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The Point, April 3, 2024: Newberry officials accused of ethics violations over charter conversion

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The stories near you

• WUFT News: Newberry parent alleges ethics violations in campaign to convert city schools to charter schools. "Organizers with Save Our Schools Newberry have accused Newberry's mayor and other city officials of ethical violations to gain voter support in the campaign to convert the area's public schools — Newberry Elementary, Oak Hall Middle and Newberry High School — to charter schools."

• News Service of Florida: FL Supreme Court to hear arguments in pandemic lockdown and student fees case. "The state Supreme Court will hear arguments June 5 in a dispute about whether the University of Florida should return fees to students because of a campus shutdown early in the COVID-19 pandemic."

• WUFT News: City of Alachua approves solar power purchase agreement: Installation set for November. "The amended contract aims to ensure the project’s success by providing the commencement of installation in November and amending the contract to an increased price as energy rates rise."

• Mainstreet Daily News: Department of Health in Alachua County issues rabies alert. "The Florida Department of Health in Alachua County issued a rabies alert on Tuesday discovering three raccoons with confirmed cases southwest of the city of Alachua."

• WUFT News: Santa Fe College, city and county government seek alliance partners to combat gun violence. "The Gainesville Police Department reported that between 2022 and 2023, there was a 30% increase in gun-related deaths and a 27% increase in gun-related injuries."

• WUFT News: With the vote commencing Friday, tensions are growing around possible Newberry charter school conversion. "The vote begins on Friday and runs through the following Friday, April 12. The votes will be counted in a public meeting on April 17 at 8:30 a.m. at the Mentholee Norfleet Municipal Building in Newberry."

• Florida Storms: Strong spring storm system to elevate risk for strong storms across Florida Tuesday night and Wednesday. "A strong storm system is moving through the eastern half of the nation with severe weather impacts likely from the Great Lakes down to the Gulf Coast."

• The Point Podcast: Locked out: The UF international grad student dilemma. Wednesday's host, Caitlyn Schiffer, spoke with Johnny Liu, graduate student at UF, about the detrimental consequences of SB 846 for international students of Florida universities and colleges and how this is directly impacting students from so called "countries of concern."

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Around the state

• WUSF-Tampa: USF hunger strikers continue their divestment protest after a number of hospitalizations. "An undisclosed number of the original hunger strikers at USF remain after some of them were hospitalized last week. New members also joined last week."

• Tampa Bay Times: DeSantis’ office quietly backed Florida ban on wind energy. "Emails show the office of Gov. Ron DeSantis suggested wording that would have banned all wind energy in the state."

• WUSF-Tampa: Planned Parenthood centers in Florida prepare for a six-week abortion ban. "Health centers are trying to accommodate as many patients seeking abortions beyond six weeks of pregnancy as they can before the ban goes into effect May 1. After that, most people will have to travel out-of-state for care."

• WLRN-Miami: A nationwide hotline to stop mass shootings. Can it work? "Sean Cononie has created a national hotline — 605-NO-SHOOT (605-667-4668) — with hopes of steering people away from carrying out a mass shooting, and getting them mental health counseling. The phone lines opened in January."

• WMFE-Orlando: Black Wealth Data Center looks at racial wealth disparities in Central Florida. "The Black Wealth Indicators include homeownership rates, median income, poverty, health insurance coverage, bachelor’s degree attainment, assets & debts, small business loans, broadband internet access, climate change, and banking."

• BBC: Florida's manatees are addicted to power plants. Scientists are weaning them off. "These manatees have become dependent on the coal and gas power plants, because their historic feeding grounds, the natural springs along the Atlantic coast, have been all but destroyed through development, explains Elizabeth Fleming, a conservationist and manatee expert at the non-profit Defenders of Wildlife."

• New York Times: As graffiti moves from eyesore to amenity, landlords try to cash in. "From Berlin to London to Miami, the wider acceptance of graffiti has attracted developers looking to expand into trendy areas, companies wanting to relocate to hipper neighborhoods and brands seeking creative ways to advertise their products."

From NPR News

• World: Taiwan is hit by its strongest earthquake in nearly 25 years

• National: Bird flu has been detected at the largest chicken egg manufacturer in the U.S.

• Business: You'll need more than $100,000 in income to afford a typical home, studies show

• World: World Central Kitchen, led by a humanitarian chef, has fed crisis zones for years

• Economy: How we got to 'Made in China'

• History: What The Beatles and Beyoncé's 'Blackbird' means to this Little Rock Nine member

• National: Permafrost underlying many remote villages in Alaska is thawing and that's a problem

Kristin Moorehead curated today's edition of The Point.