May 28, 2020

Friday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 10/11/2019

First female spacewalk is set, again.

NASA will try once again to conduct an all-female spacewalk, six months after the first attempt had to be canceled because of a lack of available spacesuits aboard the International Space Station. Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are scheduled to embark on their spacewalk together on Oct. 21, the space agency announced. Originally, Koch was scheduled in March to conduct a spacewalk with astronaut Anne McClain – in what would have been the first all-female spacewalk. But McClain and Koch both required medium-size suits, and there was only one available that would be ready in time. [Source: Florida Today]

DeSantis targets money to hurricane recovery

Vowing that the state won’t forget hurricane-damaged Northwest Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday made his first use of a controversial economic-development program by saying money will go to a pair of roads tied to workforce housing in Bay County. Marking the one-year anniversary of Category 5 Hurricane Michael slamming into the Panhandle, DeSantis said his first dip into the state’s Job Growth Grant Fund will be for $2.86 million to finance roads and underground utilities for future housing. [Source: WPEC]

Florida citrus growers expected to see rare increased crop

Florida’s struggling citrus industry is projected to see a 3.3 percent increase in production in the newly started growing season. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in its first citrus forecast for the 2019-2020 season that will run through July, projected Florida growers will produce enough oranges to fill 74 million of the industry-standard 90-pound boxes, which would top the 71.6 million boxes during the 2018-2019 season. [Source: WUSF]

Florida prison overdoses not tracked amid contraband problem

Florida’s prison system, the third-largest in the nation, has long faced issues with contraband drugs, yet the state agency that grapples with the problems does not track the number of inmates treated for overdoses. Department of Corrections officials say they deem the health and well-being of prisoners a priority and that the system has protocols to provide inmates with “proper medical treatment” when they overdose. But the department has not tracked how many inmates have required treatment as a result of overdoses during the past three years, according to Rob Klepper, the agency’s press secretary. [Source: WFOR]

Relaxed Orange County zoning could add 30,000 places to live by 2030, task force recommends

Orange County’s housing task force wants to loosen decades-old zoning codes and give bigger incentives to developers, in the hopes of adding 30,000 much-need places to live over the next 10 years. At a House for All task force meeting last week where subcommittees presented their preliminary recommendations to Mayor Jerry Demings, the focus was on finding ways to entice developers and property owners to build more diverse types of housing, beyond apartment towers and subdivisions of single-family homes. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]


› Florida timber farmers face tough choices year after Michael
The sunsets are a sight to behold in Joe Leonard's neck of the woods these days. A year ago, lush stands of towering pines obscured the horizon. Now, fields of thick grass mask row after row of stumps decaying into the soil that has sustained his family for five generations

› 5 South Florida business schools aim to broaden their appeal with innovative, flexible programs
Sustainability, cybersecurity, social media marketing, big data, analytics, cryptocurrencies. These are just a few challenges and opportunities that executives and other business professionals must deal with today — in addition to growth, profit-and-loss, finance, marketing and all the traditional disciplines that keep companies competitive and successful.

› Southern Poverty Law Center invests big in effort to hike Florida’s minimum wage
The campaign to raise Florida’s minimum wage to $15 an hour has received an injection of campaign cash and grassroots support with the news that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) Action Fund is contributing $250,000 to the effort.

› Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce to change its name
The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce plans to change its name to the Tampa Bay Chamber, a move that has some worried that it will cause confusion.

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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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