The Point, Dec. 16, 2021: Grand jury recommends statewide changes in wake of Surfside condo collapse


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Today’s top Florida stories

• NPR News: A Surfside condo collapse grand jury report calls for immediate reforms. “A Miami-Dade County grand jury on Wednesday released a series of recommendations for condo safety throughout Florida after a deep examination of the deadly collapse in Surfside earlier this year. The report comes nearly six months after the 12-story Champlain Towers South crumbled, killing 98 people. While the 43-page document avoids conclusions about what caused this specific disaster, it states the urgent need for sweeping reforms to prevent future tragedies.”

• WUFT News: Former slaves and others are buried at this Archer cemetery. A group is trying to preserve its history. “St. Peter’s Cemetery is an anchor for Michelle Rutledge’s identity. The cemetery is in front of St. Peter Baptist Church in the rural neighborhood of St. Peter — a historically Black community in unincorporated Archer. It is the final resting ground for Rutledge’s father, grandparents, great grandparents and great-great grandparents. A lifelong resident and St. Peter-St. Paul Community Council member, Rutledge said families who settled during the period before slavery ended founded the neighborhood. The pharmacologist said local cemeteries offer a way for others to learn about its legacy.”

• WUFT News: Alachua County School Board takes first step in long process to fill a vacancy. “The Alachua County School District does not currently employ a full-time language translator, even though it’s mandated by the federal government.”

• WUFT News: Alachua County commissioners picked a new statue to stand on the corner of University Avenue and Main Street. “The Alachua County Board of Commissioners unanimously agreed that a new statue will honor the work of late Dr. Patricia Hilliard-Nunn. The statue will be centered around truth and reconciliation.”

• WCJB: The University of Florida Police Department has gotten reports of controlled drugs including roofies being slipped into drinks at Gainesville bars. “The University of Florida Police are warning bar-goers to watch their drinks. Multiple people have reported their drinks were spiked while at Gainesville bars.”

• WLRN: Feds quietly announce plans to change protections for Florida panther and Key deer. “The news surprised conservationists, who expected the Biden White House to undo Trump administration cuts to environmental protections that included shrinking the endangered species list.”

• Politico: DeSantis pushes bill that allows parents to sue schools over critical race theory. “The state’s Republican governor — who gained a national following amid his battles over Covid restrictions — also wants the GOP-controlled Legislature to help employees at private corporations that are subjected to what he called ‘harassment’ by being forced to undergo sensitivity and racial awareness training.”

• Orlando Sentinel ($): Omicron has become the predominant variant found in Orange County’s wastewater testing. “The variant first discovered in South Africa swiftly surpassed the delta variant in collections taken from county wastewater sampling sites, said Ed Torres, the public works director. However, the mutation of the virus hasn’t been traced to a clinical infection here yet, officials said.”

• Associated Press: Jaguars fire Urban Meyer after 13 games, countless missteps. “Owner Shad Khan made the move hours after former Jaguars player Josh Lambo told a Florida newspaper Meyer kicked him during practice in August. It was the latest black eye — adding to an already lengthy list of embarrassments — for the three-time national championship-winning college coach who failed miserably to make the transition to the NFL.”

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From NPR News

• Health: A tantalizing clue to why omicron is spreading so quickly

• Health: Omicron evades Moderna vaccine too, study suggests, but boosters help

• Health: The FDA could permanently lift some restrictions on abortion pills

• Business: Inflation is still red hot, and it’s forcing the Federal Reserve into a new game plan

• National: Derek Chauvin pleads guilty to violating George Floyd’s civil rights

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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