Wednesday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
CDC data shows significant drop in new COVID cases in Florida
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released several days of data after the holiday weekend that shows Florida may be turning the corner when it comes to the omicron wave. New data released Tuesday from the CDC shows there has been a large decline in new infections and the state’s seven-day average of new cases has dropped nearly 25% in less than a week. More from Click Orlando.
$4-a-gallon gas? Prices expected to rise sharply this spring
Just as concerns about the omicron variant helped reverse rising gas prices — a bit — in December, now the growing sense that infection rates have peaked is pushing prices back up. But this time, some analysts are projecting that oil prices will hit $100 a barrel and gas prices will climb to $4 a gallon. We’re not there yet. On Tuesday, the average price for a gallon of unleaded regular in Florida was $3.22 — up two cents from a week ago. More from South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Lawmakers back limiting ballot initiatives
In the latest chapter in years of battles about amending the Florida Constitution, a House panel Tuesday backed a proposal that would limit the subjects that could be included in ballot initiatives. The proposal (HJR 1127) would limit citizens’ initiatives to “matters relating to procedural subjects or to the structure of the government or of this Constitution.” More from the News Service of Florida.
Big business-linked group funded ‘ghost’ candidate ads, records show
The advertising campaign promoting spoiler “ghost” candidates in key state Senate races in 2020 was paid for by money from a nonprofit associated with some of Florida’s biggest businesses, according to records released Tuesday from a criminal investigation in Miami. The records show that the nonprofit, “Let’s Preserve the American Dream,” wired $600,000 on Sept. 29, 2020, to another nonprofit, “Grow United Inc.” Grow United then used that money to send $550,000 to a pair of political committees that paid for mailers touting independent candidates in three important Senate races, in what authorities say was a ploy to confuse voters. More from the Orlando Sentinel.
Biden administration plans to spend more than $1 billion on Everglades restoration
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to spend $1.1 billion on restoring and preserving South Florida’s Everglades during the current fiscal year, a White House official told the Miami Herald. The money comes through the infrastructure law President Joe Biden signed into law in November and represents the single largest investment in the Everglades in history, according to the White House. More from the Miami Herald.
Tickets are on sale for the 11th Annual GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Awards Celebration! Join in on the celebration with hundreds of business leaders from across the state on February 17 at the Hard Rock Live in Universal CityWalk.
Southwest Florida Symphony: Meet the conductors competing to be the next music director
Whatever you do, don’t call the conductors “finalists” or their concerts “try-outs.” Southwest Florida Symphony’s search for a new music director is a much less formal process than the last time it had to find a maestro. Four conductors — each handpicked by a search consultant — are leading the symphony as guest conductors this season. Maybe one of those conductors will be the symphony’s next music director. Maybe not.
» More from the Fort Myers News Press.
Outt of the Box
Tampa Fresh Foods, a grocery store made entirely of felt, opens Jan. 20
From the outside, the inviting space on Tampa’s Water Street looks like a real, fully-stocked grocery store. But come inside, and you’re entering the world of felt creations by British artist Lucy Sparrow. Presented by the Vinik Family Foundation and Art Production Fund, Tampa Fresh Foods opens Jan. 20 and runs through Feb. 20. It is free to attend.
» Read more from the Tampa Bay Times.
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