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The stories near you
• WUFT News: Residents prepare for what’s to come after Alachua County $10 million land purchase. “Alachua County Forever, the county’s environmental land acquisition program, paid $10.6 million for 3,936 acres between the Lochloosa Slough Preserve and the Fox Pen Tract against the Putnam County line. It was the program’s largest single land purchase ever, according to a news release.”
• Gainesville Sun ($): Students, families gear up for in-person graduations with no covid restrictions in 2 years. “Approximately 1,700 students are expected to graduate this year from Alachua County’s seven high schools between May 24 to 27, though the figures may change based on each student’s state testing results. To house all the students and families, some graduation ceremonies this year will include the University of Florida’s Stephen C. O’Connell Center and the Curtis M. Phillips Center of Performing Arts.”
• WUFT News: Q&A: Upcycling furniture is making its mark in Newberry. “Hardwood & Honey, a Newberry upcycling furniture store, is addressing a desire for this style of home furnishings in smaller cities in the region, according to customers. WUFT sat down with Hardwood & Honey owner Kristina Zebley, 33, to ask about the work that goes into refurbishing old furniture.”
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Around the state
• NPR News: Voting groups sue Florida, saying congressional map violates state constitution. “Voting rights groups are suing Florida over congressional maps that eliminate two Black voting districts. Even if successful, it’s uncertain whether new maps will be imposed before the election.”
• WTSP-Tampa Bay: DeSantis signs bill creating police force tasked with investigating elections crimes. “DeSantis on Monday took the time to praise Florida’s performance on election night but said that there was still ‘a lot that needs to be addressed.'”
• Associated Press: Error forces redo of Parkland school shooter’s jury selection. “The judge overseeing jury selection for a man who murdered 17 people at a Florida high school declared that the process will start over Monday, conceding that she should have questioned 11 potential jurors who said they would not follow the law before she dismissed them.”
• Miami Herald ($): As lawmakers avert their eyes, condo insurers flee Florida or jack up prices post-Surfside. “The retreat by insurance companies has left the condo associations steering aging buildings up and down the Miami-area coastline and throughout the state to deal with insurers in the lesser-regulated surplus market, for customers that can’t get standard policies because the potential loss is unacceptably high. How high? In the case of Champlain Towers South, Great American Insurance Company announced it would tender its full policy limits and additional payments totaling more than $30 million. The upheaval is translating to massive price hikes on premiums and Swiss-cheese carve-outs for policyholders.”
• WFTS-Tampa Bay: Fla. publisher reacts to ‘rejected’ status over math instructional material. “As the wait continues to learn exactly why 41% of math textbooks submitted by publishers to Florida’s Department of Education were rejected by the evaluators who reviewed them, Link Systems International is among those publishers who landed on the state’s rejected list.”
• Tallahassee Democrat ($): Florida honors 30 deputies who fell in the line of duty; 23 of them died of COVID. “The granite Memorial Wall was established in 2002 to honor fallen sheriffs and deputies in Florida. … To date, there are more than 400 names engraved on the wall with at least one officer from 63 of Florida’s 67 counties.”
• WGCU: Florida Prepaid offers new incentives for college savings. “The Florida Prepaid College Board is urging families to lock in the future cost of college with a Florida 529 Prepaid Plan. The program is the largest and the longest-running prepaid college program in the nation, and for the first time ever it is offering families an incentive for enrollment.”
• WMFE: Lawsuit filed in Orlando FreeFall drop tower death. “The father of a teen who fell to his death from the Orlando FreeFall drop tower at ICON Park has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Orange County Circuit Court. The lawsuit alleges that while most drop towers include both a shoulder harness and seatbelt, this one had only a shoulder harness to secure riders.”