The Point, Oct. 23, 2020: ‘Giant House Parties Most Nights’: Florida College Students Complain About Classmates’ Behavior


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• Fresh Take Florida: Partying During Pandemic: Florida College Students Complain About Classmates Packing Bars, Parties. “Welcome to Partying During Pandemics 101. Students who returned to campuses for the fall semester are balancing their desires for full college experiences, including parties with friends and drinking, against warnings to keep themselves and others as safe as possible during the pandemic. Both Florida and Florida State have already canceled the upcoming spring break. For young adults who can feel invincible, the scales can tip toward celebrating, with students policing each other.”

• WUFT News: Construction Of New Elementary School Causes Rezoning Concerns Among Some Alachua County Families. “The Alachua County School District has a difficult balancing act to complete in the next four months. The district is currently working on five new school zoning options to accommodate the construction of the new elementary school on 3999 SW 122nd St., known for the moment as Elementary I. District officials held a six-hour virtual input session on Wednesday about the rezoning process, allowing parents and other members of the public to learn and voice any concerns about the process.”

• WUFT News: High Springs To Use Taxes To Sue Alachua County Over Ballot Amendment. “Newberry City Commissioners had begun the week by taking a similar vote to use public funds to sue Alachua County, with High Springs following suit in its own commission meeting. (High Springs’ city attorney) said he intends to file the lawsuit Friday, in union with Archer, Newberry and Alachua.”

• WUFT News: Alachua County Education Association Continues To Negotiate For Teacher Fall Hazard Pay. “This bonus is designed to reimburse teachers for the extra work and stress from new COVID-19 safety measures and from the required in-class and online options.”

• Politico: A deadline, then a viral surge and Florida hospitals miss out on pandemic aid. “Gainesville-based Shands Hospital lost $160 million in revenue because of the pandemic and has received only $31.4 million in CARES Act aid. The shortfall forced Shands CEO Ed Jimenez to freeze employee raises indefinitely.”

• WUFT News: ‘An Inspiration To Us All’: First Openly Transgender Woman To Run For Florida Senate Dies Weeks Before Election Day. “…Farley-Barratt died of cancer on Oct. 13 at 41. She left behind numerous accomplishments as an activist, politician and humanitarian, including being the first openly transgender woman to run for Florida Senate. She did so in District 5, a massive area that encompasses some or all of Clay, Bradford, Union, Baker, Columbia, Suwannee, Gilchrist, Lafayette, Dixie, Levy and Marion counties.”

• Gainesville Sun ($): Voting machines help vision-impaired voters in Alachua County cast ballots. “The equipment, attached to a traditional electronic voting machine, works like this: Voters feed their ballot into the machine, which magnifies the text to the viewer’s liking. By using a video game-like controller, voters can adjust the screen’s color and contrast. Headphones are also available to plug in and hear the ballot be read.”

• WUFT News: Toll Road Disapproval Continues. “There hasn’t been much support for the state’s proposed toll roads across northern and central Florida. Roughly 7% of responding Florida residents support building a new toll road, as revealed in M-CORES’ final task force meeting.”

• WCJB: Sinkhole in Gainesville neighborhood evacuates 6 families. “Rain and gravity grew the gap to about 40-50 feet wide and thirty feet deep, (according to Gainesville Fire Rescue). A few nearby residents were told they could sleep in their homes, but most don’t feel safe doing so and are left with questions for the city, GRU and the county.”

• WUFT News: PPP Loan And Crowdfunding: How Gainesville’s Only Gay Bar Has Survived The Pandemic. “While management knew it could handle the first couple of months without receiving income, (University Club Show Director) Kelly Kelly said she established a GoFundMe page in late June called ‘The University Club Family Fund’ to cover the club’s rent and other costs, as well as to pay its employees. In just under two weeks, the page reached 90% of its $10,000 goal.”

• WUFT News: Waldo City Square Looks To Build Community. “Since the closure of the Waldo Community School in 2015, the renamed Waldo City Square is working to create community events to regain the heart of the city.”

• WUFT News: What Might A Community Land Trust Look Like In Gainesville? “The Gainesville Community Reinvestment Area board this week discussed establishing a community land trust agreement that could benefit residents with lasting affordable housing.”

• WUFT News: ‘They Just Kind Of Fascinate Me’: Lubee Bat Festival Draws Fans From Near And Far. “The festival typically draws between 4,000 to 5,000 people to the conservancy – home to 200 bats on Northwest 192nd Avenue – for a daylong event with vendors, a beer garden and a walk-through of the bat facility. However, due to the pandemic, the 2020 Bat Fest is a weeklong mix of virtual activities culminating Saturday in a socially distanced in-person event and 0.5K race.”

