Today’s top stories
• One of the complaints people often have about the news media is its lack of focus on positive stories. To kick off The Point in 2019, we’re centralizing those stories that spotlight the people in Gainesville and across the rest of our slice of Florida doing good work and trying to make their community a better place. We hope you appreciate what we have to offer in “Florida Good.”
Today, it’s the story of Jeff Suggs. He was born with cerebral palsy and says he does “not know the meaning of no” when it comes to helping others.
• Between the holidays, the state released an audit showing the number of registered sex offenders living in Florida has increased by more than 50 percent since 2005. The Jacksonville area has the highest rate of offenders without a home and Orange County has the most of any county. (AP, WJCT, WMFE)
• Shutdown or no, the Coast Guard continues to patrol in The Keys and everywhere else. (FLKeysNews)
• Michael Ertel of Seminole County will be Florida’s new top election chief under Ron DeSantis. (Miami Herald)
• Even without knowing how much rain fell there during Hurricane Michael, Bay County had its rainiest year on record in 2018. The county also released the harrowing 911 calls from the hurricane. (Panama City News-Herald)
• The Sun Sentinel is running a series called “Critical Choices” about the Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland. Its most recent entry is about the difference of what happened that day on three different floors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
• There’s a probable cause hearing scheduled for later this month related to Andrew Gillum’s infamous Costa Rice and New York trips. In other Tallahassee news, the city commission there had to pick a replacement for Scott Maddox, the former commissioner now facing a 44-count federal indictment. (Tallahassee Democrat)
• Some 1,100 acres in Putnam and Clay counties have been protected from development. (WJCT)
• Red tide has at last left the waters at Siesta Beach, regarded as one of the state’s best. That didn’t stop someone in nearby Bradenton from dressing up as red tide for the “Shamrock Shiver” charity event. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)
• The Miami Herald collected an excellent history of the former Sears Art Deco tower that still stands in South Florida, even as the stores close.
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From NPR News
We’re making a slight change to this section for the new year. While “The NPR 9” might have had nice alliteration, it locked this section into always having nine stories. There are often — on days like today — more than nine stories worth featuring. On others, there are less than nine noteworthy national stories.