The Point, March 7, 2022: Wildfires burn thousands of acres in Florida's Panhandle
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• WUFT News: UF law student from Ukraine hopes his brother makes it out safely. "University of Florida law student Volodymyr Boitchouk says he just wants his best friend – his brother, an American citizen and Ukrainian national stuck in that country – to come home safely. Myroslav Boitchouk on Feb. 24 FaceTimed his family as they sat alone inside a cold train station in Chop to tell them that Russia had attacked Ukraine, and that he was refused refuge in Hungary."
• WUFT News: Alachua County Youth Fair and Livestock Show builds life skills in competitors. "The event, which began with animal weigh-ins and camper check-ins on Thursday and runs through Tuesday, seeks to build confidence and responsibility in students through livestock and other agricultural projects. The students participate in Future Farmers of America and 4-H, two youth agriculture programs available to students through Alachua County Public Schools and the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS)."
• WUFT News: Agriculture and equestrian center arena named for former Alachua County Commissioner. "Lee Pinkoson had one last piece of business to finish before retiring from the Alachua County Commission in 2018: the Agriculture and Equestrian Center in Newberry. Pinkoson, who served 16 years on the commission, made sure the county would purchase the center for $3.9 million in 2019 and then invest another $8.4 million for improvements. On Friday, more than 100 people gathered in the open-air competition space within the center to see it renamed the Charles Lee Pinkoson Arena."
• Florida Politics: Putnam port measure sails through the Legislature. "Putnam County might be an inland county, but lawmakers are clearing the way for the county to board the state seaport council. A bill from Sen. Keith Perry (SB 1038) would allow Putnam County to request a grant to conduct a port feasibility study and add the county to the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development (FSTED) Council."
• Mainstreet Daily News: City could get second minority-majority district. "The Gainesville City Commission on Thursday approved a preliminary redistricting map that would create two minority-majority districts in the city in advance of the August election."
• Gainesville Sun ($): Children's Trust fires executive director in Alachua County after investigation findings. "The executive director of the Children's Trust of Alachua County has been terminated following an investigation spurred by an employee. The board's 5-1 decision on Friday to fire Colin Murphy also follows a poor evaluation and offensive comments made in recent months."
• News Service of Florida: A bill shielding public college and university presidential searches awaits the governor. "The measure passed as five Florida universities are in various stages of the process of searching for new presidents. Those schools are the University of South Florida, the University of North Florida, the University of Florida, Florida International University and Florida Gulf Coast University."
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Around the state
• WFSU: Second wildfire moves into Bay County forcing more residents to evacuate. "Firefighters continue to work toward containing wildfires in Bay County as more residents are ordered to evacuate. At a news conference (Saturday) evening, the county’s Emergency Services Chief Brad Monroe described it as a 'very dangerous situation.'"
• Politico: House lawmakers who sided with DeSantis in map fight see their priorities stalled. "Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision to insert himself into Florida’s redistricting process is sending shockwaves through the state’s final budget negotiations, leading House Republican leaders to punish their GOP rank-and-file members as the governor’s office lobbied them to vote against their own leadership."
• WUSF: Coronavirus cases in Florida plummet as omicron wave continues its sharp decline. "Coronavirus cases in Florida dropped sharply again this week, along with the case positivity rate, as the omicron wave continued its steep decline. The drop-off took much of Florida out of the high-risk category for COVID-19, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."
• Miami Herald ($): Empty Champlain Towers garage offers rare window into impact of sea rise underground. "Whether rising seas played a role in the collapse of the doomed Surfside condominium is unclear — and perhaps, unlikely — but the new research from Florida International University provides the data for what regular passersby have witnessed in the now-empty parking garage floor: Water rises and falls not just with rain but with the tides."
• WMFE: Orlando resident goes viral with “donation hack” to get money & support to Ukrainians. "Randa Black of Orlando had the idea of getting money into the hands of individual Ukrainians through 'booking' their short-term vacations rentals on websites like Airbnb or VRBO…of course, without planning an actual visit."
From NPR News
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.