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The Point, Feb. 8, 2024: GRU Authority cuts more ties with Gainesville general fund

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The stories near you

• WUFT News: Gainesville Regional Utilities Authority maintains funds, cuts spending and ties to General Government. "The authority members failed in a vote to cut the entirety of the utility's contribution to city government, a move that would have represented about a $15 million reduction in Gainesville municipal operations."

• WUFT News: A suspicious package at Peabody Hall deemed not a threat. "At 10:17 a.m., UF sent out an alert deeming the package not a threat. Law enforcement cleared the area and normal operations resumed."

• Mainstreet Daily News: Alachua County school district clarifies book challenge policy. "After an unprecedented spate of book challenges in the fall semester, Alachua County Public Schools (ACPS) has taken a step toward clarifying its policies and procedures for handling those challenges."

• WCJB: Smoke blankets Gainesville area as prescribed burns are conducted throughout the state. "The Florida Highway Patrol issued a smoke warning for people traveling on State Road 20 in Alachua County. A prescribed burn is being conducted off the state road near County Road 325. Drivers are asked to reduce their speed and use low-beam headlights in the area, especially at night and in the early morning hours."

• WUFT News: Homeschooler wins Alachua County School District’s Spelling Bee. "Thirty-six middle school students from 33 schools came together to compete in the annual Alachua County Spelling Bee in hopes of moving to the regional bee in Jacksonville and becoming a nationally recognized speller in Washington, D.C."

• WUFT News: In a world of shark decline, Florida’s waters defy the trends. "The latest scientific findings reveal that global shark populations are on the decline, despite the protective arm of government efforts. Florida appears to be an exception."

• WUFT News: Behind the scenes of DJ’s Cast Iron Burger duo. "The smell of sizzling patties, hot peanut oil and caramelized onions escapes the food truck window. Passersby stop for a quick bite to eat, greeted by the owners who’s day starts much earlier than the 11:30 a.m. opening."

• WUFT News: Turning the turntables: Gainesville's vinyl culture continues to grow in popularity. "Next to thrifting and the appeal of possessing things that have passed through the hands of others, record collecting represents the growing fascination with vintage novelties."

• The Point Podcast: Florida's flunking nurses. Thursday’s host, Ailee Shanes, speaks with Rayna Letourneau, the executive director for the Florida Center for Nursing, on what problems are causing Florida to rank last in nursing exam scores and what that could mean for the future of Florida nursing education.

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Around the state

• Fresh Take Florida: Florida Supreme Court hears oral arguments on proposed abortion amendment. "The amendment asks Florida voters to 'limit government interference with abortion' before a fetus is considered viable, which is at about 24 weeks of pregnancy."

• WMFE-Orlando: Florida’s bill banning public sleeping and camping: Explained. "House Bill 1365 and Senate Bill 1530 would ban counties and municipalities from allowing sleeping or camping on public grounds without a permit. The bills cite concerns over sanitation and provide exceptions in cases of declared emergencies."

• WFSU-Tallahassee: Harassing poll workers could soon be a crime. "The bill, HB 721, would make it a third-degree felony to intimidate, harass or threaten a poll worker. The proposal is supported by a host of election officials."

• WUSF-Tampa: Florida's climatologist breaks down this past year and what to expect in 2024. "Floridians experienced some of the hottest summer months this past year, and early indications show similar conditions in 2024."

• WFSU-Tallahassee: Florida's legislature confirms the next leader of the State Guard as border mission looms. "As hundreds of volunteers from the Florida State Guard prepare to leave for the U.S.- Mexico border in Texas, a Senate Military and Veterans Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security panel met on Monday for a little house keeping."

• WLRN-Miami: Indigenous Guatemalan farmworker charged in death of sergeant raises legal questions. "In a tragic turn, the arresting police officer, Seargent Michael Kunovich, 52, suddenly collapsed and died at a nearby hospital of cardiac arrest, according to a medical examiner’s report, which found the physical exertion was a contributing factor in his death. St. John’s County prosecutors followed up by filing charges accusing Aguilar-Mendez in the police officer’s death."

• WLRN-Miami: A coming attraction for Netflix subscribers in Florida - a state tax. "Subscribers to Netflix in Florida will begin seeing a state tax on their monthly bill. The tax itself is not new and it is not clear why Netflix has only now begun to tack the tax onto subscriber's monthly charges."

From NPR News

• Climate: EPA tightens rules on some air pollution for the first time in over a decade

• World: The U.S. is demanding Iran rein in its proxy groups. Is that actually possible?

• World: Israel rejects Hamas' cease-fire plan after meeting with Blinken

• National: Oregon pioneered a radical drug policy. Now it's reconsidering.

• Politics: What a robocall of Biden's AI-generated voice could mean for the 2024 election

• Business: TikTok Shop is taking on Amazon — one viral video at a time

• Culture: How a world cruise became a 'TikTok reality show' — and what happened next

• Animals: California sea otters nearly went extinct. Now they're rescuing their coastal habitat

Kristin Moorehead curated today's edition of The Point.