May 28, 2020

Tuesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 4/23/2019

Hurricane aftermath leaves Florida with years of major wildfire threat

The surging seas and vicious winds that Hurricane Michael unleashed on the Florida Panhandle last October have long since died down. Yet the scars left by the strongest storm ever to strike the region have ramped up the risk of another type of natural disaster for years to come: across millions of acres of forest stretching into southern Georgia, the carcasses of pine trees—snapped like matchsticks by the storm’s winds—pose a major wildfire threat. [Source: Scientific American]

See also:
» Gov. DeSantis asks Trump for boost in Hurricane Michael recovery money
» ‘America’s forgotten disaster’: Nikki Fried spotlights post-Michael malaise

Florida Trend Exclusive
Florida Icon: Former HSN pitchman Bob Circosta

Bob Circosta talks about the best sales advice he’s ever gotten and more, including: “He (Bud Paxson) said: ‘Bob. If you only remember one thing, remember this – that when you’re selling something, you are doing something to somebody. But if you’re helping someone, then you’re doing something for somebody.’ [Source: Florida Trend]

Florida environmental groups go to ‘war’ against highway expansion bill

Environmentalists used Earth Day to ratchet up criticism of a proposal going before the Senate to expand and build toll roads through hundreds of miles of the state. Sierra Club Florida Director Frank Jackalone said during a news conference Monday in St. Petersburg that his group will “declare war” on lawmakers who sponsor the bill ( SB 7068 ), which is a priority of Senate President Bill Galvano. More from WPTV and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Florida gas prices are down, but recent sanction news could change that

State and local gas prices are down over the week, but where prices go next depends heavily on how the market reacts to recent oil news, according to AAA, the Auto Club Group. Florida's gas prices averaged $2.74 a gallon Monday, down 5 cents over the week, while Tampa Bay prices were $2.71 a gallon on average, down 7 cents over the week. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

CBD is in a gray zone in Florida but that could soon change

Gummy bears, oils, cocktails, ice cream ... Products with CBD in them have practically become ubiquitous in Florida. The chemical CBD comes from the cannabis plant and that fact is leaving business owners in a kind of grey zone. But increasingly the federal government is taking notice, while regulations from the state are forthcoming. [Source: WJCT]


› Forever Florida nature park is back after abrupt October closure
An Osceola County theme park that had laid off its entire staff and shut down in the fall for nearly a month will host a grand re-opening this weekend. Forever Florida, which features ziplining, horseback rides and other attractions, has plans to show off its buggy tours, pony rides and weeklong summer camp on Saturday.

› Hillsborough's booming growth makes Tampa Bay one of the country's fastest growing regions
When it came to population growth last year, Tampa Bay grew by more people than can fit into Tropicana Field, making the region one of the fastest growing in the nation, U.S. Census data shows. More than 51,000 people moved into the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area last year, earning the ninth spot on the Census's Top 10 Metropolitan Areas in Numeric Growth: 2017 to 2018 list.

› Florida lawmakers offer bill to ban drilling off state's coast
A bipartisan group of Florida legislators introduced a bill Monday that would ban offshore drilling along Florida’s coast. Spearheaded by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the legislation comes ahead of a new five-year plan from the Trump administration that is expected to expand offshore drilling along the Atlantic Coast.

› Virgin Trains sells $1.75 billion in private activity bonds for expansion to Orlando
Virgin Trains USA, formerly Brightline, closed on the sale of $1.75 billion in private activity bonds that will help fund the company's expansion to Orlando, according to a statement. Morgan Stanely was the underwriter for the transaction, which Virgin officials called "one of the largest (private activity bond) transactions to date," involving 67 different investors.

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Florida Trend Video Pick

Mega pantries already operate in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, serving an average of almost 4,000 people every week.
Mega pantries already operate in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, serving an average of almost 4,000 people every week.

Feeding Tampa Bay opened the new drive-through food bank — dubbed a mega-pantry — in Manatee County in response to an all-time high demand for meals and groceries from local food banks.

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