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The Point, March 16, 2021: Is A New Florida County Viable?

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The top stories near you

• WUFT News: Officials And Supporters Discuss Vision For Springs County’s Future. "It has attracted support from state officials and thousands of supporters who air out their resentment for the county’s current governance. Many questions about the proposed county, including its very viability, remain unanswered."

• WMFE: DeSantis Thinks Florida Will Open To All Adults Before May 1, Drops Vax Age To 60. "Now, anyone over the age of 60 in Florida is eligible to get the vaccine. Gov. Ron DeSantis said he thinks Florida will drop the age to 55 later this month."

• WUFT News: Gainesville’s Edible Groves Project Is Underway. "The seeds of an idea to improve community access to fresh food were planted at a Gainesville city workshop two years ago. It’s now coming to fruition."

• WUFT News: Alachua County Officials, Community Advocates Work To Make COVID-19 Vaccinations More Accessible. "Groups like the Rural Women’s Health Project are also pushing for access by translating COVID-19 information for non-English speakers and working with the health department to host vaccination events for eligible Spanish speakers."

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Around the state today

• WFSU: Florida Coronavirus Positivity Rate Over 6% Again. "The positivity rate for new cases was 6.13%, the highest it’s been since March 3. That was based on the results of 55,766 tests returned Sunday — about half the daily average for the last two weeks."

• WLRN: Florida Lawmakers Shift Local Authority To State, One Bill At A Time. "In recent years, there's been a flurry of legislation that aims to stop local elected officials from enacting policies that lawmakers don't agree with. It's part of a systemic draining of local control in Florida."

• NPR News: Scientists Find New Invasive Mosquito Species In Florida. "It's called Aedes scapularis. Lawrence Reeves, an entomologist and research scientist with the University of Florida, identified them among mosquitoes he collected near Everglades National Park in 2019."

• WMFE: Gas Prices Continue To Rise In Florida As Vaccination Rates Do. "Gas prices rose by 15 cents per gallon last week, averaging out to $2.87 per gallon at the pump. According to a statement by AAA, that’s the highest daily average gas price in Florida since 2018."

• Florida Politics: In a year of challenges, Florida teachers say Legislature must address faculty shortage. "A list of legislative priorities for the state’s largest public teachers union include protecting school resources from voucher expansions, increasing salaries for veteran teachers and addressing a shortage in educators."

• Sarasota Herald-Tribune ($): Future not so bright for solar in Florida schools legislation. "Two bills, filed by Sen. Lori Berman, D-Boynton Beach, and Rep. Omari Hardy, D-Lake Worth Beach, would allow school districts to negotiate 'Power Purchase Agreements' with renewable energy providers. Under such an agreement, the energy provider covers the initial costs of installation and agrees to sell the customer the energy."

• Fresh Take Florida: Judge Declines To Force Florida Governor To Testify At Hacking Trial Over Altered Voting Records. "Anthony Steven Guevara, 20, of Naples was charged Oct. 28 – days before the 2020 election – with unauthorized computer access and altering someone else’s voter registration without their permission, both felonies. Guevara told investigators he found the governor’s birthdate on Wikipedia and used it to access the voter registration record, then changed the governor’s address to that of a minor YouTube celebrity."

• News Service of Florida: Florida Jobless Rate Falls To 4.8%. "Despite the leisure and hospitality industry still struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, Florida’s unemployment rate continues to improve as vaccinations increase and people return to the workforce."

• WFSU: Parental Consent Would Be Required For Students To Receive Sex Education Under Bill Advancing Through The Florida Legislature. "Florida parents can opt their students out of sex education. Now, students would need their parents' consent to receive sex education under a bill moving forward in the legislature."

From NPR News

• World: WHO Points To Wildlife Farms In Southern China As Likely Source Of Pandemic

• National: U.S. Arrests 2 Men, Saying They Sprayed Sicknick And Others With Chemical At Capitol

• Politics: Deb Haaland Confirmed As 1st Native American Interior Secretary

• Investigations: A Tale Of 2 Radicalizations

• Science: With Iranian Nuclear Deal In Limbo, Some Worry Inspectors Will Lose Access For Good

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

Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news