Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book, D-Plantation
News Service of Florida

Florida Senate Democrats plan to launch a crowdfunding effort to help cover salaries of local school officials if Gov. Ron DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran make good on threats to withhold pay because of mask mandates in schools.

Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams

A federal judge has refused to toss out a legal challenge to a controversial new law that creates a host of crimes and enhances existing penalties for protests that turn violent or block traffic. Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams is one of the defendants that had asked that the case be thrown out.

Groups Object To Florida Power & Light Deal

Aug 12, 2021
A view of the FPL Solar Center in West Kendall, which is west of Miami near the Everglades.
Andrew Quintana / WLRN

Three groups objected Wednesday to a proposed settlement that Florida Power & Light reached with consumer and business representatives to raise base electric rates and add solar energy.

The former Stein Mart at Ortega Park appears headed for demolition.
Jacksonville Daily Record

As landlords find new uses for the six closed Stein Mart stores in Jacksonville, the owner of Ortega Park wants to demolish the one in its Westside shopping center.

USS Orleck
Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association (JHNSA)

Jacksonville is set to welcome the USS Orleck, a naval museum ship that while in service was awarded 18 battle stars, enough to make it the most decorated post-World War II ship ever built.

People gather outside a bus marked "Wellness on Wheels"
Jacksonville Transportation Authority

The Florida Black Expo, an annual event celebrating black-owned businesses on the First Coast, is being postponed from this month to October because of the rise in coronavirus cases. 

Jack Spottswood / State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory

Jacksonville’s historic Old Stanton Highschool Downtown could become a mixed-use facility and community cultural center, if a nonprofit is successful in raising $10 million. The effort includes a virtual fundraiser Wednesday evening, on the birthday of one of the school’s most famous alumni, John Rosamond Johnson. 

A FPL electric vehicle charging station is pictured.

Florida Power & Light has reached agreement with representatives of consumers and businesses on a four-year plan that would increase base electric rates and continue the utility’s push to add solar energy.

W.B., a 1-year-old boy with a rare genetic disorder called CHARGE syndrome, has spent much of his young life in Jacksonville-area hospitals. His doctors said that without treatment at a specialty clinic run by the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, he would likely suffer developmental delays and other medical problems, but the state of Florida denied that treatment. 

Reports: Jay-Z Invests In Jacksonville-Based Fanatics

Aug 11, 2021

Fanatics raised $325 million in additional capital, including an investment by a high-profile celebrity, as the Jacksonville-based merchandising company seeks to expand into new businesses such as sports gambling, several major financial news outlets reported Aug. 10.

City Council Designates Porter House Mansion, 112 E. Forsyth Landmarks

Aug 11, 2021
Jacksonville Daily Record

The City Council designated the Porter House Mansion in Downtown Jacksonville’s North Core and a building at 112 E. Forsyth St. near the Florida Theatre as local landmarks.

Florida Coastal Another Step Toward Closure As Emergency Motion Denied

Aug 11, 2021
Florida Coastal School of Law
Jacksonville Daily Record

U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard denied Florida Coastal School of Law’s emergency motion for a restraining order that would have temporarily restored the school’s access to the Title IV federal student loan program.

Cars line up outside the Central Outreach Wellness Center on the Northside of Pittsburgh Monday, March 16, 2020, for drive-by testing for COVID-19.
Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press

St. Johns County is launching a new COVID-19 testing site next week that will be open every day.

Florida Chief Justice Could Face Thorny Issues If Wife Wins House Race

Aug 11, 2021

Jennifer Canady’s campaign website bills her as a “lifelong conservative” and a “Lakeland native,” attributes that could be considered requisites for the Polk County state House seat she hopes to capture in next year’s elections.

But while it also describes her as a teacher, wife, mother and community leader, what it doesn’t say is perhaps more interesting: Canady’s husband holds one of the most powerful posts in the state --- he’s the chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court.

COVID-19 Numbers Updated After Florida-CDC Dispute

Aug 11, 2021

After a dispute between the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, updated numbers of coronavirus cases for the past few days have been released.

Originally, the CDC reported 28,317 people tested positive for the coronavirus Sunday, and 28,316 on Saturday.

