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The top stories near you
• WUFT News: Gainesville Congregations Move Religious Services Online. “(St. Augustine Church and Catholic Student Center) has joined thousands of other places of worship around the country in streaming services online. St. Augustine started streaming masses just one week before Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a statewide stay-at-home order in response to the coronavirus outbreak, though going to church is listed as an essential activity.”
• The Alligator: Alachua County COVID-19 cases surpass 100; Florida total nears 10,000. “The report shows that Gainesville holds the most cases in the county with a total of 83, while Alachua has seven, Newberry has four, and Hawthorne, Micanopy, Tioga and High Springs each have two.”
• Florida Times-Union: Putnam County’s first death, 524 total cases in NE Florida. “Putnam County’s first COVID-19 related death was reported Friday morning — a 54-year-old male Florida resident.”
• CBS4: Marion County Jail inmates sewing masks to fight coronavirus. “The masks will be given to local healthcare workers and personnel working with senior citizens, such as members of Marion Senior Services.”
• WUFT News: ‘A Beautiful Artifact’: 25-Foot Scroll Of Alachua County And Florida History Is Now On Digital Display. “Nearly two years ago, an employee found a scroll rolled inside a lightweight plastic storage tube in a second-floor storage closet in the County Administration Building in Gainesville. On the tan butcher paper are dozens of sketches depicting historical moments beginning with Native Americans and a caricature of Juan Ponce De León, the Spanish conquistador, deciding in 1513, ‘I’ll name it Florida.’ It ends in the mid-1990s with Gainesville being ‘city of the year.'”
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Around the state today
• Palm Beach Post: A pandemic meets hurricane season in Florida: What could go wrong? “‘There are no timetables man can set for the coronavirus. The assumption has to be that we will still have this June 1,’ said Craig Fugate, former FEMA administrator and director of the Florida Emergency Management Division from 2001-2009. ‘Hurricane season cannot be postponed by presidential executive order.'”
• WUFT News: Galvano Says Cuts To State Budget Shouldn’t Be Necessary. “Based on initial reviews of the anticipated $2 trillion federal aid and stimulus package, senate staff estimate $12 billion for Florida’s state and local governments — $4.6 billion to stabilize the state budget and $3.7 billion for local budgets— and an additional $3.7 billion for specific programs in the state budget.”
• WUFT News: The Final Blow: Pandemic Shuts The Door Permanently At Florida Dog Track. “The COVID-19 pandemic forced the state to prohibit crowds and gatherings of any kind. That meant gamblers could no longer congregate at the track’s restaurant for cheeseburgers, fries or cheesesteaks. The word got out last Thursday. By Saturday, the track would have to close.”
• Florida Politics: ‘Failing to lead’: COVID war heats up between Nikki Fried, Governor. “Any thoughts of detente in the ongoing conflict between the Agriculture Commissioner and the Governor can be put to rest. On Friday, Commissioner Nikki Fried issued a statement slamming Gov. Ron DeSantis for ‘failing to lead’ during the coronavirus crisis.”
• WFSU: COVID-19 Preparedness Leads To Cash Crunch For Hospitals. “Florida’s hospitals are under capacity as they anticipate a rise in COVID-19 patients within the month. The lack of patients, coupled with increased spending to bulk up on supplies, has some of these hospitals furloughing their staff.”
• WUSF: Sarasota Memorial Hospital To Furlough Employees Due To $16 Million Revenue Shortfall. “The hospital lost $16 million in March as elective surgeries were canceled to make room for COVID-19 patients, and officials expect to lose more money in April and May.”
• Orlando Weekly: State Rep. Jackie Toledo calls for investigation into Florida’s terrible unemployment website. “‘Despite using $77 million of taxpayer dollars,’ said the District 60 Republican, ‘the DEO website has been unprepared to handle citizen applications for the several years that it has been active, leaving Floridians without sustenance in a time of crisis.'”
• Tampa Bay Times: Senator asks director to resign over Florida’s unemployment fiasco. “Sen. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, is calling on Department of Economic Opportunity Director Ken Lawson to resign for not communicating with lawmakers about the state’s unemployment website fiasco.”
• WMFE: Nothing Will Stop These Baby Sea Turtles From Going Home, Not Even Closed Florida Beaches. “A team of UCF students will continue to count turtle nests on Florida’s East Coast while maintaining social distancing.”