Friday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Competition from Mexico endangers Florida’s strawberry industry
Florida is one of the biggest domestic producers of strawberries, second only to California., and it’s the only producer of winter strawberries in the United States. But Florida farmers are experiencing a declining market in recent years, said Zhengfei Guan, a University of Florida economist. The reason for this decline, he said, is the massive influx of Mexican strawberries. More from WUFT and Fresh Plaza.
A state hemp program for Florida? A vote is on the horizon
Without much conversation and a brief, unanimous vote, a House panel voted Thursday to send a bill that would create a state hemp program to the chamber floor. The bill, put forward by the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee, would authorize the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to administer a state hemp program and make the plant an agricultural option for farmers across the state. [Source: Times/Herald]
Florida Trend Exclusive
Smokeout: Alachua County bans tobacco sales to anyone under 21
Three years ago, anti-tobacco groups launched a national campaign to raise the legal age for buying tobacco from 18 to 21, hoping to make it harder for high schoolers to get cigarettes and vaping products. Six states — California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Oregon — and more than 430 localities nationwide now ban tobacco sales for anyone under 21. In January, Alachua County followed suit, becoming the first Florida county to raise its tobacco age to 21. County commissioners voted unanimously for the measure. [Source: Florida Trend]
Mueller Report: 'At least one Florida county' hacked and accessed by Russian intelligence
Russian hackers gained access to at least one Florida county’s computer network during the 2016 campaign, according to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report released on Thursday. Mueller’s report said the FBI concluded that the GRU, Russia’s foreign military intelligence agency, sent spearfishing emails to over 120 email accounts used by Florida county officials responsible for overseeing the 2016 election. More from the Tampa Bay Times and the Orlando Sentinel.
Many nursing homes, assisted living facilities still can't meet Florida's mandate for backup power
Just weeks before another hurricane season, large numbers of Florida nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the storm-battered state continue to struggle to meet requirements that they have backup power generator to keep facilities cool. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Fort Lauderdale International Auto Show is back
Richard and Carol Maringer of Hollywood were really revved up for the return of the Fort Lauderdale International Auto Show. So much so that they arrived early, too early (about an hour or so) opening day Thursday at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center.
› Miami beats out 250 cities for $3 million grant to boost residents’ finances
Miami was one of five cities selected to receive a $3 million grant from JPMorgan to boost job training and reduce chronic financial stress. The grant is part of a $500 million effort by the banking giant it’s calling the AdvancingCities Challenge.
› Orlando 'Zombie House' flippers find it harder to locate homes left for dead
The Orlando-based “Zombie House Flipping” show is in the middle of its third season with some changes and challenges — both to how its watched and the business behind it. With the new season, real estate investing TV stars Duke, Keith Ori, Justin Stamper and Ashlee Casserly-Greenberg are also up against an increasingly competitive market for home flipping — where properties are hard to find and profits tight.
› Northwest Florida regional economic forecast is cloudy
Although the risk that the country is sliding into recession remains relatively low, the economic picture Rick Harper painted for Northwest Florida on Wednesday wasn’t super rosy. Job growth in Florida has slowed, Harper said, and in what he termed a “winner-take-all marketplace,” the middle class is finding itself left behind.
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