjory Stoneman Douglas student and a parent of a Sandy Hook Elementary student died by suicide. (Miami Herald)