The Point, Feb. 26, 2020: Gainesville Airbnb Hosts Are Starting To Pay County Taxes — Just Like Bed And Breakfast And Hotel Owners


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• WUFT News: Alachua County Collects Thousands In Tourist Tax From Gainesville Airbnb Hosts. “The incoming revenue follows years of negotiations between Airbnb company representatives and the Alachua County Tax Collector’s office that ultimately did not result in a deal. Instead, hosts — and not the online rental platform companies — are required to remit the taxes to the county themselves. And while the tourist taxes have begun to accrue in county coffers, with over $90,000 paid to the Tax Collector’s office since June, some renters have yet to pay.”

• WUFT News: Postal Service Seeks Alternative As Midtown Location Prepares to Close. “USPS does not have any sites in mind and there are no set dates beyond this Saturday’s closing.”

• Miami Herald ($): At Florida prison in grip of Legionnaires outbreak, new unease over 33-year-old’s death. “Coleman Federal Correctional Complex, near Ocala, is the nation’s largest federal prison complex, with multiple facilities across a sprawling campus.”

• WCJB: Gainesville’s new autonomous bus part of nationwide suspension ordered by NHTSA. “National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigators announced Tuesday that they are suspending the operation of 16 autonomous vehicles around the country manufactured by EasyMile, one of which is the bus that is being tested between Downtown Gainesville and the University of Florida’s campus.”

• Gainesville Sun ($): County OKs plastic straw ban. “Alachua County has joined the city of Gainesville in banning plastic straws. The county commission unanimously voted Tuesday to ban the sale or distribution of plastic straws and stirrers at restaurants in unincorporated areas of the county. The new law will go into effect immediately.”

• Ocala Star-Banner ($): Area residents take coronavirus precautions. “Concerns of contracting the COVID-19 coronavirus has stores selling out of face masks.”

• Citrus County Chronicle: Local health officials, organizations lay out plan to address county health problems. “Community health care leaders have this month laid out their goals to address Citrus County’s most significant health care needs, with plans to educate community stakeholders about the need for better mental health, social services, children’s health, better lifestyles, and access to health care.”

• News Service of Florida: Lawmakers seek grades for cities, counties. “Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, a Spring Hill Republican sponsoring both proposals (HB 7069 and HJR 7061) said the intent is to allow residents to easily compare economic and non-economic factors of their communities and to see how elected officials may be doing.”

• Citrus County Chronicle: County comission recognizes school superintendent. “Citrus County School District Superintendent Sandra ‘Sam’ Himmel reacts to an honor by the Citrus County Commission on Tuesday during a commission meeting. Himmel is the 2020 Superintendent of the Year for the state of Florida.”

• CBS4: Around 140 severely neglected dogs rescued in Dixie County. “Authorities served a search-and-seizure warrant on a five-acre property consisting of multiple structures, some of which included a dilapidated mobile home and several campers. The dogs were living in filthy, poor conditions typically seen in severe neglect situations.”

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Around the state today

• WFSU: Florida Poly, New College Face Dissolution As Merger Plan Gets House Budget Panel Approval. “Rep. Randy Fine’s plan to take the number of public universities from 12, to 10 cleared a key House committee Tuesday night over the objections of Florida Polytechnic University and New College supporters as well as most Democrats.”

• Florida Politics: Ashley Moody joins in multistate investigation of JUUL youth-focused marketing. “Moody joined with 38 other state attorneys general in tackling what she characterized as a crisis. ‘We have an epidemic of under-aged vaping, not just in Florida, but nationwide,’ Moody said.”

• Orlando Sentinel ($): Bob Iger steps down; Bob Chapek named new Disney CEO. “In a surprise move Tuesday, Bob Chapek was immediately named as Disney’s new CEO, replacing longtime leader Bob Iger, the company announced.”

• WMFE: Jones High School Celebrates 125 Years As Orlando’s Oldest Black High School. “90.7’s Talia Blake sat down with Walter Hawkins of the Jones High School Historical Society, who graduated from the school in 1971. He starts the conversation with the school’s history, which he said was originally founded in 1895 as an elementary school.”

• Tallahassee Democrat ($): Will your vote count? Lack of disclosure makes it nearly impossible to tell. “The state forced counties to sign nondisclosure agreements or they wouldn’t get training and funding to fight hacking.”

• Florida Politics: Journalists at Orlando Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, other papers seek newsroom union. “Reporters and other journalists at those papers along with at The Palm Beach Daily News, The News-Press of Fort Myers, The Banner in Naples and the Marco Eagle all have asked management to voluntary recognize newly-formed units of The NewsGuild-CWA, an organization within the Communication Workers of America.”

• Tallahassee Democrat ($): A Tallahassee woman was killed in 1984 and a man was convicted; Now FDLE is reopening the case. “State detectives have reopened a 36-year-old Wakulla County murder case in which a man was convicted. But officials aren’t saying what prompted them to take a new look at the murder.”

• WFSU: Panic Alert Apps In Schools Could Be Required Under Bill Sparked By The 2018 Parkland Shooting. “If another active shooting happens, lawmakers want schools to be equipped with a panic alert system. It would be activated through a mobile app. The push for this technology comes after the second anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.”

• Florida Politics: Senate panel approves effort to memorialize erased cemeteries. “Legislation to help the state find forgotten African-American cemeteries was OK’d by a Senate panel Tuesday.”

From NPR News

• Health: Health Officials Warn Americans To Plan For The Spread Of Coronavirus In U.S.

• Health: What Happens If You’re Critically Ill In China — But Not With Coronavirus

• National: Supreme Court Rules Border Patrol Agents Who Shoot Foreign Nationals Can’t Be Sued

• National: In Los Angeles, A Program To Get Those With Mental Illness Away From Jails

• National: Who Gets 5G — And Who Gets Left Behind — Has Some Worried About Digital Inequality

• Politics: U.S. House To Vote On Anti-Lynching Act — Finally

• Business: Regulators Issue Another Safety Fix For Boeing’s Troubled 737 Max Plane

• Business: Tesla Driver Was Playing Game Before Deadly Crash. But Tesla Software Failed, Too

• Science: Sell Or Stay? Australia’s Fire Zone Experiment

• Science: ‘Mini’ MRI Outperforms 3-D Mammograms In Detecting Cancer In Women With Dense Breasts

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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