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Today’s top Florida stories
• News4Jax: Florida COVID cases at record high as deaths also rise. “The Florida Department of Health reported 11,576 new cases as the seven-day average for the state is about 15,000 per day. That is about 40% higher that the previous peak of 11,000 reached in July.”
• Ocala Star-Banner ($): Reilly Arts Center in Ocala will be overflow COVID-19 vaccination site. “The site will be utilized once the Florida Department of Health in Marion County receives more COVID-19 vaccine doses than it can distribute on its own in a week’s time. Mark Lander, the administrator for the local health department, said such sites will be an important part of Marion’s vaccine rollout.”
• Daytona Beach News-Journal ($): Former Palm Coast mayor Jon Netts dies from COVID-19. “He was 78. Netts died at AdventHealth in Palm Coast. He had tested positive for the coronavirus on Jan. 4.”
• Bay News 9: Hillsborough Sheriff: Deputy Killed By Fleeing Driver Right Before Retirement. “A Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office deputy who had just one more shift before he was set to retire was killed in a crash caused by a driver who rammed his cruiser, Sheriff Chad Chronister said late Monday night.”
• News Service of Florida: Florida High School Graduation Rates Climb Amid Pandemic. “Graduation rates for Florida high school students ticked up last year, with 90 percent of students graduating, according to a state Department of Education report released last week.”
• WUFT News: Avoiding A Florida On Fire: The Importance Of Prescribed Burns. “Even today, burn managers must meticulously plan, strike during the perfect weather conditions and properly inform the public when conducting these burns. This makes the administration and education of prescribed fires an intricate affair. But the public perception of fire is getting better.”
• Tampa Bay Times ($): Florida’s Ashley Moody worked with group linked to Capitol insurrection. “After Trump supporters rioted at the U.S. Capitol, the Republican attorney general scrubbed the Rule of Law Defense Fund, where Moody served on the board of directors, from her online biography.”
• Orlando Sentinel ($): Scott takes over GOP Senate fundraising as corporations pull plug on contributions. “Many major U.S. corporations are halting contributions to all congressional Republicans who voted against certifying Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, putting Florida Sen. Rick Scott in a potentially tough spot.”
• Fort Myers News-Press ($): ‘Zip tie guy’ Eric Gavelek Munchel charged in connection to Capitol invasion has ties to Lee County. “Munchel, 30, was listed as a resident of Reflection Cove Drive in the sprawling Reflection Lakes community as recently as Nov. 30, according to the county voter registration list. He is believed by authorities to be the ‘zip tie guy’ whose picture was among those circulated around the country following the Capitol invasion.”
• Palm Beach Post ($): Something ‘very drastic’ to happen next, says this pro-Trump supporter. “Willie Guardiola, who organizes pro-Trump rallies and sign-waving events in Palm Beach County — where Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home is located — told the Palm Beach Post ‘Trump is not going anywhere’ and added ‘he is not going to lay down and be impeached’ either. ‘Something very drastic is going to happen in the next nine days and everybody needs to be ready,’ Guardiola said, unwilling to provide details.”
• Sarasota Herald-Tribune ($): DeSantis reaches midpoint of his term as governor, facing a Florida changed by COVID-19 and divided on his leadership. “…in performance and personality, the governor seems, for many, light years removed from his introduction to Floridians on the sun-splashed January day he took office.”
• WTSP: Feds investigating case of Florida manatee found with ‘Trump’ marked on its back. “The animal was found around noon Sunday during a manatee swim tour in shallow water in Homosassa Springs, said Hailey Warrington, who took pictures and video of the sleeping animal. She immediately reported what she found to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”
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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.