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WGCU News

  • Gabby Petito was reported missing by her family in New Jersey after not returning with her fiancé and van from several months visiting west coast national parks.
  • A federal judge struck down a lawsuit from parents of disabled children, Wednesday, that challenged Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive order barring Florida school districts from imposing mandatory mask mandates on students.AARP is sounding the alarm as CDC data shows that COVID-19 deaths in Florida nursing homes have sharply increased in the past month amid a statewide surge in new infections and deaths.County-level data on COVID-19 deaths in Florida is once again available, more than three months after the state stopped publicly reporting the information through its COVID-19 online dashboard.Lee Health continues to report gradual declines in its hospitalized COVID patient population, even as resources remain significantly strained.The Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida is downplaying concerns that a federal mandate requiring vaccination of most hospital employees will exacerbate the healthcare worker shortage.
  • Hoping to avoid the same results of Lee County’s 2011 redistricting, residents of a primarily Black Fort Myers neighborhood told the Lee County commission Tuesday to listen to minority communities and avoid a repeat of gerrymandering when setting new districts for representation.
  • A group of local young men are learning what's beyond hope. They are part of Pickup the Ball, a non-profit organization in Lee County that helps them find their way.
  • Hospitals in Southwest Florida continue to report declines in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Lee Health officials say they plan to comply with a new Biden Administration rule requiring some employers to require workers to be vaccinated or to be tested for COVID-19 weekly.Child advocates and Democrats are criticizing Gov. Ron DeSantis after his administration passed on $820 million in federal funds to help feed children from low-income families who are out of school due to a COVID-19 infection or exposure.The Lee County School District has changed its policy to allow parents to opt their children out of mask-wearing in school without a doctor’s note.Thousands of Sarasota parents turned out for an event last weekend, where physicians were providing medical exemption forms to the school district’s mask mandate.Florida Deputy Secretary for Health Shamarial Roberson, who has been critical in the state’s COVID tracking and response, announced her resignation.Collier County officials have announced plans for spending $74 million in federal American Rescue Plan fundingA consortium of Sarasota arts organizations announced plans to adopt uniform COVID safety policies that require vaccines or proof of a negative COVID test.
  • The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Lee Health hospitals has declined every day for the past week even as capacity issues remain a significant challenge. Lee Health President and CEO Dr. Larry Antonucci says the health system intends to comply with new federal rules requiring employee vaccinations or weekly COVID testing.
  • Governor Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody vowed, Monday, that Florida will fight local and federal COVID-19 vaccination mandates for both public and private workers. DeSantis says any Florida city or county that requires workers to get the vaccine, will be fined $5,000 per infraction.Parents suing to overturn DeSantis’ efforts to ban school districts from imposing student mask mandates are asking the Florida Supreme Court to take up the case after an appeals court, Friday, reinstated a stay on a ruling that allowed districts to keep their mask rules in place.Thousands of people attended a school mask exemption event in Venice, Sunday, where doctors were signing notes to exempt Sarasota school district students from the district’s mask mandate.Hospitals throughout Southwest Florida continue to report a decline in the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, as deaths continue to rise.
  • A power outage caused the city water plant's pressure levels to drop below normal, triggering the precautionary boil order.
  • In the fall of 2001, Florida Gulf Coast University was still a new school. It only had been open to students for four years, and the campus was still quite small and intimate when 9/11 occurred. While there was no immediate campus-wide response, a group of FGCU professors responded with a campus-wide event on November 9 called "Messages of Hope, Healing and Understanding: The Humanities and Arts Respond to September 11."Mike Kiniry spoke with two of the professors who created the event about, and what it was like being on campus at FGCU on 9/11.
  • A Florida judge overturned an emergency motion, Thursday, attempting to reinstate a stay on his previous ruling that allows school districts to keep their student mandatory mask policies in place.Numbers of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Southwest Florida continue to decline, as COVID-19 deaths of hospitalized patients continue to grow.The Fallen Officer Memorial Page lists COVID-19 as the number one cause of death for law enforcement officers nationwide in both 2020 and 2021.