The Point, March 5, 2021: COVID-19 Vaccines To Be Made Available For All Florida K-12 School Employees

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• WFTS-Tampa Bay: All Florida school employees, regardless of age, can receive COVID-19 vaccine: Gov. DeSantis says. “Speaking at a coronavirus vaccination site in Crystal River, the governor said a new mandate from the Biden Administration, which directs every state to prioritize all educators for the vaccine, will be followed in Florida.”

• Tallahassee Democrat ($): North Florida ex-State Attorney Siegmeister indicted in federal extortion, bribery case. “Lake City’s former state attorney has been indicted on charges of conspiracy, extortion, bribery, fraud and tax crimes involving deals to settle court cases in Florida’s 3rd Judicial Circuit. Jeff Siegmeister, 52, was arrested last week in Arizona on charges mostly rooted in his conduct as the elected prosecutor in 2013-19 for the sprawling rural district covering Columbia, Dixie, Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee and Taylor counties.”

• Gainesville Sun ($): With 53% of eligible UF Health Shands staff turning down COVID vaccines, skepticism persists. “About 5,000 out of 11,000 people in UF Health Shands Hospital’s workforce have been vaccinated, said CEO Ed Jimenez. He said he was surprised by the 47% vaccination rate, thinking it would be higher.”

• WUFT News: ‘Lovable Lichens’: UF Scientists Discuss Local Fungi, Zombie Ants And More. “João Araújo and other experts will discuss zombie ants and more fungi-related topics at the Florida Museum’s virtual “Mushrooms with the Museum” event on Sunday. The museum is partnering with Florida Academic Lichen and Fungi Enthusiasts League, a local mycology club.”

• News4Jax: Putnam County mourns loss of first Black deputy constable. “(Willie) Washington, a Putnam County native, broke barriers with his election in the late 1960s to the Welaka Town Council, though segregation laws kept him from being sworn in at town hall. He became the county’s first Black deputy, rising to the rank of corporal, before going on to become the Welaka police chief in 1996, a role he held for four years.”


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Around the state today

• Associated Press: DeSantis faces growing charges of vaccine favoritism. “Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried joined Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist in calling for federal officials to probe the DeSantis administration’s vaccine distribution programs. During a Thursday press conference at the Florida Capitol, Fried called on the FBI’s public corruption unit to launch an investigation.”

• Florida Politics: Online sales tax ready for Senate floor. “Plans to require online retailers from out-of-state to collect sales tax at the point of purchase are ready for the Senate floor. And it could mean nearly a billion-dollar injection in sales tax revenue.”

• CBS Miami: ‘Our Tourism Is Still Handicapped,’ Gov. Ron DeSantis Believes Feds Should Let Cruising Resume. “Gov. Ron DeSantis believes Florida’s economic recovery from COVID-19 could be better if the federal government would let cruise ship passengers decide if they want to take their chances on the open seas.”

• WFLA-Tampa: Florida inspector general report finds long-established problems with state unemployment system. “The newly released report from the Office of the Chief Inspector General found the state’s unemployment system was over budget and unprepared for the surge of claims that have come during the coronavirus pandemic.”

• WUSF: USF To Fully Reopen This Fall. “President Steven Currall announced Wednesday that USF will see a transition through the summer where the number of in-person classes and student activities will significantly increase.”

• Spectrum News: After Numerous Delays, SpaceX Launches Starlink Satellites. “SpaceX sent up another 60 Starlink satellites for its growing, worldwide broadband internet service, with more than 1,100 of them already in orbit.”

• WFTS-Tampa Bay: Human trafficking operations surrounding the Super Bowl result in dozens of arrests for prostitution. “Law enforcement’s goal was to intercept and disrupt human sex trafficking. The Tampa Police Department and Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office recovered a dozen women and teens who identified as victims. Four men were arrested for human trafficking and more than 100 people were arrested for buying or selling sex.”

• Northwest Florida Daily News ($): Eglin and Tyndall Air Force bases set example in allowing some airmen to wear shorts. “Among the early adopters were airmen of the 33rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (AMXS), part of the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin. In a place where summertime temperatures can regularly flirt with triple digits, those air temperatures are augmented by asphalt and other surfaces reflecting that hot sunshine around maintenance personnel’s work spaces.”


From NPR News

• Health: Got Questions About Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 Vaccine? We Have Answers

• Health: Being Vaccinated Doesn’t Mean It’s Safe To Take Off The Mask

• Politics: Democrats Tweak COVID-19 Relief Package In Hopes Of Speedy Senate Approval

• Politics: Trump Appointee At VOA Parent Paid Law Firm Millions To Investigate His Own Staff

• National: Supreme Court Makes It Harder For Undocumented Immigrants To Fight Deportation

• National: California Program Giving $500 No-Strings-Attached Stipends Pays Off, Study Finds

• Business: The Movie Industry Holds Its Breath As New York Reopens Theaters

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 WUFT News

Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news @wuft.org

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