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The top stories near you
• The 2019 Florida alligator hunting season has wrapped up, but before it did, two of our storytellers traveled with a pair of hunters determined to secure a state record for the longest and heaviest gator. Did they get it? You’ll have to read her narrative from Crescent Lake to find out. (WUFT News)
• We haven’t written much about the Koppers cleanup in Gainesville since the Superfund site was under consideration for the new Alachua County fairgrounds location, but the process has proceeded steadily this year under the oversight of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Here’s an update. (WUFT News)
• Closing arguments and jury deliberation are set to begin today in the trial of Michael Reuschel, charged with the attempted murder of his wife. Yesterday, he recounted his version of the night of the crime. (WUFT News)
• The Ocala Star-Banner has a two-part report about the outcome of a whistleblower complaint against the head of Marion County schools. She now intends to fire the whistleblower.
• Gainesville city commissioners and Alachua County School Board members have committed to work together to solve racial inequity in the city and county within the next five years. The plan calls for the creation of more after school and out-of-school programs. (WUFT News)
• The University of Florida’s “moonshot” attempt at getting a scientist in every Florida school has begun in five pilot districts. These are the efforts so far in Palm Beach County. (WLRN)
• State Sen. Keith Perry is getting involved in helping improve recidivism rates for released prisoners by creating new programs: “If you don’t have that in the prison system, then don’t expect a guy to get out of jail, (hand him) a $50 check and drop him off at the intersection where he was arrested and say, ‘Oh yeah, you learned your lesson.’ It just doesn’t work that way.” (Tallahassee Democrat)
• Interested in skimming some of Ocala’s history? The Florida & Puerto Rico Digital Newspaper Project now offers this collection from the early 1900s: “Situated in rural Marion County, the Ocala Banner covered farming, business, and civic issues in Ocala, where the Freeze of 1895 had devastated the citrus industry and paved the way for diversified agriculture and the growth of tourism.”
• If you haven’t yet watched the viral video of monkeys jumping from trees into the river at Silver Springs State Park where a kayaker was paddling, here it is. (WESH/YouTube)
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Around the state today
• The Florida Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday on the felon voting rights amendment and implementation law. A ruling from the justices will follow in the coming weeks or months. (Florida Phoenix)
• There’s a sad outcome pending for one of the Orlando police officers involved in two of that city’s most tragic events of these past four years. Alison Clarke could be fired Friday and lose her pension due to department changes that followed after the Pulse shooting and killing of another officer in 2017. (WMFE)
• In other Orlando police news, the New York Times this week reported on the legal wrangling within the new frontier of using DNA site data to help solve criminal cases.
• Even with Hurricane Irma damage, citrus greening, and fewer Americans drinking orange juice, there are glimmers of hope for Florida’s citrus industry. (WFSU)
• A year after being term-limited out of the state attorney general seat, Pam Bondi has reemerged to help President Donald Trump in the impeachment battles to come. (Politico)
• Elected officials in the Bradenton area are joining other Florida communities that are trying not to restrict speech but rather certain areas like medians in an effort to limit panhandling. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)
From NPR News
• Politics: Jeff Sessions To Seek Senate Comeback
• Business: A Ban On High-Cost Loans May Be Coming