Friday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
More than a million Florida property owners are ‘equity rich’
In Florida, owners of more than 1 million properties with mortgages have at least 50 percent equity in their homes, according to an analysis by ATTOM Data Solutions looking at home equity at the end of the first quarter. The state ranks 12th in the U.S., with 24.6 percent of all properties with a mortgage considered “equity rich.” More from Florida Business Daily.
Magic Gaming lands virtual reality partnership
The Orlando Magic’s competitive video game team has partnered with a virtual reality company for what it’s calling “exclusive” content with the team. Exactly what the partnership with CEEK VR will mean for Magic Gaming fans and the team was not immediately clear, but the release hinted at “unique fan experiences.” More from the Orlando Sentinel.
From Florida Trend:
» Orlando Magic hopes to turn gamers into basketball fans
University researchers find ways to battle Lyme disease in Florida
Researchers at the University of Central Florida have spent nearly a decade studying ticks and trying to stop Lyme disease. For eight years, Dr. Mollie Jewett has had a lab full of ticks, trying to unravel why Lyme disease has spread so quickly. According to the CDC, cases in Florida have tripled, from 34 in 2006 to 132 in 2016. More from WFTV.
Suicides increase in Florida, country
Florida’s suicide rate increased 10.6 percent from 1999 to 2016, though most states saw larger increases, according to a new report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report showed an overall 25.4 percent increase nationally during the period, with only one state --- Nevada --- seeing a decrease in its rate. More from WGCU.
If South Florida was a country, how would it rank economically? Watch out, Hong Kong.
South Florida's $340 billion economy ranks as one of the 50 largest in the world, edging out entire countries on the list. A new report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors is trying to highlight the economic importance of the nation's metropolitan areas by putting their output in a global context. More from the Miami Herald.
Out of the Box
Air Potato Beetles flourishing in Florida
Across Florida, thousands of small, red beetles have been battling the invasive air potato vine for the last eight years, one bite at a time. And they appear to be prospering, according to the latest data collected through the collaborative efforts of the University of Florida, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and hundreds of citizen scientists.
» More from the Tallahassee Democrat.
Impact RTO Holdings
Shirin Kanji’s family business history was in hotels. But in 2008, amid a lag in hotel stays because of the recession, Kanji decided his family’s portfolio at Impact Properties needed to diversify beyond hospitality. He landed on retail — but not in the traditional sense. He wanted to be a franchise owner of Rent-A-Center. A new division of Impact, Impact RTO Holdings, has amassed the single-largest chunk of franchised Rent-A-Centers: 76 stores. Kanji is its president.
» Read more from the Tampa Bay Times.
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