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The Point, Jan. 26, 2024: Alachua County Teacher of the Year named

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The stories near you

• WUFT News: Metcalfe Elementary music teacher named Alachua County Teacher of the Year. "Metcalfe Elementary School music teacher Dwynette Smith was named the 2024 Alachua County Teacher of the Year on Thursday."

• WUFT News: Marion County Schools see increased police presence after threats. "Marion County Sheriff's Office Lieutenant Paul Bloom said the department has allocated additional resources to the schools, including dogs trained to sniff out explosives."

• WUFT News: ‘This is a fantastic program’: Marion County Veterans Treatment Court helps those who have served their country through new challenges. "The Marion County Veterans Treatment Court is among 32 diversionary or pre-trial programs that serve Floridians with mental or physical difficulties – for example, substance addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder – stemming from their military service."

• WUFT News: Alachua County Sheriff’s Office opens 3rd Precinct in Butler Plaza. "The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday to celebrate the grand opening of its 3rd precinct, which will serve as a substation for the sheriff’s office."

• Mainstreet Daily News: Library governing board dissolves workplace climate committee. "The Alachua County Library District (ACLD) Governing Board voted 3-2 on Thursday to permanently dissolve the ad hoc committee it formed last year to look into the library workplace environment."

• WUFT News: 420-space parking garage at Gainesville Regional Airport gets green light. "The 420-space transportation facility and parking garage are expected to be completed in late 2025, although no details on the major development plan were available at the airport authority meeting."

• WUFT News: In the face of financial troubles, dog lovers unite to save local bar. "Just two years after opening, financial stressors from the COVID-19 pandemic put Lebowski’s at risk of closing."

• WUFT News: Modified Hoggetowne Faire to feature less parking in a new location. "This year, the Gainesville city government will host the fair at Depot Park. Organizers knew the event couldn’t be hosted on Archer Road again after last year’s heavy traffic, said event producer Sunshine Andrei."

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Around the state

• WFSU-Tallahassee: Florida House passes bipartisan bill to ban kids under 16 from using social media. "In an effort to protect Florida’s youth from potentially harmful sites or dangerous encounters with strangers, the Florida House has approved a bill (HB-1) Wednesday that requires social media companies to shut down accounts that belong to kids who are younger than 16."

• PolitiFact FL: Does Florida have the fewest state employees per capita? Depends on the data. "Some states with low state government payrolls may be able to shift duties to local governments, effectively reducing the number of workers that show up in the state employee column. This appears to be the case in Florida."

• WFSU-Tallahassee: By working together rural counties hope to amplify their needs and get the attention of the legislature. "Representatives from 28 of Florida’s 31 rural counties filled the courtyard where Rep. Bobby Payne (R-Palatka) encouraged them to join together and speak up for the needs of rural communities."

• WLRN-Miami: After a baby ended up in a Hollywood dumpster, is a 'safe haven' law enough? "Last year, the Florida Legislature considered a bill that would have authorized hospitals, emergency medical service stations and fire stations that are staffed 24 hours a day to opt to install ventilated and climate-controlled boxes."

• WFSU-Tallahassee: Bill could allow Florida State Guard to be activated at Southern boarder. "HB 1551 could give Governor Ron DeSantis the power to activate the State Guard to deal with disasters and other situations beyond Florida’s borders."

• Politico: ‘Not doing anything is a bad idea’: College sports giants struggle to get lifeline from Congress. "Colleges and universities are begging Congress to shield them from efforts to turn student-athletes into school employees who can demand salaries, union protections and other benefits."

• WMFE-Orlando: The Orlando Museum of Art is facing financial trouble after 2022 fake Basquiat exhibit. "The Orlando Museum of Art continues to face financial shortfalls after former Executive Director Aaron De Groft brought a series of Jean-Michel Basquiat paintings in 2022, that the FBI later determined were fake."

From NPR News

• National: Alabama executes man by nitrogen gas for the first time in the U.S.

• Law: Ex-Trump adviser Peter Navarro sentenced to 4 months for contempt of Congress

• Law: Trump testifies in the E. Jean Carroll trial

• Health: JN.1 takes over as the most prevalent COVID-19 variant. Here's what you need to know

• Economy: Many experts feared a recession. Instead, the economy has continued to soar

• Space: NASA retires Ingenuity, the little helicopter that made history on Mars

• Animals: Sweary parrots become unlikely stars at a British zoo ($#@%!)

• Culture: The 'mob wife' aesthetic is in. But what about the vintage fur that comes with it?

Kristin Moorehead curated today's edition of The Point.