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The top stories near you
• A former wastewater spray field in Lake City is now a 121-acre wetlands project that is part of a $100 million statewide springs restoration initiative. “The projects focus on ensuring adequate and sustainable water supply, improving and maintaining good water quality, restoring and protecting natural systems, and improving flood protection,” said Lindsey Garland, a Suwannee River Water Management District spokeswoman. (WUFT News)
• InTec, an Ocala company, is partnering with University of South Florida professor William Kearns to develop software that will reduce the number of falls at assisted living facilities by using a combination of radar and complex mathematics. (Ocala Star-Banner)
• Although the number of administered tests decreased last year, some parents feel teachers are spending more of their time testing students during the school day than they are teaching them. That’s the latest answer in our Untold Florida podcast series, which is powered by curiosities from people like you. Have a question you’d like us to answer? Share it here. (WUFT News)
• Ocala Health’s newest freestanding 12-room emergency room, at Maricamp Road and Southeast 30th Avenue, had its ribbon-cutting and open house Monday. The $13 million facility is designed to handle a majority of emergencies from stitches to broken bones and will start seeing patients in early September. (Ocala Star-Banner)
• Three and a half years after Lola, a 9-year-old calico cat, escaped out the back door of her owner’s parent’s home in Gainesville, the pair was reunited when a Newberry woman who had been feeding Lola brought her to the Newberry Animal Hospital. (Gainesville Sun)
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Around the state today
• On Monday, the third day of the search for missing local engineer and paramedic Brian McCluney and Fairfax County, Va., firefighter Justin Walker, McCluney’s fishing tackle bag was discovered 50 miles off St. Augustine. Now, interim Fire Chief Keith Powers said they “need as many boats as we can get” that can handle the ocean 30 to 60 miles offshore to search for the men, missing with their 24-foot boat since setting out four days prior from Port Canaveral. (Florida Times-Union)
• A mysterious illness is affecting some Florida panthers and bobcats and their ability to walk, and state scientists are working to find out what it is. (Miami Herald)
• Florida’s official state tree, the sabal palm, is under attack from lethal bronzing. The bacterial disease turns them to dried crisps in months, with no chance for recovery once infected. The fatal disease spread by insects has killed tens of thousands of palm trees, and the pace of its spread is increasing, while the state is struggling to save its other arboreal icon, citrus trees, from two other diseases. (AP)
• Although the olive ridley sea turtle is one of the most abundant turtle species in the world, they aren’t seen in the U.S. but are mostly found in eastern India, Sri Lanka and on the beaches of Mexico down to Colombia. So how did Harry the turtle end up six miles offshore of Harris Park on Key Largo? (FLKeysNews)
• Florida state Sen. Travis Hutson, R-St. Augustine, and state Rep. Ana Maria Rodriguez, R-Doral, are leading the effort to make the sale of fireworks legal on Independence Day, Memorial Day and New Year’s Eve. (News Service of Florida)
• On Monday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio acknowledged the impacts of climate change and said the state should focus on adapting to the problems brought by global warming, instead of focusing on efforts to curb carbon emissions. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)