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The Point, May 20, 2024: Undercover activist tries to entrap Muslim UF professors

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The stories near you

• Fresh Take Florida: Undercover Messianic Jewish activist sought to entrap Muslim professors at UF. "A Messianic Jewish activist who pretended to be Muslim and said he was concerned about Islamophobia met undercover over the last four weeks with Muslim professors at the University of Florida — including its new Teacher of the Year — in an apparent scheme to goad them into making remarks that would expose their bias against Israel and conservatives."

• WUFT News: Water Worries: Exploring Florida's freshwater challenges and solutions. "The main character in our story is the Floridan Aquifer, an underground mass of freshwater that underlies 100,000 square miles of the southeastern United States, with a significant portion beneath Florida's surface. Often mistaken as an underground pool of water, the aquifer is more like an underground sponge: porous limestone rock that holds freshwater."

• WUFT News: DeSantis appoints new GRU Authority members, including former general manager Ed Bielarski. "The Gainesville City Commission fired Bielarski from his role as general manager in 2022. He said despite their history, he intends to work with the commission to move the utility forward."

• WCJB: Man in Ocala in serious condition after being shot by a police officer, FDLE investigating. "They say he was on the way to The Vines, a mental health clinic, when he started acting erratically and ran away from his family. Police officers found the man on Southwest 27th Avenue."

• Mainstreet Daily News: ‘Here I am, send me’: First Black graduate recounts integrating Gainesville High School. "In 1964, plaintiffs represented by NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. sued to desegregate Alachua County Public Schools. That fall, three Black students entered historically-white Gainesville High School."

• The Alligator: Ironwood Golf Course looks to stay afloat as staple of Gainesville golf community. "Since being purchased by Gainesville in 1992, Ironwood has become a staple of the Gainesville golf community. As one of the only public courses within city limits, Ironwood draws in golfers from all over the area."

• Ocala Star-Banner ($): Hundreds turn out Friday at vigil for the 8 farm workers killed Tuesday in Marion County. "An hour before a candlelight vigil started to remember the eight, Marquez's transformation was evident. What was once a place of sadness, was filled with art works, bright colors and pictures."

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Around the state

• WFSU-Tallahassee: "Give my child justice": Funeral services were held for U.S. Senior Airman Roger Fortson. "The family mourned the 23-year-old in Stonecrest, Georgia. They maintain that Fortson, who was Black, was unjustifiably killed in his home by an officer who the Sheriff’s Office says was in self-defense."

• USA Today ($): How much does it cost DeSantis to travel from one place to another? Florida won't tell you. "His constituents may know DeSantis went to these three cities, but they won't know how much it cost them. The state says such financial records are exempt from public records disclosure, citing a 2023 law geared at concealing certain information to prevent the endangerment of the governor and other officials."

• AAA: A record-setting 2.5 million Floridians expected to travel over Memorial Day weekend. "More than 2.5 million Floridians are expected to hit the road and journey 50 miles or more. That’s 126,500 more holiday travelers than the previous high, which was set last year."

• News Service of Florida: Florida's unemployment rate in April was the highest in more than two years. "Jimmy Heckman, the department’s chief of workforce statistics and economic research, said the report shows 'really strong job growth' for the month and that unemployment in the state remains 'very low by historical standards.'"

• Central Florida Public Media: Could saving farms help conserve Florida's coveted Corridor lands? "Typically, conservation easements restrict how land can be used. But in Florida, agricultural conservation easements allow land to still be used for farming, and stay in private hands, while providing tax benefits for landowners."

• WLRN-Miami: Iconic Seven Mile Bridge likely to be fully replaced, as officials reject continuous repair. "The existing bridge is not functionally deficient, but it is deteriorating. It is located in an extremely corrosive environment, surrounded by salt water. Chloride content several times the threshold for corrosion was found in parts of the bridge, according to the 2022 report."

• WUSF-Tampa: USF launches a new tool for human trafficking victims. "Bridging Resources and Information Gaps in Human Trafficking, or BRIGHT Network, aims to streamline the process of connecting human trafficking victims with vital services to help recover and stabilize their lives."

From NPR News

• Politics: At Morehouse, Biden says dissent should be heard because democracy is 'still the way'

• National: Youth detention facilities face increased scrutiny amid a wave of abuse lawsuits

• National: Benedictine College nuns denounce Harrison Butker's speech at their school

• Business: 'Magic United': Disneyland characters vote to unionize

• Health: Other countries have better sunscreens. Here's why we can't get them in the U.S.

• National: Iowa superintendent and former Olympian bested in footrace by 5th-grader

• Space: At age 90, America's first Black astronaut candidate has finally made it to space

• Health: Like to bike? Your knees will thank you and you may live longer, too

Kristin Moorehead curated today's edition of The Point.