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The news you need to know today


Here's your morning news briefing for Wednesday morning:

Florida Department of Health fines Leon County over vaccination requirement
The Florida Department of Health is imposing a $3.57 million fine on Leon County because of the county government’s requirement that employees get the COVID-19 vaccine. The department sent a notice Tuesday to Leon County Administrator Vince Long that gave the county 30 days to pay the fine. Read more here.

Also in Leon County, the school district lets parents opt-out of masking — no medical excuse required
The Leon County School District has dropped its mask requirements for students in grades Pre-K through 8th. Leon Superintendent Rocky Hanna says he’s following through on his promise to parents to revisit the policy when positivity rates fell. Read more here.

Gabby Petito Update
Cross-country traveler Gabby Petito was strangled to death, a Wyoming coroner announced Tuesday in a news conference. Read more here.

New Santa Rosa school addresses growth in Pace
A new K-8 school is Pace seeks to address the burgeoning population in the area. With a capacity of 1,182 students, the new school will feature a two-story, three-wing structure that will include 25 primary classrooms, 20 intermediate classrooms and a covered physical education building. The Santa Rosa County School District is also looking at building two new high schools in the south end of the county to meet the demands of the community growth. Read more about the school's groundbreaking here.

Baptist Hospital celebrates 70 years
Baptist Hospital is celebrating its 70th anniversary of serving the Pensacola area this month, with several low-key events in-house because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more about the hospital's history and legacy here.

The U.S. will soon allow nonessential travelers from Canada and Mexico again
The United States is taking a major step toward reopening its borders with Canada and Mexico. Beginning next month, the U.S. will allow nonessential travelers to enter the countries. Read more here.