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The top stories near you
• Associated Press: Florida Governor Dangles Hope: Vaccines For Everybody. “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suggested Thursday that he could widen vaccinations against the coronavirus to the general public as soon as April, possibly becoming the first state to offer the vaccines to anyone who wants them in a place that was an early epicenter of the virus.”
• WUFT News: Gainesville Locals Start Program To Tackle Mental Health In The Music Community. “Mental health issues are prominent among musicians, especially during a pandemic. To combat this, an organization called Upbeat Gainesville is putting on free programs for musicians both locally and around the state.”
• WUFT News: High Springs Uses State Partnership To Ditch Septic Tanks And Strive For Cleaner Springs. “High Springs has worked to modernize its wastewater system and preserve some of Florida’s natural resources for the past two decades. However, the city has seen the most progress to protect its springs over the past two years.”
• News4Jax: Corrections officer from Raiford faces charges connected to Capitol riot. “Jonathan Carlton, of Raiford, faces two misdemeanor charges of unlawful entry into a secure government building and disorderly conduct while making threats to impede government process.”
• WCJB: Becky Burleigh wins final home match of career. “Florida Soccer Head Coach Becky Burleigh wrapped up her illustrious career at Dizney Stadium just the way she had hoped to, as a winner, as her team defeated Georgia Southern 3-1 Thursday night.”
• Main Street Daily News: Gatornationals starts today, runs through Sunday. “For the first time in the history of the NHRA, the season is opening at the Gainesville Raceway. The annual event is drag racing at its finest, with such notable occasions as the first 260-mph Top Fuel and Funny Car runs in 1984 and the first 270-mph and 300-mph Top Fuel passes, in 1986 and 1992, respectively.”
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Around the state today
• NBC 6 South Florida: Governor DeSantis Signs Order Canceling COVID Fines by Local Governments. “The order does not apply to any previous COVID-related orders or enforcement by the state and does not cancel fines imposed on assisted living facilities, hospitals or health care providers.”
• News Service of Florida: Florida Legislature considers bill that would limit local emergency orders as mask mandate debates continue. “As Florida has spent the past year combating COVID-19, the state House is considering a proposal that would restrict local government orders involving public-health emergencies — a measure that backs the power of Gov. Ron DeSantis.”
• WFSU: Florida Lawmakers Consider Bill To Ban ‘Disability Abortions.’ “Lawmakers are considering a bill to ban abortions that are being sought because a test result or diagnosis shows the baby may have a disability. The proposal triggers different issues from first amendment rights to offending people with disabilities.”
• WFSU: Deal Steering Online Sales Tax Revenues To Unemployment Trust Fund Gets Florida House Panel Approval. “Florida House and Senate leaders have reached a deal over a plan to tax out-of-state online sales. The plan calls for using the estimated $1.2 billion in revenue to replenish the state’s unemployment trust fund and lower the unemployment tax on businesses.”
• WFSU: Senate Merges COVID Business, Liability Bills. “COVID liability bills aimed at protecting businesses and health care providers from lawsuits are heading to the Senate floor after being merged together in an effort to increase their chances of passing.”
• Florida Politics: Anonymous code complaint ban clears final Senate committee. “Legislation that would ban anonymous code complaints except in certain circumstances cleared its final Senate committee Thursday, and will head to the Senate floor. Sen. Jennifer Bradley’s bill (SB 60) requiring code complainants to put their names on their claims cleared the Rules Committee.”
• WUSF: Coronavirus Cases Rise For 3rd Straight Day; Positivity Rate Stays At 5%. “Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have continued to decline statewide, coming in at 3,160 on Thursday. That’s about half as many people compared to three months ago.”
• Palm Beach Post ($): Florida Sen. Rick Scott implores states to ‘reject and return’ stimulus money. Gov. Ron DeSantis wants more. “In an open letter to governors and mayors, sent moments after the U.S. House on Wednesday approved the $1.9 trillion bill, Scott called it ‘massive, wasteful and non-targeted,’ urging states to follow his lead and send a message to Congress to ‘quit recklessly spending other people’s money.'”
• NPR News: Florida Man With Alleged Links To Oath Keepers Charged Over Capitol Riot. “Kenneth Harrelson, 41, made his initial appearance in federal court Thursday in Orlando, Fla. He was ordered to be held pending a detention hearing Monday.”
• WGCU: Florida’s manatees are dying at an alarming rate this year and contaminated canals are partially to blame. “Scientists say the unusually high death count is due to a combination of cold weather and a decline in available sea grass for the vegetarians to feed on due to development, contaminated waterways and other human activity.”
• WFTS-Tampa Bay: No dancing allowed at Sarasota County proms. “Prom will go on this year in Sarasota County with some COVID-19 restrictions in place, including no dancing.”
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.