Wednesday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Walton County winter tourism topped $1 billion despite COVID-19
The economic impact of winter tourism topped $1 billion, up from $859 million for the same period 12 months ago, for an increase of more than 20%, according to a recent report from Downs & St. Germain Research. The Tallahassee-based market research firm is working under contract with the TDC for providing local tourism data. Also according to the report, there were 494,500 visitors to the county's beaches from December of last year to February of this year. More from the Northwest Florida Daily News.
Fla. Education Association President explains this year's student testing
Now, the Florida Department of Education says standardized tests will not be tied to student promotion and high school graduation this school year. It gives districts and schools local discretion to determine promotion and course grade decisions. Florida Education Association President Andrew Spar talked about new rules Tuesday on First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross. More from the WJCT.
Manatees in the middle of a die-off on Florida’s East Coast
"I'm so distressed so many are dying," said Dr. Edith Widder, Co-Founder of ORCA, Ocean Research and Conservation Association. She's heartbroken but not surprised manatees are in the middle of a die-off on Florida's East Coast. Dr. Widder and her researchers have been collecting samples from the St Lucie River. They're plotting pollution maps to find out what's at the bottom and where it came from. More from WFLX.
Escambia County's Tourism Council wants state to determine legality of tourism tax use
The council asked the county to pay for an audit last year after members raised questions over spending for the Marine Resource division and administrative fees charged to the TDT fund, but the council held off an audit after learning it would cost $50,000. Tourist Development Council Chairman David Bear and Pam Childers, Escambia County Clerk and Comptroller, agreed to have more discussion about how the county determines the cost for administering the tax. More from the Pensacola News Journal.
Don't miss the 10th annual Small Business Leadership Conference held June 9-11 at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes in Orlando, Florida! This is the premier professional development and networking opportunity for small business owners, managers, executives, economic and community development leaders, and nonprofits in Florida and beyond. Connect and share innovative ideas with fellow entrepreneurs. Its where businesses go to grow!
State water managers oppose legislation to expand basin boundary
State Sen. Ray Rodrigues (R-Estero) introduced a bill to expand the Big Cypress Basin’s governing board’s boundary into portions of southern Lee County by July 1, 2022. State Representative Adam Botana is sponsoring a similar bill in the House. More from Naples Daily News.
Small Florida community aims for energy independence by harnessing the power of the sun
Florida may be called the Sunshine State, but it is no stranger to the damaging impacts of climate change. Miles O'Brien profiles one small Florida community that is trying to take advantage of all that sunshine, billed as the country's first solar-powered town. This report is part of our collaborative series on climate change and its consequences, "Covering Climate Now."
» More from PBS.
Food & Culture
Pickle pizza, Cheetos funnel cake and 5 other odd foods at Florida State Fair
Because of the pandemic, the Florida State Fair was delayed by two months, opening April 22 and running through May 2. This year you’ll find a pickle pizza, a Hot Cheetos Funnel Cake and a twist on tater tots with peanut butter and spicy jelly among the gut busters. The vendors like to play with expectations, making “nachos” from gelato and cookies, or a “sundae” of chicken tenders drizzled with spicy giardiniera relish.
» Read more from the Tampa Bay Times.
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