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The stories near you
• Fresh Take Florida: University of Florida’s president is stepping down. “Fuchs, 67, who had been appointed the 12th president of the state’s flagship university in 2014, made the surprise announcement on the first day of spring classes. He said he had quietly informed the chairman of the board of trustees, Mori Hosseini, about his decision back in August.”
• WUFT News: Ocala natives headline U.S. Long Track Olympic Trials for Beijing Games. “Ocala is the unlikely hometown of three Winter Olympians vying for another chance to compete on the world’s biggest stage, this time at the 2022 Games in Beijing next month. Each is the No. 1 ranked skater in their respective events – 1,500 meters for Joey Mantia, 35; 1,000 meters for Brittany Bowe, 33; and 500 meters for Erin Jackson, 29 – going into U.S. Long Track Olympic Trials being held this week in Milwaukee.”
• WUFT News: Rural broadband remains scarce across north central Florida. Here’s what that means for people without it. “Several counties throughout North Florida have turned to speed tests to determine the areas of their region that most lack consistent internet. Cindy Bellot, the director of the Dixie County Library, says she lives in an area that so severely lacks broadband connection, she can’t even take the test. And she’s felt firsthand the impacts of a lack of technological resources in rural regions.”
• Here & Now: Florida election supervisor says voter fraud claims are making his job harder. “Here & Now host Scott Tong speaks with Wesley Wilcox, a Republican who is the supervisor of elections in Marion County, Florida, about his efforts to push back against Trump voters who believe without evidence that there was fraud in the 2020 presidential election.”
• ClickOrlando: 4th resident of The Villages charged with casting multiple ballots. “Charles Franklin Barnes, 64, was booked into the Sumter County jail Tuesday night on a charge of casting more than one ballot in an election, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.”
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Around the state
• McClatchy: A year after attack, Floridians in Congress reflect on ‘fragile’ democracy, fallout. “One year after rioters attacked the U.S. Capitol in a violent attempt to overturn the 2020 election, Florida Democrats are reflecting on the fragility of democracy and the unfinished fight for accountability. Their Republican colleagues kept their focus on gaps in Capitol security for the somber anniversary rather than the motivations behind the unprecedented attack.”
• WFSU: Florida lawmakers face big issues as the 2022 legislative session gets underway. “Florida lawmakers are preparing to kick off their annual lawmaking session which begins on Jan. 11. The agenda comes amid both an election and redistricting year which will see Republicans try to boost their numbers and win all statewide contests while Democrats try to hold their ground.”
• News Service of Florida: Florida lawmakers will open the legislative session without COVID-19 restrictions. “Legislative leaders are monitoring the spike in coronavirus cases across Florida but haven’t made plans to reimpose restrictions on public access that were used during the 2021 session.”
• Orlando Sentinel ($): Pressure mounts for health care providers: Florida threatens fines for complying with federal vaccination mandate. “While many experts are advising clients to follow federal law, David Miller, a Miami-based employment attorney at the Bryant Miller Olive law firm, equated the situation faced by many Florida employers as being ‘a bone between two dogs,’ with the canines being the state and federal governments.”
• WMFE: Despite new CDC guidance, Port Canaveral cruises float on. “Last week, the CDC raised its health notice for cruises from three to four — its highest rating — citing an increase in reported Covid-19 cases on cruise ships.”
• Florida Politics: Ron DeSantis says shots won’t end pandemic, denies losing faith in vaccine. “‘With omicron, the vaccines are not stopping the spread. That’s clear,’ said DeSantis, who has only received one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. ‘If you look at who’s being infected, vaccinated, boosted, they’re all being infected. It didn’t stop it,’ he continued, discussing the vaccine. ‘It doesn’t provide sterilizing immunity, and I think that you just have to be honest with people about that.'”
• WTSP-Tampa: The Sunshine State’s first solar community is still shining four years after its foundation. “Nestled between Punta Gorda and Fort Myers in southwest Florida is Babcock Ranch. A community made up of nearly 20,000 homes with a population of roughly 50,000 and a whole lot of solar panels.”
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.