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The Point, July 7, 2022: New 988 crisis hotline number could lead to Baker Act increase for children with autism, advocates worry

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The stories near you

• WUFT News: Advocates call for more autism training for crisis hotlines ahead of 988 launch. "National suicide prevention hotlines are bracing for an influx of calls when the new, shorter number – 988 – launches July 16. Proponents are hopeful it will ease access to services, decrease unnecessary interactions with the police, and save lives. But some advocates are asking whether it will be ready to serve people with autism."

• WRUF Gainesville: Florida Gators hire Sean Kelley as football and basketball broadcaster. "Kelley will replace the legendary Mick Hubert at the mic. Hubert announced his retirement in May after holding his seat in the booth for 33 years."

• The Alligator: Sexual assault investigation into Keyontae Johnson halts. "The Alachua County State Attorney’s Office abandoned a sexual assault case against Keyontae Johnson Wednesday after a monthslong investigation into the former Florida basketball player. The 23-year-old 2020 SEC Preseason Player of the Year was under investigation after a woman accused him of sexually assaulting her while she was intoxicated at a Feb. 26 pool party at Johnson’s residence in Canopy Apartments, less than two miles away from UF’s campus."

• Ocala Star-Banner ($): Starting July 12, City of Ocala will reduce swimming pool hours due to lifeguard shortage. "Starting July 12, due to a lifeguard shortage, hours at the City of Ocala aquatic fun centers will be reduced so the city can meet state safety guidelines. City officials said they have had difficulties filling spots for summer lifeguards, despite offering competitive pay. Officials said if the situation improves, then the hours will be adjusted."

• WCJB: Gainesville city staff survey Haile Plantation residents for interest in annexation into the city. "Gainesville city staff is gauging interest from residents who live in an unincorporated area of Alachua County through a community survey. Residents of Haile Plantation received the form, asking how they feel about their neighborhood." 

• Gainesville Sun ($):Alachua County school district names 10 new school principals. "Alachua County Superintendent Shane Andrew appointed 12 new administrators. The district also appointed two new heads to departments within the public school system. The new principals will all be in charge of schools in time for the start of the 2022-2023 school year that will kick off in August." 

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Around the state

• Fort Myers News-Press ($): It’s more than just the rent. What else are Florida landlords charging you for? "Over the past several years, would-be renters across the Sunshine State have encountered more and more extraneous costs. Renters are subject to a host of extraneous – and often unanticipated – expenses such as hold fees, application fees, background checks, garbage and recycling fees, key fees, parking fees, maintenance fees and more, which can add hundreds to start-up costs and monthly rent." 

• Jacksonville Daily Record: CSX outsourcing 137 information technology jobs. "By partnering with the India-based company to outsource some of its information technology services, CSX's decision will affect 137 jobs. The Jacksonville-based company said Wednesday in an emailed statement that Tata Consultancy Services is providing operation, maintenance and support services for CSX IT systems."

• The New York Times ($): Next Front Line in the Abortion Wars: State Supreme Courts. "Court challenges to sweeping rollbacks of abortion rights must go through state supreme courts, many of which have been shaped by years of conservative activism."

• First Coast News: St. Johns County teacher says he left civics training appalled for the future of Florida education. "Creekside High School teacher Justin Vogle attended a three-day civics learning session hosted by the Florida Department of Education last week. As a part of the state's civics literacy excellence initiative (CLEI), instructors are paid a $700 stipend at the 10 sessions it hosts around the state. However, Vogel expressed propaganda was spread." 

• Tampa Bay Times ($): 4 monkeypox cases detected in Pinellas County. "This is the first time the viral disease has been detected in Tampa Bay during the current outbreak. Monkeypox is generally a mild, viral disease similar to smallpox. But it can cause serious or even deadly health complications for people who are immunocompromised, pregnant women, newborns, women who are breastfeeding, young children and people with severe skin diseases such as eczema. Symptoms include fevers and chills, swollen lymph nodes, rash, and headaches. It can take up to 21 days after exposure for them to develop."

• The New York Times ($): Jerry Harris Sentenced to 12 Years for Sex Crimes Involving Minors. "Mr. Harris, 22, had reached a plea deal in February in which prosecutors agreed that after sentencing on the two counts — the charges that he persuaded a 17-year-old to send him sexually explicit photos for money and traveled to Florida 'for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct' with a 15-year-old — they would ask that the remaining charges be dropped. He had initially pleaded not guilty to all seven charges in December 2020."

• First Coast News: Man who wrote brutal 'truth' about his father in obit says it helped him heal. "Larry Pfaff Jr. wrote a brutally honest obituary about his long-estranged father that was published in The Florida Times-Union July 4. Writing those words and seeing them in print was cathartic. 'The closure has brought me much happiness,' he said. The TU parent company, Gannett, confirmed Mr. Pfaff's obituary was 'legitimate,' but it should not have been published."

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• Business: The jobs market still favors workers, despite fears of an economic slowdown

• National: The Highland Park suspect breaks the mold on violent extremists

• Politics: As calls grow to free Brittney Griner, Biden says he's spoken with her wife

• Culture: Jury finds man guilty of 1st degree murder of rapper Nipsey Hussle

• Sports: Mike Grier becomes the first Black general manager in NHL history

About today's curator

I'm Fareeha Haque Abrar, a journalist at WUFT. Originally from North Carolina, I grew up reading Florida stories since moving to Jacksonville at 4 years old. I am a senior journalism major and am a 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