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Capital Report: January 13, 2023

Later this month across the state, volunteers will work to get an estimate of the number of people throughout our communities who are experiencing homelessness. Anecdotally, officials say that number is rising, especially as inflation and housing costs increase. The Point In Time Count will help advocates understand what kind of help is most needed. In Tallahassee, as friends remember the life of a woman who experienced homelessness, they say the answer to that question is love. Regan McCarthy takes us to a candle light vigil for Betty Scott.

Governor Ron DeSantis has announced changes that could transform a public liberal arts college in Sarasota -- into a conservative institution.
WUSF'S Cathy Carter spoke with Sarasota Herald Tribune reporter Zac Anderson about the Governor's plan for New College of Florida. Communities across Florida are considering how to move forward after hurricanes Ian and Nicole left widespread flooding and damage. Along east Central Florida, New Smyrna Beach leaders unanimously voted this week to pause new residential development while they examine hurricane impacts. WMFE’s Amy Green reports.

Scientists have now confirmed a long-suspected physical connection between 2 giant underground freshwater cave systems in North Florida. That’s leading to a growing consensus that what impacts any part of the Floridan Aquifer will eventually migrate far and wide.

Our partners at WUSF in Tampa and WMFE in Orlando recently hosted NPR’s Next Generation Radio Project, a workshop for new journalists. They’re working to highlight what it means to be a Floridian. This story comes from Julia Cooper, a student at the University of Florida. She interviewed Steve Friedman [FREED-man], a fisherman from Islamorada [EYE-la-more-AHD-a] in the Florida Keys. He moved to Florida from Chicago more than two decades ago and fell in love with the state, where he became a backcountry charter fisherman. After a massive seagrass die-off in 2015, he became an environmental activist. He dedicates his life to protecting the state’s waterways from pollution he believes threatens not only his livelihood, but Florida as he knows it.

On this Martin Luther King Junior holiday weekend, the site of the first school for Black children in Central Florida is up for grabs. In March, the Orange County school district will sell the 100 acres of land on which it once stood. WMFE’s Danielle Prieur (prior) reports some residents want the town of Eatonville to regain ownership over the historic site, while a developer plans to turn it into mixed use housing.