The Point, June 1, 2020: Historic Weekend In Florida Brings Space Launch, Widespread Protests, Start Of Hurricane Season


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• WUFT News: Gainesville Protesters Peacefully March Against Police Use Of Force On Day Of National Violence. “More than 1,000 Gainesville community members gathered in Depot Park on Saturday and lifted up posters plastered with the phrase ‘I can’t breathe.’ The show of support was part of a nationwide protest effort that turned violent in places across America in the following hours, but not in Gainesville.”

• WUFT News: Face Mask Use Won’t Be Enforced With Arrest Or Search, Gainesville And Alachua County Leaders Say. “Still, civil penalties for violators could be on the way after city commissioners on Thursday moving forward with an emergency ordinance on that front. Its first reading is next Thursday and a second reading is set for June.”

• Ocala Star-Banner ($): Marion businesses work to convince customers to come back. “That reticence to venture out is not just problematic for the area’s economic health; it also can be deadly. Chad Christianson, CEO of Ocala Health, which operates Ocala Regional Medical Center and West Marion Community Center, said people are staying away from the emergency room.”

• NPR News: Hurricane Season Collides With Coronavirus, As Communities Plan For Dual Emergencies. “The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season starts Monday, and federal scientists expect storms to be more frequent and powerful. Two named storms already formed in the Atlantic this spring before the official start of the season. As Florida and other coastal states plan for hurricanes, they are confronting troubling new public safety calculations because of the novel coronavirus.”

• Florida Phoenix: The traditional opening of public schools in FL may no longer mean August. “Educators and other key officials working on how to safely reopen K-12 schools in Florida considered the possibility on Friday that it may not be safe to reopen schools right away.”

• Gainesville Sun ($): Former GPD Chief Clifton dies. “Former Gainesville Police Chief Wayland Clifton, who led the department through the trauma of the student murders and could do a mean impersonation of Elvis Presley, died Friday night from respiratory disease. He was 78.”

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Around the state today

• Miami Herald ($): Day of peaceful Florida protests ends in barrage of water bottles, rubber bullets, tear gas. “Conflict erupted again Sunday between South Florida police and demonstrators participating in nationwide protests over the death of a black man at the hands of officers in Minneapolis, with officers firing tear gas into crowds gathered in downtown Fort Lauderdale.”

• WTSP: More than 40 people arrested for rioting, burglary following Tampa protests. “George Floyd’s death has led to peaceful protests around the country, with demonstrators demanding justice. But as many protesters peacefully point to concerns about racial injustice, other individuals have created chaotic scenes near the protests, including in Florida.”

• Tampa Bay Times ($): Calm returns to streets of St. Petersburg, Tampa after weekend of protest. “Tampa on Sunday clashed with protesters but avoided a repeat of the previous night’s destruction. That night, St. Petersburg police broke up a tense protest outside HQ.”

• WJCT: Peaceful Protests Turn Into Violence in Downtown Jacksonville. “While protests began peacefully, tension between the police and demonstrators grew as Saturday wore on, leading to violence, damaged property, and arrests.”

• Florida Politics: Gov. DeSantis activates National Guard as nationwide protests reach Florida. “DeSantis’ spokeswoman, Helen Aguirre Ferré, tweeted Sunday that the Governor activated the guardsmen the day before. Sunday afternoon, 100 guardsmen arrived in Tampa at the request of Mayor Jane Castor. The Governor also activated 350 guardsmen in the Camp Blanding Joint Training Center near Starke and 140 in Miramar to respond across the state if necessary.”

• Florida Today ($): SpaceX and NASA make history with launch of astronauts from Kennedy Space Center. “A Falcon 9 rocket’s tightly defined pillar of fire tore through the skies above Kennedy Space Center on Saturday, vaulting NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on a historic mission nearly a decade in the making.”

• Florida Today ($): ‘Go, baby, go!’ Crowds converge on Space Coast for SpaceX crewed mission. “Crowds? You bet, and in bigger and much happier numbers than on Wednesday, the day of the first attempt to launch the first crewed mission in nine years from U.S. soil.”

• Bradenton Herald: Manatee urges residents not to rely on county hurricane shelters because of COVID-19. “The combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and the start of hurricane season on Monday is bringing changes to how residents should prepare for a major storm.”

• Florida Phoenix: Two years later, relief for timber losses due to Hurricane Michael is authorized. “The rare Category 5 hurricane in October 2018 cut a tornado-like swath through 11 rural counties, destroying an estimated 500-550 million pine trees, weighing 72 million tons, and devastating the region’s leading economic driver. The hurricane left thousands of people in the rural region homeless and jobless.”

• FLKeysNews ($): Did the roadblocks in the Florida Keys work? As they come down Monday, there are answers. “While Miami-Dade County remains a hot spot for the virus, the Keys have held steady at under 110 cases, and more than 20 of those are from a nursing home on Plantation Key.”

• Sarasota Herald-Tribune ($): Sarasota considering moving Unconditional Surrender statue.The 26-foot-high statue depicting a World War II sailor kissing a woman on V-J Day in 1945 and inspired by an iconic photograph has its detractors, but it’s undeniably popular. Tourists (and some locals) flock to it, passing their cameras off to someone who can capture their efforts to replicate the giant figures’ pose. Now, the future of Seward Johnson’s sculpture at Bayfront Park is uncertain, as Sarasota city commissioners consider what to do after they temporarily place it in storage ahead of a planned roundabout project at Gulfstream Avenue and U.S. 41.”

• Orlando Weekly: Gov. Ron DeSantis approves reopening Walt Disney World and SeaWorld Orlando. “Disney will introduce a phased reopening with Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom reopening on July 11, and Hollywood Studios and Epcot reopening on July 15. SeaWorld will open all parks on June 11 after a June 10 employee appreciation night.”

From NPR News

• National: As Protests For George Floyd Continue Nationwide, All Eyes Are On How Police Respond

• National: Two Americas: A Collision Of Protests Over Police Violence And A Pandemic

• World: George Floyd Reverberates Globally: Thousands Protest In Germany, U.K., Canada

• Science: SpaceX Crew Dragon Capsule Successfully Docks With The International Space Station

• Health: Should I Get Tested For Coronavirus Just For The Heck Of It?

• Politics: Biden Leaves Home To Visit Delaware Protest Site

• Politics: Trump Lays Blame For Clashes On ‘Radical-Left Anarchists’

• Arts: Christo, Famous For His Monumental Works Of Art, Dies At 84

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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