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The top stories near you
• This is the time of year when non-profit organizations fan out across Alachua County to get as accurate a count as possible of the area’s homeless population. Here’s how it works. (WUFT News)
• “When we’re able to provide a happy ending for an animal and be able to get an animal out of a distressing situation, that’s always a really feel-good moment for everybody involved.” That’s the sentiment Brandi Phillips and two other Gainesville animal rescue workers share as they rehabilitate and relocate animals in north central Florida. (WUFT News)
• Spotlight on Levy County Government: Open House Visitors Fear Toll Road Could Ruin Levy County. “Many residents commented Tuesday night at a Florida Department of Transportation open house near Chiefland that they were opposed to the state extending a toll road through Levy County, although a few said they didn’t have enough information to form an opinion.”
• The Alligator: Students protest Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ arrival. “About 30 protesters dressed in black chanted in the courtyard at the UF Levin College of Law Tuesday to object to the arrival of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on UF’s campus.”
• Ocala Star-Banner ($): Ocala shopping center gets new plans; another center gets a new owner. “A redevelopment plan is under review for the site of the former Winn-Dixie shopping center on Southeast Maricamp Road at Southeast 36th Avenue. The Cedar Shores Plaza plan continues to evolve. In September, part of the shopping center fell to the wrecking ball. But the 46,000-square-foot portion that housed the supermarket, which pulled out in 2015, remains standing.”
• Gainesville Sun ($): Is Florida Trying to Kill Me? “The Florida Museum of Natural History is partnering with the University of Florida Thompson Earth Systems Institute (TESI) to invite guests to the ‘Science on Tap: Is Florida Trying to Kill Me?’ series and learn whether mosquitoes, wildfires and reptiles are actually trying to kill you.”
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Around the state today
• Florida Phoenix: FL House budget plan shifts $240 million in affordable housing funds to other spending needs. “Over the last two decades, lawmakers have swept more than $2 billion from the housing programs, which are funded by a portion of the real-estate tax on property sales, to other spending priorities.”
• WUSF: Abandoned Boats In Florida Waters Causing Financial Concerns. “Abandoned boats in Florida waters have become a big financial issue for the state. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials say it costs about $30,000 to $50,000 dollars to remove one boat.”
• News Service of Florida: Florida House, Senate Differ On Teacher Pay Hikes. “House and Senate education budget writers have released competing proposals for teacher salary increases, a top priority of Gov. Ron DeSantis that is expected to be a key issue during negotiations on the upcoming state budget.”
• Palm Beach Post ($): Body discovered during Palm Beach Atlantic class field trip near Lake Okeechobee. “A professor and a student found the body while collecting water samples. Martin County authorities have started an investigation into his death.”
• WTSP: New maps change course of Clearwater cemetery search. “‘Apparently the archaeologists were looking in the wrong spot,’ said Zebbie Atkinson IV, president of the Clearwater/Upper Pinellas NAACP. ‘They were able to find some documentation from…a 1954 commission meeting…and they were able to go back and reference some books in the library that actually pinpoints where the gravesite was on what is now the (Frank) Crum building.'”
• Florida Politics: Congressional delegation to tackle spike in Florida human trafficking. “In one ranking no one will brag about, Florida ranks third in the nation for reported human trafficking cases. As Florida’s Congressional Delegation met for the first time in 2020, the topic drove the agenda.”
• St. Augustine Record ($): ‘Bermuda Triangle’ shipwreck located near St. Augustine. “Producers of ‘Shipwreck Secrets,’ a new series on the Science Channel, set out to discover the real story behind the ship’s strange disappearance (in 1925).”
• New York Times ($): The Super Bowl Is the Biggest Art Show in Miami Right Now. “Some of the brightest stars of street art — former skateboarders, surfers, break dancers and survivors of midnight raids on subway cars — have created fanciful murals to celebrate Super Bowl LIV.”
• Tampa Bay Times ($): Hardball: Rays threaten to block redevelopment of Tropicana Field. “Rays officials have told City Council members that the team will hold up any attempts to develop the 86-acre Tropicana Field site while its locked into playing at the dome through the 2027 season.”
• Orlando Sentinel($): Florida man pumps 30 gallons into wrong hole at Orlando gas station prompting hazmat response. “A Florida man accidentally doused $60 worth of gasoline onto the deck of his boat, and onto the ground of an Orlando gas station Monday morning, according to Orange County Fire Rescue.”