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The Point, Sept. 26, 2022: Tropical Storm Ian becomes hurricane, with north central Florida in its possible path

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Hurricane Ian

• National Hurricane Center: Hurricane Ian Advisory 13: Ian Becomes a Hurricane and Additional Rapid Strengthening Is Expected Today. Expected to Produce Significant Wind and Storm Surge Impacts In Western Cuba.

• Florida Storms: Ian becomes a hurricane, alerts issued from Tarpon Springs southward. "Toward the end of the week, Ian should parallel the Sun Coast, and after that, landfall is possible anywhere from the Tampa Bay metro northward toward the Nature Coast and Big Bend. Timing of the former scenario would be sometime Wednesday, and the latter, by sometime Friday." Download the Florida Storms mobile app here.

• Politico: DeSantis mobilizes national guard ahead of likely hurricane. "Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis on Sunday said the state is mobilizing resources as Tropical Storm Ian bears down on the state, including activating 2,500 national guard troops and preparing more than 2 million meals for residents."

• Florida Phoenix: DeSantis warns against unnecessary evacuations ahead of Tropical Storm Ian. "Instead, (Floridians) should look to local emergency management officials for guidance, the governor said. And don’t be misled by maps depicting the storm’s path of uncertainty, which reflect compromises between the various models predicting the storm’s track."

• FOX Weather: New to Florida? Here’s a guide to help prepare for your first hurricane season. "Florida was the No. 5 state for inbound moves in 2021, according to the annual National Movers Study. South Carolina, also a state with tropical impacts, was No. 3 in the same study, which means many new residents are living through their first hurricane season this year."

• The Weather Channel: Here's When Ian Could Affect Florida. "We are expecting Ian to grow into a very large hurricane with hurricane and tropical storm force winds covering a large area. These massive winds will also generate a huge storm surge that could cause significant damage along the coast. It also looks like it'll be a slow-moving system that'll produce lots of rain and flooding across Florida and the southeast. Tornadoes are also a threat."

• WTSP-Tampa: University of South Florida cancels classes Monday through Thursday. "Classes at the University of South Florida are canceled beginning Monday through Thursday in advance of impacts from what's forecast to become Hurricane Ian. In an email sent to students and staff late Sunday, university officials said the cancellation allows 'for students to make any necessary preparations or travel ahead of the storm.'"

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The non-Ian Florida news

• News4Jax: Man appointed by Gov. DeSantis to oversee election crimes and security dies of heart attack. "Peter Antonacci, appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis as the head of Florida’s new Office of Election Crimes and Security, has died of a heart attack. The office was created to investigate election crimes and voter fraud."

• Gainesville Sun ($): Why are GRU bills, at an all-time high, about to go up even more? "Rising fuel costs and a hotter than normal summer are some of the reasons GRU has routinely cited in response to customers outraged by extremely high utility bills. Gainesville city commissioners also voted Thursday to increase electric rates by 3% and wastewater rates by 5%, as part of rate increases planned through 2027."

• WUFT News: Pride Center of North Central Florida building vandalized. "At around 4 p.m. on Friday, the owner of the Center’s Plaza noticed no damage to the building. When the owner came back early in the morning on Saturday, the Pride Center’s front door and window glass lay shattered on the ground. Nothing was stolen, according to the Center’s Vice President James Brown, and no other businesses in the Plaza were damaged."

• WUFT News: Florida wildlife agency expected to shoot down commercialized turtle breeding proposal. "Conservationists are split on a new proposal that would legalize captive, commercial breeding of one of Florida’s flagship species. The policy change could help diamondback terrapin populations as they remain in high demand as low-maintenance pets and poachable commodities."

• WUFT News: West End residents rally for recreational land. "A crowd of 20 lined the sidewalk in front of West End Golf Club Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. Residents grasped handmade signs that read 'stay the course' and 'honk for green.' Their efforts intended to persuade the Alachua County Commission to reject a change in West End’s land use to residential in its vote Tuesday."

• WUFT News: Alachua County making plans for conservation of crucial new property near Hawthorne. "The sale of a 605-acre natural area has secured protection for both the local ecology and the legacy of a family matriarch. Alachua County Forever, the county’s environmental land acquisition program, purchased the land for $1.5 million on Aug. 26 from five siblings whose late mother had entrusted them with the land. The property is adjacent to the Phifer Flatwoods Preserve, which also is managed by ACF, north of Lochloosa Lake."

• New York Times ($): Rubio vs. Demings in a spirited U.S. Senate race in Florida. "Publicly, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas has not criticized the migrant flights from his state by Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida. Privately, the Florida governor’s stunt stung the Texas governor’s team."

• News Service of Florida: FAMU students are suing Florida higher education leaders over alleged funding discrimination. "The federal lawsuit alleged that the state has maintained 'a segregated system of higher education' and that Florida’s disparate funding and support for FAMU violated constitutional equal-protection rights."

• Washington Post ($): Career prosecutors recommend no charges for Gaetz in sex-trafficking probe. "Career prosecutors have recommended against charging Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) in a long-running sex-trafficking investigation — telling Justice Department superiors that a conviction is unlikely in part because of credibility questions with the two central witnesses, according to people familiar with the matter."

• WUFT News: Original Gainesville activists reconvene, continue marijuana decriminalization battle. "While the political and legal landscape surrounding marijuana has shifted since Hemp Fest’s glory days, (Dennis "Murli") Watkins found himself surrounded by old peers who continue to fight for the complete legalization and decriminalization of marijuana. It was like a reunion, he said." 

• WUFT News: North Central Florida Blues Society keeps genre alive at showcase in Gainesville. "Held at the Heartwood Soundstage near downtown Gainesville, the event marked the second-annual acoustic showcase the non-profit organization has put on. The event took place at the High Dive in 2021, but moved to its current venue to better fit the mood of the music played."

• WUFT News: Gainesville artist’s market fosters community into the fall season. "This weekend was fall’s kickoff into the artist’s market season for Gainesville makers. Studio TM started hosting its Sunday pop-up last year in the hopes of prompting residents to shop small and support Gainesville’s thriving art scene. The event yesterday championed every type of creative, with crochet, ceramic, candle making, and pen-and-ink artists all making an appearance as vendors."

• WUFT News: Tongue in cheek, UF wrestles with mystery thefts of ‘Top 5’ banners on campus. "After a second consecutive year of mysterious thefts of 'Top 5' banners hung across campus to commemorate its national ranking among public universities, the University of Florida appears to be throwing up its hands and making a gag out of the pilfering."

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• Science: A second ancient canoe is found in Wisconsin — this time tracing back to 1000 B.C.
Ethan Magoc curated today's edition of The Point.

Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news @wuft.org