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The Point, Aug. 4, 2022: Northern turnpike extension routes are no longer under consideration in Florida

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The stories near you

• Citrus County Chronicle ($): Massullo: State scraps four proposed turnpike corridors. "The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has abandoned the four corridors it was considering for a northern turnpike extension and is looking at different options, state Rep. Ralph Massullo told the Chronicle late Wednesday. Instead, FDOT will look at making improvements along Interstate 75 and possibly other corridors to relieve traffic congestion."

• WUFT News: New documentary highlights lack of accessibility for deaf and disabled people in north central Florida justice system. "'Being Michelle' is a documentary about a deaf woman with autism who survived incarceration and abuse in north central Florida, and now uses her artwork to depict the trauma she survived and heal from her past. Michelle Ricks said she was in prison for five years without an interpreter. Executive Producer Delbert Whetter said he believes Ricks would never have ended up in prison if she’d had communication access from the start."

• Gainesville Sun ($): As electric bills rise, Gainesville Regional Utilities decides to waive summer late fees. "Florida utility customers have seen particularly dramatic increases in electric bills due to extended billing cycles and high natural gas prices. This price spike has coincided with the time of year when GRU customers use more air conditioning."

• News4Jax: Gov. DeSantis announces new opioid recovery program in Florida to combat overdoses, fentanyl deaths. "This program was successfully piloted in Palm Beach County for nearly two years and will be expanding in up to twelve counties to break the overdose cycle, the Governor’s website said. Those counties include Brevard, Clay, Duval, Escambia, Gulf, Manatee, Marion, Pasco, and Volusia counties. The Governor said the goal is to help people break the cycle of addiction."

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Around the state

• Politico: DeSantis claims concern over monkeypox is overblown. "'I am so sick of politicians, and we saw this with Covid, trying to sow fear into the population,' DeSantis said during a press conference near Orlando. 'We’re not doing fear.'"

• News Service of Florida: Parkland school safety panel says more consistent guidelines are needed to prevent threats. "A state commission created to address school-safety issues after the 2018 mass shooting at a Parkland high school is targeting inconsistencies in the ways schools assess threats, conduct active-assailant drills and report incidents. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, which met Tuesday in Broward County, was extended through summer 2026 under a school-safety law signed in June by Gov. Ron DeSantis."

• WLRN-Miami: Prosecutors take extra steps to protect witnesses from traumatic Parkland school shooting evidence. "The trial has reawakened the trauma of the 2018 tragedy not only for those who have to sit through the proceedings but also for others in the community who were affected, directly or indirectly."

• WMFE-Orlando: Two launch attempts Thursday from Florida’s Space Coast planned for rare back-to-back launch day. "First up, United Launch Alliance is sending a Space Force satellite into orbit. The company’s Atlas V rocket will launch the missile defense satellite SBIRS GEO 6. ... Some 13 hours later, SpaceX is targeting a launch of its Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, carrying a satellite for the Korea Aerospace Research Institute on a mission to study the moon."

• Fort Myers News-Press ($): When 'below average' is a good thing: Gulf's dead zone not as big this year, scientists say. "It’s not the happiest date on the environmental calendar, but this year’s Day of the Dead Zone was a bit cheerier than usual. Every summer, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists measure the Gulf of Mexico’s hypoxic zone — an area of low to no oxygen caused by nutrients washing in from the surrounding landscape. At some 3,275 square miles, 2022’s is below average, they announced Wednesday."

• City & State Florida: Are Palm Beach County residents ready to mortgage the future? "With finding an affordable place to live becoming a bigger challenge in South Florida, Palm Beach county commissioners agreed to place on the November ballot a referendum for a $200 million bond to subsidize more affordable and workforce housing."

From NPR News

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• World: A young officer hopes to turn the tide of war, as Ukraine fights to retake a key city

• World: Coral levels in some parts of the Great Barrier Reef are at the highest in 36 years

• Health: Overdose reversal drugs gain support at music festivals, but not fentanyl test strips

• Health: Criminalization of pregnancy has already been happening to the poor and women of color

• Business: Binders, backpacks... and inflation are on this year's back-to-school shopping list

• Books: 'How Fast Did T. rex Run?' and other questions about dinosaurs examined in new book

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