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• WUFT News: Pandemic Still Affecting Small Town Businesses Across North Central Florida. “If the government shuts businesses down again because of the pandemic, Mary Moyer might just give up. She’s tired of struggling, she said. Moyer, 62, has owned the only flower shop in High Springs for 15 years and worked there for 20. Thompson’s Flowers barely survived the Great Recession in 2008, and now the pandemic could cost it nearly 60 percent of its yearly revenue, the florist said.”
• Ocala Star-Banner ($): Ocala school administrator urges masks after wife dies of COVID-19. “(Scott) Carpenter, 57, wears his face covering in public when he can’t socially distance. He does it out of respect and to protect others. After all, he saw firsthand the awful consequences of a family member contracting COVID-19. But while he is out and about in Marion County, anti-maskers will look at him and say those words that hurts him so deeply: ‘You’re one of them.'”
• WUFT News: State Rep. Chuck Clemons Promises To File Bill Pushing For Creation Of Springs County. “The recent initiative for a new north central Florida county has wavering support among a group of people living in western Alachua County. On Thursday night, though, discussion of the idea made it onto a local municipal meeting agenda, signaling some level of legitimacy even as High Springs commissioners expressed their concerns about it.”
• WCJB: 18-year-old UF hit and run victim Margaret Paxton remembered by best friend. “Gainesville Police say that at around 11 PM Wednesday night, 18-year-old Margaret Paxton was crossing University Avenue when she was struck and killed by a vehicle that left the scene.”
• WUFT News: UF Health Organizes Free CPR Training Events To East Gainesville Residents. “This initiative was inspired by a need to address the disparity in cardiac arrest among the East Gainesville community, which has been historically underserved.”
• WUFT News: Gainesville Police Department Warns Car Burglaries On Rise During Pandemic. “Graham Glover, public information officer for Gainesville Police Department, says people may be forgetting to be cautious of their valuables due to a change in their routines from the pandemic’s strain.”
• WUFT News: Social Justice Mural Painting Begins In Gainesville. “The artists began painting Dec. 5 and the art may be seen at Possum Creek Skate Park, Cofrin Nature Park, the area adjacent to the Martin Luther King Multipurpose Center, Oakview Park and the area adjacent to Porters Community Center.”
• The Point will be on an early holiday hiatus next week and will return to your inbox the week of Dec. 21 with a year-in-review edition and our final roundups of 2020. Thank you for your readership and support during our fifth (and, shall we say, most memorable) year of serving north central Florida in this space. If you enjoy this newsletter and our journalism, please tell a friend.
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Around the state today
• WFLA: Florida coronavirus: State reports 11,335 new cases, 129 new deaths. “The Florida Department of Health reported more than 11,335 new cases on Thursday, the highest increase in a single day since July 25.”
• Tallahassee Democrat ($): Rebekah Jones: Questions linger over FDLE handling of search warrant as bodycam video released. “Unnecessary use of force or the exercise of tremendous restraint? Either way, the videos of police entering the Tallahassee home of Rebekah Jones with weapons drawn to seize computer equipment and files related to a potential felony-level security breach investigation has sparked deep reactions and debate about the use of force.”
• News Service of Florida: Pensacola State College faces fight over in-person instruction. “A grievance filed by Pensacola State College union representatives is the latest effort by college and university faculty to secure safer work environments amid the coronavirus pandemic.”
• Spectrum News: Florida Senate Dems Call Out Ashley Moody for Intervening in ‘Frivolous’ Texas Lawsuit on Trump’s Behalf. “Broward County state Senator Lori Berman noted the irony of Moody joining a lawsuit that questions the use of vote-by-mail ballots, which have gained popularity in Florida elections for more than a decade.”
• WMFE: Orlando International Airport Adds Florida’s First Nonstop Flight to Hawaii. “It’s the only nonstop direct flight to the island state from Florida. The nine hour flight features Hawaiian food, music and hospitality. The announcement comes as Hawaii launches its Movers and Shakas program which will offer free roundtrip airfare to remote workers who move to Oahu for at least 30 days.”
• Palm Beach Post ($): He got life for killing his friend but never touched him. This could be his last chance. “Christopher Dean never laid a hand on his longtime friend, Eric Flint. Yet he is serving a life sentence for the 25-year-old West Palm Beach man’s 2005 death while the man who killed him walks free. In one of the most convoluted murder cases in Palm Beach County’s history, Dean’s next and possible final hope to one day live outside prison walls will come Friday when he is sentenced for a fourth time.”
• WTSP: Florida’s first snow park has permit revoked, is forced to close. “In a news release, the county said during several visits, Fire Rescue and Building Construction Services discovered fire, building, electrical and plumbing violations that pose a threat to both public health and safety.”
From NPR News
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.