November 27, 2021

Thursday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 10/21/2021

Citrus industry seeks to maintain funding, eyes research

Despite a predicted drop in citrus production across Florida, orange juice sales are tracking up and the industry wants lawmakers to maintain current amounts of state marketing and research funding next fiscal year. Meanwhile, efforts to combat citrus greening disease, which for nearly two decades has devastated groves, could soon lead to a new University of Florida-backed variety of citrus on the market. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Boeing Starliner problems persist, won’t launch until 2022

The valve issue that put a halt to the August launch attempt of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner has yet to be resolved with mission managers officially taking 2021 off the table. “We’ll fly when we’re ready,” said NASA Commercial Crew Program manager Steve Stich. “We’ve talked about the first half of next year as being a viable launch period.” Boeing had previously launched Starliner on an uncrewed test flight in December 2019, but software and other issues led to the spacecraft never rendezvousing with the ISS. While it was able to land safely, NASA labeled the flight as a “high visibility close call” that led to a post-launch review that recommended 80 changes to the program. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Florida home building permits boom, but not so much in metro Orlando

Homebuilders are betting Florida’s growth over the past year wasn’t just a fluke of the pandemic. The state saw more metro areas with major increases in building permits for single-family houses than any other state, according to a new study. While the survey by Omnis Panels, a specialty building materials maker, shows strong growth in Central Florida, Orlando wasn’t in the top 50 metros, even as communities just outside the City Beautiful made the list. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Debate over DNA testing for death row inmate headed to Florida Supreme Court

A Florida circuit court judge recently ruled that Attorney General Ashley Moody does not hold legal standing to stop DNA testing sought by a 73-year-old death row inmate. His lawyers had previously reached an agreement for the testing with the local prosecutor. The attorney general’s office appealed the decision by Judge Wayne C. Wooten Friday, essentially stopping Henry P. Sireci from performing the testing and setting up a possible showdown over how much power Moody’s office has in local court cases. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Higher natural gas costs could hit electric bills

Florida utilities are warning that volatile natural-gas prices could translate to higher-than-expected electric bills in 2022. Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy Florida and Tampa Electric Co. have notified state regulators that they might have to revamp estimates of fuel costs that will be passed along to homeowners and businesses next year. [Source: News Service of Florida]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Jacksonville-based Darifair rebrands as Rubix Foods
Jacksonville-based Darifair Foods has become Rubix Foods. Darifair announced the new name and brand identity Oct. 20. “Our size and structure allow us to solve dynamic challenges – from research to rollout – in a smart and nimble way, pertinent for the fast-moving 21st century food world,” said CEO Andy Block in a news release.

› Central Florida tourism firms and travel experts sound off on upcoming overseas visitation
Many Central Florida industry and travel businesses expect the flood gates of international travel to open come November. Last week, The White House announced it will lift Covid-19 travel restrictions on Nov. 8 for fully vaccinated foreign nationals from China, Canada, Mexico, India, Brazil, much of Europe and more, Reuters reported. It is a significant event for local travel that has been missing that segment of business since the start of the pandemic.

› Tampa Bay businesses, that bill for workplace posters might just be a scam
The latest target for scammers: Businesses that just want to comply with the government’s requirements. The scam: A business gets an unexpected invoice or notice via email or regular mail saying the bosses need to buy workplace posters in order to comply with state and federal labor laws. The posters can be about subjects such as job safety, employee rights or the minimum wage, the kind you might see in office break rooms.

› Mexican owner of 32 aquatic parks wins Miami Seaquarium lease
County commissioners on Tuesday authorized assignment of the lease to operate and maintain the Miami Seaquarium on Virginia Key, a major county tourist attraction, from Festival Fun Parks LLC, a Delaware company, to MS Leisure Company Inc., a Florida corporation based in St, Augustine. The parent of MS Leisure is The Dolphin Company, headquartered in Cancun, Mexico, which operates 32 aquatic parks, habitats and marinas generating about $40 million in annual revenue, according to a memo from county Chief Operations Officer Jimmy Morales.

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