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The top stories near you
• WUFT News: Book Distribution Program Could Combat Florida’s Literacy Shortcomings. “When Dana Trabulsy was a kid, she looked forward to getting her Highlights magazine in the mail. Now, in her capacity as a freshman state legislator in the Florida House of Representatives, Rep. Trabulsy wants children to be excited about reading and writing as well.”
• Hernando Sun: Kevin Hohn, Former Mayor Of Brooksville, Charged With Child Exploitation. “The federal criminal complaint charges Hohn with possession and distribution of images depicting the sexual abuse of children.”
• WUFT News: UF Center For Smell And Taste Receives Funding To Study Smell-Test COVID-19 Screening. “The UF Center For Smell And Taste just received funding for a study to determine whether or not a smell-test would be accurate to screen for COVID-19.”
• Gainesville Sun ($): Gainesville wants road redesign near UF campus. “Gainesville has hired an engineering firm to draw up plans to transform West University Avenue and 13th Street into pedestrian-friendly corridors similar to sections of Main Street, which has roundabouts and wide bike and walking lanes.”
• Florida Politics: Ron DeSantis, Blaise Ingoglia announce proposal for sweeping changes to Florida election laws. “Spring Hill Republican Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, who has played a large role in crafting recent election laws, including the dropbox law, said he was ready to help the Governor draft his election package.”
• UF News: UF to hold in-person commencement for spring graduates. “The University of Florida this spring will hold in-person commencement ceremonies for the first time in more than a year, marking the return of a cherished UF tradition.”
• Ocala Star-Banner ($): Dunnellon couple charged in Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol attack. “Kelly Meggs, 52, and his 59-year-old wife, Connie, have been charged with aiding and abetting, conspiracy, destruction of government property, obstruction of an official proceeding and restricted building or grounds access.”
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Around the state today
• Politico: DeSantis reverses course as Florida snags federal vaccine sites. “Florida is getting four federally-backed Covid-19 vaccination hubs in largely low-income communities of color, an announcement that comes after Gov. Ron DeSantis initially clashed with the Biden administration over federal vaccine help.”
• News4Jax: Some Jacksonville hospitals reporting increase in condition linked to COVID-19. “Hospitals in Jacksonville are reporting an increase in cases of MIS-C, a rare inflammatory condition linked to COVID-19 that is found in children.”
• WFLA: Florida’s 1st case of Brazil P.1 COVID variant reported, CDC says. “The Sunshine State is now the fourth state in the U.S. to report a case of the P.1 variant. There are five total cases nationwide.”
• News Service of Florida: A Tight Budget Year Could Mean Health Care Spending Cuts. “Top Republican leaders in the Florida House and Senate acknowledged Thursday a chance that lawmakers could make health-care cuts as they struggle to craft a balanced budget amid the economic wreckage caused by the coronavirus.”
• Miami Herald ($): ‘A history of defiance.’ How these six women became matriarchs of Black Miami. “(Dorothy) Fields is part of a proud legacy of Black women who helped shape American life, not only for those of African descent but for the country as a whole. Figures like Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and Angela Davis have been long recognized. Perhaps less well- known are women who have helped mold South Florida, working tirelessly to protect the rights and history of Black residents.”
• Grist: The unsung hero who saved a Florida beach. “The fact you don’t hear MaVynee Oshun Betsch mentioned alongside conservationists like John Muir, Aldo Leopold, and perhaps Rachel Carson says more about who we enshrine in history books than Betsch’s remarkable contributions to the environmental movement and her valiant campaign to save a landmark of Black history.”
• WUSF: Cemetery Project Teaches Students About Lost African American History. “Students work with organizations in their community on projects that are trying to preserve archival data about the history of these cemeteries and those buried there. Students also help build the project’s website.”
• WMBB-Panama City: Bay District Schools Superintendent speaks before House panel for help with missing students. “Each year, hundreds of students in Bay District schools go unaccounted for. They’re either unable to be tracked down or in some cases, parents are purposely keeping them home. Superintendent Bill Husfelt is trying to change that.”
• Associated Press: Florida Man Daniel Baker Charged With Plotting Attack On Trump Supporters. “A federal grand jury in Tallahassee formally charged Daniel Baker on Thursday with two counts of transmitting a communication in interstate commerce containing a threat to kidnap or injure, according to court records. The FBI arrested Baker on January 15 at his Tallahassee home.”
• Spectrum News: Trump to Speak at Orlando CPAC Event in First Post-White House Appearance.“Other scheduled speakers include Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. U.S. Sen Rick Scott of Florida and former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi are also scheduled to speak. U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, whose district includes North Florida, is a listed speaker, as is U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.”
• Sun Sentinel ($): Lots of Democrats are thinking of running for Florida governor. Who will step up? Can any defeat Ron DeSantis? “(Gwen) Graham is one of the marquee names frequently mentioned as potential candidates, along with Val Demings, the Central Florida congresswoman; Charlie Crist, the St. Petersburg congressman and former governor; and Nikki Fried, the state agriculture commissioner.”
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.