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The top stories near you
• WUFT News: Two Women Aim To End Medical Desert In West Ocala With Newly Established Medical Center. “The Estella Byrd Wellness Center is the result of a grandmother’s dream, a husband’s dying wish and the persistence of two women determined to bring accessible healthcare to the West Ocala community.”
• WUFT News: Alachua County Library District Launches WiFi2Go Pilot Program. “Mobile hotspots at the Alachua County Library District are now available to be checked out by Alachua County residents. This new program was funded by the Alachua County Library District Foundation after receiving a large donation from an anonymous patron.”
• Mainstreet Daily News: UF plans huge stadium vaccination event Monday. “According to a UF press release, the appointment-only vaccine clinic will be the largest to date, with up to 5,000 people receiving vaccines.”
• The Alligator: ‘It’s my therapy’: Black Gainesville residents find community in gardening. “Community gardens like the one at Reserve Park are part of a citywide effort to increase food security since the first one was built in 1998. Each garden is equipped with a hose and a handful of plots that belong to other residents who applied to get one from the city. Plot owners water others’ plants when they drop by the gardens, an unofficial rule to keep the plants growing.”
• Ocala Star-Banner ($): Landlord sues Ocala Centre 6 movie theater operator in rent dispute. “The movie theater, known as Ocala Centre 6, has been closed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a white sheet of paper posted on its door Thursday, the establishment is “temporarily closed until further notice due to mandatory shut down of all movie theaters issued by the Governor of Florida,” although some theaters have reopened.”
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Around the state today
• WUSF: Governor Orders State Of Emergency With Massive Piney Point Breach Expected. “Gov. Ron DeSantis on Saturday issued a state of emergency for Manatee County with the release of hundreds of millions of gallons likely from a leaking phosphate processing pond that is expected to breach at any moment.”
• Bradenton Herald ($): Piney Point collapse still possible, but Manatee ‘more comfortable’ after DeSantis aid. “A worst-case scenario could send 20 feet of contaminated water flooding from the site, Acting Manatee County Administrator Scott Hopes said Sunday during a news briefing with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. A total breach that spurts out uncontrolled water could also destabilize gypsum stacks containing radioactive material.”
• Florida Politics: Florida’s federal vaccination sites to switch to Johnson & Johnson only. “Florida’s four federally-supported vaccination sites will only administer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine starting Tuesday, according to an announcement made Friday by the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM).”
• News Service of Florida: DeSantis Bans ‘Vaccine Passports’ Under Executive Order. “Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday issued an executive order barring government agencies from issuing COVID-19 ‘passports’ and preventing Florida businesses from requiring customers to show documentation that they have been vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 before gaining entrance.”
• Spectrum News: Why Does Florida Lead the Nation in Coronavirus Variant Cases? “The state’s openness and tourism could be contributing to that, a University of South Florida epidemiologist says.”
• Associated Press: Florida lawmakers consider budget, await revenue data. “Just four weeks remain before lawmakers end their two-month session, and much of the work ahead will depend on the latest state revenue projections, which are expected to be released Tuesday. Last summer, state economists projected a revenue downturn of $5.4 billion over two years but rosier December data prompted the shortfall to be adjusted downward to $3.3 billion.”
• WFSU: House Tries To Curb School Board Member Pay. “Florida lawmakers are trying again to limit the salaries of local school board members. The idea is one that’s been tried before. Now a proposed constitutional amendment would ask voters to decide whether to keep paying locally elected officials who oversee the state’s public schools.”
• WINK: Science behind SWFL shark surge. “While marine biologists can’t definitely say there is a measurable increase in shark sightings, they do know more fishermen are catching sharks. One idea scientists are looking into is that lockdowns could play a role in this. Now that people are flocking back to the water for spring, it might be confusing to the sharks.”
• Orlando Weekly: Here’s the creepy voicemail from Matt Gaetz and Joel Greenberg left for Florida Rep. Anna Eskamani. “‘I haven’t shared any of this publicly because for so many women, feeling forced to have lunch with someone you don’t want to have lunch with or getting unsolicited gifts and phone calls is the norm. You internalize it and just try to avoid that person. I’m not doing that anymore,’ said Eskamani in another tweet.”
• Politico: No defense: Gaetz finds few Republican allies amid investigation. “Before going to Congress in 2016, Gaetz served in the Florida House for six years, a time when he built a deep bench of political allies and enemies from both political parties. Since riding President Donald Trump’s coattails to national prominence, his shadow over his old political stomping grounds has only grown as he built a connection with Trump’s loyal political base.”
• Florida Today ($): Port Canaveral CEO ‘disappointed’ by what he says is vague CDC guidance for cruise return. “Major cruise lines have not sailed in the United States since March 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.”
• WLRN: Are Key West Waters Clearer Without Cruise Ships? New Study Says Yes. “Improved water quality after cruise ships stopped visiting the island last March was one of the main arguments used in the successful campaign to limit cruise ship traffic to Key West.”
• Florida Politics: Orlando Sentinel pleads for white knight investors. “The Orlando Sentinel on Friday published an editorial beseeching white knight investors to rescue the newspaper from a hostile takeover that Alden Global Capital has been pursuing for the paper’s parent company Tribune Publishing.”
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.