September 21, 2023

Wednesday's Afternoon Update

What you need to know about Florida today

| 3/23/2022

Businesses could soon pay their taxes with crypto in Florida

Governor Ron DeSantis said the state is working on a plan to let businesses pay tax in cryptocurrency. “I’ve told the state agencies to figure out ways, where if a business wants to pay tax in cryptocurrency to Florida, we should be willing to accept that,” DeSantis said Tuesday at a press conference. “We’re working through that.” DeSantis has been embracing the state’s reputation as an emerging hub for crypto investment, with companies including opening up offices in Miami. In December, he proposed a program to let businesses pay state fees in digital currencies. More from Bloomberg, WFLA and CryptoSlate.

PPP loans were made to be forgiven. In heavily Black areas like South Florida, many aren’t

The vast majority of small businesses that took out PPP loans have had their balances forgiven, but a small but significant number of small businesses are still struggling to win approval for their requests for forgiveness, nearly two years after the program was first created. And a Miami Herald analysis of the most recent SBA data finds that forgiveness rates have been significantly lower for small businesses that are based in majority Black and majority Hispanic ZIP codes. More from the Miami Herald.

After fallout with Russia, OneWeb signs with SpaceX for satellite internet launches

OneWeb, the parent company of a Space Coast satellite manufacturing facility, signed a deal with SpaceX to launch internet satellites that had previously flown on Russian Soyuz rockets. In a brief statement, OneWeb on Monday said it entered into an agreement with SpaceX to fly its internet-beaming satellites starting later this year. The company did not offer details on pricing and did not say which of the sites – Florida or California – would host the launches. More from Click Orlando and Florida Today.

Florida’s first women’s psychiatric hospital to be built in Tampa

Florida’s first neuropsychiatric hospital for women will be built in Tampa. Women in trauma recovery often face challenges that disproportionately impact their gender, such as domestic violence, sexual assault, postpartum depression and anxiety, said Roaya Tyson, CEO of the behavioral health nonprofit Gracepoint Wellness. The new facility will allow those patients to speak freely among other women about their experiences and access trauma-informed care. More from the Tampa Bay Times.

Central Florida Habitat for Humanity affiliates get millions for ‘generational’ change

Two local affiliates of Habitat for Humanity International are getting a record $9.25 million donation from global philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott, allowing them to build new homes, rehabilitate older ones, educate prospective home buyers and keep low-income seniors safely housed. Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and one of the company’s first employees, pledged in 2019 to give away most of her wealth to charity. More from the Orlando Sentinel.

St. Petersburg nonprofit names new executive director

 Leah Biery has joined Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center, a pro-environment nonprofit based at the St. Pete Pier in downtown St. Petersburg, as executive director. She succeeds Dwayne Virgint, who will retain his other role as CEO of Tampa Bay Watch.

» More from the Business Observer.


Florida Agriculture
Recent dry weather conditions have helped Florida’s strawberries fend off a devastating fungus

floridaThe past two years have been relatively dry in Florida. That hasn’t been good for some parts of the environment, but it has worked out for strawberries, scientists say, because farmers are able to better regulate the amount of water crops get. Outbreaks of the fungal disease Neopestalotiopsis, better known as leaf spot and fruit rot, had not been reported on Florida crops since the 1970s — until about four years ago, according to Wael Elwakil, the fruit and vegetable commercial production extension agent for the University of Florida/IFAS in Hillsborough County.

» Read more from WMFE.

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Gator with missing jaw finds home in Florida park
Gator with missing jaw finds home in Florida park

A Florida reptile park has taken in an alligator that lost its nose and upper jaw to a fight or boat propeller. Gatorland Orlando said over the weekend that the injured alligator came from a lake in nearby Sanford, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northeast of Orlando. “She had basically no chance of surviving in the wild with such a severe injury,” the park said in a social media post.

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