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• WUFT News: UF President Kent Fuchs Attempts To Set Example For Faculty And Staff COVID-19 Inoculations. “Much like other non-medical personnel in the state who are receiving either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, he is above the age of 65. That is the criteria for this first round of vaccinations for university faculty and staff through UF Health Shands.”
• WCJB: Watson Jr., Solomon make history in Alachua County at swearing-in ceremony. “Clovis Watson Jr. was sworn in as Alachua County’s first Black Sheriff in the county’s history Tuesday… Ayesha Solomon was also sworn-in (as county property appraiser) and is the first black woman in the state to do so.”
• News Service of Florida: Tracking Florida’s Available Adult ICU Beds By County. “As hospitals treat thousands of COVID-19 patients, the state Agency for Health Care Administration updates information about available intensive-care unit beds. As of about 6 p.m. Monday, 19.7 percent of adult intensive-care unit beds statewide were available, but numbers varied by county.”
• WMFE: With 50,000 registered, Marion County begins long process of vaccinating seniors. “The Marion County Health Department on Tuesday began the long process of vaccinating 50,000 people 65 and older who have signed up to get the coronavirus vaccine. Beginning at noon, the first 240 or so seniors came in to the Ocala office for the first shot of the Moderna vaccine.”
• Spectrum News: COVID-19 Vaccines Are Coming to Some Florida Publix Stores. “It’s the latest corporate partnership in Florida’s push to speed up COVID-19 vaccinations. Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday announced that Publix will begin receiving doses.”
• Gainesville Sun ($): Alachua County must pay $1.6M bill or face shutdown of public safety system. “After the county failed to negotiate a new contract with Gainesville Regional Utilities’ GRUCom for its public safety radio system, GRUCom billed the county $1.6 million — more than double the county’s usual cost for running the system, or else it could face a system shutdown. County commissioners voted at Tuesday’s special meeting to send a letter to Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe stating that they want to negotiate a better deal but will seek an injunction to stop the system from being inaccessible if the bill isn’t paid on time.”
• WUFT News: Gainesville’s Chinese Schools Aim To Preserve Cultural Instruction Virtually. “Gainesville is home to two of Florida’s 11 Chinese heritage schools, according to the National Council of Associations of Chinese Language Schools. Like schools of any kind across the country, the two local ones – Gainesville Chinese School and Hua Gen Chinese School – shut down when the pandemic took hold in March and are now operating online.”
• WUFT News: Lu The Homosassa Hippo Is Getting Older, But He Still Draws A Crowd. “From his days as a young, sought-after talent, to his movie and TV career in the 60s, Lu knows a thing or two about captivating an audience. Today, the aging actor is enjoying retirement in Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. But Father Time is catching up to him. Lu relies on medication and supervision from dedicated caretakers, such as Kate Spratt.”
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Around the state today
• WJCT: Daily Average Of New COVID-19 Cases Higher Than Ever In Fla. And Jacksonville. “…the state has reached its highest point ever with an average of 13,947 new daily cases being reported over the past week.”
• Florida Politics: As first Floridians receive final COVID-19 shot, 15K test positive. “Nearly 2,000 people have received the second dose of their COVID-19 vaccine in Florida, and, according to health officials, 15,431 more people have contracted the virus in the Sunshine State.”
• Palm Beach Post ($): ‘What is wrong with Palm Beach County?’ – Seniors hunt elsewhere for COVID vaccine. “Thwarted in their efforts to get a COVID-19 vaccine in Palm Beach County, desperate seniors are traveling to Broward, Miami-Dade, Martin and Indian River counties to receive a shot they hope will allow them to leave their homes without fear of catching the deadly coronavirus.”
• Sun Sentinel ($): Frustration mounts over COVID-19 vaccine; seniors may have to wait for months. “Anger and frustration grew Tuesday as senior citizens lined up for hours to get a COVID-19 vaccine that has proven elusive as registration systems collapse and supplies run low.”
• Miami Herald ($): Florida’s vaccination confusion, frustration grow as DeSantis tries to explain plans. “Ten months into the coronavirus pandemic, DeSantis’ hands-off governing style is still frustrating Floridians, healthcare industry groups and elected officials. Where they struggled to decipher the governor’s vague or conflicting orders at the start of the pandemic, they’re now scrambling to adapt to his ever-changing vaccination strategy.”
• Florida Politics: Florida Democrats to Republican members of Congress: ‘Will you vote to uphold democracy?’ “The questioning was directed specifically at Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, and at Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Vern Buchanan, Mario Diaz-Balart, Neal Dunn, Carlos Gimenez, Maria Elvira Salazar, Greg Steube, Michael Waltz and Dan Webster. None of those members had issued public statements about whether they will vote to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s win over Donald Trump when the release went out.”
• WLRN: Manatees Were Removed From the Endangered Species List In 2017. So Why Are So Many Still Dying? “Despite the COVID-19 shutdown that may have briefly given the lumbering sea cows a break from heavy boat traffic, deaths climbed to 619 last year, according to a preliminary tally from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. That’s the second highest number in five years, behind 2018 when a lethal red tide blanketed the Gulf Coast and killed more than 200.”
• WMFE: It’s Going To Be A Busy Year For Rocket Launches On Florida’s Space Coast. “Last year, Florida hosted 30 orbital launches breaking a previous record set in 1966. In 2021, the Space Coast is on track to break that record once again with at least two more astronauts launches, dozens of commercial satellites and two NASA science missions exploring our solar system.”
From NPR News
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.