Friday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida utilities, solar panel industry battle over net metering bill
There’s a fight for solar power going on in the Sunshine State, pitting many of Florida’s largest utility companies against the solar panel industry. Utilities say changes to the way solar power customers are billed are necessary so they aren’t unfairly subsidized by other energy customers. Solar power installers say the billing changes would cripple their industry by diminishing the benefit of owning solar panels and result in solar power job cuts. More from the South Florida Business Journal.
AutoNation CEO sees vehicle prices moderating this year
Prices of new and used automobiles are staggeringly high, and that’s partly responsible for strong earnings last year by AutoNation, the country’s largest dealership group. Mike Manley, CEO of the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, company, said used-vehicle prices are starting to ease a bit, but he doesn’t think new-vehicle supplies will improve much until the second half of this year. More from the AP.
SeaPort Manatee launches new era for Florida Gulf trade gateway
SeaPort Manatee is being launched as the forward-looking identity of the Manatee County Port Authority’s dynamic global trade gateway on the Gulf Coast of Florida. “Over the course of more than half a century, Manatee County’s seaport has enjoyed vibrant growth and vast diversification, proficiently moving record cargo volumes while significantly enhancing infrastructure,” Reggie Bellamy, chairman of the Manatee County Port Authority, said. More from the American Journal of Transportation.
Orlando museum director: ‘Absolutely no doubt’ Basquiats are genuine
The million-dollar question: Are they real? Make that a $100 million question. Maybe a $200 million question. Orlando Museum of Art’s new exhibition of Jean-Michel Basquiat works has drawn international attention — but not all of it is the sort the museum wants. While Forbes magazine proclaimed the “Heroes & Monsters” exhibit “a presentation to be enjoyed by the entire nation, if not the world,” The New York Times interviewed people skeptical the works are even by Basquiat. More from the Orlando Sentinel.
Sea rise prompts Miami-Dade to consider raising heights of roads, seawalls and canals
Miami-Dade hasn’t changed the most basic form of flood protection — the minimum height for building things like roads and new homes — in 40 years. Now a new proposal on the table could nearly double that standard, a dramatic change that reflects two inevitable realities: sea rise poses an increasingly imminent threat and adapting to it will raise construction costs. More from the Miami Herald.
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St. Pete environmentalist, 9, is a finalist for Time Magazine’s Top Kid of the Year
When Miles Fetherston-Resch was 6, a trip to Amelia Island changed his life. “I saw a polluted beach,” he said. “I thought, ‘the adults are doing something about it. Why can’t I?’” He decided to found a sea life nonprofit called Kids Saving Oceans. Miles, now 9, has become a regular fixture at St. Petersburg events like Creative Mornings and Localtopia, talking about ways to protect the ocean. Before he turns 18, he wants to raise $1 million for ocean conservation organizations.
» Read more from the Tampa Bay Times.
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