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The top stories near you
• WUFT News: COVID-19 Vaccines Available Without Appointments At Florida Department Of Health In Alachua County. “As 82% of the county’s most vulnerable, 65-plus population has been vaccinated … the county will continue to host these clinics, working to expand access and vaccinate younger groups which account for a large portion of transmission.”
• WCJB: ACLU files suit against City of Ocala. “Having won one lawsuit against the City of Ocala’s policing of homeless people, the ACLU is suing the city over its panhandling ordinance.”
• Ocala Star-Banner: College of Central Florida’s hemp cultivation license granted, production underway in Ocala. “The College of Central Florida recently obtained a unique type of agriculture permit for its Vintage Farm Campus: a hemp cultivation license.”
• WUFT News: ‘You Need A Restaurant’: Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille Expects to Open By June. “‘My daughter Amy said, ‘You need a restaurant to put all your trophies and all this stuff in. Your room at the house is getting too crowded,’ and I said, ‘That’s probably a good idea,’’ said the man who has become synonymous at home and away with Florida Gators football. That idea will become a reality in late June, when a 442-seat restaurant, Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille, opens in Celebration Pointe in Gainesville.”
• Gainesville Sun ($): Westgate Publix to close May 1 for redesign as more walkable option near UF campus. “Shoppers who frequent the Publix at Westgate Shopping Center, 125 SW 34th St., will have to purchase groceries elsewhere for a while. Store employees will be transferred to another location in Gainesville during construction, which will begin later in May and last for 12-18 months.”
• CBS4: Inmates quarantined after COVID-19 outbreak at Alachua County Jail. “Deputies said they are taking every precaution in the jail to protect inmates until more are vaccinated such as mandatory masks and social distancing, and more COVID testing for those who move around the jail the most.”
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Around the state today
• News Service of Florida: DeSantis Signs HB 1 Protest Bill As Controversy Continues. “Flanked by uniformed law-enforcement officers, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed into law a controversial law-and-order measure sparked by nationwide protests that erupted last year after George Floyd’s death. The law, which went into effect immediately, creates a new crime of ‘mob intimidation,’ enhances riot-related penalties and makes it harder for local officials to reduce spending on law enforcement.”
• Tallahassee Democrat ($): All across Florida, women are getting vaccinated for COVID-19 more than men. “Statewide as of Wednesday, women made up about 57% of fully vaccinated people, according to the Florida Department of Health. Men added up to about 43%.” Listen to today’s episode of our podcast to hear what the reporter learned about the reasons behind this trend.
• Tampa Bay Times ($): Feds investigating Pasco schools giving student data to sheriff. “The U.S. Department of Education has opened an investigation into whether the Pasco school district broke federal law by sharing private student information with the Pasco Sheriff’s Office. The Tampa Bay Times reported in November that the school district shared information on student grades, discipline and attendance with the Sheriff’s Office, which used the data to compile a secret list of schoolchildren it believed could ‘fall into a life of crime.'”
• WFLA-Tampa: Hillsborough County School district lays off 92 teachers through email. “Nearly 100 teachers in Hillsborough County received notice this weekend that they will no longer have a job in the district next year. Many thought their positions were safe after the last job cut.”
• WUSF: New Coronavirus Cases In Florida Dip To 7-Day Low. “More than 8 million people in Florida have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Over 5.1 million have received either the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or completed the two-dose series needed for the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.”
• Florida Politics: Gail’s Law for rape kit tracking ready for Senate floor. “The bill requires the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to create and maintain a statewide database to track the location, processing status and storage of sexual assault evidence kits, also called rape kits. The rape kits would be tracked from evidence collection throughout the criminal justice process. Both law enforcement and victims would be able to track the kits.”
• Miami Herald ($): Florida House measure to cap THC in medical marijuana appears to have failed. “A controversial measure being contemplated by Florida lawmakers to cap the potency of medical marijuana will apparently not become law this year.”
• News Service of Florida: Florida Senate Moves Forward On Sales Tax ‘Holidays.’ “The bill, sponsored by Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez of Doral, would allow shoppers to avoid paying sales taxes from July 31 through August 7 on clothes costing $60 or less, school supplies costing $15 or less and the first $1,000 of the price of personal computers. The bill also would allow shoppers to avoid paying sales taxes from May 28 through June 6 on disaster supplies such as tarps costing $50 or less, batteries costing $30 or less and portable generators costing $750 or less.”
• Palm Beach Post ($): Jeffrey Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion to be demolished Monday: What we know. “The property is infamous as the site where Epstein regularly assaulted underage girls, and the Architectural Commission unanimously approved its demolition in December.”
From NPR News
• Politics: Former Vice President Walter Mondale Dies At 93
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.