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• WUFT News: Marion County Teacher, Veteran Appeals Termination For Medical Marijuana Use. “In November, the former dean sustained a minor shoulder reinjury after subduing a fight that broke out in the school courtyard. At the insistence of the principal, (Michael) Hickman completed a routine medical evaluation but subsequently failed the school-administered drug test, testing positive for cannabinoids. On account of the district’s zero-tolerance drug-free workplace policy, Hickman was fired in January.”
• Florida Storms: Colorado State Forecasters Now Say The Season Could Be ‘Extremely Active.’ “CSU is calling for 24 named storms, of which 12 are forecast to reach hurricane strength, and five to achieve major hurricane status. This third and final forecast already takes into account the nine named storms — 7 tropical storms and 2 hurricanes — that have formed this season.”
• WUFT News: Exceptional Students Gear Up For the New School Year. “Alachua County Public Schools are set to open on Aug. 24, with many students resuming distance learning. But for children on the autism spectrum, that is not the best option.”
• Gainesville Sun ($): Alachua County school board rethinks plans for opening. “‘If it is OK for the children to go back to school in less than three weeks, why are you guys sitting at home still,’ (a member of the public asked the school board). ‘Can we see you guys at the schools, holding your meetings there?’”
• Ocala Star-Banner ($): Ocala City Council passes mask ordinance as emergency measure. “By a 4-1 vote, the Ocala City Council passed an emergency measure Tuesday evening to require masks in stores, hotels and other businesses within the city limits, effective Aug. 14.”
• Gainesville Sun ($): Historian Patricia Hilliard-Nunn dies. “Patricia Hilliard-Nunn, whose research brought to light the ugly history of racism and lynching in Alachua County and who advocated for truth and reconciliation over that past, has died.”
WUFT is here for you with vital coverage during complex times. With the spread of COVID-19, independent, public service journalism has never been more important than it is right now. WUFT exists to serve the north central Florida community and is committed to keeping you up to date with the latest news from your community, the state and the world. If you’re able to, please consider making a donation to WUFT to keep us going strong. Support WUFT and your trusted journalism source in this critical time.
• Florida Politics: Rick Scott slams Ron DeSantis: ‘Go solve problems. Quit blaming others.’ “The blame game continues for Florida’s current and former governors regarding failures in the state’s unemployment system, with Sen. Rick Scott disclaiming responsibility for the ongoing situation.”
• Miami Herald ($): Criticism of DeSantis does not signal a 2022 campaign run yet, Nikki Fried says. “She did, however, allude to an ‘electoral reckoning’ she thinks Gov. Ron DeSantis will face as a result of his response to the pandemic.”
• News Service of Florida: Gov. DeSantis calls off another Florida Cabinet meeting. “Fried’s office released a statement Wednesday criticizing the cancellation. ‘So, it’s safe for schools to reopen, but it’s not safe to hold a Cabinet meeting? Makes sense,’ Fried said in the statement.”
• Bay News 9: “Back the Blue” Mural Vandalized Outside Tampa Police Headquarters. “A spokesperson for the city of Tampa said everyone involved was in the wrong. The people who painted ‘Back the Blue’ didn’t have a permit, and they blocked the street for hours to turn the street into a pro-police mural. The department is also trying to find out who defaced it.”
• Tallahassee Democrat ($): Tough to enforce: Leon County mask ordinance leads to tantrums, complaints in first few weeks. “In the three weeks after June 24 when the ordinance was passed by county commissioners, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and Tallahassee Police Department responded to at least 80 complaints, according to public records requested by the Tallahassee Democrat. The records give a window into the tough position law enforcement officials find themselves in, caught somewhere between education, enforcement and the agitation that accompanies several of the complaints.”
• Miami Herald ($): Industry cancels U.S. cruises until Oct. 31, one month after CDC ban expires. “The announcement comes as cruise companies struggle to repatriate crew members, some of whom have been stuck at sea since mid-March when the industry first shut down, most without pay.”
• Sarasota Herald-Tribune ($): Iconic ‘Unconditional Surrender’ statue may have new home on Beneva Road — far from bayfront. “Wednesday’s discussion also saw enthusiastic support from the veteran community — with many pointing to the “Unconditional Surrender” as a symbol of the end of World War II and a tribute to military veterans. Opponents, mostly women, said the sculpture is a reminder of a sexual assault and urged the committee to remove it.”
• WLRN: ‘There Was Just Turtle After Turtle After Turtle’: Could Sea Turtles Be Surging In Biscayne Bay? “On a flat calm day earlier this month, Dirk Jacobs was speeding south just outside Biscayne Bay in his 22-foot bay boat when he spotted something he’d not seen in a half century of fishing: hundreds of sea turtles, their heads bursting from the placid waters like popcorn.”