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The Point, April 25, 2024: Florida GOP seeks more county school board seats in 2024 election

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• WUFT News: Florida Republicans eye control of more county school boards in November election. "The expanding influence for conservatives over Florida's public schools has emboldened Republicans to soften vaccine requirements, rewrite policies affecting LGBTQ+ students and teachers, change rules for removing books from school libraries, weaken teachers' unions and direct what, and how, lessons can be taught in classrooms."

• WUFT News: Campus protestors call for UF to divest from Israeli war interests. "The protest was promoted by the UF Divestment Coalition and lasted approximately eight hours during which faculty and students delivered speeches. A counter-protest of students in support of Israel occurred at the same time. The University of Florida Police Department separated the two groups."

• Ocala Star-Banner ($): FHP: Two dead, three rescued in fiery crash Wednesday morning on I-75 in Marion County. "Two people died and two kids were among three people rescued from a burning minivan on Wednesday morning following a crash on Interstate 75 in northern Marion County, according to the Florida Highway Patrol."

• WUFT News: Gainesville City Commission’s town hall discusses RTS changes, pedestrian safety and infrastructure. "Around 50 Gainesville residents joined a Zoom town hall Wednesday to hear from Casey Willits, Gainesville’s District 3 commissioner representing southwest Gainesville. Attendee questions were submitted through a registration form on three topics: the Regional Transit System (RTS), the Vision Zero Policy, and Streets, Stations and Strong Foundations projects."

• WUFT News: New park in Lincoln Estates makes some residents feel unheard. "The Lincoln Estates neighborhood in Gainesville will have a new public space for residents to enjoy this coming June. The Lincoln Yard Trail at 2099 SE Eighth Ave. will be a new park containing a one-third-mile walking trail, a stormwater pond, a playground and an adult fitness station."

• Ocala Gazette: Ocala’s processing of fire fee refunds leaves questions. "According to a May 2022 court order, refund checks totaling almost $80 million in illegal taxes collected by Ocala need to be cashed by April 30, 2024, or the funds will stay with the city. As previously reported by the Gazette, city records show as of December 2023, almost 18,000 people had not cashed refund checks totaling more than $7 million."

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Around the state

• WTSP-Tampa Bay: DeSantis signs bill helping home, condo owners prepare for hurricanes. "This bill creates the My Safe Florida Home program for condo owners. The original, popular program is a grant people can apply for giving them a free home insurance inspection report providing them with information about their home’s hurricane readiness."

• Spectrum News: Florida health care providers adjust to largest U.S. drug shortage list in recorded history. "The (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists) currently reports that there is a shortage of 323 different drugs, which is the highest number the group has seen since 2001, when it started tracking shortages."

• NPR News: In Florida, an exodus of people fleeing rising anti-immigrant sentiment. "Among other things, SB1718 penalizes employers from using undocumented labor, prohibits undocumented people from having driver's licenses, and defines giving an undocumented person a ride into the state of Florida as human smuggling. It also requires hospitals to include questions about immigration status."

• Politico: Trump campaign will host Florida donor retreat with potential VP picks. "A copy of the invitation obtained by POLITICO lists 16 special guests for the May 3-5 event in Palm Beach. Among them are some of the top names being mentioned for Trump’s general election ticket: Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Tim Scott of South Carolina and J.D. Vance of Ohio, as well as Govs. Doug Burgum of North Dakota and Kristi Noem of South Dakota, and Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Byron Donalds (R-Fla.)."

• News Service of Florida: Money from the BP oil spill settlement aims to bolster workforce training in Florida. "Triumph Gulf Coast earlier this month surpassed the milestone of distributing more than $550 million in grant awards stemming from the BP oil spill settlement, with much of the funding going toward schools in an effort to boost the North Florida region’s local workforce."

• Tallahassee Democrat ($): Florida adds restrictions to dairy cows to prevent bird flu. "In mid-April, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services put into place an emergency rule that halted the import of cattle exposed to H5N1 and any lactating dairy cattle from other states that have suspected or confirmed cases."

• WFLA-Tampa: Flood mitigation work begins to help with Shore Acres flooding. "The City of St. Petersburg is spending millions of dollars to help with flooding problems in the Shore Acres neighborhood. On Wednesday, work began on a project to replace aging backflow preventors in the stormwater sewer system."

• Jacksonville Daily Record: Council President Ron Salem says Jaguars stadium deal can be delivered by mid-May. "City Council President Ron Salem says he is hoping the framework for a deal to upgrade the Jacksonville Jaguars’ stadium will be in the Council’s hands by mid-May and that full Council meetings on the deal can begin in early June."

• USA Today Network ($): Seeing more stories of gators in unlikely places? Here's a recap of the latest alligator affairs in Florida. "You might be thinking "duh, it's Florida, there's obviously going to be an alligator story from time to time," which is fair. The reptiles are found in all 67 of Florida's counties, lurking in most of our waterways throughout the state. However, there might be more to the multiple encounters."

From NPR News

• National: Meadows, Giuliani, 11 'fake electors' from 2020 are among those indicted in Arizona

• National: Biden gives TikTok a year to find a buyer or be banned

• World: The Story of One Child Living in Gaza

• World: What Congress' $60 billion of military aid for Ukraine could mean for the battlefield

• World: Runaway horses gallop through central London, blazing a path of mayhem and injuries

• Politics: Supreme Court to examine a federal-state conflict over emergency abortions

• Politics: With federal fraud trial looming, George Santos drops out of New York House race

• Business: Airlines are ordered to give full refunds instead of vouchers and to stop hiding fees

Ethan Magoc curated today's edition of The Point.