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The Point, Feb. 20, 2019: State Lawmaker Lashes Out After WUFT Reporter Questions His Donors About Blackface Photo

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The top stories near you

• Court records show Gainesville mayoral candidate Jenn Powell was once charged with being an accessory to murder. “I was just a baby," she told the Gainesville Sun. "Decisions you make you’re 18 can negatively affect the rest of your life."

We're planning to host later this week a discussion for candidates running in next month's City of Gainesville elections. To be specific, it's the mayor's seat and District 4 city commission slot. The format will be similar to our roundtables last fall, and we'd like to again ask any questions you might have. Please send them by email to news@wuft.org.

• After being in Gainesville for more than two decades, the Freeride Surf and Skate Shop will close in the next few months because of competition from online purchases and chain stores. (WUFT News)

• On Tuesday, Alachua County Commissioners decided to no longer host the county fair with the Alachua County Fair Association. This is the first time this has happened in 40 years, and it's a result of the association being nearly $2,000 in debt and having issues in a recent audit. (Gainesville Sun)

• The construction of a new southwest Gainesville elementary school will be one result of the half-cent sales tax that voters approved in November. The tax will continue for the next 12 years and will give funding to other schools in the county as well. (WUFT News)

• The practice of luring sharks by dumping bloody fish remains, also known as “chumming,” is scheduled to be banned in Florida by The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission later this month. There's a public hearing on the matter today and tomorrow in Gainesville. (WUFT News)

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Around the state today

• A reporter from our Fresh Take Florida team this past week called donors who last fall supported state Rep. Anthony Sabatini. Those who answered the calls said they stand behind the Lake County representative after a photo of him wearing blackface resurfaced. Sabatini responded by calling her “your little reporter,” promised to complain to the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications dean and said he will investigate whether the university was unfairly targeting Republicans. (WUFT News)

University of Central Florida President Dale Whittaker yesterday offered his resignation as an effort to help the school move past a construction spending scandal. The university's board of trustees will discuss the offer. (AP)

• Five Congressional representatives yesterday visited the Homestead facility for migrant children. The findings of this tour sparked conversation about shutting it down. It is currently the only temporary emergency shelter in the country. (Miami Herald)

• The New York Times reports Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz helped coordinate a strategy "to go play offense" against Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.

• Gov. Ron DeSantis has offered to have the Space Force Combatant Command headquarters in Florida if the president follows through with the idea. Previously there has been political divide over the idea and its cost. (Tampa Bay Times)

• A crowd of 30 people gathered around the entrance of the Everglades Holiday Park with signs that read “Not here, Not now, Not the Everglades” to fight against prospective oil drilling in the area. (WRLN)

• In an attempt to save the film industry, Florida state officials plan to offer grants up to $2 million to eligible production companies. State Sen. Joe Gruters says “this will bring high-paying jobs to Florida residents.” (Orlando Weekly)

News from NPR

• National: Trump Threatens To Cancel California's $929 million High-Speed Rail Grant

• National: Burberry Apologizes for the Nooselike Knot On Fashion Hoodie

• National: National Security Analyst Discusses Diverting From Military Funds For Border Wall

• World: British Woman Who Joined ISIS In Syria As A Teen Is Stripped Of U.K. Citizenship

• Politics: 16 States File Lawsuit Against Trump Administration Over National Emergency

• Politics: How One Branch Of Government Can Sue Another

• Business: Plotted From A Prison Cot, Wrongly Accused Man Whips Smoothie Dream Into Reality

• Science:Scientists Release Controversial Genetically Modified Mosquitoes In High-Security Lab

• Health: How One Woman Is Working To Educate Parents On Vaccinations

Precious is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397.