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The top stories near you
• WUFT News: Historic Preservation In Gainesville At A Crossroads After Planner’s Resignation. “Five years ago, historic preservation in Gainesville almost came to an end. ‘Those were the words that were said, that we need to end this and we need to get rid of it completely,’ Mayor Lauren Poe said. ‘Where we are now is in a rebuilding process.’ An ordinance clarified the local historic preservation board’s power, the City Commission’s role in helping it and process of future preservation. As part of the process, the commission and board held a joint meeting in April 2019 to discuss hiring a preservation planner. One year later, the position was filled. Four months later, the position became vacant.”
• The Alligator: In-person class guidelines, COVID-19 testing results and vaccinations discussed at faculty meeting. “Days before thousands of students were scheduled to return to UF’s campus, some faculty learned that about 61% of students attending in-person classes would be tested for COVID-19 by the first day of class, and students won’t need a negative test result to be cleared for campus.”
• Associated Press: Florida Has Nearly Half Of Known US Cases Of COVID Variant. “A CDC map shows that Florida had 22 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant that emerged in Britain. It showed other cases in California, which has reported 26 cases, Colorado which has 2, and New York and Georgia have each reported one case.”
• NPR News: Coronavirus FAQ: How Do I Protect Myself From The U.K. Variant? “So is there anything we can do differently to protect ourselves from B.1.1.7? Yes and no, experts say. If you’ve been following the oft-repeated safety protocols to the letter, you might not have much adjusting to do. But this variant is a good wake-up call for the rest of us, experts say.”
• News Service of Florida: Lawmakers Seek Reforms After Report Of Abuse At Women’s Prison In Ocala. “Four Democratic legislators called for the removal of some upper-level administrators and for mental-health evaluations of staff at Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala, which was the focus of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and Florida federal prosecutors.”
• WUFT News: Gainesville’s Creeks Continue To Suffer From Unsustainable Shark Tooth Hunting. “Shark tooth and fossil hunting in Gainesville’s creeks has been an old and popular pastime for many of the city’s residents. And many want to share those fond memories of unearthing prehistoric treasures while exploring the city’s creeks. It’s a hobby that even draws in people from out of town. But as Gainesville’s population grows, and methods of fossil hunting become more sophisticated, Gainesville’s creeks suffer.”
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Around the state today
• New York Times ($): ‘It Became Sort of Lawless’: Florida Vaccine Rollout Turns Into a Free-for-All. “Florida is in an alarming new upward spiral, with nearly 20,000 cases of the virus reported on Friday and more than 15,000 on Saturday. But the state’s well-intended effort to throw open the doors of the vaccine program to everyone 65 and older has led to long lines, confusion and disappointment.”
• Florida Politics: Florida reports nearly 28K COVID-19 cases over the weekend. “Officials have tied 23,261 deaths in Florida to the coronavirus, including 139 reported Saturday and 111 reported Sunday.”
• Florida Today ($): Experts: Florida at ‘point of worry’ as COVID-19 cases spike and hospitalizations rise. “The first week of 2021 brought record COVID-19 case numbers to Florida and Brevard County. Experts say this new spike is only just beginning, and increased social distancing is critical to keep hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.”
• WLRN: Jared Moskowitz Calls On Federal Government To Increase COVID Vaccine Production, Distribution. “So far, Florida has received about 1.2 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and it’s distributed about 30% of them. Demand for the shot has picked up since Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order to expand the priority for vaccine recipients to include seniors aged 65 and up.”
• Panama City News Herald ($): DeSantis: 7 Florida sites offer COVID-19 vaccines to seniors in partnership with churches. “Lynn Haven was one of seven sites across Florida distributing COVID-19 vaccines on Sunday as part of a partnership between the state and churches, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced in the Bay County city.”
• Naples Daily News ($): Sen. Kathleen Passidomo tests positive for COVID-19, has ‘mild, cold-like symptoms.’ “Sen. Kathleen Passidomo has tested positive for COVID-19 and will stay at home during the first week of committee meetings in Tallahassee.”
• WMFE: After Splashing Down Off Florida’s Coast, Researchers Will Get Their Hands On Space Experiments In Record Time. “When SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon splashes down off the Space Coast, there will be a fleet of boats and helicopters there with one goal — get the science experiments on board back to Kennedy Space Center as quickly as possible.”
• Politico: Man shown carrying Nancy Pelosi’s lectern at Capitol riots arrested. “The Florida resident was charged with three crimes, including theft of government property, and is being held in Pinellas County, Fla., jail, according to local records.”
• Florida Times-Union ($): Three-alarm fire destroys historic downtown Jacksonville building, threatened businesses. “The fire’s cause and a damage estimate weren’t available Sunday. However, Jacksonville historians say the 107-year-old building was priceless architecturally.”
• Daytona Beach News-Journal ($): Endangered right whale mother, calf head north after 2 weeks on Volusia’s coast. “Nicknamed ‘Chimenea,’ right whale #4040 and her calf were first spotted Dec. 20 off Flagler Beach. Since then, they’ve wandered through Palm Coast, Daytona Beach Shores, Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach and Canaveral National Seashore. As of Friday morning, they were in Ormond-By-The-Sea, headed back up the East Coast.”
From NPR News
• Politics: Amazon And Apple Drop Parler
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.