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The Point, April 11, 2022: Florida levies $9.1M fine against Medicaid payment vendor

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The stories near you

• Fresh Take Florida: Homeless man described by sister as mentally ill is first arrest in Florida voter fraud investigation. "The first of 10 felons charged with election fraud is back in the county jail where he was first accused of signing up as an ineligible voter during a jailhouse registration drive in 2020. Kelvin Bolton, 55, of Gainesville, was arrested at a local homeless shelter, St Francis House, court records showed. He was being held Thursday in the Alachua County jail on a $30,000 bond on third-degree felony charges of perjury and fraud."

• WUFT News: Inside the effort to bring healthcare to Gainesville’s uninsured. "While Chen said the clinic’s patients are often migrant workers and those without housing, more than 12% of Gainesville residents under 65 were uninsured according to the last census. WUFT’s Katie Hyson spoke with Chen about his experiences working with the clinic."

• Gainesville Sun ($): Former school board member Diyonne McGraw files to run for seat she was removed from. "With new district lines, McGraw's home falls within District 2, making her qualified to seak the seat she once held."

• WUFT News: Dixie County is still recovering from flood damage with hurricane season around the corner. "The county bore the brunt of a stormy summer punctuated by Tropical Storm Elsa in July and lingering rainfall that lasted well until September. Local roads closed, residents evacuated from their properties and into shelters, and by October, around 200 houses held standing water."

• Ocala Gazette: Marion county to consider ordinance mandating sewer connection. "The ordinance would also only apply to properties in Marion County service areas and does not include sewer lines that might be available nearby from municipalities."

• Ocala Star-Banner ($): What's up with all those caterpillars? Experts explain Ocala area's fuzzy insect outbreak. "If you’re in Florida and have ventured outside lately anywhere with oak trees, you may have encountered a unique caterpillar — or hundreds. The ubiquitous insect undergoing its annual outbreak is the fir tussock moth, or Orgyia detrita for those who prefer the scientific nomenclature. The creatures, which are abundant throughout the state, can cause skin irritation..."

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Around the state

• Fresh Take Florida: Florida’s largest Medicaid payment vendor must pay nearly $9.1 million after missing deadline to challenge government fine. "The deadline set by Florida lapsed for its largest Medicaid payment vendor to challenge a nearly $9.1 million fine over the company’s failure for nearly three months to pay tens of thousands of health-care claims for the state’s sickest and neediest children. Sunshine State Health Plan Inc. of Tampa had until 5 p.m. Thursday to dispute the large fine imposed last month by its government regulator, the Agency for Health Care Administration, leaving the company with only the option to concede to pay."

• Politico: Florida’s Scott exposes fissures with DeSantis. "Scott’s less combative tone over Disney is another reminder of the stylistic and policy differences between the two Florida Republicans, with both being seen as potential 2024 challengers if former President Donald Trump does not run again. It also highlights other areas where the two Florida Republicans diverge, including on using federal aid and the current Russian invasion in Ukraine."

• New York Times ($): Crypto Industry Helps Write, and Pass, Its Own Agenda in State Capitols. "In the Florida House last month, legislators swiftly gave final approval to a bill that makes it easier to buy and sell cryptocurrency, eliminating a threat from a law intended to curb money laundering. One of the few pauses in the action came when two House members stood up to thank crypto industry 'stakeholders' for teaming with state officials to write a draft of the bill."

• Associated Press: Florida has 3rd largest number of school book ban incidents. "PEN America says Florida had 204 instances of book banning in seven school districts between July 2021 and March 2022. Only Texas and Pennsylvania had higher numbers."

• NPR News: Disney and Universal will build affordable housing in Florida, where need is acute. "Anyone looking for affordable housing in central or southern Florida is in for a wild ride — and that's why two Florida theme parks are pledging to devote around 100 acres of land to ease the housing crunch. In places like Orlando and Tampa, rent has been rising faster than nearly every other part of the U.S. The average rent in Orlando jumped by 21% in just one year, from 2020 to 2021."

• NPR News: Not just Florida. More than a dozen states propose so-called 'Don't Say Gay' bills. "Across the United States, at least a dozen states are considering new legislation that in several ways will mirror Florida's new controversial law, referred to by some opponents as 'Don't Say Gay.' The specific details regarding the bills vary between states. But overall, they seek to prohibit schools from using a curriculum or discussing topics of gender identity or sexual orientation."

• Florida Today ($): Thousands of scallops wash up on Satellite Beach, leading many to ask: 'what's happening?' "Countless calico scallops washed ashore Friday, scattering a mystery over a mile-long stretch of Satellite Beach. Local beachgoers say they've never seen anything like it, while state biologists — as they investigate the matter — speculate wind and waves brought them in. Others aren't so sure."

From NPR News

• Health: What to do if you test positive for COVID at this point in the pandemic

• Health: CDC weighs new opioid prescribing guidelines amid controversy over old ones

• World: From Nuremberg to Darfur, history has seen some war criminals brought to trial

• World: Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 10)

• Race: After 232 years, Ketanji Brown Jackson is the first Black woman on the Supreme Court

• Politics: More details emerge in federal investigation into Hunter Biden

• Climate: Snow crabs in the Bering Sea have been hard to find — partially due to climate change

• Business: Money from the COVID Paycheck Protection Program was allegedly largely misspent

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 emagoc@wuft.org.

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