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The Point, Sept. 16, 2021: Florida Governor's Ban On School Mask Mandates Remains In Effect After Judge's Ruling

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The stories near you

• WUFT News: UF Installs Historical Marker Honoring The Impact Of Its First Black Students. "UF installed a historical marker about its history with racism and integration. The marker, next to Emerson Hall, tells the story of four people, including Virgil Hawkins, a Black man who was denied entry into UF’s law school."

• Gainesville Sun ($): Gainesville cancels commission meeting as elected officials are threatened. "The Gainesville City Commission has canceled its meeting on Thursday and agenda items will be taken up later, a statement from the city on Wednesday night says."

• News4Jax: DeSantis announces $3.4 million grant for military bases, nearly $1 million for Camp Blanding. "Clay County will receive roughly $1 million to provide a buffer area around Camp Blanding, maintain facilities, and develop a strategic site inventory for future development."

• Mainstreet Daily News: BOCC considers $15 million annual road management system. "The proposed pavement management system would rank the priority of road maintenance with a mix of rehab and reconstruction that would be generated by the benefit cost ratio."

• WUFT News: Alachua County Library District Provides Free Wi-Fi Hotspots. "Alachua County residents can check out one hotspot per library card and are eligible as long as they are in good standing, meaning they have no more than $50 in charges or five overdue items."

• Fresh Take Florida: Florida Woman On Paddleboard Has Frightful, Up-Close Encounter. With Giant, Hissing Alligator. "The alligator’s behavior was a mystery to experts. State wildlife officials were still deciding this week what to do with the reptile — if anything."

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Around the state

• Associated Press: Federal judge declines to block Florida ban on mask mandates. "Judge K. Michael Moore in Miami denied a request by parents of disabled children for a preliminary injunction against an executive order that (Gov. Ron) DeSantis issued in July that served as the basis for the Florida Department of Health issuing a rule that required school districts to allow parents to opt-out of any student mask mandates."

• Fort Myers News-Press ($): Florida's county-level COVID-19 death reports publicly available for first time in months. "The new data appeared one week after a USA TODAY Network - Florida report on the lack of accessible county death data. The state of Florida stopped reporting county-level data in early June. Most local public health officials won't release it. At least one county acknowledged it didn't have the data. Federal websites showed either incomplete or inconsistent data for Florida's counties."

• Politico: DeSantis flirts with the anti-vaccine crowd. "The inclusion of anti-vaccine misinformation at a DeSantis press conference marks a major departure from the stronger and more direct case he made for vaccines earlier in the year. The shift by the Republican governor — considered a leading contender for the 2024 presidential primary — coincides with more vocal anti-vaccine voices in the GOP, who went so far as to boo former President Donald Trump for telling people in Alabama to 'take the vaccines.'"

• WLRN: The Government Sells Cheap Houses. In South Florida, They're Also In Flood Zones. "Nationwide, HUD sold nearly 100,000 properties in flood zones between 2017 and 2020, a disproportionately high number when compared to the total number of homes sold in the U.S. The investigation identified Florida, along with Louisiana and New Jersey, as a hotspot for such sales."

• Spectrum News: Plan to end FSA raises questions about accountability. "DeSantis said standardized testing will be replaced with ‘progress monitoring’ which will be short check-in assessments that are given in the fall, winter, and spring. These tests will take hours instead of days to complete."

• Florida Politics: COVID-19 workers comp claims mount, losses vague. "Since the start of the pandemic, 46,505 workers’ compensation claims have been filed in Florida, of which 27,081 have been deemed “compensable,” including 67 claims involving deaths."

• WINK-Fort Myers: Scientists are trying to find a way to battle palm tree-killing diseases. "UF researchers say threats like the Haplaxius crudus could lead to palm tree diseases like lethal bronzing and lethal yellowing, which could include fruit drop or leaf discoloration."

• WUWF: One Year Later, Lessons Learned from Hurricane Sally. "One year ago, Hurricane Sally made an early morning landfall in Gulf Shores, Alabama near the Florida border. In Escambia County, three people died as a result of the storm, which also caused millions of dollars in damage and crippled the Pensacola Bay Bridge for months."

From NPR News

• Health: A Pfizer Analysis Makes The Case For A COVID Vaccine Booster

• Health: Small Changes May Help Exhausted Healthcare Workers Combat Burnout

• Sports: U.S. Soccer Is Offering The Same Contracts For Its Men's And Women's Teams

• Sports: Anti-Doping Group Will Review Cannabis Ban After Sha'Carri Richardson's Suspension

• National: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis' Wedding Marks 1st Same-Sex Marriage Of Sitting Governor

• National: Notebook: A Month Into R. Kelly's Trial, Here's What It's Been Like In The Courtroom

About today's curator

I'm Mikayla Carroll, a journalist at WUFT. Originally from West Palm Beach, I'm eager to share the top stories in my home state. I am a senior journalism major and am part of a team searching for local and state news each week that's important to you. Please send feedback about today's edition of The Point or ideas for stories we may have missed to

Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news