In The News: Obama Urged to Talk Syria, Women’s Groups Protest Congressman, State Senator for FSU President, Waldo Police Corporal Resigns

By , , and on September 10th, 2014 | Last updated: September 10, 2014 at 3:32 pm
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FWC Attempts to Reduce Lionfish Population

By on September 10th, 2014 | Last updated: September 12, 2014 at 2:34 pm


Tim Wang / flickr

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is concerned with the growing population of lionfish, a destructive species of fish.

The FWC hopes to start up new efforts to prevent the further spread of lionfish and work on extraction. Extraction programs are available for individuals who spot a lionfish in Florida, including a smartphone app.

“The first thing we want you to do is report it,” said FWC spokesperson Amanda Nalley. “You can report it using the Report Florida Lionfish app, or you can also report it to us on our website. The second thing we want you to do is – if you feel comfortable doing so – remove the lionfish from Florida waters.”

New penalties will soon be put in place for those in possession of lionfish for purposes other than research or who don’t possess a permit.

While the breeding of lionfish can be dangerous, Nalley said doing so for research purposes is still permitted. Research may help solve how to better control the population.

Nalley said lionfish have been reproducing and growing in numbers without any form of population control. As new competitors to coral reefs, they feed on the animals there until the reef is left completely barren before moving on. This leaves algae to grow to unhealthy levels, detracting from the well-being of the ecosystem.

Lionfish also prey on larger species that are important to the Florida economy, like grouper and snapper. Lionfish have affected Florida’s wildlife since the 1990s.

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Sept. 10, 2014: Morning News in 90

By on September 10th, 2014 | Last updated: September 10, 2014 at 11:17 am

Cindy Kabiru produced this update.

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In the News: Florida Universities Search for President, Judge Vacates Gay Marriage Ruling, Florida Releases Prison Death Data, Americans Feel Unsafe

By and on September 10th, 2014 | Last updated: September 10, 2014 at 10:46 am
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Sept. 9, 2014: Afternoon News In 90

By and on September 9th, 2014 | Last updated: September 9, 2014 at 5:45 pm

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False Fire at Citrus Springs Middle School

By on September 9th, 2014 | Last updated: September 9, 2014 at 2:04 pm

There was a falsely reported fire at Citrus Springs Middle School this morning.

Secretary Rachel Bender said there was a problem with the air conditioning unit that was installed over the summer.

A strange odor was coming from the unit and smoke entered into the classroom, but there were never any flames.

The school took precautionary measures but have since resumed their normal classes.

The Rundown | 1 Comment

Alachua County School Buses Now Scan Student IDs

By on September 9th, 2014 | Last updated: September 12, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Alachua County public schools now require students to scan their student ID before boarding a school bus.

The IDs, which K-12 students  have been using since the beginning of the school year to purchase lunch and check out books, were issued as an added safety feature during replacement of the district’s bus routing system.

Each card contains a student-specific bar code that is recorded into the new GPS tracking system after it is swiped. Officials will then be able to identify when and where a student was transported on a bus.

Sample of the IDs Alachua County school buses now use. Alachua County school buses began scanning IDs for students on Monday.

Courtesy of Alachua County Public Schools

Sample of the IDs Alachua County school buses now use. Alachua County school buses began scanning IDs for students on Monday.

The new system will cost the district $83,000 this year and an additional $112,000 over the next four years. The ID cards amount to an additional $10,000.

James Speer, director of transportation for Alachua County Public Schools, said the new system should reduce the stress of district bus drivers, who will no longer feel the need to keep track of students’ names and whereabouts.

Alachua County school bus driver Troyanna Hamm said the first day of swiping went well for even the youngest of students at J.J. Finley Elementary School. But she said many of them were scared to approach the machine, and big stops took some time.

“It should get better,” Hamm said, addressing fears that the card swiping might slow down students’ commute to and from school.

Cards were activated for transportation purposes Sept. 8.

Eventually, Speer expects the new system to have “a minimal impact in terms of those routes getting on their way as usual.”

Jackie Johnson, spokesperson for Alachua County public schools, stressed that students will not be denied bus access if they forget, or lose, their card.

High school students have used their IDs in the past to access sporting events for a discounted price.

Shayna Gearhart, a first-grade teacher at Finley Elementary, said she hopes carrying the new ID cards will also help teach students a sense of responsibility.

The school board has asked parents to anticipate temporary delays in bus pickups and drop-offs this week as students become more familiar with the system and routes are adjusted to accommodate those who are new or have changed schools.

