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The Point, Dec. 28, 2022: In Marion County, there's talk of a development moratorium after a years-long surge

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Today's Florida stories

• WUFT News: Growing, growing, gone: Marion County residents bemoan development surge. "Marion County is in a precarious position. An estimated 190 people move in per week, according to the Ocala Chamber and Economic Partnership, and there is limited space to accommodate them. Though it spans 1,600 square miles – larger than the state of Rhode Island – the county finds itself cramped due to outside interest constantly on the uptick. But the dilemma didn’t happen overnight. County competition between fast-paced industry and idyllic rural escapes has ruled local politics for decades."

• Associated Press: Florida crops appear to escape damage from unusual cold. "Florida’s citrus, fruit and vegetable crops appear to have escaped any widespread damage from some of the coldest weather in years, officials with state growers associations said Tuesday."

• Miami Herald ($): DeSantis aide — using alias ‘Clarice Starling’ — helped ex-client bid on migrant flights. "The records suggest that Larry Keefe, DeSantis’ public safety czar, wrote some of the language that the private contractor, Vertol Systems Company, used in its bid proposal to fly migrants from Texas to Democratic states. Keefe, a former U.S. attorney under the Trump administration, represented Vertol for many years in private practice. DeSantis appointed him last year as a top adviser with a portfolio that included combating illegal immigration."

• News Service of Florida: Court Backs State in Union Dispute. "A divided appeals court has backed the Florida Department of Management Services in a dispute about whether a union representing state workers engaged in unfair labor practices."

• WJCT-Jacksonville: Haleigh Cummings' father jailed on multiple charges. "Just two months after his release from 12 years in state prison on multiple drug convictions, the father of a little Putnam County girl missing since 2009 is back behind bars on more felony charges, the Sheriff's Office said."

• Florida Politics: Citrus County welcomes parkway in 2022, but says no to turnpike. "Citrus County Commissioners spent much of 2022 tackling issues such as the Florida Turnpike extension, county administrator search and a monthslong dispute over library displays. It was the turnpike discussion that will resonate in Citrus County for years to come."

• WLRN-Miami: Rare rehabilitated sea turtle released off Florida Keys. "A rare hawksbill sea turtle, found injured earlier this month by divers on a shipwreck off Key Largo, was fitted with a satellite tracking tag and returned to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary after it was treated at the Keys-based Turtle Hospital. The female turtle dubbed 'Harris' had a large fishing lure deeply embedded in her shoulder. She received medical treatment and wound care at the hospital and, during examination, was found to be carrying eggs."

• WCJB: Appeals court declines to rehear in University of Florida COVID-19 shutdown case. "The full 1st District Court of Appeal on Tuesday refused to hear arguments in a potential class-action lawsuit contending that the University of Florida should return fees to students because of a campus shutdown early in the COVID-19 pandemic."

• WFLA-Tampa: Family drives home to Denver after canceled flights out of Tampa. "Patience is running out for holiday travelers who have been stranded for days because of flight cancellations. Some families are now opting for a road trip instead of waiting for a flight home."

• WUFT News: Gainesville Juniors Volleyball serves through merging trend. "Volleyball has become the fastest-growing girl’s sport in the United States, and the merger represents a trend of clubs combining. Merging allows clubs to pull from a larger pool of resources and talent."

• WUFT News: Photo story: The hometown hostess. "Jay Brooks transforms into drag queen KellyTKelly in Gainesville."

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Ethan Magoc curated today's edition of The Point.

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