The Point, Nov. 18, 2020: Alachua County Commission, School Board Have New Leaders


Subscribe to The Point to invite us into your inbox with the most important Florida news from Monday through Friday at 8 a.m.

The top stories near you

• WUFT News: Diyonne McGraw, Leanetta McNealy Are Sworn Into Alachua County School Board Seats. “It was a historic occasion, marking the first time in recent memory — if not ever — that the school board featured a majority of three Black women in McGraw, McNealy and Tina Certain, who was elected in 2018.”

• The Alligator: Alachua County Commission swears in three commissioners. “Mary Alford and Anna Prizzia were both elected to the commission Nov. 3… Democrat incumbent Charles Chestnut IV ran unopposed for reelection for the District 5 seat. This will be his third term.”

• WUFT News: Controversial $30M Hyatt Development In Downtown Gainesville Moves Forward. “The 132,000-square-foot development will include hotel, retail and residential spaces to be built on the corner of Southwest First Avenue and Second Street. The primary development feature is a Hyatt Place hotel that plans to provide 145 rooms with meeting spaces, an elevated pool, a restaurant and a business center.”

• WUFT News: Marion County Homeless Shelter Receives Over $250,000 In COVID-19 Funding. “Interfaith will soon receive an extra wave of funding for its efforts. The Marion County Board of Commissioners in September had approved a contract that gave $65,000 to IES. On Tuesday, the board added an extra $277,524 — over four times the original amount.”

• WUFT News: ‘The Need Is All Over Florida’ For Rural Dental Care Access During The Pandemic. “A lack of affordable dental care across north central Florida leaves limited options for many of those patients, particularly those from low income families. ACORN provides fillings, cleanings and other dental procedures, with or without insurance, at a low cost. The alternative for uninsured patients is a trip to the ER, then a pricey bill they must pay out of pocket…”

• Gainesville Sun ($): State orders PK Yonge teachers back into schools. “The state has ordered every teacher at the University of Florida’s K-12 research school to provide face-to-face classes and return to regular class schedules by Thursday at the risk of losing funding.”

• Ocala Star-Banner ($): Mike Balken is Ocala’s new police chief. “The Ocala City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve Mayor Kent Guinn’s recommendation to elevate Balken from the interim chief position. Balken takes over for Chief Greg Graham, who died in a plane crash on Oct. 25.”

• WUFT News: Digging Deep: Once Homeless, Gainesville Fossil Tour Company Owner Turns Childhood Passion Into Career. “As COVID and unemployment cases rise, local businesses are struggling. This is not the case for owner/operator of Mudslinger Tours, Hurley J. Hurley.”

• WUFT News: North Central Florida Museums Shift Events And Exhibits Due To COVID-19. “Due to COVID-19, museums in north central Florida have been faced with the challenge of providing visitors with the experience of viewing and interacting with exhibits remotely. Since the initial shutdown of non-essential businesses in March, museum directors and educators have been implementing creative solutions.”

Your support matters now more than ever.

WUFT is here for you with vital coverage during complex times. With the spread of COVID-19, independent, public service journalism has never been more important than it is right now. WUFT exists to serve the north central Florida community and is committed to keeping you up to date with the latest news from your community, the state and the world. If you’re able to, please consider making a donation to WUFT to keep us going strong. Support WUFT and your trusted journalism source in this critical time.

Around the state today

• WFSU: Coronavirus Put On Backburner As House Speaker Highlights Law Enforcement And Patriotism. “Tuesday’s first meeting of the Florida Legislature since March acted as a preview of what lawmakers can expect when they reconvene next year. Leaders of both chambers gave speeches, and in them are clues as to what lawmakers will be focusing on.”

• WFSU: Facing Budget Shortfalls, New Senate Leadership Promises To Tighten Spending. “(State Sen. Wilton) Simpson says he doesn’t think an increase to fees or taxes will be warranted to bolster state revenue.”

• Orlando Sentinel ($): Legislature’s new leaders say fighting pandemic will wait until next year. “…the Legislature isn’t scheduled to meet again until March, and any legislation wouldn’t take effect until then.”

• Tallahassee Democrat ($): Thrasher urges FSU students to stay home after Thanksgiving break until spring semester. “Students at Florida State and Florida A&M University begin Thanksgiving break next Tuesday. At FSU, students can return to their residence halls for Monday, Nov. 30, when classes resume online for the rest of the semester.”

• Sarasota Herald-Tribune ($): Mandatory mask order? Not for Sarasota mayor and vice mayor. “Sarasota Mayor Hagen Brody and Vice Mayor Erik Arroyo broke the city’s own rules for wearing masks in Sarasota’s City Commission Chambers on Monday, just a week after one of their own tested positive for COVID-19.”

• New York Times ($): How Many Snowbirds Will Be Flying South for the Winter? “…travel restrictions and other factors ensure the tradition of snowbirding — the pastime of flocking to Florida and other sunny shores for the winter, usually by retirees — will look different this year. Here’s how.”

• Palm Beach Post ($): New school board member sworn in; foes want her to resign. “Even as Alexandria Ayala was sworn in Tuesday as the newest member of the Palm Beach County School Board, her seat could be in the governor’s crosshairs after she bought a home outside her district and attested in mortgage documents that she would be living there.”

From NPR News

• National: Americans Reconsider Thanksgiving Travel Plans As Coronavirus Surges

• National: A Rush On Coronavirus Testing Strains Laboratories, Drives Supply Shortages

• National: Ohio Governor Orders 3-Week Statewide Curfew As Coronavirus Cases Rise

• National: New Orleans Mayor Cancels Mardi Gras Parades In 2021

• National: Fauci: Vaccine Results Are ‘Important Advance,’ But Virus Precautions Are Still Vital

• World: Hurricane Iota, Weakening But Dangerous, Slams An Already Sodden Central America

• Politics: Trump Fires Election Security Director Who Corrected Voter Fraud Disinformation

• Science: Deep Sleep Protects Against Alzheimer’s, Growing Evidence Shows

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

Check Also

The Point, June 23, 2022: Publix Will Not Offer The COVID Vaccine For Children Under 5 Years Old

Subscribe to The Point, arriving in your inbox Monday through Friday at 8 a.m. The stories …