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The Rewind: Week of March 28, 2022

Every week, journalists at the University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications report important stories for people in the North Central Florida area and beyond. This is The Rewind from WUFT News, a look into some of the strongest reporting from our newsroom and a discussion with the journalists who write these stories.

The 30-minute episode features a deeper dive into our top stories of the week. In this episode, we discuss Gainesville's decision to become a certified welcome city to immigrants, an update on the hit and run case involving UF student Maggie Paxton and voter fraud charges following a jailhouse registration drive in Alachua County. 

Part 1: Gainesville launches blueprint to become a certified welcoming city to immigrants

On Tuesday, Gainesville became the first community in Florida to publicly launch a blueprint to become a certified welcoming city to immigrants.

The blueprint would serve as a strategy to guide city and county leaders in making the community more inclusive of immigrants. It's the result of a 15-month collaboration between the City of Gainesville, 60 community members, eight organizations and 182 foreign-born respondents to the Gainesville Immigrant Neighbor Inclusion Initiative survey.

In this interview,  WUFT’s inequity reporter and Report for America member Katie Hyson explained the significance of this announcement and how it came to fruition. 

Part 2: Judge rejects plea deal for the driver in the hit-and-run that caused Maggie Paxton’s death

A judge has rejected the plea deal in the criminal case against the driver charged with the 2020 hit and run death of University of Florida freshman Maggie Paxton. Joseph Figueroa originally pleaded not guilty after being arrested seven months later in July 2021. 

On March 28, his attorney said 31-year-old Figueroa is accepting responsibility for the accident and planned to enter into a plea negotiation between the defense and the state attorney's office. However, the judge decided otherwise.

WUFT reporter Katie Delk explained what happened in that courtroom, and what's next for this case in this interview. 

Part 3: Five inmates indicted on voter fraud charges following jailhouse registration drive in Alachua County

For eight months, The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has been investigating complaints about jail inmates who may have been improperly registered to vote by the Alachua County supervisor of elections office in 2020. While all current and previous employees of the office were cleared of any wrongdoing, at least nine inmates so far have been indicted on voter fraud charges.

Fresh Take Florida’s Alexander Lugo and Carolina Ilvento spoke about how they reported this case and what’s next in this interview.

Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news @wuft.org