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First Read: Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The polar vortex, Marissa Alexander, and Gov. Rick Scott are in the headlines today.Welcome to WJCT First Read, your daily weekday morning round-up of stories from the First Coast, around Florida, and across the country. We'll also preview some of WJCT's upcoming news programming.

Cold weather pushes south: After a hard freeze overnight on the First Coast, the "polar vortex" bringing cold air into the state has reached Central Florida this morning and has resulted in several school closings in Georgia. (Orlando Sentinel, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Order filed to modify or revoke Alexander bond: The State Attorney's office has a hearing scheduled for Friday on a motion to modify or revoke the bond of Marissa Alexander, who is currently free awaiting a new trial. (News4Jax)

Town hall meeting on Jax Christmas movie brawl: About 40 residents gathered Monday night to discuss what can be done to prevent another large fight like the one that occurred outside the River City Marketplace movie theater on Christmas. (First Coast News)

Florida banks not keeping up with industry gains: New data shows Florida is home to the third highest percentage of troubled financial institutions with nearly a quarter of banks in the state labeled "troubled and problematic." (Jacksonville Business Journal)

Lobbyist sues Gov. Scott for not choosing a Lieutenant Governor: A lobbyist for the Florida National Organization for Women is suing Governor Rick Scott for failing to replace Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll since her resignation almost 10 months ago. (Miami Herald)

Florida hit hard by unemployment lapse: Florida remains an epicenter for long-term unemployed after the cutoff in federal unemployment benefits this month. (Tampa Bay Times)

Marijuana activists expect to file enough signatures for ballot initiative: Organizers of the campaign to legalize medical marijuana in Florida say they have enough signatures to make it on the November ballot. (The Daily Chronic)

FSU beats Auburn for BCS Championship: The Seminoles took down the Auburn Tigers 34-31 with a last minute touchdown to end a perfect season. (AP via WJCT)

Rare snowy owl spotted in Jax: A white snowy owl has been seen around Duval County’s Little Talbot Island since last Friday, far from it's usually colder habitat. (Jacksonville Times-Union)

Today on First Coast Connect, Melissa Ross returns with UNF? criminologist Dr. Michael Hallett to discuss Jacksonville's ongoing efforts to bring down the homicide rate.

You can get all the latest headlines online at, on our Facebook page, and on Twitter @WJCTJax. You can follow Patrick Donges on Twitter at @patrickhdonges.

Patrick Donges served as WJCT's Digital Content Editor from August 2013 - August 2014.