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The stories near you
• Associated Press: Lawsuit Over Florida School Mask Mandates Now Before Judge. “(Judge John C.) Cooper’s decision, which he expects to issue Friday, will, for now, decide the legality of strict mask mandates imposed in 10 of the state’s 67 countywide school districts, including most of the largest. Defying the governor and the state Board of Education, the districts have said students must wear masks in class unless their parents provide a note from a doctor. The districts represent about half of the state’s 2.8 million public school students.”
• Florida Politics: Superintendent lobs retort as state demands names of students disciplined for not wearing masks. “Alachua County schools Superintendent Carlee Simon lobbed some snark in Tallahassee’s direction for the latest exchange in the battle over mandatory student face masks.”
• Gainesville Sun ($): New School Board sworn in, votes against pursuing legal action against state. “The vote to pursue legal action against the state Board of Education passed 4-1, with (Mildred) Russell dissenting.”
• WCJB: Number of pediatric Covid-19 cases at UF Health breaks previous record. “UF Health Shands reported 16 pediatric cases, four of which are in the ICU. Ed Jimenez, CEO of UF Health, could not give a number of how many pregnant patients are currently at Shands. However, he said 90% of the current patients are unvaccinated.”
• Miami Herald ($): Slammed by staff shortages and ‘desperation,’ some North Florida prisons to shutter. “Prison officials plan to shutter Baker Correctional Institution and New River Correctional Institution in the coming weeks, said Jim Baiardi, the president of the Corrections Chapter of the Police Benevolent Association. Cross City Correctional Institution, which has been closed due to flooding damage, will continue to be closed for an indeterminate amount of time.”
• Ocala Gazette: Silver Springs debuts wheelchair accessible glass-bottom boat. “The original fleet of boats, built in the 1960s and 1970s when the park was still under private ownership, were never built to accommodate guests in wheelchairs.”
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Around the state
• WUSF: More Floridians Are Getting COVID Vaccines Amid Surge In Cases. “In the past four weeks, the average number of weekly vaccine doses administered in Florida rose by 57% from the previous month. Experts say that’s great, but it won’t stop the surge overnight.”
• Daytona Beach News-Journal ($): Volusia County Circuit Judge Steven Henderson dies after battle with COVID. “Chief Judge James Clayton confirmed in a phone interview on Thursday that Henderson had died. He said that Henderson left behind a wife and six children.”
• WFLA-Tampa: Florida surgeon general leaving position next month. “Before he became Florida’s surgeon general, Dr. (Scott) Rivkees served as the chair of the University of Florida College of Medicine’s department of pediatrics as well as physician-in-chief at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital.”
• WINK-Fort Myers: With growing number of COVID deaths, Cape Coral Hospital brings in external morgue. “Lee Health reported 10 people died of COVID-19 on Wednesday. … In the last two weeks, 91 people have died of COVID-19.”
• News4Jax: Ivermectin flying off Jacksonville feed store’s shelves. “According to the Florida Poison Control Center, there’s been a 282-percent increase in calls about people misusing and eating ivermectin throughout the state in the last month alone. Some of those calls came from Duval County with people reporting symptoms like dizziness, nausea, vomiting and elevated heart rate.”
• WMFE: Interview: Polk County Sheriff Remembers Deputy Lost To COVID-19, Urges Vaccinations. “(Sheriff Grady Judd:) ‘I’ve heard all the excuses. Oh, we don’t have enough research, we don’t have enough time. Let me explain something to you. If you get covid and die, none of that makes any difference anyway. And there’s risk in life, and there’s risk with every medicine that’s ever been created.'”
• Miami Herald ($): State recovers $5 million from ex-CEO of Florida domestic violence center and insurers. “(Ex-CEO) Carr and two former FCADV officers and directors will pay more than $3.9 million to DCF and the court-appointed receiver—including a more than $2 million cash payment by Carr, who was accused of defrauding the state and federal governments by manipulating her board of directors to pad her salary in a scheme that gave her more than $7.5 million over three years.”
• New York Times ($): ‘They Were Bullies’: Inside the Turbulent Origins of the Collapsed Florida Condo. “The team that developed Champlain Towers managed to build the condos despite checkered pasts, internal strife and a last-minute change that infuriated leaders in Surfside, Fla.”
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.