The Point, Sept. 1, 2023: Prosecutors push for former Rep. Harding prison sentence


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• News Service of Florida: Prosecutors urge prison sentence for former Rep. Joe Harding. “With a sentencing hearing scheduled Sept. 11, federal prosecutors said in a court filing Thursday that former state Rep. Joe Harding, R-Ocala, should be sent to prison for fraudulently applying for business loans during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

• WUFT News: World Equestrian Center Ocala opened free stall space for equine owners during Idalia. “Nearly 2,000 horses across northern Florida sought refuge from the threat of Hurricane Idalia Wednesday after the World Equestrian Center opened its stalls in Ocala to equine evacuees.”

• Gainesville Sun ($): Gainesville Eight anti-war activists honored 50 years after historic local trial. “Last week, the five surviving defendants of the 1973 Gainesville Eight trial − one of several Nixon-era conspiracy trials aimed at suppressing anti-war activism − returned for another group photo on the courthouse steps.”

• Mainstreet Daily News: Pump prices remain steady in wake of Hurricane Idalia. “Fuel consumption is projected to increase as people prepare to travel during Labor Day Weekend.”

• Ocala Gazette: County commission to discuss school board’s impact fee recommendation. “The school board has pushed for impact fees, suspended in 2011 because of the recession, to be reinstated so developers will pay a one-time fee for each new home they build to help offset the financial strain development imposes on school capacity by funding the construction of new schools.”

• The Alligator: Remembering David Flagg – former Gainesville mayor, Florida House representative. “When he wasn’t jumping from planes as an 82nd Airborne lieutenant, the Gainesville native, history buff and diehard Gators football fan served as a Gainesville city commissioner and mayor-commissioner from 1985 to 1988, followed by two terms in the Florida House from 1988 to 1992.”

• Ocala Gazette: Sparr Elementary launches Future Aviators Academy. “For students at Sparr Elementary School, the sky is the limit for careers thanks to a new aviation program that recently took flight.”

• Scheduling note: The Point will return to your inbox on Tuesday, Sept. 5, following the Labor Day holiday.

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Around the state

• News Service of Florida: A long recovery begins for rural Taylor County, Florida. “Several hours after Hurricane Idalia hit, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday went to rural Taylor County, where debris, downed trees and some power lines littered the roads.”

• Florida Politics: Duke Energy expects to wrap most restoration efforts this weekend. “With Hurricane Idalia now passed, Duke Energy has completed its damage assessment and determined almost all customers in the hardest hit areas — 95% — will have power back no later than 11:30 p.m. on Sunday.”

• WMFE-Orlando: Who will pay? OnePULSE stops footing the bill for memorial site upkeep. “OnePULSE terminated its lease for the property earlier this month. The temporary memorial is now back in the hands of its original owners including Barbara Poma.”

• Associated Press: After Jacksonville shootings, historically Black colleges address security concerns, remain vigilant. “The shooting came amid a spate of recent threats to historically Black colleges and universities nationwide.”

• WMFE-Orlando: Flesh-eating bacteria expert says warm water may fuel bacteria. “The bacteria known as Vibrio vulnificus is endemic to Florida’s brackish waters and has lived there for many years. The bacteria can cause skin tissue to deteriorate, but infection is rare in humans.”

• WFTS-Tampa Bay: Avoid scams in the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia, Florida Attorney General warns. “Officials stated that the Price Gouging Hotline and No Scam app remain activated for consumers to report extreme price increases and scams related to recovery efforts.”

• News Service of Florida: Florida, Feds Tangle Over Drug Importation Plan. “With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expected to decide this fall whether Florida can import prescription drugs from Canada, the state this week lashed out after federal officials raised issues such as a requirement for a secured warehouse in Michigan.”

• Miami Herald ($): A Broward ‘Mother Theresa,’ her cronies — and, the feds say, a $190 million Ponzi scheme. “Things have gotten worse for North Lauderdale’s Johanna Garcia in the year since one of her MJ Capital Funding cronies was charged criminally and civilly for being part of a $190 million Ponzi scheme that Garcia is accused of orchestrating.”

From NPR News

• Law: Trump pleads not guilty to Georgia election interference charges

• Law: Proud Boys leaders sentenced to a combined 32 years for Jan. 6 riot

• Politics: Age ain’t nothing but a number but for aging lawmakers, it’s raising questions

• Law: Now-released forms reveal more trips gifted to Justice Clarence Thomas by Harlan Crow

• Health: Fact check: Do lower drug prices make it harder for companies to find new treatments?

• National: Marijuana could soon be downgraded from a Schedule 1 drug

• World: Archaeologists in Turkey have identified massive structures below a Roman-era castle 

• World: 5 million bees fall off a truck near Toronto and drivers are asked to close windows

Kristin Moorehead curated today’s edition of The Point.

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