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The Point, Feb. 29, 2024: Florida's measles response worries health experts

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The stories near you

• Ocala Gazette: School sales tax to be on the ballot at the same time as county’s penny sales tax. "When Marion County voters cast their ballots this fall, they’ll have two tax increases to decide on—one for funding new schools and another for funding new roads."

• Mainstreet Daily News: Gainesville commission, GRU Authority hold first joint meeting. "The meeting marks the first time the past and present decisionmakers of Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) have met since the authority assumed control in October 2023."

• Ocala Gazette: Have shootings in Marion County increased? "Since there are multiple law enforcement agencies in Marion County, the newspaper reached out to Marion County Fire Rescue because that department provides ambulance service to all of the law enforcement jurisdictions throughout the county."

• WUFT News: Bringing caskets to life: How selfies, angel wings and sports logos can honor loved ones. "The vinyl wrapping industry includes businesses that wrap cars, appliances, tool boxes – and caskets. Unheard of a few years ago, casket wrapping is becoming increasingly common across the U.S."

• WCJB: North Central Florida student and teacher win Florida Black History Month contests. "A student and a teacher in North Central Florida were among the winners of the State of Florida’s Black History Month contests. The students met the governor and first lady in Tallahassee and went home with valuable prizes."

• WUFT News: Sumter County pageant titleholder uses crown to share faith. "Over the past five years, she has held numerous titles at the local and state level, including USA National Miss Florida Junior Teen. Competing in pageants led her to create a platform she called Crown Church. It’s an organization that allows young girls to talk in a safe environment about their faith."

• The Point Podcast: Guardians of the Florida Coast. Thursday’s host, Ailee Shanes, speaks with Mark Clark, an associate professor in wetland ecology at the University of Florida, on how living shorelines helped protect parts of Florida’s Big Bend region during Hurricane Idalia and what the future of living shorelines may look like in Florida.

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Around the state

• NPR: Florida's response to measles outbreak troubles public health experts. "Several public health researchers say Florida's current response to the outbreak goes against well-established public health guidance."

• WFSU-Tallahassee: A bill curtailing civilian oversight of police has passed the Florida House. "Who will police the police? That's the question at the heart of a debate over citizen police review boards, which the Florida Legislature is poised to curtail."

• WMFE-Orlando: Advocates push back on ‘dehumanizing’ regulations targeting homelessness. "The shift in legislative priorities follows a growing housing crisis. While homelessness in Florida is down from where it was nearly 15 years ago, a steep spike is emerging since 2019."

• Associated Press: Florida Senate unanimously passes a bill on the definition of antisemitism. "The House passed the bill last month, but would need to consider minor changes by the Senate before sending the measure to the governor."

• News Service of Florida: Florida senators back compensating Dozier School for Boys victims. "Decades later, survivors known as 'The White House Boys' still struggle when recalling the mental, physical and sexual abuse they endured while in the state’s care at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna."

• WUSF-Tampa: The Florida Center of Cybersecurity is hosting a competition for students. "Around 800 Florida students will learn about cybersecurity careers during CyberLaunch, which will be hosted by the University of South Florida."

• WMFE-Orlando: Crew of four set to launch to space station from Kennedy Space Center. "NASA astronauts Matthew Dominick, Michael Barrat and Jeanette Epps and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin are making final preparations ahead of a launch to the International Space Station early Friday."

• News4Jax: 69 arrested since Jacksonville banned panhandling. "The City Council banned people from hanging out on street corners and medians without a permit last year, but the ordinance also applies to drivers and those asking for money."

• WUSF-Tampa: There's never been a Black Strawberry Queen. These women worked to break those barriers. "The Florida Strawberry Festival returns to Plant City for the 89th time on Thursday, with thousands coming to the town to enjoy the food, music, and fun."

From NPR News

• Politics: Congressional leaders reach a deal to avoid a government shutdown

• Law: Supreme Court to hear arguments in Trump immunity case in April

• World: Ghana's parliament passes anti-LGBTQ+ bill that could imprison people for years

• Politics: Biden just got a physical. But a cognitive test was not part of the assessment

• Politics: After months-long battle with GOP, Hunter Biden appears for impeachment testimony

• Economy: Here's a big reason why people may be gloomy about the economy: the cost of money

• Business: Family Dollar is fined over $40 million due to a rodent infestation in its warehouse

• Technology: Google CEO Pichai says Gemini's AI image results "offended our users"

• Business: No, Wendy's says it isn't planning to introduce surge pricing

Kristin Moorehead curated today's edition of The Point.