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The Point, Feb. 14, 2024: Mayor Ward gives State of the City

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The stories near you

• Mainstreet Daily News: Ward: Gainesville kept the ship sailing in 2023. "Gainesville Mayor Harvey Ward said the city continued progress in the last year despite strong headwinds from the Florida Legislation and fiscal challenges."

• Ocala Gazette: Ocala City Council adopts resolution to lower electric rate. "Ocala Electric Utility customers should see some relief in their electric rates in March, as the Ocala City Council has passed a resolution that could decrease the average user’s bill."

• WCJB: Marion County Public School board members approve half-cent sales tax. "Marion County currently has a penny sales tax to allow the county government to improve buildings. This specific tax that was proposed would go directly towards Marion County schools."

• WUFT News: Alachua County teachers turn to tutoring for secondary income. "Florida ranks No. 48 in the nation for average teacher pay, according to the National Education Association. Only South Dakota, West Virginia and Mississippi have lower average salaries."

• WUFT News: Flower shops affected by Valentine’s Day sales. "Valentine’s Day draws in more flower sales than any other day of the year. According to the Society of American Florists, 30% of all floral purchases are made for the holiday."

• Mainstreet Daily News: Newberry approves stormwater assessment study. "The Newberry City Commission approved a $30,000 study to look into a funding mechanism for a possible stormwater collection adjustment. The city already has an engineering study running to look into the best way to set up a new citywide stormwater collection system, but the second study would help determine how to distribute stormwater assessment costs fairly."

• WUFT News: A new ice cream shop opens in east Gainesville. "The only ice cream shop in east Gainesville is officially open for business. Totes Ice Cream opened at 1714 SE Hawthorne Road on Friday."

• WUFT News: Made with love: Nut, cruelty and gluten free baked goods inspire Gainesville vendors this Valentine’s Day. "For shoppers with dietary restrictions and ethical limitations, avoiding things like sugar, gluten and animal testing can be challenging. Sometimes even vegan options can leave a Valentine’s heart aching for more."

• The Point Podcast: Love or Lonely? Depression rates on Valentine's Day. Wednesday's host, Caitlyn Schiffer, speaks with Leif Stringer, clinical social worker , about depression rates of young adults surrounding Valentine's Day and ways to better your mental health during this stressful time. Listen now on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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Around the state

• WLRN-Miami: Six years after Parkland, the NRA is a 'shell of what it once was.' "For three decades, Wayne LaPierre led the NRA and became one of the country’s most influential voices on gun policy. But his leadership has come to an end, thanks in part to the movement started by student survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School."

• WUSF-Tampa: Florida rideshare workers stage Valentine's Day strike at Tampa International Airport for fair pay. "Uber, Lyft, and even DoorDash drivers will be hitting the brakes at Tampa International Airport as a part of a nationwide strike. The Valentine’s Day walkout is being organized in more than 10 cities by the Justice for App Workers coalition."

• WFSU-Tallahassee: A bill that would ban citizen police review boards is poised to pass the Florida Legislature. "A bill moving rapidly in the Florida Legislature would ban civilian oversight of law enforcement or correctional officers. That oversight could still be conducted by county sheriffs or the police chiefs of municipal governments."

• WUSF-Tampa: Florida is dealing with a record number of pending immigration cases. "The state leads the nation with more than 481,000 immigration court cases, as a record number of people cross into the United States. A Tampa immigration lawyer talks about the backlog."

• WFSU-Tallahassee: Florida Commission on Ethics complaint rules may change under proposal. "The bill adds time limits to the length of ethics investigation, bans complaints emerging from anonymous sources, and allows those running for public office to seek civil damages when someone files a fraudulent complaint."

• The Tributary: Former Jacksonville teacher could lose license over Black Lives Matter flag. "Florida could ban a youth advocate and former Jacksonville teacher from its education system for displaying at school a Black Lives Matter flag and anti-Confederacy face masks three years ago."

• WUWF-Pensacola: The hidden toll of gun violence on infants. "Infants could be born at a disadvantage just by virtue of living close to gun violence. That’s the upshot of new research from Princeton economist Janet Currie and her colleagues."

• WUSF-Tampa: What the warming global average temperature means for La Niña and hurricane season. "The European Union’s climate service reported recently that global warming exceeded 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, above pre-industrial levels for the first time in a 12-month period from February of last year to January."

• Sun Sentinel: Pollution taints even the most remote parts of Everglades, canoe journey reveals. "One hundred and twenty five years ago, explorer Hugh Willoughby became the first non-Native American to cross the southern Everglades from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic. He traveled with a guide by canoe, and kept notes on water quality in his journal."

From NPR News

• Health: The CDC may be reconsidering its COVID isolation guidance

• Politics: Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas impeached by House Republicans

• Law: Officer involved in Freddie Gray's death will oversee Baltimore police integrity unit

• World: Mediators are in Cairo working to secure a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas

• Health: How Portugal got the number of fatal overdoses in the country to drop 80%

• Business: What is Temu, and should you let your parents order from it?

• Music: 'Rhapsody in Blue': After a century, Gershwin's musical melting pot still resonates

• Music: A radio station is now playing Beyoncé's country song after an outcry from fans

Kristin Moorehead curated today's edition of The Point.