Friday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida citrus forecast gets boost in down year
The troubled Florida citrus industry received a little sunshine Thursday, but the amount of fruit produced this growing season remains far below average and expectations. The U.S. Department of Agriculture released updated estimates that showed growers are on pace to produce just over 5 percent more oranges than forecast a month ago. That was the first time the monthly estimate went up this season. Meanwhile, the estimate of grapefruit production was down 5.5 percent in the new forecast, and the outlook for specialty crops went unchanged. More from the News Service of Florida.
Jobless claims low, but gas prices hit high
Florida continues to see unemployment claims roll in at a pre-pandemic pace as new data showed aspects of inflation possibly slowing. But that trend has not been reflected at gas pumps, where the average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Florida was $4.40 on Thursday — a record high, according to the AAA auto club. The average price Thursday was 22 cents higher than a week earlier and topped the previous high of $4.38 a gallon on March 11, AAA said in information posted online. More from the News Service of Florida.
Cruise bookings smash records. Passengers accepting COVID-19 likely will be aboard
Nearly a year since cruising restarted in North American waters following a 15-month pandemic hiatus, many cruise vacation travelers appear willing to accept the risk of getting the infectious disease that’s gripped the world for two years. Two of the global cruise line leaders based in Miami — Carnival and Royal Caribbean — are reporting record reservations for voyages, despite COVID-19 infecting the large majority of ships now sailing. More from the Miami Herald.
How Central Florida’s governments plan to spend $868 million in COVID-19 relief
Local governments across Central Florida will pull in about $868 million from ARPA, which can be spent in a broad manner related to the pandemic — including replacing lost revenues due to the economic shutdown; paying for community redevelopment and infrastructure projects; helping small businesses and nonprofits; providing mortgage assistance to individuals struggling financially; and expanding broadband access in rural communities. More from the Orlando Sentinel.
Space news: Florida scientists grow plants in soil from the moon
Scientists have grown plants in soil from the Moon, a first in human history and a milestone in lunar and space exploration. In a new paper published in the journal “Communications Biology,” University of Florida researchers showed that plants can successfully sprout and grow in lunar soil. Their study also investigated how plants respond biologically to the Moon’s soil, also known as lunar regolith, which is radically different from soil found on Earth. More from Florida Trend and USA Today.
Get top news-to-know with Florida Trend's headline-focused video news brief, hosted by digital content specialist Aimée Alexander.
We finally know when Florida restaurants will get Michelin stars
Miami, you officially have date with the Michelin Guide. The world’s premier restaurant guide book, which ranks dining spots with its coveted stars, will reveal Florida’s honored locations in June, a Michelin spokesperson said. Michelin Guide usually announces its new restaurants in late April or May, and the organization originally floated a Spring 2022 announcement. But a Michelin spokesperson said the announcement for the new Florida guide will come June 9 at 6:30 p.m.
» Read more from the Miami Herald.
In case you missed it: