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The Point, April 13, 2022: Rural news desert could expand in Florida as Gilchrist County Journal closes

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The stories near you

• WUFT News: North central Florida newspapers attempt to remedy Gilchrist County news desert. "With a bill on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk proposing to strip local papers of legal notices, which often fill lots of pages, the future of small town journalism across Florida is uncertain."

• WUFT News: Alachua County School Board eyes changes to Camp Crystal Lake, former superintendent calls for external investigation. "At a school board workshop Tuesday, Chief of Finance Alex Rella presented possible changes to make the summer camp self-sufficient and isolate district funds for the school year educational programs only. Board members advised the camp to raise both summer camp and out-of-county camper fees."

• WUFT News: Gainesville residents are feeling the impact of high gas prices. "The U.S Department of Labor reported in March that the consumer price index increased 1.2% across the board. The data show gasoline, shelter and food were the largest contributors to this swell."

• Ocala Star-Banner ($): Ocala judge sets bail for man charged with murder; defense says state's case is 'weak.' "Circuit Judge Robert Hodges set bail at $50,000 for Fontil, charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 18-year-old Kobe Bradshaw."

• Gainesville Sun ($): UF Athletics set to receive its single-largest donation of $12.6M for facility renovations. "The record-setting amount comes from Hugh Hathcock, a longtime supporter of Gator Boosters and owner of Velocity Automotive Solutions."

• WUFT News: Santa Fe College to host Spanish inclusion event. "The event, called Sigue Soñando, which is the Spanish term for “keep dreaming,” will be hosted completely in Spanish. Representatives from the admissions office, international studies department, academic affairs department and the English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program will be there to help prospective students and their families learn about the admissions process at Santa Fe College."

• WUFT News: A Lafayette County couple acts as Noah’s Ark for the county’s surrendered animals. "Many small, rural counties lack funding for animal services, which makes it difficult for residents who need to surrender livestock or pets. In Lafayette County, the Pearce’s ad-hoc animal sanctuary — known as Where Every Animal Has A Home — has spread through word of mouth." 

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Around the state

• WJCT: Civil rights legend Bill Sheppard dies. "Attorney Bill Sheppard, a civil rights legend who wielded the U.S. Constitution in his nearly six-decade fight to transform Jacksonville and Florida, died Saturday. He was 80."

• News Service of Florida: Florida's 24-hour abortion waiting period law can go into effect, says judge. "Judge Angela Dempsey issued a ruling Friday that upheld the constitutionality of a 2015 law that called for women to wait 24 hours after initial visits with physicians before having abortions."

• Pensacola News Journal ($): Marco Rubio stumps in Pensacola; advocates for burn pits health care bill for veterans. "Speaking to reporters Tuesday at a campaign event in Pensacola, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said a bill that will provide health care coverage for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits in warzones will get a floor vote in the Senate before August."

• WLRN: DeSantis signs law expanding financial aid for foster care youth, caregivers. "At a bill signing event at Miami Dade College on Tuesday, DeSantis said the measure is meant to give kids in the foster system a better chance at independence and to incentivize more Floridians to become caregivers."

• Miami Herald ($): After Surfside collapse, Miami-Dade drafts reforms that fall short of recommendations. "The most substantial package of reforms, which would reshape the way buildings are inspected and regulated in Miami-Dade County, gets its first public hearing on Wednesday."

• WLRN: Some South Florida teachers say 'Don't Say Gay' law is making them consider leaving the classroom. "It’s an incredibly difficult decision to make, especially for LGBTQ educators: Work under conditions they feel are wrong or leave their students behind?"

• FLKeysNews ($): Nearly 90 Haitian migrants returned four days after they were stopped at sea. "The group of men, women and children are part of an ongoing migrant surge from both Haiti and Cuba to South Florida that has been keeping the Coast Guard, Border Patrol and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations units busy in the region for more than a year."

From NPR News

• Politics: Biden accuses Putin of committing a 'genocide' in Ukraine

• Business: Credit firm TransUnion used deceptive marketing and 'dark patterns,' lawsuit alleges

• Health: The new White House COVID czar calls for calm as cases rise, driven by BA.2

• Health:Teen drug overdose deaths rose sharply in 2020, driven by fentanyl-laced pills

• National: NYPD identifies a person of interest in the Brooklyn subway shooting

• Business: 3 things to know as Russia heads to a historic debt default

About today's curator

I'm Melissa Feito, a journalist at WUFT. Originally from Miami, I got my start in public radio covering religion stories like the spiritual roots of Afro-Brazilian music and modern communities of pagans. I'm a graduate student getting my master's degree in mass communication and am part of a team searching for local and state news each week that's important to you. Please send feedback about today's edition of The Point or ideas for stories we may have missed to

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