The Point, Oct. 4, 2022: Death toll in Southwest Florida continues to mount as recovery effort continues


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• WUFT News: Gainesville residents divided on exclusionary zoning elimination. “With such widespread and building opposition, it is questionable if the Gainesville City Commission will enact such a change. Even so, city commissioners initially approved the measure Aug. 4 in a close 4-3 vote. It now faces a final vote by the commission on Oct. 17 at 3 p.m.”

• Ocala Gazette: City gets another extension on fire fee refunds. “During a hearing held on Oct. 3, the City of Ocala was granted a ten-day extension by Judge Robert W. Hodges to send refund checks to 4,000 businesses who paid a fire service fee that was later ruled illegal after missing a court-ordered time frame.”

• WUFT News: Savannah Hudson does it all: Meet Ridgeview Farm’s horse trainer and instructor. “Hudson, now 22, teaches the very lessons she was a student of 14 years ago. For the last two years since (farm owner Donna) Quincey retired, she’s run them by herself.”

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Around the state

• WGCU-Fort Myers: More information on Hurricane Ian deaths in SWFL pushes state toll to at least 99. “The most tragic number in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian is the loss of human life, information that is changing almost multiple times a day.”

• Florida Politics: Florida’s Hurricane Ian claims at $1.6B — and counting. “That number will grow in the weeks and months ahead, bludgeoning an already fragile property insurance market. The latest data from the Office of Insurance Regulation show 74% of the claims, 165,008, are for residential property, and 136,465 of those are typical residential policies.”

• Politico Magazine: Time to Reinvent Florida Once Again. “From the Fountain of Youth to Cape Coral — a former mangrove swamp on the mainland that helped make Florida ‘a dream state for the working class,’ to cite historian and author Gary Mormino — the state’s modern history is often described as a series of lies that came true. Florida, though, is better understood as a place of constant reimagining, its new dream almost always born of disaster. As climate change and crowded coastlines amplify the risks of living here, the question becomes: What’s the next Florida dream?”

• WLRN-Miami: Re-building after hurricanes in Florida: Are the lessons being learned? “Florida has a long history of real estate speculation and investment. Besides tourism, real estate is one of the main drivers of Florida’s economy. But building booms have historically been met with busts when a major hurricane strikes, creating a period of renewed focus on protecting established developments.”

• NPR News: In one Fort Myers neighborhood, Black residents feel forsaken in Ian’s aftermath. “Unlike the affluent seaside communities of Sanibel Island and Fort Myers Beach, where the media has descended to chronicle every detail of the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, the people who live in the squat homes in Dunbar have faced the crisis mostly on their own.”

• News Service of Florida: Visit Florida puts advertising on hold due to Ian’s damage. “Florida’s tourism-marketing agency has paused advertising as it crafts a campaign to offset the negative images of washed-out communities and damaged bridges from Hurricane Ian.”

• Palm Beach Post ($): The property insurance market was melting down. Then Hurricane Ian flooded Southwest Florida. “In Ian’s aftermath — as parts of the Gulf Coast including Naples, Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel were underwater before the storm’s eyewall reached the peninsula — industry analysts say more companies are expected to falter. In July, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation placed 27 companies on a watch list over concerns they were not financially stable.”

• Fort Myers News-Press ($): Lee, Collier schools, universities announce plans to reopen after Hurricane Ian. “Lee County Schools does not yet have a plan in place to reopen. On Monday certified building inspectors began assessing each school to determine if they could reopen. Collier County Schools announced Saturday schools would reopen for regular operations on Thursday.”

• New York Times ($): Who Is Perla? A Central Figure in Florida’s Migrant Flights Emerges. “Florida officials have provided little information about the program or how it was engineered. But according to many of the migrants, their journeys began with an offer from a woman they knew only as Perla.”

From NPR News

• World: Ukraine war updates: Ukraine retakes part of a region Russia claims to annex (Oct. 3)

• World: Around the world, protesters take to the streets in solidarity with Iranian women

• National: Slavery descendants fight to memorialize a cemetery in Maryland

• National: Planned Parenthood mobile clinic will take abortion to red-state borders

• Politics: Oath Keepers planned an armed rebellion, prosecutor tells jury in sedition case

• World: A public payphone in China began ringing and ringing. Who was calling?

Ethan Magoc curated today’s edition of The Point.

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