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• Florida Storms: Colorado State Forecasting Another Above-Average Hurricane Season. “The team is predicting 17 named storms for the North Atlantic, which runs from June 1 to November 30. Of these named storms, researchers expect eight to become hurricanes (sustained wind speed of at least 74 mph on Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) and four to reach major hurricane strength (Category 3 – 5) with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater.”
• Gainesville Sun ($): Electric rates could increase 7% next year. “Gainesville’s electric rates, among the highest in the state, could be even higher next year.”
• WCJB: Newberry commissioner’s health improves after severe COVID-19 symptoms. “Newberry Mayor Jordan Marlowe says Commissioner Rick Coleman is on the mend. In January, it was reported that Coleman had to be put on a ventilator after contracting the virus. Marlowe says if all goes well, Coleman will return to his seat on the dias by the end of April.”
• Mainstreet Daily News: Vehicles collide in front of Alachua Learning Academy. “Parents at the scene say that semi trucks and other vehicles speed past the school intersection at 70 mph and that they have been asking the county to make the area safer with a traffic signal better signage. There is a slower speed limit of 45 mph in the school area, but parents say it goes ignored.”
• WUFT News: United Way Of North Central Florida Launches Online Program To Help Children Learn To Read During The Pandemic. “The United Way of North Central Florida’s ReadingPals program has launched a new platform called Vello at Girls Place in Gainesville. Although many learning programs have had to compromise in moving to an online format because of COVID-19, United Way employees leading the ReadingPals program are nevertheless trying to help students succeed while using computer screens.”
• WUFT News: High Schools In North Central Florida Proceed With Prom And Graduation. “Now in the 2020-2021 school year, school districts have decided to allow proms and graduations since positivity rates continue to decrease.”
• WUFT News: Racial Justice Essay Contest Invites Students to Take Part in a Better Future. “The essay contest represents a scholarship opportunity for public high school students. The scholarship is open to students attending Gainesville High School, Buchholz High School, Eastside High School, Loften High School, P.K. Yonge Lab School, SIATech High School and North Central Florida Public Charter School. The submission deadline is April 15.”
• WUFT News: With Pandemic Nearing An End, New Music Company Sets To Liven The Gainesville Music Scene. “Partnered with Elysian Events Presents, the company will host top-selling musician Diplo on Friday. The concert will last from 7 p.m. to midnight at Vivid Sky Warehouse located at 2386 NE 18th Terrace in Gainesville.”
• WUFT News: TEDXUF Conference Returns To Gainesville After A Year Of COVID-19 Uncertainty. “After TedXUF Paradox was canceled last year due to the pandemic, the team of organizers adapted to a fully online format. This year, they are holding the conference in a hybrid form.”
• WUFT News: Gainesville Wins National Award for Art Mural Project. “Gainesville in December completed a social justice art mural project. Out of 37 applications, 12 artists were chosen for the project. The two-sided art panels were posted up in five different parks throughout the city.”
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Around the state today
• New York Times ($): Indicted Matt Gaetz Associate Is Expected to Plead Guilty, Lawyers Say. “A cooperation agreement by Joel Greenberg, a former county tax collector north of Orlando, is almost certain to create legal difficulties for Mr. Gaetz, a prominent ally of former President Donald J. Trump.”
• USA Today Network ($): Winners and losers emerging as state budget plans advance in Florida House and Senate. “The Florida House and Senate moved ahead this week with dueling state spending plans that approach $100 billion for the coming year – kicking off the Legislature’s second half where negotiations to settle budget differences will dominate.”
• The Verge: The wastewater disaster in Florida is a symptom of how we grow our food. “This isn’t the first time phosphogypsum stacks have suddenly released slurries of water and waste — and it probably won’t be the last. Another crisis like the one at Piney Point could easily happen again unless we rethink the way we grow our food, some environmental advocates say.”
• National Geographic: A mysterious neurological disease is afflicting endangered Florida panthers. “Once ranging throughout the U.S. Southeast, Florida panthers nearly went extinct due to widespread hunting. By the 1970s there were fewer than 30 left. Though the endangered cats have rebounded significantly in the last couple decades, with a total population around 200, their future remains tenuous.”
• Tallahassee Democrat ($): Florida Elections Commission general counsel arrested on child porn charges. “The general counsel for the Florida Elections Commission was arrested Wednesday on charges of possession of child pornography, according to court records. Eric M. Lipman, 59, was charged with 11 counts of the crime and taken to the Leon County Detention Facility.”
• NBC 6 South Florida: Florida Filing Lawsuit Against Federal Government, CDC to Allow Cruises to Operate: DeSantis. “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state is filing a lawsuit against the federal government and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to allow cruise ships to resume sailing immediately, after they were shut down for over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
• News Service of Florida: Florida Senate approves bill to make to-go alcohol legal post-pandemic. “The Florida Senate on Wednesday approved a bill that would make permanent a move that has allowed restaurants to sell alcoholic drinks with take-home meals during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
• WCTV: Bobby Bowden receives Florida Medal of Freedom. “Florida State football legend Bobby Bowden was awarded the Florida Medal of Freedom Wednesday afternoon. Gov. Ron DeSantis gave the medal to coach Bowden during a 2 p.m. ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion. Bowden is the award’s inaugural recipient.”
• NBC2 News: More than $2,000 worth of Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccines stolen in Cape Coral. “Ten vials of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine were stolen out of a refrigerator in Cape Coral, according to police. The victim told police they had put the vials in the refrigerator on April 1. When they went to retrieve them on Wednesday morning, the doses were gone, according to an incident report.”
• News Service of Florida: Florida Tops Nation In Obamacare Enrollment. “Florida continues to lead the nation in the number of people taking advantage of a special enrollment period for coverage under the Affordable Care Act, with 146,250 people obtaining health insurance between Feb. 15 and March 31.”
• NBC2 News: Florida doctor who died after receiving COVID vaccine died of natural cause. “A South Florida doctor who died about two weeks after he got Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine died in a manner that has been categorized as natural, an official with the medical examiner’s office said Wednesday.”
From NPR News
About today’s curator
I’m Elise Elder, and I am a digital content producer and reporter at WUFT News. My passion for environmentalism has inspired me to report on 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.