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July 16, 2018

Friday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 7/6/2018

As Florida-Georgia ‘water wars’ get salty, oysters get a say

Florida and Georgia have been arguing about the water that flows into the Apalachicola Bay for three decades. The result: the virtual collapse of the oyster industry there. The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that sent Florida v. Georgia back to the special master had one unique element: For the first time, the health of an aquatic ecosystem can be considered alongside drinking-water and farming concerns. “Florida is asserting that they want water for fish and fauna, and that’s the first time that’s ever been presented in one of these cases,” said Jesse Richardson, a professor at West Virginia University College of Law. [Source: St. Augustine Record]

SunPass Problems: State awarded contractor millions more while unprocessed tolls mounted

As problems continued to mount for the Florida Turnpike Enterprise's SunPass system and a backlog of toll transactions grew to more than 100 million, the state didn't hit the contractor Conduent with penalties; instead, it kept awarding them more money. More than a dozen change orders have increased the original $287 million electronic tolling contract to $343 million, including what appears to be more than $20 million for extensions and delays. [Source: WTSP]

See also:
» Latest SunPass letter to users - with explanation about the delays
» Is SunPass working yet?

Florida home prices lag U.S. gains

Home prices in Florida rose 5.6 percent in May, falling short of the U.S. average. But state prices are projected to jump 7.2 percent over the next 12 months, outpacing the rest of nation, data provider CoreLogic said this week. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]

Central Florida companies scramble ahead of Chinese tariffs

At least three Central Florida companies are warning that 25 percent Chinese tariffs on equipment and parts set to kick in Friday will make it harder for them to do business. Tompkins Robotics in Orlando, an e-commerce supply chain automation company, estimates it would take 18 months to set up factories in the U.S. to produce the robots they need. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

How Florida landowners can get paid to restore longleaf pine forests

Florida is home to more than half of the total longleaf pine ecosystem. The Florida Department of Agriculture and several conservation organizations are collaborating with landowners in a new effort to restore the crucial habitats created by longleaf pines that are home to thousands of plants, birds and other species. [Source: WKMG]

See also:
» There is still time to apply: Residents of many north and central Florida counties can participate in the "Long Leaf Pine Program for Landowners," and receive payments for planting pine and other native plants. More information here.

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› NASA likely to relocate delayed Pegasus launch to Florida
NASA and Northrop Grumman are expected to base the launch of an air-dropped Pegasus rocket with a NASA science satellite from Cape Canaveral later this year, after originally trying to get the mission into space from a remote island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

› Tampa Bay CareerSource centers say they’ve stopped trading gift cards for hiring information
The interim directors of CareerSource Tampa Bay and CareerSource Pinellas ordered their staffs to stop the practice in the past week following a Tampa Bay Times story that documented how the agencies, funded by public tax dollars, handed out about $6 million in prepaid gift and gas cards since 2014.

› Early Florida citrus estimate hangs on, barely
Greening has changed the financial landscape for everyone in the Florida citrus industry. The state’s annual citrus production has declined more than 70 percent since greening’s arrival 13 years ago, hitting just 45 million boxes in the current season, the lowest in 73 years.

› South Miami study of 50 subjects hunts for Zika vaccine
Trials for a Zika DNA vaccine are progressing as Miami clinic QPS-MRA has welcomed a new lead investigator and met its goal of 50 research subjects – with room for more.

Go to page 2 for more stories ...

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