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Today’s top Florida stories
• WUFT News: Gainesville is offering shelter to people without housing, heating this winter. “The city of Gainesville’s Cold Night Shelter Program enlists the services of GRACE Marketplace and St. Francis House to offer shelter to those without warm housing when colder winter nights pose a serious health threat, like hypothermia and frostbite.”
• WUSF: Tropicana Field development is painful for former residents of the site, but marks a ‘new beginning.’ “Residents of St. Petersburg have long awaited a decision on what will happen to the Tropicana Field site. But no one has watched as closely as the site’s former residents. The 86-acre site was home to two predominantly black neighborhoods — Gas Plant and Laurel Park — until the 1980s. Hundreds of families lost their homes.”
• Associated Press: A ball for the 1st Black mayor of St. Petersburg, Fla., is canceled over circus theme. “A ball planned for the first Black mayor of a major Florida city has been canceled amid concerns its circus theme was inappropriate in the once-segregated city.”
• News4Jax: Gov. DeSantis proposes reestablishing Florida State Guard civilian volunteer force. “The Florida State Guard is a civilian-based volunteer force that DeSantis said would assist the National Guard during state-specific emergencies.”
• WMFE: Fatal opioid overdoses spike in Central Florida, even after pandemic restrictions lifted. “The report finds white men are the most likely to die from an opioid overdose in Central Florida: 82 percent of those who died are white, and 71 percent are men. But the death rate for Black Floridians is increasing at an alarming rate, a 200 percent increase from 2015 to 2021.”
• News Service of Florida: Florida Farmers Grapple With Transportation Problems. “While global supply chain issues are reportedly easing, Florida farmers told lawmakers Thursday that perishable items with short shelf lives continue to struggle in being moved from fields to markets.”
• Tampa Bay Times ($): How a lead factory polluted a Tampa neighborhood. “This past year, a Tampa Bay Times investigation revealed that Gopher Resource put hundreds of workers at risk by allowing toxic dust to accumulate inside the factory, prompting a $319,000 federal fine for workplace violations. But the company’s practices have also threatened the surrounding community and environment, the Times has found.”
• Florida Politics: Michael Grieco, Jason Pizzo file ‘no-brainer’ bill requiring landlords to provide air conditioning. “While Florida winters sometimes get chilly, summers in the aptly named Sunshine State are downright fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk sweltering. But oddly, current state law mandates landlords provide tenants with heaters, not air conditioning.”
• Miami Herald ($): U.S. Treasury will soon reimburse Surfside residents for $750,000 cash found in condo rubble. “An estimated $750,000 in randomly scattered cash that was recovered in the rubble of the Surfside condo collapse will soon be driven in an armored truck to Washington, D.C., and converted into a lump-sum payment — courtesy of the Treasury Department for the benefit of residents who lost the money in the summer tragedy.”
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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.