July 21, 2019

Friday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 7/5/2019

The largest algae bloom in history is now off the Florida coast

It weighs 20 million tons, stretches from west Africa to the Gulf of Mexico, and washes up on beaches creating a malodorous stench. Now scientists say a vast swathe of brown seaweed could be becoming an annual occurrence. Researchers say the explosion in sargassum seaweed first materialised in 2011. But new research shows it has appeared almost every year since then, forming the largest bloom of macroalgae ever recorded. What’s more, the seaweed band – dubbed the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt – seems to be getting bigger. More from the Tampa Bay Times, the Guardian, the AP and Vice News.

Fireworks are big business — and illegal in Florida

Thousands of people across Florida flocked to their nearest fireworks stand in the past week or so to stock up on the loudest and brightest boomers for their celebrations. All of this even though most fireworks are illegal in the state. In Florida, it’s against the law to shoot off fireworks that fly through the air or explode. Exceptions to the law include sales to military organizations, for sporting event ceremonies, licensed demonstrations or railroad workers using them for lighting purposes. [Source: Gainesville Sun]

Millionaire’s row: All 3 Florida Cabinet members post net worth over 7 figures

Florida’s new Cabinet lineup is once again a millionaires’ row. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Attorney General Ashley Moody were elected to the Cabinet in November, joining returning Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. And while the new lineup is slightly less well-off than the previous Cabinet, Fried, Moody and Patronis each top seven figures in net worth, according to newly filed financial-disclosure reports. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Citrus pest re-emerges after 10 years

The Florida citrus industry’s decade-long battle with the fatal bacterial disease citrus greening and its insect host, the Asian citrus psyllid, may have opened the door for other opportunistic pests and diseases. Lauren Diepenbrock, assistant professor of entomology at the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred, discovered the first appearance in 10 years of one such pest, the lebbeck mealybug, at a Highlands County orange grove on June 14, according to a pest alert from the Division of Plant Industry at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. [Source: News Chief]

Israel trip cost Florida taxpayers, but questions remain

When Florida Cabinet members jetted off to Israel in late May, some state employees who traveled at taxpayer expense stayed in a more than $400-a-night luxury hotel in Jerusalem, where a Cabinet meeting was held. More than a month after the trade mission ended, the full cost of the trip, proposed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, is not clear. The governor’s office has not released expense records from the week-long trip. More more CBS Miami and WINK News.

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› St. Augustine Beach plastics, polystyrene ban not a big challenge for some businesses
Some St. Augustine Beach business owners are already ahead city laws that will, as of Jan. 1, ban them from giving out certain plastic and polystyrene products. For others, a challenge is ahead. With some exceptions, the laws will prohibit retail establishments and food service providers from giving their customers single-use plastic straws, single-use plastic bags or expanded polystyrene products — such as Styrofoam-style food containers and cups.

› Virgin Trains reports 244,000 riders in first quarter of 2019
Virgin Trains USA’s private passenger trains carried 244,178 riders between Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach during the first three months of 2019, the company is reporting. That represents an increase of about 2.5 percent over the previous quarter, the last three months of 2018, and puts the company on track to meet longterm ridership projections, officials noted.

› Orlando airport among best for affordable international flights, travel expert says
Orlando’s airport ranks among the nation’s most affordable for international flights, eclipsing peers in Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas and Charlotte and even bigger airports such as Atlanta’s, according to Scott’s Cheap Flights.

› Transportation, tech worlds to talk mobility in Wynwood
More than 500 people from the transportation and tech industries, government and academia are expected to descend upon Wynwood next April 2 and 3 for CoMotion Miami, a conference to “advance mobility across South Florida and the world,” according to a release.

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