Thursday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida ports receive millions in funding as part of COVID economic relief
Florida’s seaports received millions of dollars in funding to go toward infrastructure and reinforcing the ports activities to support the state’s economy. Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin J. Thibault said in a news conference Thursday morning that the ports were able to receive the money from the American Rescue Plan after Gov. Ron DeSantis allocated $250 million to help the ports in the financial recovery due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More from WKMG and the Orlando Sentinel.
Florida fires back in Norwegian Cruise’s challenge to vaccine ‘passport’ ban
With a hearing scheduled next week, attorneys for Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration are asking a federal judge to reject arguments by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings that a state ban on so-called “vaccine passports” is unconstitutional. The state’s attorneys on Tuesday filed a 28-page document contending that U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams should turn down Norwegian’s request for a preliminary injunction against the vaccine passport ban. More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Orange County is back under state of emergency as coronavirus infections skyrocket
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings has declared a state of emergency as new infections of COVID-19 skyrocketed to a single-day high, and wastewater surveillance hints at further increases coming soon. The new state of emergency comes nearly two months after he ended the previous order, which had been in place since March 2020. More from the Orlando Sentinel.
Utilities get backing on natural gas costs
Tampa Electric Co. and Duke Energy Florida should be able to raise customer bills in September to cover higher-than-expected natural gas costs, according to recommendations by staff members of the Florida Public Service Commission. The utilities, which have a combined total of about 2.7 million customers, would pass along the tens of millions of dollars in higher costs to customers from September through December. The Public Service Commission will take up the proposals during a meeting Tuesday. More from the News Service of Florida.
Miami-area bank expands into Gulf Coast
A Miami area bank is opening two new offices in Florida, including one in St. Petersburg. Professional Bank’s local office will not be a standard branch but a loan production office. A bank spokesman says the office will exclusively concentrate on loan activities. The spokesman said the bank is currently looking at space in downtown St. Petersburg. The second Florida office will be in Jacksonville. Professional expects to finalize leases in both cities in the next several weeks. More from the Business Observer.
What is the proposed Florida wetlands protection ballot amendment?
The Florida Wetlands Protection Amendment intends to prohibit the dredging, filling, draining or other degradation of wetlands. Chuck O’Neal is the Chairman of the Florida Rights of Nature Network and he is chairman of the FL5 DOT Org Political Committee. He says Florida's wetlands are the hydrological kidneys of the state, and that they serve to filter the water that comes into them. O’Neal laments that over half of Florida’s wetlands have been dredged and filled for development.
» More from WLRN.
Out of the Box
Want to own history? The oldest house in Tampa is for sale
The oldest home in Tampa is back on the market. The 179-year-old bungalow was last sold in 2016. The buyer, hedge fund and real estate company EquiAlt, moved the structure from the outskirts of Ybor City to 118 S. Westland Ave. in Hyde Park. The 2,000-square-foot, four-bedroom house is among the estimated 300 EquiAlt-owned homes being sold as part of the federal government’s efforts to recover money lost by hundreds of elderly investors in what it contends was a Ponzi scheme led by the company.
» Read more from the Tampa Bay Times.
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