Wednesday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida's economy performing at higher level than before COVID
America is not yet back to its pre-pandemic normal, but some states are already doing better economically than they were before Covid, according to the Back-to-Normal Index created by CNN and Moody's Analytics. South Dakota, Florida, Rhode Island, Nebraska and Idaho are all thriving, operating at or above where their economies were in early March 2020 before the pandemic forced businesses to shutter and workers and students to stay home. South Dakota's economy is at 106% of its pre-pandemic strength, according to the index, while Florida's economy is at 101%. The other three states are operating at 100% of pre-Covid level. More from the CNN.
Federal court denies EPA approval of controversial pesticide for Florida's citrus industry
A federal court has rejected the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s approval to use a pesticide on Florida’s citrus groves citing the agency’s failure to comply with the Endangered Species Act. The pesticide, known as aldicarb, was previously discontinued in the U.S. after the EPA found it poses “unacceptable dietary risks, especially to infants and young children.” The Center for Biological Diversity, Environmental Working Group and Farmworker Association of Florida filed the lawsuit in early April to stop the pesticide from being used on citrus groves in the state. More from the Naples Daily News.
Dole picks Port Tampa Bay for new shipping route for bananas, pineapples
A new shipping service delivering Dole pineapples and bananas to the United States will pass through Port Tampa Bay starting later this summer. In addition to fruit, the direct weekly route linking Tampa, Honduras and Guatemala will also deliver containerized shipping of cargo like automobiles and other commodities. Two ships, the MV Dole Maya and MV Dole Aztec, will deliver all goods and materials from Central America to Tampa; Gulfport, Miss.; and Freeport, Texas. More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Val Demings launches 2022 campaign for Senate against Marco Rubio
Saying she’s ready for a “tough fight,” Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings of Orlando officially launched her campaign to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio next year. Demings, 64, a former Orlando police chief, had been on President Biden’s shortlist for a running mate last year before he chose Vice President Kamala Harris. She’s married to Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, a former Orange sheriff and Orlando police chief. More from the Orlando Sentinel.
Spirit Airlines makes MIA debut with first flights planned for October
Spirit Airlines is finally coming to Miami International Airport. The low-cost carrier with headquarters in Miramar plans to launch flights to 30 cities from MIA starting in October, while maintaining its service at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, the company announced Tuesday. Spirit’s Miami expansion plan is a sign of the company’s comeback after a bumpy year filled with COVID-19 pandemic-related travel restrictions. More from the Miami Herald.
Skateboarding world championship coming to Jacksonville
The 2021 Street League Skateboarding World Championship is coming to the Downtown Jacksonville riverfront Nov. 13-14. The event will be at Riverfront Plaza, the former Jacksonville Landing, the city announced June 8 in a news release. It will transform the park “into the ultimate skateboard playground.” The competition will feature 25 of the world’s best skateboarders vying for the largest amount of prize money in professional skateboarding, the release said.
» More from the Jacksonville Daily Record.
Out of the Box
Why is there a man sitting in a box at the Fort Lauderdale airport?
He likes to dress casual, in faded jeans and a redish-pink shirt, and is always listening to a Walkman, a portable cassette player. No one really knows his name but you’ve probably seen him around Terminal 1 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollyood International Airport, waiting to open his toy shop. Oh, and he’s not even human — although he is a copy of one. The airport vendor is actually a hyper-realistic painted bronze sculpture by artist Duane Hanson, who died 25 years ago.
» Read more from the Miami Herald.
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