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The Point, March 19, 2024: Sexual abuse victims file lawsuits against churches

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The stories near you

• WUFT News: Sexual abuse victims file lawsuits against Ignite Life Center and Florida Multicultural District Council of the Assemblies of God. "The three plaintiffs say they were sexually abused by Gabriel Hemenez, a church member and volunteer, while attending a 2021 summer camp overseen by the church called Ignite Summer Internship."

• Mainstreet Daily News: GNV audit committee presented with 2023 financial statements. "The city’s audit department, now under the management of new City Auditor Stephen Mhere, has closed four audits already this year."

• Ocala Gazette: School district allows for public feedback on new textbooks. "The public opinion on the textbooks will later be considered by a review committee of teachers, parents, community members and a content area program specialist."

• WCJB: New hotel opens at WEC, days before international competition. "Garner says this is WEC’s first time hosting a big international competition. The world’s top 10 show jumping teams are competing in the Longines League of Nations qualifier in Ocala from March 19 to 23."

• WCJB: Union County Commissioners pass proposal to repeal ban on alcohol sales on Sundays. "Those in favor of the proposal, like Mac Johns, said the ban wasn’t fair to the one business that was kept from selling."

• WUFT News: Lone star: Professional track athlete trains for the 2024 Olympics. "From just a kid in South Central LA to back-to-back national champion, U20 World Championship medalist and NCAA all-American, watch how professional track athlete Pjai Austin plans to complete his 2024 Olympic goals by training in Gainesville."

• The Point Podcast: No more living in the fast lane. Tuesday's host, Serra Sowers, speaks with state House Rep. Jenna Pearsons-Mulicka about regulating passing rules on interstates and how to make the use of left lanes safer following pending legislation.

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Around the state

• News Service of Florida: Bill could clear the way for farmworker housing. "Florida’s agriculture industry hopes a newly passed bill that would limit local regulations on farmworker housing will bolster efforts to bring in more non-immigrant foreign workers."

• Florida Center for Governmental Accountability: Zieglers sue to stop release of rape investigation records. "The once powerful Republican power couple sued the City of Sarasota and State Attorney’s Office specifically to prevent the release to the media text messages they sent to each other recovered by police during the now-closed investigation."

• PolitiFact FL: DeSantis said Citizens Property Insurance ‘is not solvent.’ That’s misleading. "Insolvency means that a company cannot pay its bills today. That’s not so for Citizens Property Insurance Corp., Florida’s state-backed insurer."

• Associated Press: First charter flight with U.S. citizens fleeing Haiti lands in Miami. "It arrived in the Miami International Airport after the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince earlier this month urged U.S. citizens to leave 'as soon as possible' as chaos grips Haiti."

• WUSF-Tampa: Hunger relief advocates celebrate restored WIC funding. "At $7.03 billion, lawmakers fully funded a federal program that supports new mothers and babies. Policy experts had been anticipating a $1 billion funding shortfall."

• Sun Sentinel: Share water bottles? Use refill shampoo pouches? New concepts in cutting plastic pollution. "Gym clothes, water and shampoo bottles, facial scrubs, car interiors, to-go boxes — plastic is everywhere. It also inevitably ends up in the ocean: There are now several massive garbage patches spinning in various oceans around the world."

• WUWF-Pensacola: State contract dispute leaves local HIV patients caught in the middle. "Since that contract was terminated, about 300 existing patients have been forced to change case managers. Nearly 100 others have had to switch medical providers to maintain their benefits."

• WGCU-Fort Myers: Sea turtle nesting season arrives along Florida’s coasts. "Residents and visitors can play a big part in helping to protect vulnerable nesting sea turtles this spring and summer while visiting Florida’s coastal habitats."

From NPR News

• Law: Trump unable to post $450M bond in New York fraud case, his lawyers say

• World: Israel's military launched an overnight raid on Gaza's largest hospital

• Health: In Havana syndrome patients, NIH scientists find no physical trace of harm

• National: RBG award ceremony canceled amid controversy over recipients

• Health: The U.S. bans most common form of asbestos, after decades of pushback from industry

• World: After a quarter century in power, Russian President Putin isn't going anywhere

• Business: The arts and crafts giant Joann files for bankruptcy, but stores will remain open

• Space: NASA astronaut Tom Stafford, famed for U.S.-Soviet orbital handshake, has died at 93

Kristin Moorehead curated today's edition of The Point.