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The Point, March 22, 2024: Gainesville OKs downtown parking changes

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The stories near you

• Mainstreet Daily News: Surgery crisis persists at HCA’s North Florida Hospital. "HCA Florida North Florida Hospital canceled more than half a dozen major surgeries Thursday, compounding a crisis of 'dirty' surgical instruments that has left patients in a lurch and doctors reeling from disrupted schedules."

• Florida Storms: Widespread rain for Florida Friday and Saturday, local flooding and severe cells possible. "Isolated severe thunderstorm cells, and localized flash flooding will be possible, especially across parts of South Florida, where storm total rainfall amounts are forecasted to range between three and six inches."

• Mainstreet Daily News: Gainesville OKs changes to free downtown parking. "The Gainesville City Commission voted Thursday to change downtown parking rates and times, create a downtown advisory board, finalize its exclusion of Gainesville Regional Utilities from the city rights-of-way and approve its 2023 financials."

• WCJB: Bradford County Sheriff’s Office finds unprocessed evidence in 2020 cold case homicide. "While Bradford County Sheriff’s deputies review every case turned over from Starke PD, it’s drawing attention to how Starke Police officers processed evidence."

• The Alligator: UF implements early action starting Fall ‘24. "Unlike early decision, early action allows applicants to receive an early response without having to commit until the designated reply date."

• Mainstreet Daily News: Gainesville commission plans to put GRU Authority on upcoming ballot. "The Gainesville City Commission on Thursday stepped toward creating a ballot measure that would ask voters to either remove or keep the city charter article the Legislature approved last year to create the Gainesville Regional Utilities Authority (GRU Authority)."

• Ocala Gazette: High school marching bands honored to perform in NYC for St. Patrick’s Day Parade. "On March 16, 210 students from the Forest High School and Lake Weir High School marching bands played for about 2 million spectators while marching down Fifth Avenue, playing a medley of songs."

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Around the state

• NPR: DeSantis is prepping for a wave of Haitian migrants. Advocates say he's grandstanding. "He's sending more than 250 officers and National and State Guard troops to the southern part of the state. Some Haitian-American leaders believe it's more about politics than preparedness."

• WUSF-Tampa: A look at some of the environmental laws passed during this year's legislative session. "There was some movement in legislation to protect Florida's environment during the recent legislative session. But advocates are lauding the removal of one provision that never made it out of committee."

• Associated Press: Florida online sports betting challenge is denied by state's highest court. "The Florida Supreme Court said in a ruling on Thursday that the type of petition the opponents had filed was the wrong vehicle for challenging the compact between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration."

• WUSF-Tampa: Environmental groups ready a lawsuit to declare manatees an endangered species. "The lawsuit would be the latest legal move intended to protect the threatened sea cows, whose numbers have been decimated in recent years."

• WLRN-Miami: 'One human family': Group set to open the Florida Keys’ only LGBTQ+ community center. "Long hailed as one of the country’s most LGBTQ+ friendly destinations, Key West hasn’t had a true queer-focused, resource-based community center in over a decade. Until now."

• News Service of Florida: $1.1 million is on the line for New College as president prepares a student success report. "About $1.1 million is on the line for New College of Florida as President Richard Corcoran is slated next week to present a 'student success plan monitoring report' to state university system officials — after the school lost out on about $2 million in potential performance-based funding."

• WMFE-Orlando: More pollen in Central Florida? Doctors seeing more allergy complaints. "Central Florida is covered in yellow and brown dust. Oak tree pollen clusters, known as catkins, have been prolific in recent weeks causing residents and visitors with sensitive allergies mild to severe discomfort."

From NPR News

• Health: Native Americans are hardest hit by syphilis surge

• National: Oklahoma prosecutors will not press charges in Nex Benedict case

• Business: The U.S. sues Apple, saying it abuses its power to monopolize the smartphone market

• Law: Carlee Russell pleads guilty, avoids jail after falsely reporting her own kidnapping

• Politics: Senators push to declassify TikTok intel and hold a public hearing ahead of ban vote

• World: Meet Europe's first Black head of government — in Wales

• Health: First human transplant of a genetically modified pig kidney performed

• Politics: After decades of secrecy, the 'Ghost Army' is honored for saving U.S. lives in WWII

• Animals: The French bulldog sits, stays at the top of U.S. dog owners' hearts

Kristin Moorehead curated today's edition of The Point.