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The Point, Dec. 22, 2023: Teen defendant in Demiah Appling case appears in court

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The stories near you

• WCJB: 16-year-old appears before judge in Demiah Appling case. "The teenager accused of luring his 14-year-old ex-girlfriend, Demiah Appling, to her death didn’t make it to court on Wednesday but he did appear digitally."

• Florida Storms: Is a white Christmas in Florida possible this year? "The last time Florida saw snow was Jan. 3, 2018. Tallahassee International Airport recorded one-tenth of an inch. This was the first official measurable snowfall in the capital since December 1989, according to the National Weather Service."

• Mainstreet Daily News: Levy County Sheriff warns of potential “pop up” block party. "According to an LCSO release, similar gatherings have brought street blockages, noise complaints, open air drug usage and violence to Levy County."

• Ocala Gazette: Collision between MCFR ambulance and pickup truck. "The ambulance, Rescue #24, was responding to a medical call involving a stroke, but had no patients on board at the time of the accident, said MCFR spokesperson James Lucas."

• Mainstreet Daily News: Gainesville uses expanded surtax for first road project. "The city of Gainesville will use the first proceeds from the new infrastructure surtax passed last year to resurface, restripe and add bike lanes to a one-mile section of North Main Street between 39th and 53rd Avenues."

• WCJB: Florida hopes to begin importing prescriptions in 2024. "State leaders are “cautiously optimistic” they will begin saving money by importing prescription medication from Canada in the new year. The Agency for Health Care Administration expects the federal government to sign off on the states’ Canadian Drug Importation program in a couple of weeks."

• Mainstreet Daily News: UF keeps track of recent rise in bird flu across U.S. "After years without an outbreak, bird flu has started to move through the United States with more than 12 million cases of infection, and it may return seasonally moving forward."

• Scheduling note: The Point will return to your inbox on Tuesday, Dec. 26, following the Christmas holiday.

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Around the state

• NPR: Nearly 700 books have been removed from classroom libraries in one Florida county. "Some 673 books have been removed from classrooms in Orange County, Fla., this year over concerns they could violate a new state law related to inappropriate content."

• News Service of Florida: Legislature eyes AI regulations for 2024 session. "As access to artificial intelligence, or AI, continues to spread, state lawmakers are poised to consider ways to set up guardrails around a technology that one senator said has 'outpaced government regulation.'"

• WLRN-Miami: FIU institutes a 'pause' in hiring Cuban, Chinese researchers as law goes into effect. "The freeze is due to a law passed earlier this year meant to combat 'countries of concern' infiltrating the higher education system. As defined by state law, those countries include: Cuba, Venezuela, China, Russia, Syria, Iran and North Korea."

• Associated Press: Faith groups say more foster families are needed to care for the children coming to the US alone. "U.S. authorities encountered nearly 140,000 unaccompanied minors at the border with Mexico in fiscal year 2023, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Almost 10,000 are still in custody of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement, according to its latest data."

• WUSF-Tampa: After voucher payment delays, Florida lawmakers talk improvements. "At the beginning of the school year, complaints about late voucher payments marred the expansion of what is now the nation's largest private school voucher program."

• Jacksonville Today: Housing Authority probe finds waste of utility assistance. "New findings from an inspector general’s report show wasteful expenditure of government funds at the Jacksonville Housing Authority."

• WLRN-Miami: Miami-Dade judge awaits sentencing recommendations for embattled Everglades scientist. "An Everglades scientist considered among the best working on restoration efforts in the ailing wetlands is trying to avoid jail in an unusual legal battle."

• WGCU-Fort Myers: Healthy and bright Florida-grown mocktails are a great way to avoid overindulging for the holidays. "To avoid trips to the emergency room, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is recommending to choose mocktails featuring Florida-grown produce instead. Florida’s plethora of agricultural products lends itself to many sippable options."

From NPR News

• Politics: Congress passed so few laws this year that we explained them all in 1,000 words.

• National: Tacoma police officers are acquitted in the killing of unarmed Black man Manuel Ellis

• World: Gaza health officials say Israel's offensive has now killed more than 20,000 people

• Law: What the current landscape of abortion rights looks like going into 2024

• Science: Science says declining social invites is OK. Here are 3 tips for doing it

• Culture: For more eco-friendly holiday wrapping, some turn to the Japanese art of furoshiki
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