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1. Marco council receives unanimous support for COPCN bill

On Thursday Marco Island councilors met with the Collier County state legislative delegation to discuss priorities for the 2018 legislative session; all three delegation members - Sen. Kathleen Passidomo and Reps. Bob Rommel and Bryon Donalds - voted to support a local bill that would allow the city to obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (COPCN) without the county's permission.

More: Updated: Marco receives unanimous support for COPCN bill

However, there are a few stipulations. First, there must be a referendum about the COPCN on the August 2018 primary election ballot. Passidomo originally wanted the approval rating to be 60 percent or higher, but eventually agreed to a simple majority.

Council must also file a COPCN application with the county and figure out the cost of operating its own ambulance service before the bill is presented to the legislature.

-- Lisa Conley/Staff

2. Lely High School participating in High School Voter Registration Challenge

The Collier County Supervisor of Elections office will host its fifth annual High School Voter Registration Challenge this fall. So far, 12 high schools have scheduled their voter registration drives, including Lely High School.

The Supervisor of Elections is challenging local high schools to get students registered for future elections and so far, the following schools are scheduled to participate: Barron Collier High School, Community School of Naples, Donahue Academy, Everglades City School, First Baptist Academy, Golden Gate High School, Immokalee High School, Lely High School, Naples High School, Palmetto Ridge High School, Seacrest Country Day School and St. John Neumann High School. The high school with the highest level of participation after their registration drive will be presented with a plaque from Jennifer J. Edwards, Supervisor of Elections.

Registered voters must be legal U.S. citizens and must be at least 18 years old. Students under 18 are encouraged to pre-register to vote as early as the age of 16 in preparation for future elections.

3. Collier County dangerous place for panthers

Four stretches of road in Collier County rank among the worst hot spots for vehicle collisions with endangered Florida panthers, according to a new report.

The report by a committee of panther advocates, road planners and wildlife agency representatives lists almost 20 road segments in Collier and Hendry counties as candidates for wildlife crossings to reduce panther deaths.

More: Florida panther hot spot report aims to focus wildlife crossings where needed most

The study of vehicle collisions, the most common cause of death for panthers, is part of a larger effort by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to review the pace of Florida panther recovery.

Scientists estimate the panther population has rebounded from fewer than 30 to as many as 230, leading to record numbers of panther deaths on roads, mostly in Southwest Florida. Last year set another record with 34. This year there have been 19.

-- Eric Staats/Staff

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