The Point, March 28, 2022: Ocala holds homecoming events to honor its Olympians


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• WUFT News: Olympian Brittany Bowe returns to Ocala alma mater. “Nearly 500 students, faculty and alumni welcomed the 34-year-old Olympic ice speedskater back to the very halls she walked 16 years ago. The event included a speech delivered by Bowe and the opportunity for former faculty and friends to reconnect with the Ocala Olympian.”

• Ocala Star-Banner ($): Parade of champions: Ocala’s three Olympians honored with parade and downtown ceremony. “Ocala’s three Winter Olympians, enjoying a whirlwind celebratory tour since arriving home Thursday afternoon, were part of another huge event Saturday evening when they rode in a downtown parade and then received keys to the city during a grand ceremony on the square.”

• WUFT News: Man accused of killing UF student in a hit-and-run expected to change plea Monday. “Six days after University of Florida student Margaret ‘Maggie’ Paxton was killed in a high-profile hit-and-run accident, Gainesville police traced the ownership of the car suspected of striking her to a man who worked at a local auto repair shop. Paxton, 18, of Jacksonville, was hit by a blue BMW on Dec. 9, 2020, as she was crossing West University Avenue at Gale Lemerand Drive. The driver drove away without stopping to offer her aid, according to police reports. Only its discarded fog light parts remained.”

• WUFT News: Florida basketball star Keyontae Johnson accused in sexual assault. “Keyontae Johnson, the University of Florida basketball star forward praised for his resilience after he collapsed during a game in December 2020, is being formally accused by police of sexual assault of a drunken young woman at a pool party in an incident last month, according to interviews and court records.”

• News Service of Florida: FDLE Commissioner Swearingen Stepping Down. “The head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is stepping down after 38 years with the agency. Commissioner Rick Swearingen advised members of the agency on Friday he will leave the post this summer.”

• WUFT News: A UF student from Ukraine worries for her friends and family back home dealing with the Russian invasion. “Anastasiia Zaitseva, an international business student at the University of Florida is from a small town in east Ukraine. Since Russia’s invasion of her home country, she has been afraid for her friends and family back home. Zaitseva said she texts her friends in Kyiv daily.”

• News4Jax: Report states condition of Rodman Dam changed from low to high hazard. “A leaking dam that forms a world-class fishing reservoir in Putnam County is showing its decades-old age with hairline cracks, corrosion and rust. The condition of the Rodman-Kirkpatrick Dam, near Palatka, is at ‘high hazard,’ according to a new report released by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.”

• Florida Times-Union ($): Still without feds’ final report, panel seeks lessons from Jacksonville coal ash spill. “Jacksonville should look for ways to prepare better for marine accidents like last year’s offshore spill of 5,000 tons of coal ash, members of a Jacksonville Waterways Commission panel said Friday. The review committee — formed months after the barge Bridgeport struck a jetty at the mouth of the St. Johns River in March 2021, then was grounded offshore south of Hanna Park — didn’t discuss details of the accident.”

• Gainesville Sun ($): Mayoral race heats up after candidate accuses opponent of ‘anti-immigrant’ views. “The debate boils down to the city’s recent decision to move forward with a language access program, which, if approved, could bridge the language barrier between non-English speaking residents and local government. The estimated annual cost is about $316,000.”

• Miami Herald ($): ‘This was a bust.’ South Beach vacations rattled by city’s last-minute curfew rules. “Announced Wednesday morning, the midnight curfew south of Dade Boulevard brought another evening of thinned out crowds Saturday on Ocean Drive as visitors and locals headed across Biscayne Bay for clubs in downtown Miami, Wynwood and beyond.”

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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

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