Friday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Near record Easter spending expected to boost Florida retailers
The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association celebrating more than 80 years of supporting Florida’s retail industry, expects spending on Easter to reach near record numbers, with the average per person spending $151, second highest in survey history. The total expected to be spent nationally is a healthy $18.11 billion, a slight dip from last year’s total of $18.16 billion. See the release from the Florida Retail Federation and read more from Florida Daily.
Airbnb's explosive growth jolts hotel industry's bottom line
Hospitality service Airbnb is fast becoming the 800-pound gorilla that’s shaking up the hotel industry and forever changing it. New research from Florida State University finds Airbnb’s exponential growth worldwide is devouring an increasing share of hotel revenues and also driving down room prices and occupancy rates. More from Florida Trend.
Community bank, fresh off name change, looks for big opportunities in new areas
With a name like First State Bank of Arcadia, it’s easy to see how people might think the bank’s focus is on Arcadia, county seat of DeSoto County and a place known primarily to outsiders for its agriculture, downtown antiquing and the Arcadia All-Florida Championship Rodeo. But the $143.57 million-asset bank, established in 1973 and owned by holding company Crews Banking Corp., now sees bigger opportunities to Arcadia’s west. More from the Business Observer.
Disney World's new solar farm is twice the size of the Magic Kingdom
Disney's new solar facility features over half a million solar panels, spans 270 acres and is capable of reaching 50 megawatts of power. The facility will generate enough renewable clean energy to power two of Walt Disney World's four theme parks annually. More from the Orlando Sentinel.
Florida tax break on school, hurricane supplies advances
The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved a bill Thursday to hold a sales tax holiday on hurricane supplies from May 31 through June 6 and on school supplies from Aug. 2 through Aug. 4. The hurricane supplies sales tax holiday would apply to items like batteries, coolers, generators and other items residents might need during and after a storm. The school supplies sales tax holiday would apply to items like clothing, shoes, backpacks, laptops, notebooks, pencils and more. More from WPBF.
Scientists: Ocean currents, not fertilizers, the major cause of 2018 red tide bloom
A University of South Florida study blamed ocean currents — not land-based fertilizers — for making 2018 the worst year for red tide in Florida for more than a decade. Red tide, a plantlike organism known as Karenia brevis, caused breathing problems, stuffed local waterways with dead fish and was responsible for damaging tourism along the southwest coast of Florida during the 18-month bloom that ended in February.
» More from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Out of the Box
That Gunk On Your Windshield
Ever wonder what type of bug just exploded on your windshield as you're doing 80 miles per hour on Interstate 75? A University of Florida professor has an app for that. Urban ecologist Mark Hostetler and his son, Bryce Jamm Hostetler, built and released an app called That Gunk On Your Windshield late last year.
» Read more from the Fort Myers News-Press.
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