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The stories near you
• WUFT News: Paying the price: GRU customers question why their bills are so high. “Hayley Shea is a lifelong Gainesville resident who’s considering moving to another state. Why? Because her utility bills are just too high for someone who bakes cakes for a living.”
• WUFT News: No monkey business in Levy County: Primate research lab plans get nixed. “Plans for a primate research lab in this rural north central Florida county have been shelved. And many residents, still harboring anxieties about the idea, say good riddance.”
• Mainstreet Daily News: City commissioners hit BOCC on housing decision. “The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) vote to withdraw support from an affordable housing development in East Gainesville prompted a strong reaction from several Gainesville City Commission members.”
• Ocala Gazette: MCBOCC will consider an application for a sand mine in Orange Springs. “Dozens of residents in the tiny enclave of Orange Springs say a proposed sand mine, if approved, will forever ruin their community’s tranquil character, destroy crucial wildlife habitat and taint adjacent Orange Creek and nearby critical natural water resources.”
• WUFT News: Medical marijuana usage is increasing in America. “Not only did COVID-19 unleash a virus that affected the entire globe, but the growing pandemic also triggered an epidemic of anxiety and depression among America’s Generation Z and millennial populations. And many people turned to cannabis, as opposed to prescribed medication, to calm their minds.”
• Mainstreet Daily News: La Balooza Hot Air Balloon Festival rises. “The annual event – which opens its gates at 5 p.m. – includes rides on a tethered hot air balloon, vendor markets, live music, magicians, roaming entertainers and a kids zone. Balloon rides are not guaranteed as they are weather permitting.”
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Around the state
• News Service of Florida: Florida’s Senate president points to a possible expansion of the parental rights sex education law. “Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, signaled support Thursday for a potential expansion of Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, which drew heavy opposition this year from critics.”
• Spectrum News: CDC estimates 90% of U.S. kids have had COVID-19. “In data posted Thursday, the agency estimated that 90.3% of children 6 months to 17 years old had evidence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in their blood. That amounts to nearly 65 million children.”
• Florida Politics: Gov. DeSantis appoints four appellate judges after Florida Supreme Court rejects challenge. “They will fill four vacancies created through HB 7027, which set up the new 6th District Court of Appeal and revised other appellate court jurisdictions.”
• News4Jax: Push for more accessible mental health resources heightens in Black community. “With the recent sudden death of the dancer and reality TV star Stephen ‘DJ tWitch’ Boss, conversations about mental health have increased.”
• Florida Politics: Disney is suing over its property tax assessments — again. “Some things in this world are certain, like death and Disney fighting its taxes.”
• WMFE-Orlando: If we have at-home test kits for COVID, why isn’t there one for Flu? “Cases of COVID-19, Influenza, and RSV continue to rise in Central Florida and throughout the county, yet COVID is the only of the three viruses to have a commercial at-home test kit.”
From NPR News
• National: ‘It is the obvious thing.’ The White House tries a new tack to combat homelessness
• Environment: The Keystone pipeline leaked in Kansas. What makes this spill so bad?
• Politics: The Jan. 6 committee is about to have its last hearing. Here’s what to expect
• Sports: Brittney Griner says she’ll play in the upcoming WNBA season
• National: There’s a shortage of vets to treat farm animals. Pandemic pets are partly to blame
• National: They flew to Nashville. Bluebell, their dog, was sent to Saudi Arabia
• Science: Researchers say time is an illusion. So why are we all obsessed with it?
Kristin Moorehead curated today’s edition of The Point.