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In The News: YMCA CEO to Step Down, UF Ties in Top 50, “No Selection” Option on Ballots, 4th Ebola Victim Fly-In, Obama’s Ratings Hit All-Time-Low

By and on September 9th, 2014 | Last updated: September 9, 2014 at 10:49 am
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Plane Rerouted from Gainesville to Jacksonville Airport

By and on September 9th, 2014 | Last updated: September 11, 2014 at 1:02 pm

An American Eagle jet that was scheduled to land at Gainesville Regional Airport Sunday night was unexpectedly diverted to the Jacksonville International Airport.

Both the airline and the airport are still not sure exactly why this happened but passengers of the diverted flight are demanding an explanation.

“I was worried. The people on the plan were worried” said Cynthia Barnett, a passenger on the diverted flight. “[We were wondering] did someone have a heart attack or was there something going on in Gainesville. So that was a worrisome message to hear from the pilot.”

Officials from both Gainesville Regional Airport and American Airlines are investigating the diversion that happened Sunday night just before 11 p.m.

The jet was originally scheduled to arrive at Gainesville regional at 10:44 p.m. but could not get in contact with Gainesville’s tower for permission to land.

After circling Gainesville and awaiting response from the Gainesville tower, the pilot contacted Jacksonville International Airport and decided to land in Jacksonville shortly after.

Laura Aguiar, spokesperson for Gainesville Regional, said the pilot should have known that Gainesville’s tower communications get turned over to Jacksonville after Gainesville closes at 10:30. Plus, she said Jacksonville tower operators should have given the pilot the OK to land in Gainesville.

“The regularly scheduled flight was coming in as it normally does,” Aguiar said, ”and operations were proceeding as normal and the pilots made the decision to divert. But they had access to all the information and equipment they normally would.”

According to Gainesville Regional, the Jacksonville tower takes control of Gainesville at 10:30 pm and no one knows yet why the pilot wasn’t aware of that. Aguiar says the airport has received a lot of comments via email and phone calls and that’s how the airport learned about the situation Monday morning.

“Some of it was miscommunication,” Aguiar said. “We were kind of upset to learn that crews were not forth-coming with information about why they were diverted to Jacksonville and so we are trying to figure out what exactly happened ourselves.”

The worried passengers of the diverted flight were given hotel vouchers in Jacksonville and a flight back to Gainesville Monday morning. Officials with Gainesville regional said this has never happened before and they are doing what they can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Editors Note: We misspelled Laura Aguiar’s name. It has been corrected. 

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Students Rally To Pledge ‘Solidarity’ After Campus Assaults

By on September 9th, 2014 | Last updated: September 12, 2014 at 10:54 am

A plea for solidarity and strength rang out at the No Gator Walks Alone rally held in the Plaza of Americas at the University of Florida on Monday night.

The event, which was planned in less than 24 hours, came about after Nikki Steinberger, a second-year graduate student at UF, was online Sunday evening talking to friends about the recent assaults that have taken place on or near UF’s campus.

“I was compelled to do something, and I know this doesn’t take away what happened this past week, and I know it doesn’t fix anything, but it can make us be a little more proactive moving forward,” Steinberger said.

At the event students signed posters that pledged they would not walk alone around campus and would make sure that others did not have to walk alone either.

“It’s kind of two-fold, one is that I personally will not walk alone back to my apartment or the library or class,” Steinberger said. “Also that no one else will walk alone. We’re all in this community together and so that sense of responsibility and commitment to one another is important.”

The posters will be hung all over campus to act as a reminder of what has happened and to encourage students to walk together.

UFPD Chief Linda Stump spoke at the event to show support for Steinberger’s cause and to help ease the minds of the gathered students. Stump also asked for students help in making sure students stayed safe.

“The police can only be in so many places at so many times, and we need people to step up. We need Gators to step up and take care of each other. We need Gators to pay attention to their surroundings and know what looks right, what doesn’t feel right, and what looks may be wrong,” Stump said.

The No Gator Walks Alone rally isn’t the only event being held this week to raise awareness for sexual assault. The student government is currently in the midst of their sexual assault awareness week.

The sexual assault week was planned two months ago, but couldn’t be timelier, Susan Webster, a third-year business and Chinese double major and member of the student government senate, said. She wore a teal ribbon pinned to her shirt in honor of sexual awareness week while attending the rally.

“The whole campaign and being an aware Gator is something that’s great because this is something that Gators will be able to graduate with and take with them for the rest of their lives,” Webster said.

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