High temperatures in Florida 'obliterated' previous records for February
Nearly every major city in Florida has experienced their warmest February on record this past month. Some locations have blown away the old record monthly record by several degrees. February was the warmest on record at all four of South Florida’s official temperature gauges, with Miami and Naples “obliterating” their previous records. See more from the National Weather Service in Miami. Also read more at the Palm Beach Post, the Bradenton Herald, and WKMG.
In Florida, texting and driving still not a primary offense
Will Florida join most of the rest of the country and place an outright ban on texting and driving? Probably not anytime soon. The Florida House overwhelmingly approved a measure Thursday that would make texting behind the wheel a primary offense. But in the Senate, top Republican Sen. Rob Bradley has blocked the bill, citing privacy concerns. [Source: AP]
Amazon's HQ2 selection process has South Florida busy meeting 'intensive' data requests
Since making the list of 20 finalists for Amazon’s second headquarters, South Florida’s economic development leaders have been busy tackling “intensive” data requests from the e-commerce giant. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Recreational fishermen could be granted access to federal waters
The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee passed bipartisan legislation aimed at giving recreational fisherman increased access to federal waters while adhering to responsible conservation goals. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission states that recreational fishing in Florida has an estimated economic impact of around $8 billion. [Source: WJHG]
Big names coming to Florida's music festivals this season
Can’t travel to Coachella or Lollapalooza this music festival season? Luckily Florida offers up an array of festivals for rock lovers to rap fans to bassheads. Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival kicks off the festival season on March 1 with big name acts plus yoga, meditation, vegan and vegetarian food and plenty of cool hangout spots. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Opinion: Showcasing Gainesville’s startup community [Gainesville Sun]
As they say, “the only thing constant is change,” and that certainly holds true for the Gainesville region. As a lifelong resident I could give you more examples of that than you would want to hear about, sharing stories of Gainesville and its surrounding town’s evolving progress.
› Domino's and Ford begin second round of testing self-driving delivery vehicles in Miami [News Release]
Last summer, Domino's began testing new self-driving Ford vehicles in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where the pizza chain is headquartered. Now these cars are making their way to warmer climates for a two-month trial in a larger city: Miami, Florida. Also read more at the South Florida Sun- Sentinel.
› Florida Public Service Commission agrees new FPL Dania Beach plant is needed [News Release]
Despite opposition from residents, the Sierra Club and the Florida Public Counsel, the PSC determined there is a need for Florida Power & Light Co. to replace its power plant Dania Beach plant with a more efficient clean energy center. Also read more at the Palm Beach Post.
› German 'King of Pop' Michael Wendler plans first U.S. concert in Cape Coral [Naples Daily News]
At home in Cape Coral, Michael Wendler looks like just another German transplant — although one with a sharp sense of style and an Adam Levine haircut. But every once in a while, something happens to show he’s not just any transplant. He’s the "German King of Pop."
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› Alberto Carvalho turns down top schools job in New York City [Miami Herald]
Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho has turned down a job as head of New York City schools. Following a dramatic School Board meeting, Carvalho said he would not accept New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s offer to become schools chancellor.
› Publix takes $224 million windfall from tax law [Orlando Sentinel]
The Lakeland-based supermarket chain reported sales and earnings for last four months of 2017 Thursday and the tax cut helped the company log record earnings for 2017 of $2.3 billion.
› Florida House unanimously passes sexual harassment bill [AP]
Florida officials, government employees and the lobbyists and contractors who deal with them could be subject to new rules and penalties for sexual harassment. See a copy of the bill here.
› Tampa International Airport sets stage for another $304 million in construction [Tampa Bay Times]
Construction on $971 million in upgrades at Tampa International Airport is all but done, so the airport moved Thursday to set the stage for a major piece of the next phase of its ambitious expansion program.