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The top stories near you
• WUFT News: Gainesville’s Police Advisory Council Needs More Diverse Applicant Pool, Commissioners Decide. “During one of its final meetings of the year in which the national discussion on race and policing tactics shifted as never before, the Gainesville City Commission encountered a problem. Not enough people applied for the 11 vacant seats on the city’s Police Advisory Council, which the commission expanded this year from 10 seats when its mission took on a heightened urgency as nationwide summer protests erupted over police tactics and misconduct.”
• Ocala Star-Banner ($): Ruling could leave Ocala on the hook for $81 million. “The Florida Supreme Court recently declined to hear the City of Ocala’s appeal to overturn a lower court’s decision declaring its fire service fee an unconstitutional tax.”
• Gainesville Sun ($): ‘Springs County’ effort still afoot. “A couple thousand residents, led mostly by Newberry City Commissioner Tim Marden, said 2020’s trials that brought strict regulations proved a ripe time to once again push for the creation of Springs County — which would fold smaller cities and perhaps the Gainesville city limits west of 34th Street into the new local government.”
• The Packer: White strawberry by University of Florida introduced to U.S. market. “For the first time, a white strawberry that smells a bit like a pineapple will go to market in the U.S. As western-central Florida strawberry harvesting season continues through the end of March, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Services is releasing two new varieties — the white one and a red one — neither named yet, according to a news release.”
• WUFT News: Giving Tuesday Aids COVID-19 Struggles. “Non-profit organizations in north central Florida have been severely impacted by COVID-19, but this week they received a nice respite from their financial struggles.”
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Around the state today
• Palm Beach Post ($): New cases explode across nation, state, county. “With the nation setting records for coronavirus cases and deaths, Florida on Thursday tallied a startling 10,870 new cases, the most since the virus was ravaging the state in late July.”
• Tampa Bay Times ($): Death at Freedom Square. “Last spring, the coronavirus stormed through Seminole Pavilion and another nursing home at Freedom Square of Seminole. Forty people have died, among the largest tolls at long-term care facilities in the state. Nine months into the pandemic, the virus has killed more than 19,000 Floridians. About 40 percent of the deaths have been among senior care residents.”
• News Service of Florida: Florida State Senate Leaders Named, Panel To Review COVID-19 Response. “A new state Senate committee will review Florida’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and plan for future emergencies, President Wilton Simpson announced Wednesday as he made more leadership appointments for the next two years.”
• Florida Politics: Pinellas County has a problem: Bob Gualtieri weighs in on climbing COVID-19 numbers. “Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri came down hard on Pinellas County bars and restaurants Thursday afternoon following an investigation that showed a rising trend of establishments not in compliance with COVID-19 ordinances.”
• Associated Press: Florida Governor DeSantis Says Nursing Homes Will Be 1st To Get COVID Vaccine. “Residents in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities will be the first to get a coronavirus vaccine when Florida begins receiving it later this month, Gov. Ron DeSantis said.”
• WUSF: With Every Allegation Of Fraud, Our ‘Democracy Sinks Deeper,’ Says Pasco County Elections Supervisor. “Without mentioning President Donald Trump by name, Pasco County elections supervisor Brian Corley spoke out Wednesday against allegations of fraud in the 2020 presidential election, describing them as unfounded and destructive to democracy.”
• WUWF: Survivor Recalls NAS Pensacola Terror Attack One Year Later. “It was one year ago Sunday when an armed Royal Saudi Air Force officer entered a classroom aboard NAS Pensacola, killing three sailors and wounding eight others.”
• WFSU: FAMU President Signs One-Year Contract Extension. “Florida A&M University President Larry Robinson signed a one-year contract extension Thursday, ensuring he will continue heading the school through 2021. Robinson’s original contract expires at the end of this year. FAMU board member David Lawrence Jr. says Robinson has turned the school around.”
• Creative Loafing: Tiger bites volunteer at Tampa’s Big Cat Rescue, nearly tearing arm from shoulder. “… Big Cat Rescue CEO Carole Baskin said the victim was Candy Couser, who has volunteered there for nearly five years. The tiger, named Kimba, reportedly grabbed Couser’s arm and nearly tore it off at the shoulder while she was feeding it.”
From NPR News
• Health: U.S. Hits 100,000 COVID-19 Hospitalizations, Breaks Daily Death Record
• Health: Facebook Bans Debunked Claims About COVID-19 Vaccines
• Health: Obama, Bush, Clinton Say They’re Willing To Get Coronavirus Vaccine On Camera
• Health: Biden Asks Fauci To Join His Team, Will Urge 100 Days Of Mask-Wearing
• National: Smartphone Data: Many Americans Ignored Thanksgiving Travel Warnings From The CDC
• Business: ‘We’re All Just In A Mess’: Job Growth Expected To Slow Sharply Amid Pandemic Hit
• Race: Kenosha Protest Shooting Suspect Kyle Rittenhouse Ordered To Stand Trial
About today’s curator
I’m Ethan Magoc, a news editor at WUFT. Originally from Pennsylvania, I’ve found a home telling Florida stories. I’m part of a team searching each morning for local and state stories that are important to you; please send feedback about today’s edition or ideas for stories we may have missed to firstname.lastname@example.org.