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Around the state today

• NPR News: Road to 270: Trump’s Best Path To Victory Hinges On Florida, Pennsylvania. “With 29 electoral votes, Florida is arguably the most crucial state for Trump. A loss there would make it nearly impossible for him to retain the White House. But the state, which has sided with the winner of nearly every presidential race for decades, is also known for razor-tight elections — most notably in 2000 when Republican George W. Bush defeated Al Gore by 537 votes after a recount.”

• Florida Politics: Donald Trump to vote early in West Palm Beach Saturday. “The President, who last year changed his legal residence from Trump Tower in New York City to Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, had not requested a vote-by-mail ballot for the General Election.”

• Bay News 9: Sheriff: No Indication Polling Place Guards Were From Trump Campaign. “Responding to allegations that there was voter intimidation at a St. Petersburg early voting site, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said on Thursday that he would now use sheriff deputies to watch over all five early polling locations in the county.”

• Miami Herald ($): How the Trump campaign used big data to deter Miami-Dade’s Black communities from voting. “The campaign blasted these voters selected for deterrence — usually wavering Hillary Clinton supporters — with advertisements, disinformation and misleading messaging designed to convince them to lose faith in Clinton and not show up to the polls, according to an investigation by the Miami Herald and the U.K.’s Channel 4 News, which exclusively obtained a massive cache of internal Trump campaign data from 2016.”

• Orlando Sentinel ($): Voter suppression was spark that ignited Ocoee Massacre. A century later, Florida’s Black voters are still facing obstacles. “The suppression of Black votes in Florida has taken many forms: horrific acts of violence, overt intimidation, and veiled legal, financial and educational hurdles, such as poll tax laws. The battle over one such impediment, felon disenfranchisement, is still being waged in the courts two years after the passage of Amendment 4 was supposed to have eliminated it.”

• WESH: Orlando worker fired after speaking out about letter that warned employees of layoffs if Biden wins. “A Central Florida worker who spoke out about a letter from his boss threatening layoffs if Joe Biden wins the election has now been fired. Daniels Manufacturing Corporation President George Daniels included a letter with recent paystubs reading, ‘If Trump and the Republicans win the election, DMC will hopefully be able to continue operating, more or less as it has been operating lately.'”

• Miami Herald ($): Is a ballot selfie legal in Florida? Here are things you can and can’t do at the polls. “Voters are allowed to take a picture of their own ballot under Florida law. That includes at the voting booth, or elsewhere if you requested a vote-by-mail ballot.”

• Associated Press: Florida Says It Will Give More Scrutiny To COVID-19 Deaths. “The state will not backtrack to reexamine the more than 16,000 deaths attributed to the virus, but rather take a closer look at deaths going forward, Fred Piccolo, a spokesman for Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, said Thursday.”

• WUSF: Surviving COVID-19: Tampa Man Recovers From Virus More Determined To Protect Family. “More than 750,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Florida since March. Health News Florida talked to some of the survivors about what it was like to have the illness and how it’s changed their lives.”

• St. Augustine Record ($): Commissioner Paul Waldron physically returns to board. “Waldron has been recovering from the effects of a life-threatening battle with COVID-19. He was hospitalized in July, and his daughter posted on social media at the time that he was in critical condition.”

• WUWF: Beach Erosion A Safety Concern, Say Experts. “While Sally made landfall near Gulf Shores, Ala., it was the beaches to the east that took a bigger hit, said Frederique Beroset, biologist and founder of Dune Doctors. Preliminary assessments show Navarre Beach lost about 100 million cubic yards of sand.”

• Naples Daily News ($): Federal authorities offer $20K reward after 6 dead sawfish found near Everglades City. “An Everglades National Park employee reported the dead sawfish, and two dead bonnethead sharks, to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s law enforcement office on Sunday. The employee found the animals along the causeway between Everglades City and Chokoloskee Island, according to a NOAA news release.”

• Sun Sentinel ($): Ghislaine Maxwell, in unsealed testimony, depicts her life in South Florida with Jeffrey Epstein. “Maxwell’s depiction of her time working for Epstein in South Florida, from 1992 to about 2003, are among the many new details that came to light Thursday when her court deposition from 2016 was unsealed. The 465-page document represents the first time the public has ever been able to hear directly from Maxwell about her relationship with Epstein.”

From NPR News

• Politics: That’s A Wrap On The 2020 Election Debates

• Health: Hospital Bills For Uninsured COVID-19 Patients Are Covered, But No One Tells Them

• National: COVID-19 Surges In Rural Communities, Overwhelming Some Local Hospitals

• National: Uber And Lyft Must Make Drivers Employees, California Court Rules

• National: Ongoing Russian Cyberattacks Are Targeting U.S. Election Systems, Feds Say

• National: Security Gaps Persist, Report Warns, After U.S. Blames Iran In Election Scheme

• Politics: Write A Note Across The Political Divide. What Do You Wish They Understood?

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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