The Point, March 2, 2022: Alachua County School Board fires superintendent


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• WUFT News: Alachua County School Board fires Superintendent Carlee Simon. “Board members Mildred Russell, Gunnar Paulson and board chair Rob Hyatt voted in favor of Simon’s termination. The two other board members, Leanetta McNealy and Tina Certain, voted for Simon to keep her job. Deputy Superintendent Donna Jones will assume the position of acting superintendent. The board will vote on an interim superintendent at the next board meeting on March 15. With Simon gone, the interim superintendent will be the seventh in the district in the last 10 years.”

• WUFT News: Florida House sets up final reading for bill that would ask voters if they want to reshape the Alachua County Commission. “Clemons restated that Gilchrist and Dixie counties have not voiced any need for single-member districts – but Alachua County has. He also noted that the Alachua County Charter Review Committee had briefly considered single-member districts after receiving 80 resident requests for the proposal. It ultimately decided against putting that question to voters in 2020.”

• Mainstreet Daily News: BOCC continues plan for new surtax initiative. “The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners moved forward with its one cent infrastructure surtax initiative at a special meeting on Tuesday, approving wording and how the funds would be divided. … The surtax will be divided into two parts—half for the county’s established Wild Spaces Public Places (WSPP) program and the other half for road repair, fire stations and affordable housing.”

• WCJB: Starke man convicted in 2020 killing of 19-year-old. “A judge sentenced Marcus Whitfield to life in prison for 2nd-degree murder and another 30 years for conspiracy to commit murder.”

• CBS4: City of Gainesville discusses ordinance to prevent employers from doing background checks. “Commissioner Reina Saco said the goal of the fair chance, is to give people who are re-entering society, after a jail or prison sentence, an opportunity to work.”

• WUFT News: UF veterinary hospital in Ocala looks to increase quality of care for horses. “In partnership with the World Equestrian Center in Ocala, the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine will open the UF Veterinary Hospital at WEC this spring. The 40,000-square-foot facility will specialize in sports medicine, diagnostic imaging, rehabilitation and after-hours urgent care.”

• WUFT News: Gainesville theaters explore ways to mitigate ongoing effects of the pandemic. “Theaters in Alachua County are adapting to the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to stay in business. While Gainesville venues struggle to survive tough times, theaters across the U.S. face similar problems. More than 60% of Americans say they have not visited a cinema since the pandemic.”

• Fresh Take Florida: Woman who murdered $30 million lottery winner backs bill to keep secret names of those hitting jackpot: ‘It puts a target on them.’ “In a telephone interview from behind bars, Dorice Donegan “Dee Dee” Moore, 49, of Tampa said publicly identifying recipients and details about big lottery payouts puts their lives at risk. ‘It puts a target on them,’ Moore said. She is serving a life term at the Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala.”

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Around the state

• Florida Politics: A prime-time look at the 2022 Legislative Session. “It’s Day 50 of the Legislative Session, which means another raft of bills is dead.”

WUSF: Some parts of Central Florida are ‘abnormally dry’ and facing increased wildfire risks. “According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly drought monitor, less-than-normal rainfall in Northwest Florida has led to drought-like conditions in parts of the Big Bend and Panhandle.”

• WFSU: Sea level rise bill to get a vote in Florida House. “The Florida House could soon vote on a proposal that would help communities adapt to rising sea levels, but it wouldn’t address what’s driving the phenomenon: manmade climate change.”

• WFSU: Visit Florida’s future still open to debate in legislature. “Visit Florida is set to run out of funding next fall — unless state lawmakers act before then. The Senate voted last month to extend the not-for-profit-corporation’s lifespan to 2031, while the House is keeping with its proposal to set the expiration year at 2028.”

• WMFE: White House announces nursing home plan as Florida lawmakers get ready to cut CNA requirements. “Just as the Florida Legislature is finalizing a cut to the certified nursing staff required in nursing homes, the Biden Administration is planning an overhaul that will include new staffing minimums.”

• Treasure Coast Newspapers ($): Goliath grouper: Florida wildlife officials to vote on controversial harvest Thursday. “During its two-day meeting in Tampa this week, the seven-member, governor-appointed Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will vote March 3 on a final version of fishing regulations for goliath grouper drafted and initially approved in October.”

• WJCT: Jax Icemen fans split over team’s response after player was suspended for racist gesture. “It was the first time the Icemen faced the South Carolina Stingrays since the incident that led to former Icemen player Jacob Panetta getting suspended from the ECHL.”

• News of Service of Florida: Florida roof-damage claims are subject of Bradenton lawmaker’s property insurance bill. “The bill deals with numerous issues, but perhaps the most-controversial has been its handling of claims for roof damage. Under a change Monday, homeowners could face a new deductible for roof claims.”

• Tampa Bay Times ($): St. Petersburg will remain sister cities with St. Petersburg but support Ukraine. “In 2003, then-Mayor Rick Baker traveled overseas to sign a twin-city agreement with Vladimir Yakovlev, governor of St. Petersburg, Russia. They committed ‘to an exchange of information in spheres both economic and cultural, even citing the ‘humanitarian values’ the two cities hope to share,’ according to Tampa Bay Times archives.”

• New York Times ($): In Miami, a Ukrainian Art Show Becomes Unintentionally Timely. “The wife-and-husband gallerists Julia and Max Voloshyn had planned to return to Kyiv last week to open a new show at their space there. But with commercial air traffic halted as Russian troops invaded Ukraine, their stay in Miami — and the run of their pop-up exhibition there — was extended.”

From NPR News

• Politics: Read President Biden’s full State of the Union remarks

• Politics: 5 takeaways from Biden’s State of the Union address

• World: ExxonMobil joins business exodus from Russia after decades of close ties

• Politics: Texas Gov. Abbott and Beto O’Rourke are set for an election clash after primary wins

• World: Ukrainians are fleeing to Poland, but some are returning home for their families

• National: The MLB’s season start is canceled as players and owners fail to reach a labor deal

• Business: Tech’s crackdown on Russian propaganda is a geopolitical high-wire act

• Law: The ACLU sues to block Texas from investigating parents of trans youth

About today’s curator

I’m Melissa Feito, a journalist at WUFT. Originally from Miami, I got my start in public radio covering religion stories like the spiritual roots of Afro-Brazilian music and modern communities of pagans. I’m a graduate student getting my master’s degree in mass communication and am part of a team searching for local and state news each week that’s important to you. Please send feedback about today’s edition of The Point or ideas for stories we may have missed to

About WUFT News

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