Friday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida's imperiled species see good news and bad news in 2019
More sea turtles nested. A yearly manatee count spotted more than 5,700 sea cows, while the number killed by boats nears last year's record. Seven baby North Atlantic right whales were born, compared to zero last year, but the births could not replace the 10 whales that died out of a population of only 409. The upshot is Florida's most prominent protected wildlife saw mixed results in 2019, as threats to their existence continue to grow from chronic algae blooms, human activity and constant habitat encroachment. More from Florida Today.
Jacksonville City Council to have special hearing to examine JEA’s bonus plan
The Jacksonville City Council will hold a special fact-finding hearing later this month to examine JEA’s beleaguered employee bonus plan that has “sparked a degree of outrage unique in our community’s history,” according to a letter two council members sent to JEA CEO Aaron Zahn on Thursday evening. More from the Florida Times-Union.
Florida commits $60 million in bid to curb railroad crossing deaths
The state of Florida, reacting to crossing deaths along major railroad corridors, kicked off a $60 million plan Thursday to dissuade motorists from trying to beat speeding trains across the tracks. The program calls for painting white striped grids at 4,000 public and private grade crossings and installing roadside poles to keep drivers from circumventing crossing gates. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Mark Huey resigns from EDC of Sarasota County
Mark Huey, who has led economic development efforts in Sarasota County for over eight years, resigned Thursday. The Economic Development Corp. of Sarasota County has formed a transition team to continue the group’s work during a search for an interim leader, according to EDC chairman Art Lambert. Huey submitted his resignation to the board on Thursday, Lambert said. His last day is Dec. 31. More from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Tampa Bay’s retail landscape will include more restaurants and grocery chains in 2020
The Tampa Bay area can expect more restaurants and grocery chains in 2020, and a few more pop-up retail locations with tiny-sized stores. That’s what Noah Shaffer, senior director at Confidant Asset Management, sees in the coming months. More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Out of the Box
Move over Puppy Bowl, the 2020 Super Bowl has a new sideshow. In very Florida fashion, Miami-Dade County will host a Python Bowl, in conjunction with the Super Bowl, to hunt the invasive snakes in the Everglades. Competing in the Python Bowl will be all about who can track down the longest, heaviest and most Burmese pythons.
» More from WPTV.
Florida's only snow park to open in Dade City in 2020
Get ready to play in the snow -- without leaving the Sunshine State! Florida's first and only snow park is slated to open next year, developers announced Thursday. The alpine snow park, which will be called Snowcat Ridge, is set to open in November 2020 next to TreeHoppers in Dade City. The park will feature a large snow tubing hill, which will be 60 feet tall and 400 feet long.
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