The Point, Oct. 19, 2021: Florida Department of Health announces investigations of business, local officials over vaccine passports


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• WUFT News: Florida Department of Health is investigating Mayor Lauren Poe, Alachua County officials for violating vaccine passport law. “The Florida Department of Health announced that it will investigate over 100 Florida businesses and public officials including Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe, Alachua County and the Alachua County Library District for violating Gov. Ron DeSantis’ law banning vaccine passports.”

• Citrus County Chronicle ($): Inverness Airport business park moving forward. “County commissioners have made the building of a business park at the Inverness Airport a top priority for the past few years. They, along with city of Inverness officials, see a park as an economic driver.”

• WUSF: DeSantis allocates $6.1 million toward workforce training programs in Hernando County. “Florida Job Growth Grant Fund money will be used to build a new facility on the campus of Pasco-Hernando State College.”

• WUFT News: UF files motion to dismiss complaint of former astronomy Ph.D. student in ongoing lawsuit. “(Sankalp) Gilda, who worked under assistant professor Zachary Slepian for three years in the astronomy program, discussed some of his experiences in a tweet made on Sept. 15. In his post, which consisted of 24 tweets, Gilda described multiple instances of Slepian engaging in during his time as Gilda’s adviser, as well as the circumstances that led Gilda to sue UF for improper overtime compensation.”

• WMFE: Bill by GOP Sen. Keith Perry would let state inmates reduce prison time through rehabilitation. “Perry teamed up last session with Rep. Dianne Hart, a Tampa Democrat, on a bill for rehabilitation credits in addition to gain-time. That one mandated just 65% of the sentence. Current law requires at least 85 %. It drew opposition from law enforcement. The House version went nowhere. The Senate bill died in committee.”

• Ocala Gazette: Historic Reddick school being demolished. “Reddick High School opened in 1923, with the gym added in 1936 as part of President Roosevelt’s Works Projects Administration. It first served as a 1-12 school, then later was for grades 1-8. According to Leitner, Reddick High was originally planned to be an agricultural tech school, before World War II changed the landscape of culture and education in America.”

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Around the state

• Associated Press: Families of Parkland victims reach a $25 million settlement with the school district. “Nikolas Cruz will plead guilty Wednesday to 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted murder, his attorneys said last week. He will face either a death sentence or life in prison without parole.”

• Fresh Take Florida: New election law adds new costs for some Florida counties. “To cover the additional costs, at least one county is reducing the number of ballot drop-off boxes, making voting less convenient. Despite conducting a seemingly flawless presidential election last year, the law known as Senate Bill 90 changes how elections in Florida will be handled, including controversial changes involving ballot drop-off boxes and vote-by-mail ballots.”

• Tallahassee Democrat ($): Gov. DeSantis: Flags at half-staff in Florida to honor Colin Powell. “Powell, 84, died Monday morning of complications from COVID-19, according to a statement from his family shared on his Facebook page. The four-star general was the first Black Secretary of State in U.S. history, serving from 2001 to 2005 under former President George W. Bush.”

• Fresh Take Florida: Future of Florida’s abortion bill remains unclear. “The high-stakes court fight unfolding over the off-again, on-again abortion law newly passed in Texas threatens to throw into confusion plans by Florida lawmakers to pass a similarly restrictive law banning abortions after a physician can detect a fetal heartbeat.”

• Fresh Take Florida: Florida proposes spending $3.8 million more to help suffering manatees. “The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year includes $3.8 million designated as aid for manatees, the cow-size, aquatic mammals that feed gracefully on Florida’s seagrasses. Those grasses have been increasingly imperiled from fertilizer runoff from yards and farms and algal blooms known as ‘red tide,’ and the wildlife agency has proposed spending millions more next year on seagrass restoration projects near shorelines around Florida.”

• WFSU: As More Floridians Go Back To Work, Issues Remain With State’s Unemployment Assistance System. “The Department of Economic Opportunity says of the jobs initially lost during the pandemic, nearly 80% have been recovered. In addition, the agency’s Deputy Secretary Adrienne Johnston says there are more people in the labor force now than in February of last year.”

• WLRN: Worsening conditions in Cuba are causing a new surge in migrants arriving in Florida by sea. “The discovery of more than 30 Cuban migrants hidden in a fast boat in the Keys is the latest instance of a renewed wave Cubans say the U.S. needs to address.”

• News Service of Florida: Medical marijuana is exploding in Florida, and regulators need help. “With the industry poised to mushroom, health regulators are asking lawmakers for nearly $13 million to more than double the number of workers in the office that oversees medical marijuana issues.”

• Palm Beach Post ($): Will Florida orca Lolita be released? New management, damning report renew advocates’ fervor. “The sources for that zeal include a prospective new leadership at the Miami Seaquarium, a tsunami of outrage over a damning federal government report about care of animals at the nearly 70-year-old aquarium and rising fears about the vulnerability of the property’s marine animals to a climate change-fueled super hurricane.”

From NPR News

• Health: The political fight over vaccine mandates deepens despite their effectiveness

• National: Remembering former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who has died at 84

• National: Satellites reveal the secrets of water-guzzling farms in California

• National: Washington State fires its football coach over COVID-19 vaccine mandate

• National: Jury selection has begun in the trial of the 3 men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery

• Health: Patients say telehealth is OK, but most prefer to see their doctor in person

• Business: What’s at stake as Biden decides whether to stick with Jerome Powell as Fed chief

• Politics: Trump sues to try to stop the release of documents related to the Capitol riot

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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