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The stories near you
• WUFT News: Alachua County parents can opt out of having their public school students wear masks. “Starting Friday, parents will be given the option to complete an ‘opt-out’ form for their child, indicating that they would rather not have their child participate in the mask mandate. This opt-out option will be used until Dec. 17. Once the winter break comes to an end, all mask wearing will once again be optional for all students of all ages.”
• WUFT News: Gainesville program to offer guaranteed income to people released from prison or jail. “Anyone who has been released from a state prison or county jail in Florida, or from a federal prison, or put on felony probation by a judge after May 31 is eligible to apply. The program will have two application periods. The first opened Wednesday and will remain open until Dec. 1. Fifty-eight people will be chosen from this pool. The second application period will be Jan. 19 to Feb. 9, after which another 57 people will be selected.”
• Mainstreet Daily News: BOCC delays approval of UF development agreement. “The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners declined on Tuesday to approve a campus development agreement with the University of Florida due to concern over the upcoming demolition of graduate student housing facilities.”
• News Service of Florida: University Of Florida Appeals in COVID-19 Refund Case. “The University of Florida has gone to an appeals court after an Alachua County circuit judge refused to dismiss a potential class-action lawsuit that contends the school should refund fees to students who were forced to learn remotely in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
• WUFT News: Here’s what you need to know about voting in Gainesville’s 2021 special election. “Early voting for the City of Gainesville special election to fill the vacancy of City Commission At-Large, Seat B, begins this week. Whether you head to the polling locations during early voting or on election day, read this guide to help you prepare.”
• The Alligator: UF president’s new task force on outside activities meets for first time. “The task force was appointed by President Kent Fuchs and Provost Joe Glover to investigate UF’s written policies on disclosure of outside activities and conflict of interest. The university’s policies came under scrutiny after they were used to bar professors from testifying against the state of Florida.”
• WUFT News: Santa Fe Teaching Zoo throws its gibbons a birthday party. “…Eddie alternates between ripping open presents and throwing around birthday cards as fans watched on a live stream. It’s his 40th birthday party, and he’ll act any way he wants. The zoo held a birthday party Wednesday for the white-handed gibbons. Cajun turned 30 that day, and Eddie, who has been at the zoo since 1982, turned 40 on Sunday.”
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Around the state
• Florida Times-Union ($): Gov. Ron DeSantis announces over $1 billion in education budget recommendations. “Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his office is working on over $1 billion in education budget recommendations for the upcoming fiscal year, during a news conference at Jacksonville Classical Academy Wednesday.”
• USA Today Network ($): Lines drawn: Florida Senate unveils first redistricting maps. “Final maps aren’t expected to be approved until the end of next year’s legislative session in March. But Wednesday’s reveal suggests Florida’s ruling Republicans are making good on their pledges to avoid unconstitutional gerrymandering this go around.”
• WFLA-Tampa: ‘Never felt this kind of pain’: Husband, friends grieve loss of St. Pete woman killed by e-scooter rider. “On Nov. 4, Alvera (Minutello) jumped on her bicycle to run to the store to get some frosting for a cake she had just baked. She never came home. Investigators say a man on an electric scooter hit her near the intersection of 66th Street North and 18th Avenue in St. Petersburg. It was shortly after noon. She suffered numerous serious injuries as a result of the crash and died on Monday.”
• News4Jax: Judge decides Corrine Brown will have court-appointed attorney. “Brown, whose conviction on fraud and tax charges was overturned earlier this year, is still set to go on trial again next year.”
• Sun Sentinel ($): South Florida reptile dealer pleads guilty to wildlife smuggling. “Michael Van Nostrand, owner of Strictly Reptiles of Hollywood, had been accused by federal prosecutors of using a network of collectors to catch freshwater turtles in the wild and then submitting export documents that falsely claimed the turtles had been captive-bred. Florida law prohibits the commercial catch of turtles.”
From NPR News
• Business: Inflation surges to its highest since 1990
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.