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The top stories near you
• Michael Reuschel faces decades in prison after a jury yesterday convicted him of attempted murder. He was accused of stabbing his wife and coming up with an alternate version of events that involved a home invasion. Sentencing is scheduled for next month. (WUFT News)
• The Gainesville City Commission last night opted against bidding on the Masonic Lodge for more than half a million dollars. The Masons are selling the 111-year-old building on North Main Street. (WUFT News)
• “Things here are totally unprecedented.” That’s the feeling within the Marion County School District as the superintendent and school board members continue to spar. (Ocala Star-Banner)
• The Matheson History Museum tonight is holding a reception to open its new exhibit exploring Tom Petty’s hometown roots. (Gainesville Downtown)
• W. George Allen, the first African American graduate of the University of Florida, died this week at age 83. (The Alligator)
• UF is spotlighting some of its student, staff, and faculty veterans who have served. (UF News)
• A former Lowell Correctional Institution corrections officer is now in the Marion County Jail on child molestation charges. (Ocala Star-Banner)
• Eleven days from now, Citrus County commissioners will revisit the issue that made them famous this month: Whether or not to spend taxpayer money on a digital subscription to the New York Times. Reactions have been pouring into the small county after word of the initial decision began to spread. (WMFE, Tampa Bay Times)
• Whitey Markle, one of this region’s most avid environmental activists, died this week at age 75. We visited his largely off-the-grid house in Citra for a story in 2013, when he told us, “Every time you flip on a switch, there’s something being destroyed so that you can have that light or that water. I feel good saving the energy.” (Sierra Club Florida News, WUFT News)
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Around the state today
• Florida Today is out this morning with an investigation that attempts to get accountability for the death of a U.S. Army veteran at the Brevard County Jail.
• An update on the interminable water wars: The U.S. Supreme Court asked a judge to hear arguments yesterday between Florida and Georgia. The judge heard those arguments, will give his recommendations back to the highest court, and those justices will then need to decide if they agree or need more information. (WFSU)
• President Donald Trump is now considering whether to sign federal legislation to prevent animal cruelty that was sponsored by U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)
• Miami is hosting the Super Bowl on Feb. 2, and ahead of that date, there’s a campaign underway to stop human trafficking. (WLRN)
• Palm Beach County is moving forward with its plan to get felons their voting rights back, regardless of the Amendment 4 cases being heard in the state Supreme Court and a federal court. (Palm Beach Post)
• “There was some very bad behavior going on that was revealed, and I think the noose is tightening on those who engaged in bad behavior.” The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating that alleged behavior within an Escambia County office. (Pensacola News Journal)
• “Failure to redeliver a hired vehicle” is an obscure but very real criminal charge in Florida, and one that a West Palm Beach police officer is now facing. (Palm Beach Post)