The Point, Feb. 19, 2021: New Alachua County Fairgrounds Project Nears Completion In Newberry

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• WUFT News: Thirty Years In The Making, Alachua County Fairgrounds Move From Gainesville To Newberry. “Next month, the fairgrounds will complete their move from their previous location near the Gainesville Regional Airport to the Alachua County Agriculture and Equestrian Center, formerly known as the Canterbury Equestrian Showplace. COVID-related shipping delays pushed back the original completion date set for February, but the barn and arena portion of the site will be done in March to host the Alachua County Youth and Livestock Fair.”

• WUFT News: In Alachua County, Cuban Tree Frogs Proving To Be Troublesome Neighbors. “Most frogs nationwide are suffering from habitat destruction, climate change and pollutants. But in Alachua County, the most significant threat to native frog species is the Cuban tree frog.”

• Florida Politics: Kat Cammack, Mike Waltz take on the ‘modern day slavery’ that is human trafficking. “Two Republican members of Congress from Florida made strong statements against human trafficking Thursday, calling it a ‘sick and insidious’ version of ‘modern day slavery,’ ahead of potential legislative action.”

• WUFT News: Students Organize To Save McCarty Woods From UF’s Plans To Make It Smaller. “McCarty Woods has been conserved since 2000 and serves as a research laboratory and natural teaching space for students and faculty in multiple classes. UF’s 2020-2030 campus master plan has identified the site for construction of future academic buildings and states that the remaining area may afterward be more easily maintained. The lost land would be offset by expanding the Lake Alice conservation area, leaving the campus with a total of 7.3 acres of more conservation land, the master plan also states.”

• Florida Politics: Wilton Simpson proposes west coast M-CORES route. “Simpson leveled with the plans’ critics Thursday, calling environmental concerns legitimate. But (he said) the current situation, with the Suncoast Parkway terminating in Citrus Country, should be improved.”

• WCJB: Proposed ordinance to fine business for not complying with COVID-19 protocols fails at Gainesville City Commission meeting. “The order was supported by commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos, but the other commissioners expressed concern about having enough employees to enforce the order.”

• WGCU: New Study Aims to Ensure Store-Bought Strawberries Stay Fresh as Long as Possible. “Researchers at the University of Florida and University of South Florida are working to ensure the strawberries you buy at the store stay fresh as long as possible.”


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Around the state today

• WUSF: Florida’s COVID-19 Death Toll Nears 30,000. “The state recorded another 165 deaths on Thursday, bringing the total to 29,990. If daily reports from the past several weeks are any indication, it’s almost certain the state will surpass 30,000 on Friday.”

• NPR News: Pandemic Approaches: The Differences Between Florida, California. “California imposed tough restrictions to try to control the spread of COVID-19, but Florida did not. California struggled with huge case numbers and hospitalizations while Florida did better. Why?”

• WTSP-Tampa: ‘I am truly sorry’: Manatee County Commissioner apologizes for ‘VIP’ vaccinations list. “Emails obtained by 10 Tampa Bay show Vanessa Baugh asked for herself and four others to be able to get vaccinated at the controversial Lakewood Ranch site.”

• News4Jax: Collecting internet taxes in Florida has a new twist. “The Florida Senate Finance and Tax Committee approved a bill Thursday requiring out-of-state retailers to collect sales tax on internet purchases. Economists estimate it will bring in more than $1 billion a year, but a new twist being added means the extra cash won’t go toward solving the pandemic created budget shortfall.”

• NBC Miami: Sundown Towns: a Look at South Florida’s Legacy of Segregation. “A database at Tougaloo College lists Miami Beach and Coral Gables as potential ‘Sundown Towns.’ The historian behind the database, James Loewen, went on to detail them in a book titled ‘Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism.'”

• Panama City News Herald ($): Panama City Beach seeing dip in spring vacation rental reservations as COVID-19 lingers. “As of Tuesday, companies across the Beach reported their spring reservations were down from 40% to 80% compared to years before the COVID-19 pandemic.”

• CBSMiami: Former Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria To Reimburse Local Governments $5.5 Million For Cost Of Marlins Park. “The Miami-Dade County Commission approved the final lawsuit settlement after Loria agreed to a last-minute increase in the amount. A tentative settlement of $4.2 million was reached last month.”

• WFLA-Tampa: Suspect in crash that killed Pinellas deputy faces murder charge. “The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said Robert Allen Holzaepfel, 33, was being chased by deputies in the area of East Lake Road and Forelock Road when he lost control of his truck and hit Deputy Michael Magli, who was in a median retrieving and deploying stop sticks. The collision pinned Magli under his cruiser, killing him.”

• WUSF: Class of COVID-19: Finding The Lost Children Of Migrant Farmworkers. “Across the country, these teachers, tutors and school advocates work to help the children of farmworkers, long considered among the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children in the U.S. They move from place to place, often live in poverty and drop out at high rates as teenagers.”

• FOX35-Orlando: School districts searching for students who aren’t showing up to class. “COVID-19 has led to attendance issues at area schools. Volusia County Schools report 78 students unaccounted for — students who haven’t shown up to class– while 172 students have been unaccounted for in Lake County.”

• Tampa Bay Times ($): Can Florida’s broken workforce aid program be fixed? Lawmakers aren’t sure. “CareerSource Florida and its 24 local offshoots are an integral part of Florida’s workforce development system, which routes federal money to local agencies responsible for getting people new or better jobs.”

• WMBB-Panama City: Florida courts authorize criminal jury trials via video call. “The measure allows for some criminal jury trials through video-calling platforms like Zoom, and the courts are calling it ‘a major historical shift in state court proceedings.'”

• WPBF-West Palm Beach: Pregnant 911 telecommunicator helps deliver baby over the phone. “In her 5 years as a telecommunicator in St. Lucie County, Kristin Sebris has answered more than 30,000 911 calls. But she’s never had a call like the one she got on Saturday.”


From NPR News

• National: ‘It’s Life And Death’: Texans Still Without Power As Nation Faces More Winter Storms

• National: White House Adviser Says Texas Outages Show How U.S. Is Unprepared For Climate Change

• Health: Scientists Pen Letter Critical Of CDC Policy On Ventilation And Masks

• Health: How Herd Immunity Works — And What Stands In Its Way

• Politics: Biden To Announce $4 Billion For Global COVID-19 Vaccine Effort

• Politics: Biden Tries To Rein In ICE: New Rules Limit Who Immigration Agents Target for Arrest

• Education: Debate Over Student Loan Forgiveness Hinges On 2 Numbers: $10,000 Vs. $50,000

• Science: ‘I’m Safe On Mars.’ NASA’S New Rover To Scour Ancient Lake Bed For Life Signs

• Science: Ancient Trees Show When The Earth’s Magnetic Field Last Flipped Out

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 emagoc@wuft.org.

About Ethan Magoc

Ethan is a journalist at WUFT News. He's a Pennsylvania native who found a home reporting Florida's stories. Reach him by emailing emagoc@wuft.org or calling 352-294-1525.

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