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5 Things to Know in Florida for Jan. 17

By: The Associated Press
January 16, 2014 Updated: January 16, 2014 at 5:19 pm
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Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today.

FLORIDA CONSERVATION AMENDMENT HEADED TO BALLOT

Florida voters will get to decide whether to set aside $10 billion in state funds over 20 years for land and water conservation. The group pushing the amendment has gotten enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. The state Division of Elections on Thursday reports that the amendment has gotten nearly 686,000 signatures. Environmental groups started the amendment after the Legislature slashed spending on the Florida Forever program.

ENTERTAINERS CANCEL APPEARANCES AT BUSCH GARDENS

Cancellations by recording artists are spreading to SeaWorld's sister park, Busch Gardens. A spokesman said Thursday that Pat Benatar and the Beach Boys have cancelled upcoming appearances in the wake of a documentary that is critical of how animals are kept in captivity at SeaWorld's marine parks.

INSURANCE RATES FALLING IN FLORIDA

Homeowner insurance rates are falling, according to the state's insurance commissioner. But the upbeat report cited by Kevin McCarty also shows that some of the state's larger insurers have asked for — and received — rate hikes. The report also didn't include the state-created Citizens Property Insurance, which has steadily raised rates over the years.

CONSTRUCTION WORKER FALLS TO HIS DEATH

A 60-year-old construction worker fell to his death from a catwalk inside an auditorium at Eckerd College on Thursday. Officials say they're not sure why the worker fell. He was in cardiac arrest when emergency crews arrived and was pronounced dead at a hospital a short time later.

GRADUATIONS RATES CALLED UNACCEPTABLE AT FLA UNIVERSITIES

Graduation rates at some Florida universities are being called unacceptable. The new chairman of the Florida Board of Governors criticized grad rates at Florida A&M University and Florida Atlantic University. FAMU's six-year graduation rate is 39 percent, while FAU's is 40 percent.

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