The Point, Oct. 1, 2019: Starting Today, It’s Illegal For Florida Drivers To Hold Cell Phones In School And Work Zones


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Bahamians are struggling to start over in the weeks following Hurricane Dorian’s devastation. Three reporters for WUFT News traveled to the Bahamas to document the impact of the storm on the islands and the thousands of people who call them home.

• After the state Board of Education mandated five hours of mental health instruction within the school year, Florida became the third state in the county to require such lessons in schools. The initiative aims to improve students’ emotional and mental well-being and show them how to identify the signs of mental illness. (WUFT News)

A research team led by David Vaillancourt, University of Florida department chairman of applied physiology and kinesiology, developed a non-invasive technology that can automatically diagnose Parkinson’s disease and may eliminate misdiagnoses. The automatic imaging system uses MRI methods to detect the disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. (The Alligator)

• According to federal investigators, a Gainesville doctor, Matthew Stewart Ellis, is being charged with conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud for authorizing the genetic testing of patients he never met — in a state where he isn’t licensed to practice — allowing him to make millions of dollars in false Medicare claims in what is one of the largest healthcare fraud schemes ever charged, totaling $2.1 billion. (Gainesville Sun)

Today’s sponsored message

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Around the state today

Florida’s ban on texting while driving has expanded to prohibit motorists from using handheld wireless devices while driving through school and work zones, according to a law that takes effect today. (News Service of Florida)

The law allowing Florida teachers to be armed in schools goes into effect today. (WTSP)

• Today is the first day teachers can be armed in Florida schools, but state Sen. Lori Berman and state Rep. Cindy Polo filed two bills Monday (SB 398 and HB 245) that would ban the carrying of weapons in childcare facilities, regardless of whether the owner has a concealed carry permit. (Florida Politics)

“Make it legal Florida,” a campaign to make Florida the 12th state to legalize recreational marijuana, sent petitions to voters in the state this week with the goal of getting the initiative on the November 2020 ballot. (Bay News 9)

Why is Hurricane Lorenzo’s recent status as a Category 5 storm raising concerns about climate change? (Palm Beach Post)

A record number of volunteers — 1,075 people — helped collect more than 8,000 pounds of trash from Jacksonville beaches during the September Florida Coastal Cleanup event. (WJCT)

• To combat dangerously low staffing levels in Florida state prisons, the Florida Department of Corrections wants a $60 million retention pay plan for correctional officers and a $29 million program to allow prison guards to reduce their 12-hour shifts to 8-hour workdays. (Florida Politics)

Some young people are turning to cigarettes to lower their nicotine intake in order to stop vaping. (Kaiser Health News)

From NPR News

• World: Communist China Turns 70. Who Shares Its Economic Growth?

• World: DHS Signs Deal To Send Asylum Seekers From U.S. Border To Honduras

• Politics: The Complicated Business of Plantation Tourism

• Politics: ‘The Campaign Is The Amplifier’: How Trump Plans To Fight Impeachment Push

• Business: Nothing Lasts, Forever 21 Discovers, As Another Clothing Chain Files For Bankruptcy

• Business: Employers Must Now Release Data To Close Race-Gender Pay Gap

• Science: How Big Oil Of The Past Helped Launch The Solar Industry Of Today

• Sports: California Governor Signs Bill Allowing College Athletes To Profit From Endorsements

About Jasmine Dahlby

Jasmine is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing

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The Point, Oct. 25, 2021: Alachua County School District seeks ways to sell $3.68M property it bought in 2020

The land was expensive because it had entitlements for housing construction, which the superintendent says the district does not need.