Friday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
DeSantis and lawmakers near deal on Florida gambling: Hello sports betting
Gov. Ron DeSantis is close to nailing down a long-sought gaming deal with the Seminole Tribe of Florida that would expand gaming in tribal facilities and usher online sports betting into the state for the first time. The gaming compact — if ratified by the state Legislature next week and later approved by federal regulators — would make Florida the largest state in the nation to legalize sports betting, and the Tribe would be the exclusive operator of the digital sports books in Florida for the next 30 years. More from the Tampa Bay Timesand the South Florida Sun-Sentinel..
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Locked Out: Low pay, soaring rents, pro-landlord laws set up Florida renters for eviction once COVID hit
Housing experts argue Florida has some of the harshest eviction laws in the country, written so landlords can evict people as quickly as possible and without going to court. During the COVID-19 outbreak, those landlord-friendly laws, coupled with the state’s severe shortage of affordable homes, rising rents and years of stagnant wages, left thousands of suddenly jobless renters exposed. And even after the government ordered a halt to eviction proceedings and federal dollars were made available to help people pay rent, many tenants were not spared. More from the Orlando Sentinel.
CDC to study health effects of Cyanotoxins in South Florida
On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they will start a new study in South Florida to assess the health effects of exposure to cyanotoxins in the air. The study will take place during the 2021 algal bloom season. The CDC says they are calling the study the "Cyanotoxins in Air Study" and will look at exposures to cyanotoxins among people who live or work near Lake Okeechobee, St. Lucie River, Caloosahatchee River and Cape Coral Canals. More from WPBF.
Battle brewing between turtle rescuers, Florida’s wildlife commission
Tensions are rising between turtle rescue organizations and the Florida Wildlife Commission that oversees their work — so much so that the unpaid volunteers may soon be banned from helping to save the reptiles. Every year between March and October, multiple species of sea turtles, mainly loggerheads, swim up to Florida’s shores to lay their eggs. But once the hatchlings emerge, they face a multitude of obstacles, many of them human-made, and the majority of them in Broward County never make it to the ocean, local activists say. More from ABC News.
For Taco Bus founder Rene Valenzuela, a delicious second act
You may remember Valenzuela as the original founder of Taco Bus in Tampa. One of the first Florida food trucks to draw national acclaim, he grew the bus-turned-restaurant in Seminole Heights into a widely recognizable Florida brand that at its peak was attracting national attention, including visits from celebrity chef Guy Fieri on his hit Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. No, Rene’s Mexican Kitchen is serving up some of the Tampa Bay area’s best — and most unique — tacos.
» More from the Tampa Bay Times.
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Out of the Box
Cat lovers and haters unite: Company creates synthetic feline
Cats. Just seeing the word in print will send some people running for allergy pills, lint brushes and air fresheners. Sure, others will see it and imagine cuddling on a couch or happily watching a loving pet chase a piece of yarn or nap in a thin patch of sunlight. But not the first group. Well, a Tampa biotech firm has come up with a solution that could make both parties happy: a synthetic cat. Yep, a cat that looks and feels real but, much to the joy of people in the first group, isn’t.
» Read more from the Business Observer.
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