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The Point, Oct. 10, 2022: Hurricane Ian death toll makes it deadliest storm in Florida in nearly 90 years

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The stories near you

• WUFT News: Despite the pandemic and protests, Ocala Pride Fest is back and booming. "Not for eight hours did the stage at the downtown Ocala Square go quiet during this year’s Ocala Pride Fest. Between live performances by local bands, vocalists and the dazzling drag queens and kings, Ocala’s downtown ­shimmered with the celebration of LGBTQ pride."

• The Alligator: UF presidential hopeful Ben Sasse is coming to campus Monday. Here’s what you should know. "During Sasse’s visit, he’s scheduled to participate in open forums with the UF community. Outside Emerson Hall, student activists are planning to give their own feedback through organizing a protest against the Nebraska senator’s candidacy. Sasse’s scheduled for several private meetings Monday morning as well, Steve Orlando, interim vice president for communications, wrote in an email. No specifications as to whom Sasse would be meeting with was given."

• WUFT News: League of Women Voters and Bob Graham Center host candidate forum for 2022 General Election. "Candidates facing voters in less than a month discussed a variety of issues spanning from housing to healthcare on Sunday. The General Election Candidate forum was jointly hosted by the League of Women Voters of Alachua County and University of Florida Bob Graham Center for Public Service on Oct. 9, which was rescheduled due to Hurricane Ian."

• WUFT News: Days For Girls opens new sewing center. "The Alachua County chapter of Days For Girls held a grand opening ceremony Sunday to celebrate their new sewing center in Gainesville. Located at the Wesley United Methodist Church in Gainesville, the group focuses on helping to end 'period poverty' by creating and distributing unique kits that include reusable and rewashable pads."

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Around the state

• NPR News: As Ian's death toll rises, questions swirl on why more Floridians didn't evacuate. "Medical examiners are still certifying storm-related deaths. But it's already clear Ian is the deadliest storm to hit Florida since the 1935 Labor Day hurricane."

• Fresh Take Florida: Early reports emerge of stunning damage on Florida’s iconic Sanibel Island, still severed from mainland by bridge collapse. "Recent search and rescue efforts suggest about 1,000 people stayed on the island through the hurricane, said Sanibel City Councilor Scott Crater. More than 500 people have been transported to Fort Myers this week, he said."

• WUFT News: In attempt to better reach devasted Sanibel Island, state awards contract to immediately repair causeway. "The nearly 16,000-feet transit artery between Sanibel Island and mainland Southwest Florida was severed during Hurricane Ian, and there’s now a plan to reconnect it."

• NPR News: Hurricane Ian highlighted the vulnerabilities of older mobile homes. "It's a perennial problem during hurricane season. Older mobile homes, built to lower wind standards, are acutely vulnerable. But they're sought-after because this is affordable housing in Florida."

• Florida Politics: Power on for 99% of Florida, but 135,000 customers still await reconnection after Hurricane Ian. "That’s a more than 22-percentage-point improvement since the strike. In the nine days since Hurricane Ian made landfall near Fort Myers, Florida went from having more than 2.6 million without power to about 135,100."

• NPR News/WLRN-Miami: Shutting an agency managing sprawl might have put more people in Hurricane Ian's way. "With backing from the real estate development industry, (former Gov. Rick) Scott and Republican state lawmakers quickly dismantled the agency in 2011, despite warnings about the increasing risks from climate change. The move hurt local governments trying to enact restrictions to protect themselves from climate impacts and that now faced a hostile state, said Randy Parkinson, a Florida International University geologist who worked with local governments to assess climate impacts in community growth plans."

• Fresh Take Florida: ‘Just heartbreaking’: Southwest Florida small family farmers struggle after Hurricane Ian. "Across Florida, Hurricane Ian trampled through about 4 million acres of farmland, according to the latest figures from the Agriculture Department for the affected counties. The impact may be small for acres of pasture use, said Gene McAvoy, an emeritus Hendry County vegetable agent."

• Florida Storms: When a hurricane brings scammers knocking, ‘you are the best protection against fraud.’ "Hurricane Ian brought the deadliest destruction Florida has seen in years, and with it, likely billions of dollars in damages. Florida officials and property insurers are warning people left vulnerable after the storm to not become victims twice and fall prey to common scams."

• WLRN-Miami: What 2018's Hurricane Michael could teach us about elections post-Hurricane Ian. "The devastation left behind by Hurricane Ian in much of Southwest and Central Florida arrives at a precarious time: a major statewide election, including a high-profile governor’s race, is scheduled to take place a month from now."

• WUWF-Pensacola: Florida voters to decide fate of the Constitutional Revision Commission. "The commission, 37-members strong, meets every 20 years to propose changes to the Florida constitution, which are referred to the statewide ballot. A similar abolishment bill failed in the 2021 legislative session, but passed in the House and Senate earlier this year."

• Associated Press: Documents show that Florida migrant transport planning began in July. "Florida officials began planning to transport migrants to other states in July and told potential contractors their task would be to relocate them on a voluntary basis, according to state documents. The documents released Friday night to The Associated Press and other news organizations provide new details about the program that culminated in the Sept. 14 flight of 48 mostly Venezuelan migrants from San Antonio, Texas, to Martha's Vineyard, an island off Massachusetts."

• Politico: Twitter blocks — and then restores — Covid-19 vaccination post from Florida's surgeon general. "(Joe) Ladapo, who posted the tweet Friday, had also recommended men aged 18-39 should not receive the mRNA vaccine. Ladapo is an outspoken skeptic of Covid-19 vaccines who has questioned both the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine despite consensus within the medical community that the vaccines help protect against the virus and can lessen severe symptoms."

From NPR News

• World: Thousands of Russians continue to arrive in Turkey, fleeing conscription

• Health: Early signs a new U.S. COVID surge could be on its way

• Health: Artificial intelligence could soon diagnose illness based on the sound of your voice

• Business: Americans are becoming less productive, and that's a risk to the economy

• National: In Idaho, America's first, and only, cobalt mine in decades is opening
Ethan Magoc curated today's edition of The Point.

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