The Point, Sept. 15, 2022: In a surprise move, defense attorneys for confessed Parkland school shooter rest their case
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The stories near you
• WUFT News: To become a welcoming city to immigrants, Gainesville agencies hire for new positions, pilot language access line. "The Gainesville Immigrant Neighbor Inclusion Initiative announced Wednesday progress made in the six months since they unveiled a blueprint for Gainesville to become a welcoming city.Initial efforts, supported by at least $300,000 in pledged City funds, have focused mostly on language inclusion. City websites and important documents are now being translated into five languages: Spanish, Mandarin, Haitian Creole, Portuguese and Vietnamese."
• Ocala Star-Banner ($): Fire assessment rates won't go up. City Council's 3-2 vote pleases meeting attendees. "A divided Ocala City Council on Tuesday voted not to increase the fire assessment rates for the upcoming fiscal year of 2022-23. The vote was 3-2, with council members Kristen Dreyer, Barry Mansfield and President Ire Bethea voting against an increase. Council members Jay Musleh and Jim Hilty wanted one. The assessment will bring in $9.2 million. With the rate increase, it would have brought in $11.5 million."
• Gainesville Sun ($): County seeks permission to move $25 million affordable housing project in East Gainesville. "County commissioners unanimously sided with the majority of those who spoke at the meeting, agreeing to send a letter to the project's primary funder to request it be relocated.
• WUFT News: Man killed in motorcycle crash had violent past. "The motorcyclist who died in a traffic crash Tuesday morning near Butler Plaza was a convicted felon who had served time for his role in a 2017 drive-by shooting that left four people wounded following a high school football game, according to court records. On Tuesday morning, Reggie L. Lovett Jr., 23, of Gainesville was riding a black Suzuki westbound on Southwest Archer Road when he ran a red light at Clark Butler Boulevard striking an SUV, according to a crash report."
• Fresh Take Florida: Ticketed for speeding 116 mph, UF student tells trooper he didn’t want to be late for class. "Joseph D’Andre Melhado, 20, of Pembroke Pines in South Florida, was ticketed with speeding and reckless driving after a Florida Highway Patrol trooper said he saw his BMW sedan weaving among three lanes of crowded, late-morning traffic on I-75 at triple-digit speeds."
• NPR News: A 12-year-old boy is learning about business, and life, slinging snow cones in Ocala. "Dreyton McDonald knows he’s not a regular kid and he likes it that way. 'I guess you can say, I’m a businessman, ma’am,' the 12-year-old politely told NPR. And he has been for several years now. At age 9, he said his father, Dominic McDonald, approached him with a proposition: 'My dad told me to choose between selling doughnuts or selling snow cones and I didn’t want to sell doughnuts,' he explained."
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Around the state
• Associated Press: Defense suddenly rests cade in Florida school shooter trial. "Attorneys for Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz suddenly and surprisingly rested their case Wednesday after calling only a fraction of their expected witnesses, leading to a shouting match after the judge accused them of a lack of professionalism. Cruz’s attorneys had told the judge and prosecutors they would be calling 80 witnesses but rested at the beginning of Wednesday’s court session after calling only about 25. There were 11 days of defense testimony overall, the last two spotlighting experts about how his birth mother’s heavy use of alcohol during pregnancy might have affected his brain’s development and led to his murder of 17 people at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School four years ago."
• NPR News: Florida flies dozens of migrants to Martha's Vineyard. "The plane flight carrying dozens of migrants and paid by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is the latest move by Republican officials to send migrants to Democrat-controlled cities."
• City & State Florida: Florida Sen. Ray Rodrigues tapped to lead state's public university system. "State Sen. Ray Rodrigues will take the helm of Florida’s state university system, as the Board of Governors on Wednesday unanimously approved the Estero Republican as the successor to outgoing Chancellor Marshall Criser. During a board meeting in Pensacola, Rodrigues laid out his overarching objectives for leading the university system, noting that the 'bar has been set high' by Criser. 'The goal is for us to provide the highest quality education at the most affordable price, with degrees that lead to employment,' Rodrigues said."
• Palm Beach Post ($): Tropical Storm Fiona strengthens near Caribbean. Not considered threat to Florida 'at this time.' " Tropical Storm Fiona formed east of the Caribbean Wednesday night and is expected to continue strengthening. Current projections call for Fiona's maximum wind speeds to reach 60 mph, well below the minimum of 74 mph to reach hurricane strength. Dry air and wind shear in its path, along with passage over land, could cause the storm to lose intensity. The National Weather Service in Miami said Fiona is not considered a threat to South Florida 'at this time.' The storm's projected path takes it west before a curve to the north east of Florida."
• St. Augustine Record ($): St. Augustine supports creation of county housing authority to help ease 'crisis.' "St. Augustine commissioners have formally voiced their support for St. Johns County government leaders establishing a public housing authority. Commissioner Barbara Blonder has been referring to the lack of affordable and workforce housing in St. Johns County as a crisis, and she did so again in the discussion this week. It's not clear whether the county government will move forward with the idea. The St. Johns County Commission recently asked for staff to research the possibility of creating a housing authority, and the matter could come back for consideration as early as the fall, county spokeswoman Lorena Inclan said."
• Panama City News-Herald ($): Panama City approves home buyout program for 21 properties in high risk flood area. "Local officials took big steps Monday to help residents whose homes regularly flood. In a City Commission meeting Monday, leaders approved Phase 1 of a voluntary home buyout program, which will allow the city to use more than $3.9 million from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to purchase 21 homes located in high-risk flood areas. Flooding in these areas was worsened by Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 storm that struck the Panhandle in October 2018."
From NPR News
• Business: Biden says a tentative railway labor deal has been reached, averting a strike
Elliot Tritto curated today's edition of The Point.