The Point, Sept. 17, 2021: Sold-Out Gator Football Games Bring Return Of Tourism Surge


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The stories near you

• WUFT News: Florida-Alabama To Draw Huge Fan Attendance. “Saturday’s game is sold out. This means that attendance for the game will likely be comparable to Florida’s 2019 victory over Auburn, which was attended by over 90,000 fans. This gives the game potential to turn into a super-spreader event. The game’s potential to spread COVID-19 has not deterred fans from attending, however.”

• WUFT News: Biden’s Vaccine Mandate Impacts Local Hospitals And Clinics. “The number of healthcare clinics and hospitals beginning to mandate the vaccine has been growing since it became available in March. From dental clinics to emergency rooms to nursing homes, the pandemic has caused practices to reassess their employment conditions, especially with new factors, such as the surging cases of the delta variant and the recently approved Pfizer vaccine by the Food and Drug Administration.”

• WUFT News: Dixie County Residents Left With Little Flooding Relief. “After Tropical Storm Elsa and heavy rainstorms hit Dixie County in July, 40-year-old Robert Rinard and his wife, Diane, evacuated their flooded old town home to live in an RV with their two kids and three dogs. Two months later, the Rinards move back home and are welcomed with underwater roads, snakes around the house and their lawn still flooded by about four feet of water.”

• Ocala Gazette: Power Drain: Ocala Electric Utilities lineman shortage a broader issue. “A worsening national shortage of qualified electrical linemen—one of the most mission-critical jobs in keeping the lights on in America— has reached Ocala Electric Utility (OEU), supplier of electric power to more than 50,000 local homes and businesses.”

• Mainstreet Daily News: City Clerk reconsiders resignation. “One week after announcing her resignation, Gainesville City Clerk Omichele Gainey changed her mind and sent a letter of reconsideration Wednesday. Gainey, who along with City Attorney Nicolle Shalley submitted their letters of resignation on Sept. 8, sent a new memo stating that, ‘after much reflection and introspection, my focus is to reaffirm my commitment to the community.'”

• Citrus County Chronicle: Trial dates change for Dunnellon couple, codefendants charged in Capitol attack. “U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta announced the rescheduling Thursday, Sept. 16, after hearing concerns from defense attorneys and the prosecution on how ill-prepared the accused would be for jurors on Jan. 31, 2022.”

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Around the state

• Orlando Sentinel ($): Lost to COVID: More than 50,000 lives in Florida. “This fourth wave was initially predicted to cause fewer deaths and hospitalizations than past waves due to the widespread availability of free vaccines. But when the first shots were given on Dec. 14, the state’s death count was 21,410. That means that nearly 30,000 deaths have been reported in the interim, more than half of the pandemic’s total.”

• WINK-Fort Myers: Overfilled Florida ICUs leave non-COVID patients ‘suffering unnecessarily.’ “In Florida, at least 50 hospitals are at 100% occupancy in their ICUs. Hospitals in the state, including Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, have had to be selective when it comes to which cases they take.”

• News Service of Florida: Florida’s Surgeon General Won’t Have To Give A Deposition In The Mask Mandate Case. “An administrative law judge Thursday rejected an attempt to have Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees testify in a legal fight about the state’s efforts to prevent school mask mandates.”

• Politico: DeSantis opens new war with Biden over Covid treatments. “On Thursday, DeSantis ripped into Biden’s plan to distribute doses of monoclonal antibody treatments to states across the nation. Florida and six other Southern states have relied on the therapies to treat patients infected with the virus but also took up 70 percent of the orders in early September. That lopsidedness prompted the Biden administration to start redistributing the more than 158,000 doses made available this week — and provoked DeSantis to attack the president for taking the therapies away from Floridians.”

• WJCT: Does Florida Have A Recall Measure Like California? “Florida legislators tried for years to update the state Constitution, finally succeeding in 1968. That new Constitution included ballot initiative and ballot referendum, but not recall. Florida does allow for a recall of local officials, but it’s almost never used.”

• Associated Press: A Young Woman Vanished On A Cross-Country Trip. Her Boyfriend Is A Person Of Interest. “A Florida woman who vanished while on a nomadic cross-country trip in a converted camper van with her boyfriend is the subject of a nationwide search while authorities labeled him Wednesday as a person of interest in her disappearance. Investigators say Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ Petito, 22, was last in contact with her family in late August when the couple was visiting Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park. Much of their trip was documented on social media accounts that abruptly ceased.”

• FLKeysNews: Key West’s airport hit a new record with passengers. But it has brought problems. “While it’s evidence that tourism to the Florida Keys is booming and removes some traffic on the heavily used U.S. 1, the only highway that runs up and down the island chain, it has also brought problems. There’s not much personal space these days in the ‘hold room,’ the area where people wait to board their flights.”

• WTSP-Tampa Bay: Tampa Bay school bathrooms see broken mirrors, stolen toilets after viral TikTok challenge. “So what is TikTok doing about this viral ‘Devious Lick’ challenge taking over the app? All content of the trend is being removed, along with redirecting hashtags and search results to the app’s Community Guidelines to discourage the behavior.”

• CBS Miami: They’re Back! Love Bugs Invade Florida Once Again. “The prolific pests are always around, but are at the worst during two specific mating seasons. Once in the Spring, from April to May and then again in late summer, August to September.”

From NPR News

• Health: Are COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters Necessary?

• Health: COVID-19 Stats: Deaths Are Up, Delta Variant May Be Starting To Wane

• Health: People Around The World Are Taking Extreme Measures To Get A COVID Vaccine

• Health: 3,000 Health Care Workers In France Have Been Suspended For Not Getting A COVID Shot

• Business: A Record Number Of Women Are Driving Trucks To Pay The Bills

• Politics: The Capitol Will Face Its Biggest Security Test Since Jan. 6 On Saturday

• Science: Hundreds Of Dead Migratory Birds In New York City Prompt Calls For Dimming Lights

• Science: NASA Is Launching A New Telescope That Could Offer Some Cosmic Eye Candy

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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The Point, Oct. 8, 2021: Florida Department of Education pursues more penalties against Alachua County over masks

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