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The top stories near you
• WUFT News: Homeless People Raise Concerns About City Of Gainesville’s Assistance Efforts. “Key distribution for new lockers for the downtown Gainesville homeless community begins this week. Behind the former Fire Station 1 in downtown Gainesville, a set of 16 gray lockers sits on a concrete slab next to three portable toilets and three trash cans, all provided by the city for the homeless community who live and camp on South Main Street.”
• WUFT News: University of Florida Places Professor On Leave Amid Investigation Into Student’s Suicide. “Tao Li, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was placed on leave Feb. 15, according to a letter in his personnel file obtained under Florida’s public records law. A university spokesman, Steve Orlando, had said last week there were no updates in the school’s investigation, which has been under way for nearly 20 months. Li was accused of behaving abusively while supervising the academic work of Huixiang Chen, 30, who died by suicide in June 2019. He was also accused of pressuring Chen to submit false data in a research paper submitted under both their names and presented at a prestigious academic conference. In communications with friends before his suicide, Chen expressed hopelessness about exposing what he said was Li’s misconduct.”
• WUFT News: Black Communities Concerned About Pending Alachua County Commission Decision On New Archer Solar Farm. “Archer residents in historically Black farming communities are speaking out against the proposal to build a solar farm along Southwest County Road 346. The plan — from Gainesville Regional Utilities and Origis Energy — intends to bring Gainesville closer to producing 100% renewable energy by 2045.”
• WUFT News: Parents Can Still Enroll Their Children In Alachua County Head Start Program. “Alachua County has enough funds through the federal Head Start program to provide early childhood education services for 561 children and families. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the program is only at 58% capacity.”
• WUFT News: Families Of UF Students Who Died In Pedestrian Crashes File Wrongful Death Suit. “The parents of Margaret “Maggie” Paxton and Sophia Lambert have retained law firm Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen to represent them. Court records indicate both lawsuits, filed in the Alachua County Circuit Court last week, are seeking over $100,000 in damages. The claim of negligence is at the center of both lawsuits.”
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Around the state today
• Associated Press: Florida Officials Seek To Replace Jobless Benefits System. “Florida officials are recommending that the state’s antiquated unemployment processing system be replaced after a review confirmed what had long been known: a broken system full of glitches that was incapable of handling the unprecedented deluge of jobless claims spawned by the coronavirus outbreak.”
• News4Jax: Massive Jacksonville federal vaccination site takes shape. “The Gateway Mall site is one of four federal sites in Florida. There will also be sites in Tampa, Miami and Orlando.”
• WMFE: DeSantis To Sign Order Expanding Vaccine Access To Teacher, Police, Firefighters Over 50. “Speaking in Tallahassee before the start of the 2021 Legislative Session, DeSantis said firefighters, police officers and teachers will be next on the list to get a COVID-19 vaccine.”
• WFLA: Sen. Scott urges transparency on vaccine distribution in response to Florida pop-up site criticism. “Sen. Rick Scott is urging state leaders to be extremely transparent when it comes to vaccine distribution in Florida and all across the country.”
• Florida Politics: Gov. DeSantis unveils legislation to crackdown on Chinese influence. “Chief among the state’s goals with the new legislation is to prevent foreign adversaries from stealing intellectual property from higher education and research institutions.”
• Associated Press: Elusive Wetland Bird Added To Florida’s Endangered Species List. “Climate change and development are cited as reasons for adding the eastern black rail bird to the list.”
• USA Today Network: Mass shootings surge in Florida as nation faces record high. “Mass shootings in Florida increased to 34 in 2020 from 15 the year before, while nationally mass shootings jumped nearly 50% during a pandemic with crippling unemployment, violent protests and idle youth.”
• First Coast News: Pandemic raises concerns over St. Augustine’s hotel boom. “With many hotel projects started before the pandemic, some in the industry are concerned that hotels may not be able to sustain themselves.”
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.