The Point, March 2, 2020: Governor Declares Public Health Emergency In Florida Over Coronavirus Cases


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• Today, tomorrow and Wednesday, we’re rolling out our interviews with candidates running to fill three Gainesville City Commission seats. First up is District 2, which features incumbent Harvey Ward and challenger David Walle. Hear from both, learn what their priorities would be and see who’s given them campaign contributions so far. The election is March 17. (WUFT News)

• WUFT News: Terminal Addition Marks New Chapter For Ocala International Airport. “After 13 months of construction, stakeholders in the town’s lone landing strip celebrated on Friday the opening of its new general aviation terminal. They say it will help enhance the private flight experience for private pilots and guests.”

• Gainesville Sun ($): Alachua County confronts its racist past. “The county has documented at least 46 lynchings, though more were likely. The research continues. Included are the Newberry Six, who were killed in 1916 following an accusation of stolen pigs. Others were lynched in Newberry at different times — at least 15 in all. Gainesville had 11 documented lynchings and another nine happened in Newnansville, the former county seat that was north of Alachua.”

• WUFT News: Pigs And Paint Raise $1,000 For Sanctuary Farm In Newberry. “Peacefield Farm Sanctuary, located at 2220 SW 146th St. in Newberry, is owned by Emma and John Hoel. John Hoel, 39, said they opened the farm in April 2019 to rescue animals in abusive situations and promote plant-based living.”

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Around the state today

• AP: DeSantis: 2 In Florida Test Presumptively Positive For COVID-19. “Florida’s governor disclosed late Sunday that two people had become the first in his state to test ‘presumptively positive’ for COVID-19 and ordered his top health officer to declare a statewide public health emergency.”

• News Service of Florida: State Labs Now Testing For Coronavirus. “Before the state was able to conduct the tests, it would take three to five days for results. But now, it will take one to two days, according to Deputy Secretary of Health Shamarial Roberson.”

• WUFT News: The first woman to head up Florida agriculture shakes up Tallahassee’s ‘Old Boy Network.’ “Most notably, (Nikki Fried is) the only woman ever elected to head up agriculture in Florida. She’s also the only Democrat sitting on the Cabinet of Gov. Ron DeSantis. She roared into action a little more than a year ago, determined to redefine the office to which she was elected. She made it clear she was going to be no one’s bubba. But politics works in mysterious ways and months into her term, Fried found herself bogged down by her detractors.”

• WFSU: As State Nixes Contract With Domestic Violence Agency, CEO Compensation Investigations To Continue. “The Miami Herald initially broke the story of Tiffany’s Carr’s compensation. As head of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Carr had a salary of $750,000, and received $7.5 million in a three-year period. Much of that came from cashing in an exorbitant amount of ‘PTO,’ or paid time off, money.”

• WFSU: Florida Legislature Has Two Weeks Left To Approve Resiliency Office, Task Force. “The Florida Legislature has two more weeks to move on the creation of a statewide resiliency task force. The group of appointees would provide the state’s official estimates of sea level rise, if it gets the chance.”

• Tallahassee Democrat ($): Gun bills fail to catch fire as time grows short in Florida 2020 legislative session. “…more than 30 bills filed for the session that either increased regulations or expanded rights to carry a firearm. But, with just 10 meeting days left, only three proposals remain standing.”

• Florida Politics: Sewage spills prompt Joe Gruters to bring hammer down, especially on local governments. “Gruters this year has found a receptive audience in the Florida Legislature for aggressive increases in fines. His bill (SB 1450) has advanced through three Senate committees and suffered only one ‘nay’ vote.”

• Palm Beach Post ($): Amazon the latest luring Palm Beach County school bus drivers. “The one thing different about this shortage, say administrators, is the competition — the Goliath — luring drivers away. ‘I can’t compete with those Amazon vans,’ said Wanda Paul, the school district’s chief operating officer.”

• Sarasota Herald-Tribune ($): Greg Steube says impeachment was bad for the country, but it may have been good for him. “Like U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, Steube’s friend and former colleague in the Florida House who has parlayed his media savvy into national fame, Steube has found there is plenty of appetite within the conservative media for an aggressive young lawmaker who is willing to battle with Trump’s critics.”

From NPR News

• Health: As Testing Quickly Ramps Up, Expect More U.S. Coronavirus Cases

• Health: We Answer Listeners’ Questions About The Coronavirus

• Business: Oil Prices Plummet As Coronavirus Outbreak, Quarantines Soften China’s Demand

• Politics: 4 Takeaways From Joe Biden’s Big Win In South Carolina

• Politics: ‘We Sent A Message’: Buttigieg Ends Historic Presidential Bid

• Race: Years Before Brown v. Board Of Education, There Was A Lawsuit For ‘Equalization’

• Books: Erik Larson’s Latest Book Focuses On Winston Churchill During The Blitz

• National: Despite Cybersecurity Risks And Last-Minute Changes, The 2020 Census Goes Online

• National: Joe Coulombe, Founder And Namesake Of Trader Joe’s, Dies At 89

About today’s curator

I’m Ethan Magoc, a news editor at WUFT. Originally from Pennsylvania, I’ve found a home telling Florida stories. I’m part of a team searching each morning for local and state stories that are important to you; please send feedback about today’s edition or ideas for stories we may have missed to

About WUFT News

Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news

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