The Point, Feb. 15, 2021: How Parents Have Worked To Keep Open Melrose Elementary School


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• WUFT News: Parents Fight To Save Melrose Elementary School From Closure, Await Feb. 16 Vote. “Melrose Elementary School parents have been on edge over the past month, as their school district flirted with a plan to close the building as part of a plan to revitalize facilities across Putnam County. But the community responded to the plan with a coordinated fight to save the school, and the Putnam County School Board heard a revised bid to keep it open in a workshop Wednesday.”

• WUFT News: UF Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine Leader Teams With Black Pastors In East Gainesville ‘To Make Sure Nobody Gets Left Behind.’ “Pastors Gerard Duncan, Mike Patz and Karl Anderson teamed up with Dr. Michael Lauzardo, director of UF Health’s coronavirus protection effort, to combat misinformation regarding COVID-19 vaccinations within Black communities. ‘It is important for African American leaders and pastors to combat these myths,’ said Anderson, vice-president of the association. ‘People trust us.'”

• Tampa Bay Times ($): Coronavirus hit Florida earlier than we thought — on a door handle at UF. “…one day’s samples — from Feb. 21, 2020 — yielded something more notable: The researchers found the same strain of COVID-19 that had been circulating in Washington state at that time. That’s more than a week before March 1, 2020, when the virus was officially first detected in Florida.”

• WUFT News: Man Arrested In 2019 Krispy Kreme Stabbing Found Not Guilty. “(Julius) Irving, 34, was arrested on March 27, 2019, for stabbing a man while working at the Gainesville Krispy Kreme, 306 NW 13th St. On Thursday, a jury found him not guilty of attempted first-degree murder.”

• WUFT News: Gainesville Police Officer Scott Baird Was Killed 20 Years Ago, And His Mother Still Thinks Of Him Daily. “‘I don’t know how I have lived 20 years without him, because I think about him every day,’ Kelly Gaudet said of the loss of her oldest son. ‘I know that will never change.’ It was a foggy early Monday morning, Feb. 12, 2001, when Officer Baird was killed behind Gainesville High School.”

• Main Street Daily News: State Sen. Perry backs effort to preserve West End Golf property. “Currently, the 75-acre property located at 12830 W. Newberry Road is involved in a developer’s application for the rezoning. However, as of October 2020, the civil engineering firm JBrown Professional Group made a request to Alachua County to defer the application.”

• The Alligator: ‘Felt a moral obligation to help’: Gainesville’s Firefighters took part in Moderna vaccine trial. “In August, about 10 members of the Gainesville Fire Rescue team volunteered to become a few of the 30,000 nationwide participants in Moderna’s Phase 3 COVE vaccine trial.”

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Around the state today

• WLRN: Class of COVID-19: For Survivors Of Trauma At School, Pandemic Is One More Disruption. “For the senior class at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, the fear and isolation of the pandemic were layered on top of an already traumatic few years in school. The students graduating this year were freshmen when 17 people were killed and 17 others were injured during the 2018 shooting at their school.”

• Sun Sentinel ($): The Parkland student survivors: Where are they now? “Three years later, many of these students are attempting to juggle the normal things young college students these days juggle: Zoom classes, relationships and thoughts about their futures. The only difference is many of them now have hundreds of thousands of followers, national platforms and all the attention that comes with that.”

• Florida Today ($): There’s a person whose story matters behind every COVID vaccine shot. Meet some of them. “All of them have stories, powerful in their deceptive simplicity: I want to hug my family. Grab my passport and travel again. Go to church without fear.”

• WUSF: Florida Adds 7,515 New COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations Continue Decline. “The number of people hospitalized in Florida with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19 continues falling, dropping 144 Saturday to 4,681. That’s the lowest level since Dec. 12.”

• Associated Press: Fewer tickets in Florida may mean big budget cuts. “Average Floridians might not realize that every time they pay a court fine or fee, the money helps keep government operations afloat. The revenue – especially from traffic tickets – helps pay for everything from wildlife and environmental conservation, compensation for crime victims and even treatments for people with brain and spinal injuries.”

• WJCT: Vaccine Distribution At UF Health To Slow as Pharmacy, Grocery Sites Come Online.“The CEO of UF Health Jacksonville said Thursday it may be a few weeks before his hospital receives more doses of coronavirus vaccines. CEO Dr. Leon Haley said the government is prioritizing distribution at pharmacies and grocery stores, but he hopes more doses will be available soon as new kinds of vaccines are approved for use.”

• Florida Politics: Andrew Gillum’s political committee now racking up $500 daily fine. “A political committee chaired by former gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum failed to report any financial activity in 2021. The state informed Forward Florida that beginning Sunday, the committee will begin racking up $500-a-day fines.”

• News4Jax: Right whale calf fatally struck by boat washes up on Anastasia Island. “A right whale calf washed up Saturday on the shore of Anastasia State Park beach. Marine biologists, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office were at the scene Saturday evening.”

• News Service of Florida: Data Needed For Florida Redistricting Delayed Until September. “Blaming coronavirus-related delays, the U.S. Census Bureau announced Friday that data Florida lawmakers will use to redraw legislative and congressional boundaries won’t be delivered until September. The bureau had planned to start delivering census data to states on Friday and complete the rollout by March 31.”

• WTSP: Will people still wear masks after COVID-19? “Doctors say it comes down to social responsibility. Wearing a mask is a way to protect those around you and it’s a good idea, even if it’s just a sniffle or the common cold.”

• WUWF: Teacher Vaccinations In Florida Still A Long Shot. “According to a recent report in Education Week, only 27 states have made at least some of their teachers eligible for vaccination. Florida is not on that list and, according to the report, teachers in the state are not a priority for vaccination and there is no proposed date for that to change.”

From NPR News

• World: You Think The U.S. Has Vaccine Issues? 130 Countries Haven’t Even Started Vaccinating

• Politics: Trump Celebrates His Acquittal, Says The Impeachment Was Part Of A ‘Witch Hunt’

• Politics: After Voting To Acquit, McConnell Torches Trump As Responsible For Riot

• Politics: Biden On Trump Acquittal: ‘The Substance Of The Charge Is Not In Dispute’

• National: Renters Are Getting Evicted Despite CDC Order — ‘I’m Scared’

• National: Senate Unanimously Votes To Award Officer Eugene Goodman A Congressional Gold Medal

• National: Biden Administration Aims To Close Guantanamo Bay Prison

• Education: CDC Offers Clearest Guidance Yet For Reopening Schools

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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