However, the Department of Health disputed those figures, saying they were the totals over "multiple days."

The CDC now says 21,500 cases were recorded Saturday, 19,567 Sunday, and 15,319 Monday.

Florida Will Appeal Norwegian 'Vaccine Passport' Ruling

Aug 10, 2021

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration plans to appeal a federal judge’s ruling that sided with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings in a constitutional challenge to Florida’s ban on so-called “vaccine passports.”

DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw said Monday that the administration disagrees with the ruling Sunday by U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams and will take the case to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

TALLAHASSEE --- A Leon County circuit judge has scheduled a hearing Friday in a lawsuit filed by parents challenging an executive order by Gov. Ron DeSantis that seeks to prevent school districts from requiring students to wear masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Florida Education Commissioner Corcoran Ramps Up Threat To School Officials Over Masks

Aug 10, 2021

TALLAHASSEE --- State Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran is looking to enforce Gov. Ron DeSantis’ threat to withhold the salaries of school officials in Alachua and Leon counties if they don’t comply with a state rule aimed at allowing parents to decide whether children wear masks in school.

Heather Prediletto

Masks were not on the agenda when the St. Johns County School Board met Tuesday, but after hearing from more than 100 concerned parents and community members on both sides of the masking debate over a period of six hours, the board reiterated its position: Masks are optional, which is in line with state rules. 

File photo of students returning to school during the coronavirus pandemic.
Rick Bowmer / Associated Press

Duval County Public Schools have plans in place to ensure students will be able to continue learning, even if they’re quarantined for an extended period of time due to exposure to the coronavirus.

EPA: Never Mind On Using Radioactive Gypsum Waste For Road Construction

Aug 10, 2021
A phosphate mine in Soda Springs, Idaho.
John Miller / Associated Press

President Joe Biden's Environmental Protection Agency has reversed the agency's approval to add radioactive phosphogypsum wastes to materials used by government contractors to build roads.

Pope Francis puts on a face mask as he attends an inter-religious ceremony on Oct. 20, 2020.
Gregorio Borgia / ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Diocese of St. Augustine, which runs 40 Catholic schools in Northeast and North Central Florida, has reinstituted its mask mandate for the beginning of the school year. 

Republic Services

The Clay County Board of Commissioners announced curbside recycling collections will be temporarily suspended in all unincorporated areas of Clay County and the city of Keystone Heights starting August 16.

Marta Lavandier / ASSOCIATED PRESS

The city of Jacksonville announced legislation that would fund three new COVID testing sites across the city, with two additional new sites to be operated by the Department of Health in Duval County. 

About 4,700 Duval County Students Opt Out Of Masks

Aug 10, 2021
A teacher and his students wear masks in a Texas class room on Dec. 3, 2020.

Most Florida students are heading back to school Tuesday, and many teachers say they’re ready to return to the classroom and eager to continue face-to-face teaching. But some teachers say the stress looming over COVID-19 is worse than a year ago.

Early Learning Coalition

Studies show that the best time to instill a child’s love for reading is before kindergarten, when their most rapid period of brain growth occurs.

Potential Tropical Cyclone 6 is close to becoming the season's sixth named tropical storm in the Caribbean, and may cause direct effects over a portion of Florida over the upcoming weekend.


Parents in St. Johns County are planning a protest before the School Board meeting Tuesday morning, when they plan to ask local officials to require masks in the classroom. Other parents who oppose masks are expected to counter-protest. 

Coastal Georgia Hospitals Fill With COVID Patients, Urge People to Get Vaccinated

Aug 9, 2021
Georgia residents wait in line Coronavirus vaccines at a public health department vaccination center on Jan. 19, 2021.

Hospital capacities in Camden and Ware counties are listed as severe and Coastal Georgia Regional Hospital representatives plan a news conference to help residents better understand the “gravity of the situation.”

Armistead Returns as UF Health Jacksonville CEO

Aug 9, 2021
Jacksonville Daily Record

Former UF Health Jacksonville CEO Russell Armistead again will lead the hospital, effective Monday, Aug. 9.