September 19, 2019

Friday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 6/7/2019

Hemp expected to be multibillion-dollar industry in Florida

Interest in growing hemp in the state is high following legislation legalizing the plant. Floridians will get a say in the future of the hemp industry through participation in a series of workshops scheduled in June. The agriculture commissioner and cannabis director will tour the state in late June, asking the public what they want Florida’s hemp industry to look like. Read more from WJXT and WFTS.

Florida homeowners are getting a break. One insurance company is cutting its rates.

Hurricanes gave South Florida a break last year, and State Farm Florida listened. The company is dropping rates for its 270,000 Florida customers by an average of 14.4 percent. It’s a rare bit of good news for Florida, where hurricanes frequently bring higher home insurance rates. For any homeowner with a mortgage, storm insurance is required by lenders. [Source: Miami Herald]

Report: Florida has more boats stolen than any other state

When your state is surrounded by water and has thousands of lakes, it attracts lots of boaters. Boat thieves, too, it turns out. A recently released report puts Florida as the state with the most watercraft thefts in the U.S. by far. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

National study ranks Orlando near the top for video game development

Orlando’s video game development community received some recognition this week, when a study by WalletHub ranked the city as the fourth-best city for gamers. The study ranked 100 cities using 23 metrics - among them the number of video game schools, game-related meetups and average Internet speed - to create the list. While the city ranked No. 2 in gaming environment and No. 5 in gaming and development opportunities, it fell far short on Internet Quality. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Hurricane Michael debris hasn’t been cleared. Why that really matters now.

The damage left in its path may take a decade or more to address, state officials have estimated: about 500 million trees, or 72 million tons of forest debris across more than 2.8 million acres of land. And though debris pickup after hurricanes has often plagued local and state governments, Hurricane Michael’s path through the heavily forested northwest has put the problem of storm trash on a different scale.Read more from the Tampa Bay Times.

Building today's student housing - The average dorm is not the norm

Universities are growing in attendance at an unprecedented rate. The demand for additional student housing will continue to increase over the next decade. Adding to the challenge are not only space and time constraints, but requirements for the actual living space. Today’s student housing is very different from the communal, no frill dorms some of us remember in our college days. Advancing technology has transformed the way we live, work, play, and the way we build. [Sponsored report]


› Jacksonville DIA board violated Sunshine Law, attorneys say
The Downtown Investment Authority board violated the state’s Sunshine Law when board members anonymously turned in evaluations that were used to select a new CEO, according to two lawyers who are experts in public meetings law. Secret ballots violate the Sunshine Law, said Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation, a nonprofit group based in Tallahassee.

› Blood testing lab with 40 Florida locations says patient info may have been hacked
BioReference, a blood testing lab firm with approximately 40 Florida locations, said in a government filing Thursday that some patients’ information may have been hacked in a third-party data breach. The company is a subsidiary of Miami-based OPKO Health.

› Cuban travel restrictions impact Southwest Florida businesses
Cuban native Gloria Jordan has been taking groups from the U.S. on trips to Cuba through her company, Gloria’s Culture Humanitarian Travel, for more than two years. Jordan, who was born and raised in Havana, is the owner of La Trattoria Café Napoli, a Fort Myers restaurant. Jordan said she had mixed feelings about the set of restrictions imposed on Tuesday by the Trump administration, immediately affecting all cruise ship and educational travel.

› Electronics giant Samsung invests in Orlando nanotechnology company
A Lake Mary technology company has landed $3.5 million from a group of investors led by the technology giant Samsung. Florida based DeepWork Capital also contributed to the round for NanoPhotonica, which has been developing technology to improve displays on devices like flat-panel televisions and smartphones.

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What are microplastics? An expert breaks it down.
What are microplastics? An expert breaks it down.

In the early 2000s, scientists taking samples in open water looking for tiny organisms instead stumbled on something man-made – microplastics. What are microplastics? Lara Milligan, UF/IFAS Extension Pinellas County natural resources agent, breaks it down.

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