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• Tensions rose at the Gainesville Community Reinvestment Area’s final planning workshop this week when discussions turned to a proposed heritage trail in the city. “If you look at the development of heritage trail,” advisory board member Kali Blount said, “combined with the gentrification going on in the neighborhood, it looks like we want to have this necklace of history, this trail around a neighborhood that used to be black.” The trail could receive as much as $950,000 in funding in the coming fiscal years. (WUFT News)
• The Alligator: Two new springs coming to North Central Florida. “By the end of March, The Alachua Conservation Trust plans to purchase five new properties in the city of High Springs. It’ll be turned into a nature preserve called, ‘The Santa Fe Springs Project,’ said Heather Obara, the trust’s spokesperson.”
• Gainesville Sun ($): Norton Elementary to get weekend makeover. “Thousands of volunteers and sponsors will come together to bring the hallways of a local elementary school to life with bright murals and landscaping during Project Makeover this weekend. Since the organization was founded by Josh Jackson in 2008 at the University of Florida, Project Makeover has worked to transform an Alachua County elementary school every year.”
• Ocala Star-Banner ($): Southeastern Youth Fair helps raises more than just livestock. “For months before, the students, members of either 4-H or FFA, put their best efforts into raising pigs, steers, lambs, goats, rabbits and chickens. Formulating a feeding and care plan to get the animal’s condition just right is essential to the project. The ultimate goal is to sell the animal for a profit.”
• Gainesville Sun ($): UF Health’s new autism center to reduce waiting time. “A new $500,000 autism and neurodevelopment center will officially open Friday and University of Florida Health officials say it will significantly reduce the time some families spend waiting to get help.”
• Citrus County Chronicle: Friends of the Citrus County Library System to host Mega Book Sale. “Bookworms all over Citrus County will be pleased to know that the Friends of the Citrus County Library System will host a Mega Book Sale Spring Fundraiser Friday, March 6, through Tuesday, March 10, at the Citrus County Auditorium at the Citrus County Fairgrounds, 3600 S. Florida Ave., Inverness. The book sale kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday, March 6, with the cost of admission being only a $5 donation.”
• Gilchrist County Journal: City Commission approves Hicks Asphalt Paving of streets in Trenton. “The Trenton City Commission took action to approve a paving estimate from Hicks Asphalt Paving & Concrete to resurface several streets in Northeast Trenton… Commissioner Haley made a motion to approve the estimate for the section of paving in Northeast Trenton for $88,552.05.”
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Around the state today
• WUSF: House Passes Bill Requiring Minors To Get Parental Consent For Abortions. “The Florida House of Representatives on Thursday passed a contentious bill that will require parental consent before minors could have abortions. The bill passed by a vote of 75-43. The Senate passed the bill earlier this month, and it now awaits the signature of Gov. Ron DeSantis, who urged passage during his State of the State address.”
• News Service of Florida: Florida Supreme Court Signs Off On Amendment Proposal. “Florida voters will decide in November whether to make it harder to amend the state Constitution. The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously approved a ballot measure that would require future constitutional amendments to be approved by voters twice — instead of once — to take effect.”
• Florida Politics: Florida Chief Resilience Officer Julia Nesheiwat lands homeland security job in Donald Trump administration. “Julia Nesheiwat will serve as President Donald Trump’s homeland security adviser, Politico reported Thursday… She will replace U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Peter Brown who was moved out of his role just six months after taking the job.”
• WFSU: State Looking To Bolster Broadband Speeds In Rural Areas. “If you’ve ever streamed music or browsed the internet during a road trip in Florida, you might have noticed the service can be spotty. Now lawmakers are looking into a plan to increase broadband access for rural communities.”
• Fort Myers News-Press ($): Three great white sharks ‘ping’ in eastern Gulf of Mexico. “The evidence is overwhelming: some great white sharks spend their winter off the coast of Florida. Several large tagged white sharks have ‘pinged’ off the Sunshine State coast in recent weeks, with a handful popping up in the Atlantic Ocean and more recently in the Gulf of Mexico.”
• WMFE: Central Florida Fund Would Help Some People Charged with Nonviolent Crimes Pay Bail. “The Orange-Osceola County state attorney and public defender are partnering with law firm Morgan & Morgan and church leaders to launch a public bail fund. State attorney Aramis Ayala says the fund will help bail out low-income people charged with nonviolent crimes.”
• Tampa Bay Times ($): Will the real killer confess in death row inmate James Dailey’s case? “Dailey’s defense has pointed to several major flaws in the state’s case against him: The evidence is circumstantial and includes the testimony of three jailhouse informants who said they overheard him make incriminating remarks. One of those informants, Paul Skalnik, is a prolific jailhouse informant and serial con man whose reliability was questioned in an investigative report published in December by ProPublica and the New York Times Magazine.”
• WLRN: Port Everglades Kicks Off Expansion. Critics Worry Coral Could Be Damaged. “Port Everglades and local elected officials marked the first step in a $437 million expansion to make way for expected massive new cargo ships with a celebratory press conference on Tuesday… The work will extend the port channel by more than six football fields, widen turns and deepen parts of the port to 55 feet.”
• Florida Politics: Renew Financial has completed $100M+ in Florida resiliency projects. “Renew Financial announced Thursday that it has completed more than $100 million worth of storm-hardening and home resilience-related projects in Florida over the last three years. Renew Financial provides financing for a variety of resilience and storm-hardening upgrades through the property assessed clean energy program, or PACE.”
• WTSP: Students plan to fight bill that proposes merging New College into FSU. “New College President Donal O’Shea is urging lawmakers to reconsider the proposal to turn New College into a Florida State University campus and Florida Polytechnic into a University of Florida campus. Students plan to fight the bill with O’Shea and make their voices heard Thursday at a student planned rally.”
• St. Augustine Record ($): Historic building in St. Augustine goes for $2.1 million in public auction. “The building at 52 St. George St., which dates to at least 1762, had served as a jewelry store on the ground floor (the business is closing in the next couple of weeks) and a private residence on the top two floors.”