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The Point, Feb. 2, 2024: Gainesville homicide rate increases

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The stories near you

• WUFT News: Gainesville’s homicide rate rises nearly 30 percent. "During Thursday’s Gainesville City Commission meeting, Assistant Chief Nelson Moya presented the 2023 Gainesville Police Department crime statistics as part of the year-end quarterly report."

• Florida Storms: El Niño and rainy winter could dampen Florida's wildfire season. "Florida’s wildfire season, which runs from the spring through the mid-summer, may feature fewer acres burned this coming year thanks to above average winter rainfall due to the onset of El Niño."

• WUFT News: Police: Tax season comes with tax fraud. "The methods used by scammers include impersonating IRS agents or using other people's Social Security numbers for wage taxation."

• WUFT News: Ocala City Council to revamp skate park with $500,000 budget. "Local skaters have enjoyed the 10,000-square foot street course at Ocala Skate Park since it opened in 2019. However, the street course was just the first project at the park to be completed. The rest is yet to be designed."

• Mainstreet Daily News: Alachua County to offer roof replacement and home repair funding. "The funds are for low and very low-income eligible applicants who reside in Alachua County. Those living in the city of Gainesville are ineligible. This program is first come, first serve."

• WUFT News: Prominent Gainesville resident preserves Black history year-round. "Filer founded and now chairs the museum, which occupies a 60-year-old historical building and serves as a testament to her dedication to preserving and promoting Black history in Alachua County."

• WUFT News: Volunteers at Paynes Prairie Preserve collect trash and nonnative plants. "Because the plants can use the resources other native plants need, the Coral Ardisia poses a threat. Black trash bags of the plant sat near the buckets of plastic waste and beer cans."

• WUFT News: Gators golf great Dudley Hart continues legacy through coaching. "The Gators made history in 2023 by becoming the only team in program history to win the NCAA team title, NCAA individual title and conference team title in the same season."


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Around the state

• Fresh Take Florida: Florida banning changes of gender on driver’s licenses sparks confusion, backlash. "Civil rights and advocacy organizations said they are considering how to contest the new rules."

• WFSU-Tallahassee: Child labor law rollback bill passes Florida House. "The bill would let 16- and 17-year-olds work more than 30 hours a week during the school year, and work past 11 on school nights."

• Jacksonville Today: DeSantis is sending Florida State Guard to southern border. "In an appearance in Jacksonville, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday that the state will send members of the Florida State Guard to Texas in a quest to quell illegal immigration."

• WUSF-Tampa: Newly released police report discloses more details on Christian Ziegler's rape investigation. "A woman accused the former Florida GOP chairman of sexually assaulting her last October while she was drunk and unable to consent, as well as filming the encounter without her knowledge."

• WMFE-Orlando: Disney appeals federal judge's ruling on lawsuit. "In the appeal submitted Thursday, February 1, the company says the judge’s actions set a dangerous precedent for other plaintiffs fighting DeSantis’ policies in the state."

• PolitiFact: Explaining DeSantis’ call for a convention of states and constitutional changes. "DeSantis is presenting an alternative method of proposing U.S. Constitutional amendments that would let states call a convention if enough of them ask Congress."

• WFSU-Tallahassee: Advocates hope lawmakers deliver the dollars in the fight against human trafficking. "Florida's state government leaders have been promising to do more about human trafficking. Now advocates are hoping those leaders are willing to back up their words with dollars."

• News4Jax: Former trooper sentenced to 21 years in federal prison for robbing several pharmacies in Columbia County. "In November 2023, a jury found Jesse Rance Moore, 46, guilty of seven different charges including four counts of Hobbs Act robberies and three counts of brandishing a firearm during the robberies, officials said."

• NPR: Several die after a small plane crashes into a Florida mobile home, officials say. "At about 7:08 p.m. ET, authorities received simultaneous calls about a structure fire and a "mayday" signal from the pilot of an aircraft that went off radar about three miles from the runway of the St. Pete–Clearwater International Airport, Clearwater Fire and Rescue Department Chief Scott Ehlers said."


From NPR News

• Health: The EPA is proposing that 'forever chemicals' be considered hazardous substances

• World: Biden issues order targeting Israeli settlers who attack West Bank Palestinians

• National: Examining the public health response to last year's train derailment in Ohio

• Politics: A Tennessee lawmaker helped pass a strict abortion law. He's now trying to loosen it

• Climate: How mapping 'heat islands' can help cities prepare for extreme heat

• National: Boeing declines to give a financial outlook as it focuses on quality and safety

• Books: 6 books to help young readers learn about Black history

• Animals: Nearly all the Groundhog Day forecasting stars are male. Here's why

Kristin Moorehead curated today's edition of The Point.