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The top stories near you
• WUFT News: Community Gardens Grow In Purpose During Pandemic. “Since March, protective measures against COVID-19, including lockdowns, have restrained many from having face-to-face interactions or participating in social activities. But gardening has been one way for members of the Gainesville community to connect with nature and interact with people of all ages and backgrounds — all while being outdoors, keeping distance and staying safe.”
• WFSU: Baxley Pushes Effort To Change How Voters Request Mail In Ballots. “By law, voters must request a mail ballot, and one request is valid through two election cycles, one for president and one for governor. But Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, wants to change the law to require every voter to ask for a mail ballot in every calendar year there’s an election.”
• WUFT News: Alachua County Planning Commission Is Reviewing Plans For New Solar Energy Facility In Archer. “The proposed 638-acre facility by Origis Energy would provide a 50-megawatt solar array for Gainesville Regional Utilities, county officials said.”
• The Alligator: Judge Stephan Mickle Honored in Memorial Service. “Clad in face coverings and dark, formal clothing, about 60 friends, family and former colleagues of Mickle gathered at the Curtis M. Phillips Center at noon for the private service. Mickle, the first Black student to earn an undergraduate degree from UF, died of cancer Jan. 26 at 76 years old.”
• Gainesville Sun ($): County to pay GRUCom $1.1M for radio system. “At a special meeting Monday morning, representatives from the county discussed concerns about how bills for the trunked radio system — which allows law enforcement, emergency workers and 911 dispatchers to communicate — are calculated.”
• WUFT News: Branford Bans Online Gambling Establishments. “This follows a ban in Marion County on online gambling machines earlier this month. Branford Town Council President Ken Saunders said there is no place in the town for such activity like internet cafes because it is so small. The town has just over a one-mile radius.”
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Around the state today
• WUFT News: Florida Likely Failed To Meet 2020 Recycling Goal, Despite Inflated Calculations. “But a new plan and revised goals are coming. In 2008, the Florida Legislature passed a statewide weight-based recycling goal of 75% by 2020 for municipal solid waste.”
• Associated Press: Top Florida Official Overseeing COVID-19 Response Resigns. “Jared Moskowitz, who heads Florida’s Division of Emergency Management, told the USA TODAY NETWORK that an official announcement of his departure is expected by Gov. Ron DeSantis.”
• WUSF: State Reports Lowest Number Of New COVID-19 Cases Since October. “The Florida Department of Health said 3,615 people tested positive for the coronavirus since Sunday’s report — less than half the average daily total from last week.”
• Fort Myers News-Press ($): Collier, Lee counties see fewest COVID-related hospitalizations in months. “Lee Health, the largest hospital operator in Southwest Florida, is seeing the fewest COVID-19-related hospitalizations in three months, part of a national trend in declining cases.”
• WUFT News: When Might Any Florida Inmate Receive A COVID-19 Vaccine? “‘The Florida Department of Corrections is ready to vaccinate as soon as supplies become available to our agency,’ Florida Corrections Secretary Mark Inch wrote in a statement.”
• WFSU: Bill To Create Florida Sea-Level Rise Task Force Passes First Committee. “From local planning councils to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, different agencies are making their own sea-level rise projections. But they’re not all the same. That means when governments make planning decisions, they’re not all basing their choices on the same information. Under a bill by Rep. Chip LaMarca (R-Lighthouse Point), the state would create its own official projection to be used for government-funded projects.”
• WUSF: Archeologists Find 29 Grave Shafts in North Greenwood Cemetery. “Archeologists looking at a ‘forgotten’ Clearwater cemetery say that they have found almost 30 grave shafts. … The process was done to verify the location of unmarked graves in the African-America cemetery that were identified previously.”
• WMBB-Panama City: Many areas in Panama City Beach damaged after likely tornado sweeps through. “Damage from high winds, a possible tornado, and rainfall Monday afternoon had a lasting effect on several areas in Panama City Beach.”
• News4Jax: Florida SB 76 could change how insurance companies cover old roof replacements. “If the roof on your home in Florida is more than 10 years old, the cost to replace (it after a hurricane) could change dramatically if proposed legislation becomes law.”
• News Service of Florida: Florida’s Governor And House Speaker Continue Targeting Big Tech. “The proposal (HB 969), sponsored by Rep. Fiona McFarland, R-Sarasota, is intended to allow consumers to request to delete or correct certain personal information, require businesses to allow consumers to ‘opt out’ of the sale of personal information to third parties and give the attorney general the ability to take action over violations of the proposed consumer protections.”
• Florida Politics: Jimmy Patronis tees up re-election campaign. “Patronis, a Republican, was appointed to the position in July 2017 by then-Gov. Rick Scott. He defeated Democratic Sen. Jeremy Ring in 2018 for a full four-year term. As (Chief Financial Officer), Patronis oversees the Department of Financial Services, serves as the State Fire Marshal and sits as a member of the Florida Cabinet.”
• WFTV-Orlando: Seminole County man describes catching COVID-19 twice. “Despite studies that show the antibodies the immune system builds to fight off the virus typically last around six to eight months, the Seminole County man says he was re-infected just four months after he first had it.”
• News Service of Florida: State Grants Extra Time For Standardized Tests. “In an emergency order signed Monday, Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran pointed to ‘disproportionate numbers of educationally disadvantaged students learning off-campus or not attending school at all,’ potentially widening achievement gaps.”
• WPTV-West Palm Beach: World’s tallest heart sculpture coming to Tradition in Port St. Lucie. “Acclaimed public artist JEFRË said the engaging public landmark is expected to be completed in time for a public dedication on Valentine’s Day 2022.”
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.