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The Point, Dec. 18, 2023: First Black, female mayor of Micanopy reflects on first months in office

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The stories near you

• WUFT News: Unity and infrastructure focus of Micanopy Mayor Jiana Williams’s first months in office. "As the first Black, female mayor of Micanopy, Jiana Williams, 37, often thinks about what her late grandmother, Willie Mae Stokes who used to clean houses around the town, would say if she could see her now."

• WUFT News: Still an Enchanted Land? "Much has changed since Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ death seventy years ago this month. Yet Rawlings’ house always remained a haven, tucked away behind canopies of magnolia, live oak and her beloved citrus trees. Now, the iconic trees that drew Rawlings to Cross Creek face a new challenge: citrus greening."

• Mainstreet Daily News: Gainesville city manager warns of more budget cuts. "Gainesville City Manager Cynthia Curry has issued a warning to community organizations as the city approaches its next budget cycle, and city departments—including first responders—have also been put on alert."

• WCJB: Multiple bus routes in Bradford County aren’t drivable. "Bradford County School District officials say roads on multiple bus routes won’t be drivable in time for school Monday."

• Ocala Gazette: Double shooting in Ocala leaves two adults injured. "The Ocala Police Department is investigating a shooting that occurred at Parkside Garden Apartments, leaving one man and one woman injured Sunday night."

• WCJB: Morgan Freeman attends UF graduation for granddaughter. "Freeman attended the event as an honored guest as Alexis Freeman received her doctoral degree."

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Around the state

• WUWF-Pensacola: Report: Navy Federal denied conventional mortgages to more than half of Black applicants. "A comprehensive analysis by CNN has brought to light significant racial disparities in mortgage approvals at Navy Federal Credit Union, underscoring broader challenges in Pensacola's housing market."

• Associated Press: Florida GOP suspends chairman Christian Ziegler and demands his resignation amid a rape accusation. "The Republican Party of Florida suspended Chairman Christian Ziegler and demanded his resignation during an emergency meeting Sunday, adding to calls by Gov. Ron DeSantis and other top officials for him to step down as police investigate a rape accusation against him."

• NPR: People are leaving some neighborhoods because of floods, a new study finds. "Hundreds of thousands of neighborhoods in the United States are seeing population decline as a result of flooding, new research suggests. Those neighborhoods are often located in areas that are growing in population overall, including parts of Florida, Texas and the region around Washington, D.C."

• PolitiFact: DeSantis said overdose deaths have declined. Early data backs that up. "Data the state publicized in August said Florida had a 4% year-over-year decrease in drug-related deaths. But a state health department official told PolitiFact that figure was based on provisional data that changes as it’s finalized."

• WUSF-Tampa: Plant City's population is booming. Some residents fear their home will lose its small-town charm. "Studies show Plant City and nearby communities will increase from 60,000 residents to more than 150,000 by 2050. Some residents embrace the change, but others who have spent their lives there say the town's history is key to maintaining its original identity."

• WMFE-Orlando: CDC director visits Orlando to boost vaccine rates. "Florida is among 15 states to report the highest rates of Flu cases in the country, according to CDC data. Orange County is reporting one of the most flu-active locations in Florida, and COVID-19 cases are also persisting. Despite this, vaccine turnouts have not been ideal."

• WFSU-Tallahassee: History in the making: Florida A&M rally to win HBCU national championship. "Florida A&M University’s football team (11-1) are champions once again after rallying to beat the Howard Bisons (6-1) 30-26 and win the biggest prize of them all in the Black College National Title."

• WUSF-Tampa: Here's what Florida's early settlers ate for Christmas dinner. "Before Instant Pots and Amazon wishlists, there were community hog killings and coffee with bacon grease. Those were the holiday traditions of rural Floridians in the late 1800s and early 1900s."

From NPR News

• Law: Alex Jones offers Sandy Hook victims' families $55 million to settle legal claims

• Elections: Giuliani is ordered to pay $148 million to Georgia election workers he defamed

• National: The Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery will be dismantled this week

• Business: The FDA is investigating whether lead in applesauce pouches was deliberately added

• Elections: New Michigan law means people leaving prison will automatically be registered to vote

• National: Homelessness in the U.S. hit a record high last year as pandemic aid ran out

• Health: What is ketamine, the drug tied to actor Matthew Perry's death?

• World: 'Fear rather than sensitivity': Most U.S. scholars on the Mideast are self-censoring

• Health: What parents need to know before giving kids melatonin
Kristin Moorehead curated today's edition of The Point.

Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news
Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news