Florida growers face uphill climb after Irma
Hurricane Irma has caused widespread devastation throughout Florida’s farming industry, leading to what their farm bureau are calling “an agricultural disaster that will cost farmers and ranchers billions." Adam Putnam, Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture, said, “Unlike other hurricanes, Irma was the size of Texas, and virtually all of Florida was seriously affected, including the dairy, citrus, sugar, landscaping, and nursery industries. We recently flew [U.S. Secretary of Agriculture] Sonny Perdue over Central and Southwest Florida and it was heartbreaking to see the scope of destruction.” Full story from Growing Produce is here. Also read more at Scottish Farmer and The Packer.
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Florida is known for being one of the hottest retirement spots in the country, but new research shows that the state also has some of the fastest growing cities. WalletHub looked at 515 cities across the United States and compared them based on 15 key measurements. More from the Palm Beach Post and see the report from WalletHub.
The islands’ business owners were among the first people to decide to stay and make a go of it. Much of the Keys’ economy is back in business, despite limited resources and few customers. As a result, officials are embarking on a $1 million emergency ad campaign to entice tourists back to the Keys. Fantasy Fest, the Keys' legendary annual street party held at the end of October, will go on as usual. [Source: The Weather Channel]
Publix Super Markets’ strict grooming standards have the clean-cut grocery chain in hot water with federal anti-discrimination authorities. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing the Lakeland-based grocer, alleging religious discrimination for telling a new hire to cut his dreadlocks to work there. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Selby Botanical Gardens will be growing up over the next decade with a $67 million construction project that includes a 5-story parking garage with a rooftop restaurant. “It’s a sky garden and terrace — that’s what we’re calling it,” said Selby CEO Jennifer Rominiecki. “All of the walls will be covered with plants. It’s cutting-edge green architecture.” Also read more at the Sarasota Herald Tribune.
› Optics manufacturer moving to Pasco from Long Island [Tampa Bay Times]
Meopta U.S.A., which manufactures optical lenses for aerospace, defense and sports, is moving operations from Long Island, N.Y., to Trinity. Next week, Pasco County commissioners will consider a $141,000 job-creation incentive for the Czech Republic company.
› Marijuana company nudges Florida regulators to allow pot candies [Palm Beach Post]
In Colorado, California and other cannabis hotbeds, marijuana “edibles” are big business. That’s not the case yet in Florida, a state that technically allows edibles but where regulators have yet to set rules for cannabis candies.
› Broward commission to consider $1.35 million for Spirit Airlines' expansion in Miramar [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Broward County Commission is scheduled Tuesday to consider $1.35 million incentives package for Spirit Airlines to expand in Miramar and add 225 jobs. The package also would help retain 617 current jobs in Miramar.
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› Florida is opening disaster centers to offer aid to displaced Puerto Ricans [Miami Herald]
Florida will open three disaster relief centers Tuesday to assist Puerto Rican families displaced by Hurricane Maria. Gov. Rick Scott said Monday that the centers, staffed by state employees, will be located at Orlando International Airport, Miami International Airport and Port Miami.
› Zephyrhills, Brooksville among Florida's most affordable places to live [Tampa Bay Times]
Looking for an affordable place to live? Two Tampa Bay communities – Zephyrhills and Brooksville – rank in the top 10 of Florida areas where you get the most bang for your buck, the financial technology company SmartAsset says.
› AutoNation sued for gender discrimination against South Florida employee [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Fort Lauderdale-based AutoNation, the nation’s largest car dealership company, is being sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for gender discrimination against a Coral Gables employee.
› IMG Academy breaks ground on 150-room hotel [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Manatee County is gaining another 150 hotel rooms with a new hotel project at IMG Academy. Construction is underway on The Legacy Hotel at IMG Academy at the north edge of the 500-acre athletic campus.