Monday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Millions in state funds going toward restoration of damaged Florida homes
Florida families still rebuilding after Hurricane Ian can look forward to another boost of support from the state. Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference Monday morning in Punta Gorda to announce that up to $60 million of state funds will go toward different home repair programs. The money is intended to help impacted Floridians who may not be eligible for FEMA's Direct Temporary Housing Assistance program, according to the governor. More from WTSP and WESH.
Presidents from nearly 40 Florida universities to gather for 'first-of-its-kind' meeting
Nearly 40 college and university presidents from across the state of Florida will all gather in one room Wednesday — hosted by Tallahassee Community College — for a meeting behind closed doors. Presidents from both the Florida College System and the State University System of Florida have been invited to the private meeting to discuss system-wide educational goals and to share their best practices with each other, according to the Florida Department of Education’s spokesperson. More from the Tallahassee Democrat.
Florida gas prices are at their lowest level since a tax break in October
Gas prices across Florida have dipped to their lowest levels since Gov. Ron DeSantis instituted a gas tax break for the month of October, with some locations seeing prices below $3 a gallon. According to a release from AAA, gas prices dropped 12 cents a gallon last week, to $3.27 a gallon as of Monday. That's the lowest price per gallon since Oct. 31, the final day of a 25-cent monthlong gas tax break. More from WUSF.
NASA set for Orion’s return slingshot around moon to head back to Earth
NASA is set to bring the Orion spacecraft back around the moon today for its slingshot maneuver to send it back to Earth and complete the Artemis I mission. Orion left its lunar orbit on Dec. 1 after setting a record for the farthest distance flown by a human-rated spacecraft, and will now fly to about 79 miles from the lunar surface as it makes a powered flyby burn to use the moon’s gravity for an Earthbound trajectory. More from the Orlando Sentinel.
Nearly two months after Hurricane Ian, Naples attraction inches toward full reopening
More than two months after catastrophic flooding from Hurricane Ian nearly destroyed Tin City in Naples, the tourist and shopping destination is about ready to fully reopen. Several shops are already doing business and dozens of others are in the process of restocking and finishing build-outs after much of the three-building complex saw three feet of water and mud. Work is progressing so well, in fact, that property manager Craig Ekonomos is expecting — hoping? — for everything to be up and running by Dec. 15. More from the Business Observer.
Isabella Maria Lozano wants a shot at the big leagues — just not the way most people may think.
More than two months after catastrophic flooding from Hurricane Ian nearly destroyed Tin City in Naples, the tourist and shopping destination is about ready to fully reopen. Several shops are already doing business and dozens of others are in the process of restocking and finishing build-outs after much of the three-building complex saw three feet of water and mud. Work is progressing so well, in fact, that property manager Craig Ekonomos is expecting — hoping? — for everything to be up and running by Dec. 15. [Sponsored report].
Tampa janitor portrays her life and promotes positivity on TikTok
When she wakes up before dawn, Paola Andrea Gutiérrez likes to check her cleaning supplies. Everything has to be in order: a mop, a bucket, a dozen trash bags, a scrub brush, mirror cleaner. For four years, she has been cleaning apartments, offices and public restrooms. Born in Colombia, Gutiérrez said she had trouble finding work here, partly because she cannot speak English and lacks a formal education. But she faced another challenge: She was born without her right arm.
» More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Out of the Box
At new Jacksonville ice cream shop, customers will help make their own dessert with liquid nitrogen
Like froyo shops, customers build their own creations, selecting a cup size, picking a recipe, adding mix-ins (Oreo cookies, for example) and filling the cup with your choice of ice cream base (chocolate, vanilla, etc.). Then a Milkster employee dumps the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer and adds liquid nitrogen to flash-freeze the ingredients as it mixes, creating a smooth, creamy dessert while you wait.
» Read more from the Florida Times-Union.
In case you missed it:
State projects 1.75 million Floridians could lose Medicaid coverage as pandemic-era law expires
‘Our children are at stake:' Teacher shortage in Florida among worst in the nation