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The top stories near you
• Atrium Magazine: God’s Garden: A Florida farmer plants by patterns of the sun, moon and stars but now faces an uncertain future. “For 60 years, R.D. Fisher has been farming in Alachua County under the guidance of God and the sun, moon and stars. But rising temperatures and construction in his area are impacting his way of life — and his farm’s legacy.”
• WUFT News: North Florida Nurseries Experience Fruit Tree Shortages Due To High Pandemic Demand. “As growers hurry to pot plants to meet the demand, businesses are left waiting for shipments and unsure of arrival. Blooming House has already received three shipments since the start of January, which is the number it normally gets in a year. Barron said the typical fruit tree customer mostly comes in for citrus, followed by peach trees. Now, his entire stock is limited…”
• Spotlight on Levy County Government: State Grabs Power to Approve Solar Farms. “Tallahassee lawmakers passed a bill last week blocking local governments from disallowing solar projects on agricultural lands solely because the project would be located in an agricultural designation. Gov. Ron DeSantis can sign or veto the bill. The bill requires solar facilities to be a permitted use in all agricultural land use categories in a local government’s comprehensive plan and all agricultural zoning districts within an unincorporated area.”
• News Service of Florida: Universities to return to ‘pre-COVID operations.’ “Florida’s state universities are expected to return to pre-coronavirus operations during the upcoming school year, including at athletic and social events, top system officials said Wednesday.”
• Gainesville Sun ($): The price of blocking a Twitter follower? $185K and counting, for state Rep. Chuck Clemons. “Taxpayers so far have paid $185,000 to attorneys defending Rep. Chuck Clemons in the lawsuit brought against him by a man Clemons blocked from his Twitter account, records show. And the case, which has dragged on for more than three years, is nowhere close to over as a bench trial has been scheduled in Gainesville for early June.”
• CBS4: GRU debt rating lowered, utility bills could get higher. “(GRU General Manager Ed) Bielarski says they’re looking at making the average customer pay between one and five dollars more on their electric bill per month.”
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Around the state today
• News Service of Florida: Florida Legislature sets plans for gambling special session. “House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, and Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, issued a formal joint proclamation to bring lawmakers back to Tallahassee during the week of May 17. The 30-year gambling ‘compact,’ announced April 23, includes allowing sports betting in the state.”
• St. Augustine Record ($): St. Johns County new vacation rental rules include occupancy caps, registering property. “St. Johns County commissioners unanimously adopted vacation rental regulations on Tuesday, the culmination of a contentious process that began a few years ago. Commissioner Henry Dean described the regulations as an attempt to balance the needs of vacation rental operators and the homeowners who are seeing more short-term rentals open in their neighborhoods.”
• Fort Myers News-Press ($): Larger Lake Okeechobee releases could be on the way if rainy season starts soon. “Lake Okeechobee levels are higher than water managers would like with less than one month until the start of hurricane season. That could lead to larger water releases soon. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages lake levels and tries to keep the lake between 12.5 and 15.5 feet above sea level for flood protection and water supply.”
• WUSF: Global Warming, Development Could Bring Vampire Bats to Florida. “Vampire bats could soon make their way into the United States from Mexico due to climate change and development, scientists say. The possibility of a migration is concerning federal agriculture officials because the bats like to feast on the blood of large farm animals, while sometimes spreading rabies.”
• WINK-Fort Myers: All Florida Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies doing walk-in vaccinations. “All 383 Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacy locations across Florida are now accepting walk-in vaccine appointments as supply allows, according to a press release, in addition to scheduled appointments.”
• Politico: Florida GOP complaints about Bloomberg and voter fraud come up empty in latest investigation. “Top Florida GOP politicians suggested Bloomberg was offering money to people to vote a certain way in the 2020 presidential election, an allegation that put a cloud over the work of the statewide group that was behind a push to restore voting rights to convicted felons. Bloomberg pledged up to $100 million in Florida alone to defeat President Donald Trump.”
• Miami Herald ($): NSU is no longer requiring the vaccination of students, faculty after new Florida law. “Nova Southeastern University has reversed course on requiring students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law regulations on ‘vaccine passports.'”
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.