Friday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida’s $1.1 billion Hardest Hit Fund winding down after some hard knocks
In 2010, Florida was in the throes of an unprecedented housing crisis. One in every eight homes was in some stage of foreclosure. Today, the foreclosure rate is one in every 83. Because of that enormous drop, Florida’s Hardest Hit Fund will stop accepting applications Jan. 31 for its three main mortgage assistance programs. More from the Tampa Bay Times.
SpaceX launches, lands reused rocket carrying reused cargo pod from Florida
For the first time since a rocket exploded on Launch Complex 40 in September of 2016, SpaceX has launched a rocket from historic Launch Complex 40. The first-stage rocket then landed about 7 minutes, 48 seconds after the launch, setting the stage for the company to potentially use it again in the future. More from the Orlando Sentinel and the AP.
Gainesville's energy burden
Gainesville’s poorest citizens spend 22 percent of their income on utility bills, a far higher burden than the national average for the poor and more than quadruple what most local families pay as a percentage of income. More from WUFT.
Harrison takes medical leave from CSX
Hunter Harrison has taken a medical leave from his position as CEO and president of CSX, the company announced Thursday night. The railroad gave no details other than saying the leave was due to “unexpected complications from a recent illness.” More from the Florida Times-Union.
Florida lawmakers want stronger college free speech rules amid First Amendment flareups
Rising up in defiance to Richard Spencer, hundreds of University of Florida students sounded off in a deafening chant, "Go home, Spencer!" Were the students exercising their fellow First Amendment rights? Or were they breaking the law by taking his event off the rails? That would be up for debate under a new "campus free expression" bill filed in Florida this week. More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Soccer store opens in Westchase on the brink of World Cup
Even though the United States Men’s soccer team didn’t qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, that hasn’t diminished local fans’ excitement about the upcoming international event. Best Buy Soccer and Lacrosse is a specialty sporting goods store that focuses on soccer, and will soon add lacrosse equipment.
» More from the Tampa Bay Times.
In Miami, "customers are panicking" over Christmas tree shortage
Ho, ho, oh, no. If you haven’t bought your Christmas tree yet, you may be scrooged. Miamians are feeling the effects of a national Christmas tree shortage as they scramble to find a shapely specimen and worry they may have to settle for a scrawny Charlie Brown version.
» Read more from the Miami Herald.
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