Florida citrus could finally see federal relief money
Florida lawmakers in both parties had grown frustrated with a lack of relief money following Hurricane Irma, particularly for the state's citrus industry, which was already hard-hit by greening disease. But on Monday, U.S. House Republicans unveiled an $81 billion disaster aid package to help hurricane-ravaged communities and states hit by wildfires. The bill includes $2.6 billion for farm disasters. "It's a big win for Florida's agriculture," said Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla. See the bill's substance in a news release from the U.S. House of Representatives, here. Also read more at the Tampa Bay Times and the Orlando Sentinel.
Florida strawberry volume starts strong
Florida strawberry growers have enjoyed a strong start to the 2017-18 season, and early signs point to a year of ample volume and promotion opportunities. Neither Hurricane Irma in September nor a cold spell in mid-December caused any problems for the crop. Full story from the Packer, here.
Climate change’s ‘fingerprints’ could bring another record-setting warm year to Florida
Year-to-date, the average temperature in Florida was 73.7 degrees, making it the warmest year since 2015. It’s a 2.5 degree departure from the 20th century average. A Florida Climate Center official noted the state is on track to have its warmest year on record. [Source: Bradenton Herald]
Florida gaming ruling could put big legal expenses on state
The state could be on the hook for $450,000 in legal fees after a judge sided with cardroom operators in a dispute over controversial “designated player” games. First launched in 2012, the games have become wildly popular among gamblers and are now hosted by most pari-mutuels that operate cardrooms in Florida. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Puerto Rico governor vows to make Florida Republicans pay for supporting tax bill
For weeks, Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and his associates tried to play the Washington game, meeting with politicians and lobbyists across Capitol Hill to argue against provisions in the tax overhaul bill that treat the U.S. territory like a foreign country. [Source: Miami Herald]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Death of CSX CEO raises questions about reforms at railroad [AP]
The weekend death of CSX CEO Hunter Harrison less than a year after he took the railroad's top job raises questions about the future of his reforms. But CSX officials say the 73-year-old Harrison did enough since taking over in March to change the direction of Jacksonville, Florida-based railroad.
› FWC endorses national strategy aimed at conserving fish, wildlife [News Release]
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) in July endorsed an ambitious national strategy, presented by The Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources, to conserve fish and wildlife.
› St. Pete-Clearwater airport expects holiday parking crunch, so consider arranging a ride [Tampa Bay Times]
With passenger traffic picking up on Monday and expected to stay strong through Dec. 29, St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport says it could run out of parking spaces, so passengers should consider making arrangements to be dropped off or picked up at the airport.
› Hurricanes, economic blight force increased Puerto Rican migration to First Coast [Florida Times-Union]
The number of Puerto Ricans relocating in North Florida from the hurricane-devastated island has reached critical proportions, with organizations helping the migrants now totally overwhelmed and resources being strained.
Go to page 2 for more stories ...
› Florida voters reflect one year after the presidential election [WLRN]
It’s just over a year since Florida helped deliver the presidency to Donald Trump. The feelings among voters still range from anxious to excited, disgusted to “we got what we voted for.”
› Out of a job during the holidays? There's help in South Florida [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Job hunting during the holidays can pay off in employment in 2018. Attending holiday parties and professional networking events and making social media contacts can lead to tips about job openings in the new year, experts said.
› Orlando hotel industry gains momentum [Orlando Sentinel]
Orlando’s sales pace for hotels remains a dim shadow from its peak in 2007 but showed some momentum this year with rising occupancy and average daily rates, according to a third-quarter report by Colliers International.
› Another reason to buy a home in Tampa Bay? Down payments are lower [Tampa Bay Times]
Homebuyers in the Tampa Bay area don’t have to shell out as much on downpayments as buyers in many other places. According to ATTOM Data Solutions, the median downpayment for a bay area home in the quarter ended in September was $13,750 compared to $20,000 nationally, an all-time high.