Tuesday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Publix and Aldi are bidding for Lucky’s Market locations that are closing in Florida
Lucky’s Market has filed for bankruptcy and is in the process of selling six of its Florida locations to Aldi and another five to Publix. Publix is under contract to purchase Lucky’s leases with locations in Clermont, Naples, Neptune Beach, Orlando and Ormond Beach. These locations could become a Publix, or more likely, a Publix GreenWise. GreenWise stores, Publix’s new specialty chain, mirrors Lucky’s emphasis on prepared foods. More from the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald.
Facing closure, Visit Florida rallies for extension bills
Visit Florida is fighting for its existence after last year’s legislative session brought devastating budget cuts to the tourism agency. However, its pleas for survival aren’t swaying one powerful lawmaker: House Speaker Jose Oliva. More from WFSU.
Florida hemp project flying with help from friends
The UF/IFAS Industrial Hemp Pilot Project has come a long way since first getting the all-clear to take off nearly two years ago. Since then, leaders behind the project have worked hard to secure private funding and form successful partnerships that not only benefit research, but also the state’s agriculture interests. But more support from outside sources are needed to fuel the program’s future. More from Growing Produce.
The Super Bowl is the first test of Florida’s new defense against human trafficking
The influx of an estimated 200,000 visitors this week to South Florida will test state agencies and local governments in their implementation of a new human-trafficking law. Lawmakers adopted a bill in 2019 that places reporting responsibilities on massage parlor, strip club and hotel operators, and requires hospitality workers be trained in spotting trafficking victims and how to report suspicions to law enforcement. More from the Center Square.
Senators back DeSantis request to hike environmental fines
Gov. Ron DeSantis’ request to boost fines on environmental lawbreakers drew support Monday in its first legislative appearance. With little comment, the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee unanimously supported the proposal (SB 1450), which would make numerous changes in the amounts and duration of penalties for violating Florida environmental laws. More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Tampa’s popular Downtowner rides could end soon unless someone pays for them
The days of opening a smartphone app and catching a free ride anywhere within Tampa’s downtown may soon be over. The popular Downtowner service, which launched in October 2016, is running out of money — and local agencies are playing hot potato to see who will be left with the check.
» More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Orlando Ballet collects millions on wave of new-building excitement
Orlando Ballet’s new headquarters is doing more than providing a home for the nearly 50-year-old company’s students and professional dancers. The gleaming white structure on the shores of Lake Formosa has sparked a spate of donations to the nonprofit. On Tuesday, the ballet will formally announce a $500,000 grant from Dr. Phillips Charities that will pave the way to install theatrical equipment in the new facility’s great hall.
» Read more from the Orlando Sentinel.
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