Monday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Traffic tickets plunged in Florida. It may mean painful budget cuts for many services
Average Floridians might not realize that every time they pay a court fine or fee, the money helps keep government operations afloat. The revenue — especially from traffic tickets — helps pays for everything from wildlife and environmental conservation, compensation for crime victims and even treatments for people with brain and spinal injuries. But as the pandemic has largely shuttered courts and led to fewer motorists getting tickets, revenue across Florida has plummeted — exposing what critics have long derided as an unreliable and unfair system built on the backs of court defendants. More from the Miami Herald.
Staples seeks to buy Office Depot parent company in $2.1 billion deal
There could be consolidation ahead in the office-products space, with Staples outlining Monday a proposal to acquire the parent company of Office Depot in a deal that would value the target company at $2.1 billion. Closely held Staples, under the corporate name USR Parent Inc., said it sent a letter to ODP Corp. laying out a plan to buy the company for $40 per share in cash. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentiel and Bloomberg.
After stressful 2020, Jacksonville-area nonprofits worry about funding but are 'hopeful' about 2021
In 2020 nonprofits in Northeast Florida and statewide had to navigate decreased funding, increased demand, disrupted services, homebound staff and volunteers, and nagging concerns that their organizations might not survive the pandemic. By the end of the year, most were still in business — albeit with operational changes, at least — and feeling guardedly hopeful about 2021, according to the results of a December survey by the Florida Nonprofit Alliance. More from the Florida Times-Union.
Florida considering bill to reverse Key West cruise ship ban
A bill introduced in the Florida Legislature would overturn three laws recently passed by Key West voters to limit cruise tourism to the city. The so-called preemption bill filed by state Sen. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, would retroactively prohibit local governments from regulating seaport business, including restricting a vessel’s type or size. More from the Miami Herald and Travel Pulse.
Facing troubled economy, Sarasota leaders block hiring freeze at City Hall
Sarasota City Commissioner Erik Arroyo, sensing the headwinds of the financial downturn caused by the coronavirus, tried to implement a full hiring freeze at City Hall last week. However, Arroyo’s cost-cutting effort – which would not have included the police or utilities departments – was short-lived after it was stonewalled by other commissioners and Sarasota’s administration. More from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
St. Pete golf enthusiasts experience a tournament amid a pandemic
Neither brisk weather or a pandemic stopped several spectators from following the leading golfers in the 95th New Year's Invitational at St. Petersburg Country Club. Masks and mittens were on hand as they watched Remi Chartier lead the score for the final round of the tournament. Families cozied up underneath the warmth of their blankets. Unbothered by the cold temperatures, even Frozen's Elsa got a glimpse of the green.
» More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Epcot arts fest returns
Walt Disney World has unveiled the 2021 edition of the Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Arts. This was the last of the theme park’s special events uninterrupted by the coronavirus pandemic last year. The “taste” designation may sound like the festival is not at full strength, and there certainly are differences and absences. But the fest continues to showcase art in an expanded way, and that extends to the food menu.
» Read more from the Orlando Sentinel.
In case you missed it: