The Point, Dec. 7, 2022: Alachua County Commission approves landlord utility assistance


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• WUFT News: Alachua County Commission selects new chair, approves $340,000 in federal aid for landlord utility rental assistance initiative. “The Alachua County Commission selected incumbent Vice Chair Anna Prizzia to succeed Marihelen Wheeler as its chair and newly elected Commissioner Mary Alford to succeed Prizzia as vice chair.”

• WUFT News: Alachua County Commission votes to spend $1.25 million in federal aid to upgrade Santa Fe Hills Water System. “The Santa Fe Hills Water System, built in 1966 by the neighborhood’s original private developer, has fallen into disrepair.”

• WUFT News: Historic Preservation Board begins to decide future of Thelma A. Boltin Center. “In a 5-1 vote with one abstention, the board decided to preserve the building’s auditorium, while demolishing and renovating the east wing under conditions recommended by the staff.”

• Mainstreet Daily News: State department files for hearing on GNV zoning. “In the state’s filing, the DEO claims the ordinances negatively impact a strategic state resource — affordable housing.”

• WUFT News: Alachua County Sports and Events Center will open in 2023. “The center will remain temporarily open through the track season for several tournaments and will close in mid-February to finish the facility’s multipurpose flooring. It will have a grand opening in spring.”

• WCJB: Ocala City Council members voted unanimously to permit alcohol sales all day on Christmas Day. “This decision repeals the current ban on sales, which had begun at midnight on Christmas Eve.”

• WUFT News: French game of pétanque finds a home in Gainesville. “The sport of pétanque is similar to the Italian game of Bocce (bah-chee), which is more popular in the U.S.”

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Around the state

• NPR: A former Florida congressman is arrested on charges of lobbying for Venezuela. “The case centers on Rivera’s signing of a $50 million contract with Venezuela’s government in early 2017, and his subsequent attempts to thaw Venezuela’s icy relationship with the U.S.”

• News Service of Florida: Florida lawmakers will tackle major insurance issues next week. “Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, and House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, released a formal session proclamation Tuesday that indicated lawmakers will consider a series of hot-button insurance issues.”

• Florida Times-Union ($): How many Confederate memorials have been removed in Florida? How many are left? “According to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s ‘Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Democracy’ report, 3rd edition, as of February 2022 there are 75 Confederate memorials still present in Florida.”

• Florida Politics: Push to put partisanship in Florida school board elections revived. “Several Republican legislators in recent years have unsuccessfully pushed for the change, and now Rep. Spencer Roach is embarking on a fresh effort to put it before voters.”

• WFTS-Tampa Bay: Water bottle refilling stations installed at Florida State Parks as part of a new program. “The Florida State Parks Foundation and Duke Energy announced a new program Tuesday to fund the installation of 121 water bottle refilling stations at 85 Florida State Parks.”

• FL Keys News ($): What’s in Florida’s atmosphere? There’s a plume from Hawaii’s erupting Mauna Loa volcano. “Floridians are used to hearing about rain, hurricanes and the occasional plume of Saharan dust. What’s not so common in Florida? Having a plume of sulphur dioxide over the state, courtesy of Hawaii’s erupting Mauna Loa volcano.”

• Florida Politics: Battle of the birds: Scrub jay bill flies again. “Winter Haven Republican Rep. Sam Killebrew has again filed legislation (HB 17) to usurp the mockingbird as the state bird. He and fellow birds of a feather say the Florida scrub jay deserves the honorific.”

From NPR News

• National: Former President Donald Trump’s company is found guilty of criminal tax fraud

• Elections: Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock defeats Republican Herschel Walker in Georgia runoff

• Law: McDonald’s franchise owners are caught violating child labor laws

• National: Hertz will pay $168 million to customers it falsely accused of stealing its cars

• Health: Factory workers across the U.S. say they were exposed to asbestos on the job

• Environment: Rare good news from the Amazon: Gigantic fish are thriving again

Kristin Moorehead curated today’s edition of The Point.

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