The Point, Feb. 16, 2022: The Marion County Sheriff joined Rainbow Family members in prayer over an unsolved murder

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• WUFT News: Rainbow Family members and Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods pray for resolution in murder case. “Just days after the one-year anniversary of his death, a dozen people gathered in front of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday afternoon with handwritten signs that said, ‘Help Us Find Larry “Frank” Dugger’s Killer.’ The Rainbow Family of Living Light is an alternative-living group that has gatherings yearly in the Ocala National Forest, and the shooting that killed Dugger took place at last year’s gathering.”

• WUFT News: The opioid epidemic continues to plague north central Florida communities. “Since 2018, the Ocala Police Department has responded to over 1,000 overdose incidents, which have resulted in the deaths of 139 Ocala residents. OPD Public Information Officer Jeff Walczak said the police department’s investigations have shown the drugs responsible for many of the overdose deaths enter the U.S. from Mexico.”

• USA Today Network ($): Florida Gov. DeSantis sides with House in penalizing school districts that required masks. “After earlier downplaying the idea, Gov. Ron DeSantis now has endorsed a House proposal to cut $200 million in education money from a dozen Florida counties that defied him by issuing mask requirements last year for students and school staff.”

• The Gainesville Sun ($): Political organizer, environmental entrepreneur run for seat on Gainesville commission. “Bryan Eastman, 33, is president of the Alachua County Young Democrats. He has run the campaigns of numerous local candidates and ballot initiatives. Christian Newman, 53, has taught high school science and founded various environmental consulting firms.”

• WUFT News: Three Ocala Natives compete for gold at Beijing Olympics. “Among the world’s best skaters and leading medal contenders, Brittany Bowe, Erin Jackson and Joey Mantia are all from the same city: Ocala, Florida, of all places.”

• WUFT News: Inflation causes small businesses to grapple with changes. “The Greater Gainesville Chamber doesn’t measure local data related to inflation. But the consumer price index, which measures average price changes over time, rose 7% nationally and 7.4% in the South in 2021. Inflation increases the cost of doing business and reduces income, according to Staci Bertrand, the chamber’s vice president of economic development. That’s particularly exasperating for small businesses and their limited profit margins, Bertrand said.”

• CBS4 News: Gainesville Police Department faces staff shortage. “Like the rest of the nation, the Gainesville Police Department is facing consistent staffing issues, but they hope a new agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police will help them alleviate the situation.”

• Main Street Daily News: Local hospitals see ‘dramatic’ COVID case decline. “After plateauing the past two weeks, local COVID-positive hospitalization cases are finally declining.”

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• Miami Herald ($): New U.S. sea rise projections are lower but still forecast grim future for Florida. “As attention and urgency ramp up around the world over the looming dangers of climate change, a major new federal report released on Tuesday offers a surprising forecast: It actually reduces the amount of sea level rise the world is expected to see as the Earth warms.”

• USA Today Network ($): Florida House poised to approve 15-week abortion ban with no rape, incest exceptions. “The Florida House Tuesday positioned a 15-week abortion ban (HB 5) for final passage Wednesday. That came after two hours of intense questioning by Democrats about how it will impact women pregnant by rape, incest and coercion, and those trapped in poverty.”

• Sarasota Herald-Tribune ($): DeSantis leads Democratic challengers in new poll. “Among the three Democrats vying to take on DeSantis, Congressman Charlie Crist has the most support in the Democratic primary, according the Mason-Dixon poll, which found that 44% of Florida Democrats back Crist while 27% back Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and 3% support state Sen. Annette Taddeo. A significant number of Democrats – 26% – are undecided.”

• News Service of Florida: Florida lawmakers are considering a change in excused absences for students. “Only physicians currently are allowed to write notes attesting to illnesses or conditions that would excuse students’ absences. The House proposal would permit any “other licensed professional as determined by school board policy” to write such notes on behalf of students.”

• WJCT: Masks coming off at Disney World, but only if you’re vaccinated. “The changes come as COVID-19 continues to wane in Florida, as the number of people hospitalized continued to drop Tuesday.”

• WUSF: LGBTQ authors and advocates say Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill could hurt teens. “School districts across Florida — and the country — have received attention for pulling LGBTQ books out of their libraries or placing them under review. And the battle over regulating conversations in schools continues in the Florida Legislature, where what’s referred to as the “don’t say gay” bill is being debated.”

• National: Neighbors recall Ahmaud Arbery’s death in hate crimes trial of his killers

• National: Families of Sandy Hook victims reach settlement with Remington

• World: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny faces a new trial, this time in prison

• World: Life in the Beijing Olympic bubble

• Politics: Biden speaks about Russia-Ukraine tensions

• Politics: GOP candidates and leaders subpoenaed as Jan. 6 panel dives into fake electors scheme

• Health: FDA chief has been confirmed despite concerns over his pharmaceutical industry ties

• Health: When moms get vaccinated during pregnancy, babies get protection too, study shows

About today’s curator

I’m Melissa Feito, a journalist at WUFT. Originally from Miami, I got my start in public radio covering religion stories like the spiritual roots of Afro-Brazilian music and modern communities of pagans. I’m a graduate student getting my master’s degree in mass communication and am part of a team searching for local and state news each week that’s important to you. Please send feedback about today’s edition of The Point or ideas for stories we may have missed to [email protected].






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