The Point, April 6, 2021: Understanding The Scope Of The Piney Point Situation Near Tampa Bay


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• WUFT News: Marion County Starts Vaccinating Jail Inmates Against COVID-19. “Marion County Jail has begun vaccinating its incarcerated population for COVID-19 — making them among the first inmates in Florida to receive the shot. Starting March 22, the jail started vaccinating inmates older than 60 who meet the state’s vaccine eligibility criteria, said María Torres, Chief Healthcare Administrator for Heart of Florida Health Center.”

• CBS4-Gainesville: UF Health hosts major vaccination event at the stadium; 5,000 people vaccinated. “UF Health said around 20,000 people have signed up to get vaccinated at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. They said they will continue vaccinating students and other members of the community again on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.”

• WUFT News: Advocates: Gainesville’s New Median Ordinance Likely To Affect City’s Homeless Most. “For many people struggling with homelessness or income instability, panhandling on a street median is a way of life, but a new Gainesville ordinance is changing this. The new measure makes panhandling on a street median that’s 6 feet or less wide illegal. While city and police officials insist the ordinance is not targeting them, people who are homeless and their advocates say there’s no question who will be hurt the most.” Listen to our podcast this morning to hear an interview with the reporter behind this story.

• WUFT News: Rodney J. Long Becomes First Challenger For District 8 Florida Senate Seat. “Incumbent state Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, has his first challenger for the 2022 election. Rodney J. Long, D-Gainesville, filed paperwork Wednesday to enter the District 8 Florida State Senate race. In 2020, Long ran and lost against Yvonne Hinson to represent District 20 in the Florida House of Representatives.”

• Gainesville Sun ($): Gainesville’s annual money transfer may bring increase in utility bills. “GRU General Manager Ed Bielarski said utility officials weren’t pleased with the consultant’s higher-transfer recommendation, as it would result in a 7% increase in electric rates, a 5% increase in sewer bills and a 3% increase in gas bills.”

• News Service of Florida: Rural Leaders Worry About ‘Devastating’ Prison Closures. “Rural regions with correctional facilities also benefit from people who patronize local businesses as they make trips to visit loved ones or friends who are incarcerated. ‘It’s almost like it’s its own form of tourism,’ (Levy County Commissioner) Meeks said.”

• The Alligator: Man finds racist message toward Asians at Gainesville Nissan Dealership. “A local car dealership is trying to make amends after a customer found an anti-Asian message written on a sanitation bottle inside the store.”

• WMFE: Six Marion County High Schools Will Hold Graduations At The New World Equestrian Center. “Six of the district’s seven high schools will hold their commencement ceremonies in its open-air stadium. The new complex in Marion County advertises itself as the world’s largest indoor-outdoor equestrian center.”

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Around the state today

• WUSF: Piney Point Wastewater Dump Could Be Largest In Tampa Bay History. “The main concern at Piney Point right now is to stop the south pond from collapsing. If it does, one expert said that could potentially release radioactive material from two surrounding ponds into Tampa Bay.”

• Fresh Take Florida: Florida Governor Won’t Consent To Drop Felony Charges In Voter Hacking Case. “DeSantis, a former Navy lawyer, campaigned for governor as a tough-on-crime Republican and has been mostly reluctant to grant executive clemency to felons who applied for it. His decision to press forward in the voting registration case means the defendant, Anthony Steven Guevara, can accept a plea offer or face trial later this month. Guevara was charged in October – days before the 2020 election – with unauthorized computer access and altering someone else’s voter registration without their permission, both felonies.”

• ABC7-Fort Myers: Florida gas prices on the decline. “Florida gas prices continue to drift lower, declining 6 cents in the past two weeks, according to Triple-A. Pump prices have gradually declined since the state average reached the 2021 high of $2.91 per gallon on March 21.”

• WLRN: Hurricane Season Starts In Less Than Two Months. It Could Be Busy Again. “AccuWeather is calling for another above average Atlantic hurricane season in 2021 — the sixth in a row. The forecasting service said Monday it expects the Atlantic to stir up 16 to 20 named storms this year. Of those, seven to 10 could become hurricanes, with three to five blossoming into major hurricanes packing winds topping 111 mph.”

• Politico: Florida’s Trump country stands with Gaetz. “As the embattled 38-year-old congressman denies sex trafficking allegations at the center of a still unwinding federal investigation, Republicans in the heart of Trump country are deeply suspicious of the accusations and still support him.”

• CBS Miami: Miami-Dade Mayor Will Lift Countywide Curfew On Monday April 12. “Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced on Monday that she will lift the countywide curfew next Monday, April 12… A month ago, Levine Cava announced the curfew could be lifted by April 5, if the 14-day COVID-19 positivity rate average is at or below 5.5 percent. However, the County’s 14-day positivity rate was 6.41% on Sunday.”

• WFSU: Some Florida Lawmakers Holding Out Hope For Recreational Marijuana This Session. “After a difficult last few years, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says a move to allow adult recreational marijuana use could be good news for struggling farmers.”

• WJXT News4Jax: Proposed names for Robert E. Lee High School to be released. “A school advisory committee is expected to propose a list of names to replace Robert E. Lee High School at a meeting on Monday, according to Duval County Public Schools… There has been a series of community meetings about changing the name of Robert E. Lee High School and other schools with names linked to the Confederacy. At several of the meetings, people on both sides of the matter have spoken out.”

• WFTS Tampa Bay: Only in Tampa: A cigar lounge in a place you’d never expect — a historic church. “A 115-year-old church is getting a new life under a haze of smoke. Services haven’t been held at the First Congressional Church for decades. The old building is now getting a new life from some ambitious entrepreneurs.”

• WTSP Tampa Bay: Gator makes itself at home under parked car in Tampa Bay. “Nothing quite screams ‘Florida’ (more) than finding a large alligator under your car. It also makes it pretty hard to leave your parking spot. And that’s just what happened at an apartment complex in Carrollwood.”

From NPR News

• National: Former Training Commander On Chauvin Neck Restraint: ‘That’s Not What We Train’

• National: Efforts Mount To Overturn Georgia’s Controversial Voting Law

• Health: Families With Sick Kids On Medicaid Seek Easier Access To Out-of-State Hospitals

• Health: ‘Love Your Neighbor’ And Get The Shot: White Evangelical Leaders Push COVID Vaccines

• World: Undersea Explorers Reach Deepest Shipwreck Ever Found

• World: Janet Yellen Proposes Bold Idea: The Same Minimum Corporate Tax Around The World

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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