Wednesday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Citrus industry makes a bigger economic impact
The shine on Florida’s orange gold increased over the last year, even with fewer oranges harvested. Despite statewide production declines, Florida oranges and orange juice commanded a greater economic impact in the 2019-20 season than the previous year. The citrus industry’s $6.76 billion economic impact that season was about $262 million more than 2018-19. Meanwhile, growers are optimistic about a slight production increase to 52.7 million boxes of oranges in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s penultimate forecast of the 2020-21 season. More from the Villages Daily Sun.
This major New York finance firm is heading to Florida, according to report
Goldman Sachs is in talks to move more than 100 executives and employees to West Palm Beach, according to Business Insider. The news site reports the banking giant would move traders and salespeople in its global markets division, and that it has already asked asset-management staff for volunteers to make the trip south. A Goldman Sachs representative declined to comment. More from the Miami Herald.
Visiting Central Florida? Be prepared to pay top dollar
Last weekend, the Orlando International Airport said more visitors departed from MCO compared to the same weekend in 2019 — before the pandemic started — and 2019 was a record travel year. Rental cars, especially in Central Florida, are in short supply and in many cases outrageously expensive. Typical summer travel pricing combined with last-minute demand — travelers suddenly deciding they’re comfortable enough to take a trip and trying to book — is turning Central Florida into a pricey destination. More from Click Orlando.
Florida Straits now seeing most migrant activity in over four years, Coast Guard says
As of Tuesday, the U.S. Coast Guard has stopped more people from Cuba trying to migrate across the Florida Straits since the Obama administration ended the so-called “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy in early 2017. In the months prior to the end of the Cold War-era policy that allowed Cubans who set foot on U.S. soil above the high water mark to remain in the country, maritime migration spiked because of thawing diplomatic relations between Washington and the Castro regime. More from the Miami Herald.
Tampa area tourism industry continues to show signs of a robust rebound
Tourists are coming back in droves. That’s the picture being painted in a report released Tuesday by Visit Tampa Bay. The tourism group announced tourist development tax collections topped the $4 million mark in May, the highest ever collected for that month. This as hotel occupancy for Memorial Day weekend was 80.6% in Hillsborough County, 13.5% higher than in 2019, according to the statement. More from the Business Observer.
Out of the Box
St. Petersburg family turned their Kia Soul into an Ecto-1 from ‘Ghostbusters’
Due to the pandemic, the premiere of the Ghostbusters: Afterlife movie has been postponed again, this time from June to November. The film was originally to be released in July 2020. But that hasn’t stopped Ghostbusters fan groups like Stee Wittmaak’s Lost Spirits Division from doing their thing. His group and similar groups in Florida dress in full costume and support charity events, march in parades, help schools and Scout troops, and attend screenings of movies that attract the type of fans who enjoy Ghostbusters. With the theater’s permission, they ask for donations for causes.
» More from the Tampa Bay Times.
South Miami requires rooftop solar on new homes. Builders may soon have other options.
The South Miami City Commission moved closer Tuesday to adopting a new rule that would give residents the option to pay into a fund rather than being forced to install solar panels on their newly built homes. A 2017 ordinance made rooftop solar panels mandatory for most new homes in the city, and drew pushback from property owners who didn’t like the mandate to purchase expensive new equipment, or waiting on additional permits to build their homes.
» Read more from the Miami Herald.
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