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Today’s Florida stories
• Fresh Take Florida: Former UF student accused in terror case attempts to convert trial judge to Islam. “In a handwritten letter last year to the trial judge, Allen C. Winsor, (Mohamed Fathy) Suliman tried to convert him to Islam before demanding that he dismiss the criminal case against him. The Justice Department has charged him with a felony, attempting to provide material support, including himself, to ISIS.”
• The Alligator: East Gainesville residents weigh effects of proposed sports complex. “A proposed sports complex in East Gainesville has reignited a fiery decades-long political debate on how to spur economic activity in the area. City Commissioner Cynthia Chestnut sees the quadrant at Eighth Avenue and Waldo Road as a blank slate begging to be commercialized. She envisions a multimillion-dollar sports complex resting in the heart of East Gainesville. Some residents are not sold.”
• Reveal News: Abortion’s Last Stand in the South: A Post-Roe Future Is Already Happening in Florida. “Now with the U.S. Supreme Court poised to overturn Roe v. Wade – an eventuality that a leaked draft opinion all but confirmed (last) week – Florida is providing a glimpse of the future for states that keep abortion legal. As abortion is curtailed or banned across the country, the last remaining open clinics will offer protesters fewer and clearer targets. A Woman’s Choice of Jacksonville is a case study in what they can expect.”
• USA Today Network ($): With Ron DeSantis stoking culture war issues, school boards emerge as major Florida battleground. “This year, Florida Republicans are amping up their focus on these non-partisan school board contests, promoting a sophisticated training and broad recruitment campaign expected to result in dozens of conservative contenders entering this year’s roughly 120 school board races, which formally begin with next month’s candidate qualifying. The goal: Win command of more of Florida’s 67 school districts and unseat board members who dissent from Gov. Ron DeSantis’ controversial education policies.”
• News Service of Florida: Florida public schools must now observe ‘Victims of Communism Day’. “Calling it a ‘blockbuster day for freedom,’ Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed a bill that will require public-school students to observe ‘Victims of Communism Day’ on Nov. 7 each year. The new law, which went into effect immediately, describes the day as being geared toward ‘honoring the 100 million people who have fallen victim to communist regimes’ across the world.”
• WFLA-Tampa: 14 dogs rescued from terrible conditions in Bradenton home. “Police rescued more than a dozen animals living in horrible conditions. Detectives found 14 dogs in cages, stacked on top of each another. The animals were sitting in their own feces and urine, and lacked appropriate access to water. Police found two birds as well. Detectives said there was little A/C, extreme clutter, piles of garbage and insects inside the home.”
• WTSP-Tampa: Fentanyl overdoses soar. Does Florida need safe places to use drugs? “…a strategy that might sound counterproductive to you at first: Giving people safe, supervised places to use drugs. It’s a strategy that other countries have been using for decades to prevent overdoses.”
• WFSU-Tallahassee: A proposed Leon County ordinance would pave the way for more electric vehicle charging stations. “Leon County Commissioners want to make it easier for residents to own and drive electric vehicles. The board is scheduled to consider a proposed ‘Electric Vehicle Ready’ ordinance Tuesday evening.”
• WUFT News: Floridians see personal finance class requirement as a positive for students. “Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed the measure that will require high school students to complete a half credit course on personal finance before graduation. The law seeks to rectify a lack of financial literacy in the state, as well as prepare students for the difficult economic challenges that may lay ahead. The requirement will take effect for ninth grade students entering the 2023-24 school year.”
• ABC7 Southwest Florida: Local experts weigh in on newly released ‘Point in Time’ homeless count data. “High prices for gas, food and rent are causing a new increase in homelessness. The results for the 2022 Point in Time or ‘PIT Count’ showed 560 people are experiencing homelessnesses. The count happens nationwide every year. It is a way to determine how many people are living on the street in a community.” Editor’s Note: This count took place in January in Lee County.
• WUSF-Tampa: Wildlife underpass being built on I-4 between Tampa and Orlando. “The first underpass for wildlife – instead of cars – is being built on Interstate 4 west of Haines City in Polk County. It’s the latest in a series of underpasses that will allow animals to once again follow their natural migration pathways.”
• Spectrum News: First tropical wave of the season not expected to develop. “Even though hurricane season doesn’t officially begin until June 1, a tropical cyclone forming beforehand is not unheard of.”
• Miami Herald ($): Miami Herald wins Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News for Surfside condo collapse coverage. “This particular Pulitzer honor is awarded to the newsroom as a whole, as opposed to a single writer, as 37 journalists were involved in the early reporting. The Herald’s 10-page entry includes editors who noted the first police calls over the scanner at just after 2 a.m. that Thursday to a team of reporters dedicated to writing the first memorials in a searchable database that tracked those who were missing.”
• Tampa Bay Times ($): Tampa Bay Times reporters win Pulitzer Prize for ‘Poisoned’ series. “For exposing dangers at a local lead smelter, they earn journalism’s top prize — the newsroom’s third for investigative reporting and its 14th overall.”
• First Coast News: Restoration underway at the St. Augustine Lighthouse. “165-foot, 140+ year-old tower getting some tender loving care. The St. Augustine Lighthouse is getting what its director calls a ‘soup to nuts’ restoration job.”
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About today’s curator
I’m Denise Vickers, the News Director at WUFT. Originally from Delaware, I am dedicated to serving you and all people in the communities of the greater Gainesville area. I 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.