The Point, Jan. 28, 2022: Florida Supreme Court ends lengthy legal battle between Alachua County and sheriff


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• WUFT News: Florida Supreme Court says former Alachua County sheriff failed to seek approval for budgetary changes. “In concluding a five-year legal battle against former Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday ruled in favor of Alachua County’s Board of Commissioners, finding that Darnell was not permitted to make changes to how the budget is spent without the approval of county commissioners.”

• Florida Storms: Low temperatures reach Florida this weekend, bringing a hard freeze to our area. “A hard freeze across North Florida and the Panhandle is expected Saturday night. Temperatures across Central and South Florida will be in the low 30s, the result of another winter cold front traversing the sunshine state.”

• Mainstreet Daily News: GNV commission abruptly fires GRU chief. “In a 4-2 vote, with Commissioners Desmon Duncan-Walker and David Arreola in dissent, the commission immediately terminated (Ed) Bielarski and selected Anthony Cunningham, GRU’s officer over water and wastewater, to take over the role as interim general manager after negotiations.”

• WUFT News: Lynching victims to be remembered through soil collection ceremony. “Five lynching victims from Alachua County communities will be remembered with a soil collection ceremony next month. The five African American victims killed between 1889 and 1926 were from Waldo, Hawthorne, Rochelle and Campville. Three of the victims were identified as George Buddington, Henry White and Charles Willis. A boy and another individual, whose gender is unknown, could not be identified.”

• WUFT News: Marion County Schools holds second event looking for bus drivers. “The driver shortage is affecting instruction during the school day. Students are being dropped off at school at later times, which is causing teachers to either wait for them before beginning class or risk students falling behind.”

• WUFT News: Gainesville’s first environmental book club makes a splash for water preservation. “This January, Our Santa Fe River, an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization, assembled an environmental book club to bring together North Florida residents, like LeBlanc, who are concerned about water pollution and access. This is the first environmental-focused book club in Gainesville and aims to advocate for environmental causes through reading and open discussions.”

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Around the state

• Associated Press: Coast Guard finds 4 more bodies off Florida coast but will call off search. “Homeland Security Investigations officials said they were actively investigating the case as a human smuggling operation. Authorities have now found a total of five bodies, leaving 34 missing.”

• WUSF: COVID-19 treatments are in short supply statewide. Here’s what you need to know. “Treatments are only available for patients at high risk for developing severe COVID-19. Select pharmacies and health facilities have supplies.”

• Tampa Bay Times ($): Student activists disrupt Florida 15-week abortion ban hearing. “Students from around Florida, many of whom had already testified against the bill, were outraged (at the shortening of public feedback). They began chanting, ‘Let her speak!’ drowning Avila out. With the committee unable to continue its business, the meeting was briefly paused while law enforcement escorted the students from the room.”

• WMFE: ‘Miya’s Law’ heads to House committee but tenant protection legislation loses some key features. “Police say college student Miya Marcano was killed by a maintenance worker who used a master key to enter her apartment. State lawmakers filed bills in both the House and Senate aimed at increasing protections. But despite bipartisan support, a new House version of the bill heading to committee omits requirements like national criminal background checks on maintenance workers and calling on complexes to create provisions for issuing and tracking master keys.”

• Miami Herald ($): Senate passes bill ordering local governments to pay up if new rules hurt businesses. “The Florida Senate has an answer for local governments that want to regulate businesses: Go ahead, but it’s going to cost you. A bill that will allow businesses to sue for damages if a local ordinance or voter-approved referendum costs their business 15% or more of their profits passed on a 22-14 mostly party-line vote Thursday.”

• WTSP-Tampa: 1 year after Oldsmar water plant hack, White House rolls out cybersecurity plan for facilities. “On Feb. 5, 2021, a hacker gained access to the Oldsmar water treatment facility and bumped the sodium hydroxide or lye in the water to more than 100 times the normal level. An operator noticed the intrusion and immediately re-set the chemical balance.”

• FOX35 Orlando: UCF student says he was offered $5K by Elon Musk to stop tracking billionaire’s private jet. “(Jack) Sweeney made the Twitter bot @ElonJet that tracks Musk’s private jet and tweets his whereabouts. Musk didn’t like that, so he messaged Sweeney.”

From NPR News

• Health: Vaccinate and test. That advice isn’t much help to parents who have kids under 5.

• Science: A second version of omicron is spreading. Here’s why scientists are on alert

• Climate: A federal judge canceled major oil and gas leases over climate change

• World: The U.S. and NATO stress unity on Ukraine as EU leaders worry about divisions

• Business: Believe it or not, the economy grew last year at the fastest pace since 1984

• Politics: Biden will get a chance to fill a Supreme Court vacancy. Here’s what to expect

• Politics: Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman gives his first interview since Jan. 6

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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