December 12, 2019

Monday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 11/11/2019

The end of Florida orange juice?

As the state prepares for the November to May harvest, thousands of growers have already quit, leaving “ghost groves” in their wake. More than 7,000 farmers grew citrus in 2004; since then, nearly 5,000 have dropped out. About two-thirds of the factories that processed fruit to juice have shut down. The loss of so many farmers and citrus cultivation could be the death the state’s second-largest industry behind tourism, and one that produces more than 80% of the country’s orange juice, some economists say. [Source: Washington Post]

SpaceX set to launch 60 Starlink Internet satellites Monday morning from the Space Coast

SpaceX is ready to hit several major milestones with a launch of its next cluster of Starlink Internet satellites on Monday morning from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s launch complex 40. The launch, which will be the heaviest yet for SpaceX, is set for about 9:56 a.m. The company plans to re-fly a fairing — the clam-like composite nose of the rocket that holds the satellites — for the first time. It’ll also attempt to land a booster for the fourth time, the first time that SpaceX has reused a Falcon 9 rocket four times. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

$800 million in disaster aid to farmers hit by hurricanes

The federal government announced $800 million in aid Friday to farmers in three southern states that were devastated by last year’s hurricanes. Nearly half that money will go to Florida, where timber farmers suffered catastrophic losses when Hurricane Michael came ashore in October 2018 and destroyed 2.8 million acres of commercially grown trees. More from the AP and the Panama City News Herald.

Florida will have just four Kmart stores. More Sears are closing, too.

The same week Kmart’s parent company confirmed its last Tampa Bay location would close in early 2020, it announced another swath of mass closings that will leave just four Kmarts in Florida. In total, just 182 Kmart and Sears locations will be left, according to the chains’ parent company, Transformco. For comparison: JC Penney, also a struggling department store, has about 860 stores. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

He made Miami ‘the cruise capital of the world.’ Royal Caribbean’s Ed Stephan dies at 87

Edwin Stephan had lofty goals when he envisioned Miami as a cruise capital. It was 1969, man had landed and walked on the moon that summer, and Stephan, seven years into the cruise industry by that point, figured man would want to take advantage of South Florida’s waterways, too, and sail upon them for great terrestrial adventures. [Source: Miami Herald]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› That pine tree isn’t what you think. More Florida cellphone towers are built in disguise.
For over two decades, bulky steel cellphone towers and antennas have been camouflaged in plain sight across the U.S. According to industry professionals the practice, known as stealthing or concealment, is likely to continue as our demands for cellphone service and data continues to grow. In South Florida, hundreds of these stealth towers and antennas take the form of pine trees, flagpoles, light poles, traffic lights, stadium lights and clock towers

› Here's how much Orlando's most popular jobs pay
Orlando's most popular job is not exclusively for theme parks, but is not the highest paying. The industry in question has over 56,000 total employees, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. No other career in Orlando has over 40,000 employees.

› Florida Legislature: Fireworks bill nearly fizzles
An effort to allow people to legally set off fireworks four days a year, without a pretense of the purpose, nearly failed to ignite this week in the state House. The Business & Professions Subcommittee voted 7-5 Wednesday to support a proposal (HB 65) that would allow people 18 and older to purchase fireworks that could be detonated on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Memorial Day and Independence Day.

› Florida company creates disposable, environmentally-friendly straws
It’s become a hot topic, and for some a tough choice: Plastic straws or paper straws? A Volusia County company said it’s working to make the choice easier using materials that function like plastic but are still friendly to the environment.

Go to page 2 for more stories ...

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