The Point, Feb. 14, 2020: Florida Legislature Looks At Statewide Regulation Of Vape Shops


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• WUFT News: Gender Inequity Endures Among Highest-Paid UF State Employees. “In the past three years, gender disparity among the highest-paid employees at the University of Florida has changed little… 95 of the 100 highest-paid employees are affiliated with the UF College of Medicine or UF Health Shands Hospital. Many of them are surgeons or department chairs, and both of those categories are more likely to be filled by men.”

• WUFT News: County Ups The Ante In Search For Art To Replace Controversial Confederate Statue. “…the county first made a call-to-artists for a replacement statue, with the county offering to pay $25,000. It received no proposals, a shortage that officials believed resulted from the asking price. County commissioners have now agreed to increase the offer to $40,000.”

• The Alligator: UF: If you’ve traveled from the Hubei Province of China, you should self-quarantine. “UF doesn’t know of anyone who has traveled from China, but just in case, the university is asking them to self-quarantine to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Those who traveled from the Hubei Province of China must self-quarantine themselves for 14 days, according to a UF email sent to the university community Tuesday.”

• Florida Phoenix: FL appears to be on a list for coronavirus test kits; UF students on alert. “The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has sent coronavirus diagnostic test kits to select states – but officials would not confirm that Florida is on the list, though the Miami Herald has reported that the state did receive some testing kits. At the University of Florida in Gainesville, students are receiving ongoing alerts and guidance on what actions to take if they’ve traveled to China recently.”

• Ocala Star-Banner ($): Flea market reboot underway south of Belleview. “The Justice League has descended upon the former Grumpy Jerry’s Flea Market location about a mile south of downtown Belleview on U.S. 441 and plans to breathe new life into the spot. A grand opening celebration of Justice’s World Open Air Flea Market is set for Saturday.”

• Suwannee Democrat: Suwannee County Board OKs catalyst site rail crossing. “Despite concerns over whether it will be eligible for grant funding, the Suwannee County Board of County Commissioners moved ahead with an agreement for a rail crossing at the catalyst site. The board unanimously approved the agreement for the crossing with Florida Gulf & Atlantic Railroad LLC and then unanimously greenlighted the release of the $360,187 payment for work on the crossing to begin at its Feb. 4 meeting.”

• Citrus County Chronicle ($): County puts Nature Coast EMS on notice. “Citrus County’s ambulance service has until the end of the month to show commissioners it has the finances to keep operating under the county contract. Commissioners voted 4-0 Thursday to set the deadline for Nature Coast EMS, followed by a March 14 board meeting when commissioners will decide whether to suspend the nonprofit’s operating certificate.”

• WUFT News: Alachua County To Make First Appearance In Global City Nature Challenge. “The county is currently one of two areas representing the entire state of Florida, challenge co-organizer and Santa Fe Zoo conservation education specialist, Jade Salamone said. Miami is the other area and is representing South Florida. “

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Around the state today

• News Service of Florida: House Seeks Regulation Of Vape Shops Amid ‘Epidemic.’ “Vape shops would have to be permitted and regulated by the state, under a House effort to combat an ‘epidemic’ of electronic-cigarette use by teens. Under the proposal, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which oversees sales of tobacco products, would also have authority over retail establishments that sell e-cigarettes and other vape products.”

• NPR: Key Florida Elections Office Endured Cyberattack Ahead of 2016 Election. “The elections office of Florida’s third-most populous county was breached by a crippling cyberattack in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election, NPR confirmed on Thursday. There is no indication that the ransomware attack was connected to Russian interference efforts leading up to the last presidential race, but the revelation about it now shows how election officials are preparing for this year’s election without knowing all the details of what happened before.”

• TCPalm ($): How much do people spend on Valentine’s Day? A lot, says National Retail Federation. “Valentine’s Day sales projections forecast a record high for 2020, with the average consumer expected to spend $196… Men are expected to spend nearly three times more than women, rolling out $291 and $106, respectively.”

• WFSU: Florida Senate Earmarks $100K For Memorials At Long-Forgotten Zion, Ridgewood Cemeteries. “Two long-forgotten African-American cemeteries in Tampa are likely going to get memorials, thanks to one of the area’s state lawmakers. Senator Janet Cruz filed an amendment to her chamber’s budget on Wednesday asking for $100,000 – at $50,000 each – to construct memorials at the Zion and Ridgewood cemeteries.”

• Florida Politics: THC cap? Jose Oliva wants one on all forms of medical cannabis. “The concept of a 10% THC cap on medical cannabis has been floated without success in Tallahassee, but the House Speaker would like to revisit the proposal. Whereas what has been contemplated is a 10% cap on flower (‘mids,’ as they call it on the street), Rep. Jose Oliva believes that a cap on the level of the psychoactive compound makes sense for all cannabis products.”

• Sun Sentinel ($): Arrested panhandler fights city’s law, saying it violated his free speech right. “More than 100 people have run afoul of Pompano Beach’s ban on street solicitation in recent years, leading to a string of arrests and citations, lawyers say. But for one arrested homeless man, it has become a battleground for repealing the law that landed him behind bars.”

• WJCT: Gov. DeSantis Announces State Grant to Build Financial Tech Workforce in Northeast Florida. “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday announced a $3.6 million grant-funded initiative to increase the size of the financial technology workforce in Northeast Florida. Financial technology is a growing job field that includes building apps, machine learning and cloud-based data management.”

• Bay News 9: Palm Harbor Teen Re-Purposes Old Newspaper Dispensers to Help Feed Community. “A Palm Harbor teen is making sure no one in her community goes hungry when they go to bed at night. Isabella Pawloski, 17, created what she calls ‘Blessing Boxes’ after learning about the struggles her mother faced as a single mom at just 23 years old.”

From NPR News

• World: Poland’s Overhaul Of Its Courts Leads To Confrontation With European Union

• National: Trump Administration Diverts $3.8 Billion In Pentagon Funding To Border Wall

• Politics: Senate Approves Legislation To Limit President’s War Powers Against Iran

• Politics: Attorney General Asks President To Stop Tweeting About Justice Department Cases

• Business: Filmmaker Tracks Bezos’ ‘Rise And Reign’ And How Amazon Became ‘Inescapable’

• Science: IMAGES: What New Coronavirus Looks Like Under The Microscope

• Health: How To Be A Helper For A Child Whose Family Is Touched By Addiction

• Art & Design: ‘Just Plain Ugly’: Proposed Executive Order Takes Aim At Modern Architecture

About Kristen Altus

Kristen is a web editor and reporter for WUFT News. She can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing Follow her on social media @kristenaltus.

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