The Point, Sept. 22, 2021: Florida’s Governor Introduces New State Surgeon General, Dr. Joseph Lapedo – WUFT


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• WUFT News: Gainesville Is Removing The Barrier Around The 125-Foot Sinkhole That Opened In 2020. “Life for Westwood Estates residents changed forever after a 125-foot sinkhole opened in the neighbors’ backyards last October. The city of Gainesville installed a temporary fence around the sinkhole and damaged properties after the collapse. Next month, it is scheduled to come down.”

• WUFT News: RTS Bus Riders Are Struggling With Detours (But There’s A New App For That). “Half of the Regional Transit System’s 46 bus routes are currently detoured due to the construction on and around the University of Florida campus. Stops are closed, routes have changed and commuters are trying to adapt. To help, RTS is promoting the launch of a new app that aims to streamline navigation and clarify the detoured bus routes for riders.”

• WUFT News: People In Crystal River Are Frustrated With U.S. 19 Widening Projects And Neighborhood Flooding. “Residents are not only concerned about increased flooding in their neighborhoods. They’re also worried about how FDOT’s drainage systems are affecting the nearby Halls River.”

• Mainstreet Daily News: Court set to rule on city’s vaccine mandate. “An Eighth Circuit Court judge said Monday she expects to rule quickly on a preliminary injunction involving Gainesville’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees and contractors. Jeff Childers, the attorney for approximately 250 employees and contractors suing the city over the vaccination requirement, asked Judge Monica Brasingson for a preliminary injunction to stop the mandate.”

• Gainesville Sun ($): Air purifiers installed this week in Alachua County schools to combat COVID-19. “The installation of 1,700 air purifiers in all classrooms throughout the district is expected to be complete by the end of the week. The purifiers cost the district approximately $2.8 million. The money is coming the federal COVID-19 funds.”

• WUFT News: Reelected: Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn Won Another Term Tuesday Night. “The incumbent of about 10 years beat his opponent, Manal Fakhoury, with 65.93% of the 9,855 votes cast. Guinn has served as Ocala’s mayor since 2011. His new term will last two years. He was a councilman representing District 4 for 12 years prior to his mayorship.”

• Florida Storms: First Fall Front Approaches Florida on First Day of Fall. “Behind the front, temperatures and dew points will fall 5 to 10 degrees on average. The lower dew points will yield lower humidity values. THis will make the air mass noticeably more comfortable, especially during the evening and morning hours. Afternoon highs will fall to the upper 70s and lower 80s across the Panhandle and North Florida Thursday through Saturday, with overnight lows dipping into the 50s and 60s for the first time in several months.”

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• WFSU: Florida’s New Surgeon General Says Vaccinations Are A Choice. “Florida’s new surgeon general says the state shouldn’t be making public health decisions out of fear, and that vaccination mandates are not the answer to the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Joseph Lapedo says vaccination should be a choice. ‘The state should be promoting good health,’ Lapedo told reporters at his first press conference Tuesday. ‘Vaccination is not the only path to that. It has been treated almost as a religion. That is just senseless. There are lots of good pathways to health, and vaccination is not the only one.’”

• WUSF: A Sarasota Store Is Suing Florida Over Its Lack Of A Vaccine Requirement. “In some states, vaccination cards have become the golden ticket to restaurants, bars and stores. But in Florida, businesses are legally not allowed to require proof of vaccination for entry. The owners of Bead Abode, a Sarasota craft store, are suing the Florida surgeon general over the law.”

• Associated Press: Authorities Confirm Gabby Petito’s Remains Have Been Found And She Died From Homicide. “Earlier, authorities renewed their search of a swampy preserve area near the home of the boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, 23. Police in North Port, Fla., said Tuesday morning that investigators returned to the Carlton Reserve to look for him.”

• USA Today Network ($): Records show efforts to gain partisan advantage through election law billed as security measure. “In a text message exchange with Republican state Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, Florida GOP Chair Joe Gruters, a state senator from Sarasota, talks about how it would be ‘devastating’ not to ‘reset’ Florida’s mail ballot requests after the 2020 cycle, forcing voters to make the requests again in 2022 instead of allowing them to stand for two cycles.”

• New York Times ($): When Sacred Ground Is Also Multimillion-Dollar Real Estate. “…the parcel at 8777 Collins Avenue is nearly two acres on the beach in South Florida, where waterfront property is scarce, developers drive the economy and the market for luxury condos promising a dream Florida lifestyle seems insatiable. For many of those who lived in the building and lost almost everything they owned, a lucrative real estate deal seems like the best hope for any substantial compensation.”

• FOX35 Orlando: 2 arrested outside Brevard County School Board building as board approves mask policy extension. “The controversy again was over face masks in the classroom. People showed up holding signs outside the meeting. Some were hoping the school board would extend the current mask policy. Others were pushing for the board to drop the mandate completely.”

• Pensacola News Journal ($): Appeal to save Escambia County’s largest ‘heritage tree’ fails. “Environmental advocates lost their fight to try to save an 85-inch diameter live oak Monday when the Escambia County Board of Adjustment ruled unanimously that they lacked standing to appeal the county’s decision allowing the protected tree to be cut down.”

• Health: Johnson & Johnson Says Its Booster Shot Provides Increased Protection From COVID-19

• Health: The Science And Policy Behind The Decision To Vaccinate Younger Children

• National: Media Fascination With The Petito Mystery Looks Like Racism To Some Native Americans

• Business: A 10-Foot Wide House In Boston Sells For $1.25 Million

• Politics: Congress Is Locked In A Familiar Standoff That Could Have Big Economic Consequences

• World: Ahead Of Climate Talks, China Vows To Stop Building Coal Power Plants Abroad

About today’s curator

I’m Ethan Magoc, a news editor at WUFT. Originally from Pennsylvania, I’ve found a home telling Florida stories. I’m part of a team searching each morning for local and state stories that are important to you; please send feedback about today’s edition or ideas for stories we may have missed to emagoc@wuft.org.