Wednesday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida to start vaccinating older teachers, police officers
Marking a significant change in Florida’s vaccination strategy, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday said teachers and law enforcement officers ages 50 and older will have access to COVID-19 vaccine doses in the coming days as four federally supported vaccination sites open in the state. DeSantis has for weeks pushed ahead with a goal of vaccinating as many seniors as possible. He said Tuesday during a news conference in Hialeah that newly announced Federal Emergency Management Agency-supported sites in Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and Tampa, will offer vaccinations to people ages 65 and older. More from the News Service of Florida and the AP.
Home prices are surging in South Florida — and there’s no end in sight
Homebuyers saw home prices exceeding 10% or more across South Florida during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, as interest rates hit new lows and the numbers of houses for sale sharply dropped off. The monthslong, rock-bottom interest rates coupled with the heavy demand for homes all fueled the push, experts say. And there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight, even though South Florida home prices are well above their historical highs. [Source: South Floriida Sun-Sentinel]
Commentary: Film industry legislation can do more with less
I’ve heard the arguments against incentive programs. As a conservative Republican, I understand them. But what if one truly benefits Floridians? What if a program ensures the state receives more than $1 of state tax revenues for each $1 in rebates while creating more than $5 of spending? What if one helps Florida’s economic recovery after a global pandemic? That’s exactly what state Rep. Dana Trabulsy’s House Bill 757 does, and it mirrors state Sen. Joe Gruters’ Senate Bill 704. The bills create a modest but effective targeted rebate program to entice film, television and digital media companies to bring projects, jobs and money to Florida. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Here are the names Florida will worry about this hurricane season
The Sunshine State may have been spared (so far) from the nation’s catastrophic winter, but the weather always gives Floridians a reason to worry. Like, say, the 2021 hurricane season. The official June 1 start to the Atlantic storm season is less than 100 days away. But the past six storm season have all gotten off to an early start, with storms forming before June. So it’s a good time for those who live in the path of Atlantic storms to review the 21 names they’ll soon be tracking. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Verdict over Florida springs health is blow for environmentalists who vow to fight on
A major legal fight waged by environmentalists seeking to bolster regulations protecting Florida’s springs from pollution has resulted in a ruling favoring state authorities. Filed by a coalition of advocates for some of the state’s best-known springs — including Silver Springs, Blue Spring and Wekiwa Springs Ã¢?• the challenge played out within the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings, which hosts court-like proceedings for people who challenge state actions. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› St. Pete Beach named the nation’s best beach, fifth-best globally
St. Pete Beach has been named the best beach in the nation based on TripAdvisor’s annual Travelers’ Choice rankings, moving up from its second-place spot in 2020. It beats out beaches in Hawaii, California, and even other beaches in Pinellas. Madeira Beach was ranked ninth, Treasure Island Beach 16th and Clearwater Beach at the 18th slot.
› How water projects north of Lake Okeechobee can help Southwest Florida
In 2018, harmful algae blooms like red tide left a devastating impact on both the environment and the economy in Southwest Florida. Ensuring that it doesn’t happen again is no small task. In fact, cleaning up the water that flows to our region is a process that starts more than 100 miles away.
› Universal, Disney lobby for beer ads in theme parks; small breweries won’t drink to that
The fictional Duff Beer brand from “The Simpsons” is advertised everywhere at Universal Studios, from the bar tap handles at Moe’s Tavern to the topiaries and glasses sold in the nearby gift shop. In the real-life world of brew, Orlando’s theme parks are pushing again for a state law change to give beer companies more exposure and the parks potentially more revenue during the coronavirus pandemic recovery.
› JaxPort looks to the future with new Strategic Master Plan
Jacksonville Port Authority Chairman Jamie Shelton and CEO Eric Green unveiled the port’s 2020-25 Strategic Master Plan during a Feb. 23 virtual State of the Port address. They also talked about current conditions, saying that COVID-19 presented challenges for the port to sustain cargo volume and revenue. “JaxPort continues to hold the line. It’s been a good year, considering everything we’ve gone through,” Shelton said.
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