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The Point, Nov. 22, 2021: Mosquito population increases in portions of Alachua County

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The stories near you

• WUFT News: Mosquito populations and diseases rise in Alachua County. "The Florida Department of Health this month issued a mosquito-borne illnesses advisory in Alachua County. It warned of an increase in the risk of human transmission for diseases like West Nile virus, dengue fever and malaria – and came after two chickens in the county’s sentinel flock, which is monitored for diseases through routine blood tests, tested positive for West Nile."

• Associated Press: Florida fires coach Dan Mullen, completing stunning fall. "Florida fired Mullen on Sunday, a day after his sixth loss in nine games, two months after the Gators went toe-to-toe with defending national champion Alabama and a year after they had a chance to make the College Football Playoff."

• WUFT News: New Florida law forces Alachua County schools to drop mask mandate. "Alachua County Public Schools issued an announcement Thursday lifting its mask mandate in response to legislation passed during the state’s special legislative session."

• Ocala Star-Banner ($): An inmate died after a fight at the Marion County Jail, and his family wants answers. "Earlier this month her brother, Cory P. Merchant, 35, was severely injured when he was struck by a fellow inmate at the Marion County Jail. Merchant was taken to Ocala Regional Medical Center, where he died days later."

• WUFT News: UF leaders discuss strategies to recruit more Black faculty. "Professor David Canton, the director of the African American studies program at UF, agreed. 'UF needs to establish a benchmark in racial equity, Black faculty hiring, Black student enrollment, Black staff promotions, and have the same enthusiasm and financial commitment it took to reach the US News number 5 ranking.'"

• WUFT News: Nothing nice to say, can’t comment at all: Alachua County School District disables Facebook comments. "Loons. Dictators. Hypocrites. Morons. Puppets. Communists. Hitler. The Alachua County Public Schools officials have heard it all. These names are thrown out in various fashions: capitalized in comments under social media posts, hand-painted on signs during protests and even directly to school board members’ faces during public meetings."

• WUFT News: The Westgate Publix is expected to finish construction in 2022. "The Publix on 3315 W. University Ave. in the Westgate Shopping Center is under construction as the store has reached the end of its life cycle, Chris Norberg, community relations manager for Publix Super Markets, Inc., wrote in an email."

• WUFT News: Artistic crosswalks are coming to Northeast 15th Street in Gainesville. "Graduate students in the design program at the University of Florida School of Art and Art History are working with the city to create artistic crosswalks. The murals will be painted on the crosswalks on the intersection of Northeast 15th Street and 31st Avenue."

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Around the state

• Fresh Take Florida: Florida university says it won’t employ professor guilty of sexual misconduct, reviewing its hiring practices. "The University of West Florida in Pensacola said it had been unaware of the investigation at Florida State into Ross May, 38, when it hired him part time to teach two online classes after FSU had fired him. The university said in a statement it was reviewing how it examines the backgrounds of its instructors."

• News Service of Florida: DeSantis announces retirements, replacements at Corrections, other state agencies. "DeSantis tapped Ricky Dixon, a 25-year veteran of the Department of Corrections, to lead the agency after the retirement of Mark Inch, who became secretary in January 2019. Inch struggled throughout his tenure to address chronic officer shortages and turnover exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic."

• Florida Politics: Gov. DeSantis’ press secretary welcomes Kyle Rittenhouse to Florida. "In a picture tweeted by DeSantis spokesperson Christina Pushaw, Rittenhouse is seated in a tiki-themed restaurant alongside others. Pushaw later said the-18-year-old is in Florida to film an interview with Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson."

• Associated Press: White supremacist prison guards work with impunity in Fla. "Some Florida prison guards openly tout associations with white supremacist groups to intimidate inmates and Black colleagues, a persistent practice that often goes unpunished, according to allegations in public documents and interviews with a dozen inmates and current and former employees in the nation’s third-largest prison system. Corrections officials regularly receive reports about guards’ membership in the Ku Klux Klan and criminal gangs, according to former prison inspectors, and current and former officers."

• WMFE: Disney pauses vaccine requirement for Florida workers. "The measure comes after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a package of bills into law banning businesses from enforcing vaccine mandates. Larger businesses like Disney stand to lose $50,000 dollars per violation of this new law."

• WFSU: DeSantis repeals the state surgeon general's power to mandate vaccines. "Florida's surgeon general can no longer mandate vaccines under a new law passed (last) week. No surgeon general in Florida has used that authority since the state legislature approved it in 2002."

From NPR News

• Business: Giving up gas-powered cars was a fringe idea. It's now on its way to reality

• Business: Hey, I want to buy your house: Homeowners besieged by unsolicited offers

• National: For far-right groups, Rittenhouse's acquittal is a cause for celebration

• National: The U.S. emergency oil stash is in the spotlight as gas price surge. What to know

• National: Outside of Atlanta, Black families are buying land to create a safe haven

• Science: In a first test of its planetary defense efforts, NASA's going to shove an asteroid

• World: Protests have broken out across Europe in response to tightened COVID-19 restrictions

• Politics: Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin expects the Senate to pass spending bill by the end of 2021

• Politics: Biden nominates new chair for Postal Service Board, ousts DeJoy's allies

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

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