Citizens Insurance offers to settle 6,500 Hurricane Irma lawsuits
State-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. wants to expedite the settlement of about 6,500 open lawsuits related to Hurricane Irma. Citizens is offering to pay to have appraisers review the disputes and forge resolutions. And if those appraisers can’t agree, Citizens also will pay for umpires to make binding decisions. Normally, Citizens isn’t so generous when it comes to paying for dispute resolution. More from the Orlando Sentinel and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Florida Christmas trees support damaged timber industry
With Thanksgiving in the past people are now focusing on Christmas season and what better way than to pick out your Christmas tree from one of more than 100 Christmas tree farms in Florida. “About 16 thousand trees are purchased from Florida tree farms, and these trees are Hurricane Michael survivors,” said Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. [Source: WGCU]
After Brightline deal, Virgin Group gets seaport terminal OK too
If all goes as planned, 2021 will prove huge for South Florida and British billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, as both a high-speed train extension connecting Miami to Orlando on Virgin Trains USA and construction of a new terminal housing Virgin Voyages vessels at PortMiami are expected to reach completion. [Source: Miami Today]
The next gold rush is the $22 billion CBD business -- and a Florida company is ready to win
Ready, set ... That pretty much describes the status of an entire industry--the makers of products containing cannabidiol, or CBD. The compound, added to everything from skin cream to ice cream, can be derived from hemp or marijuana and has been touted as a treatment for ailments ranging from anxiety to cancer. The catch: It's still in a legal gray area. [Source: Inc.]
If you plan to travel to Cuba, bring repellent: Deadly dengue virus has returned
If you’re planning to spend Christmas in Cuba, take plenty of insect repellent with you and stay away from areas where the mosquito Aedes Aegypti may be found. A deadly strand of the dengue virus, transmitted primarily by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, has returned and is worrying authorities. [Source: Miami Herald]
Tampa General Hospital: Creating world-class care for you
Tampa General Hospital and its partners are creating an innovative, patient-and-provider-centered system of care that will change the healthcare landscape on the west coast of Florida. The blueprint is in our new five-year strategic plan, which was created in a completely transparent way. [Sponsored report]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Operation Santa Boat sails into the Florida Panhandle [WEAR]
Holiday cheer is being spread by the Emerald Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau in Northwest Florida with Operation Santa Boat. Operation Santa Boat is a philanthropic effort designed to brighten the season for residents in Bay and Gulf Counties who were impacted by Hurricane Michael.
› Democrats will visit Miami-Dade during Art Basel to assess 2020 convention bid [Miami Herald]
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez is visiting Miami-Dade on Friday to evaluate the county’s bid to host the 2020 national convention, a trip timed to coincide with Art Basel.
› UF report: JEA is worth up to $7.5 billion [Florida Times-Union]
A new report from University of Florida researchers shows that Jacksonville’s electric and water utility is worth between $6.3 billion to $7.5 billion, though it stops short of saying whether selling the agency to a private operator is a good idea.
› SeaWorld Orlando joins Disney and Universal in giving workers a raise [Orlando Sentinel]
SeaWorld, Aquatica and Discovery Cove employees in Orlando will be getting raises to $11 an hour next week as the wave of theme parks bumping up starting pay continues. For SeaWorld workers, the new rate takes effect Monday.
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› Police differ with study saying Fort Lauderdale is not safe [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Is Fort Lauderdale really that unsafe? Yes, according to a new study called “Safest Cities in America” by the financial website WalletHub. Broward’s largest city came almost dead last or No. 181 from 182 cities ranked in the report. Police, however, don’t agree with that assessment and say recent crime figures back them up.
› After moldy food delay, SpaceX launches 5,800 pounds of supplies to International Space Station [Orlando Sentinel]
About 5,800 pounds of supplies headed to the International Space Station from the Space Coast Wednesday afternoon after a last-minute, rodent-related delay this week.
› ln Pasco apartment boom, a question lingers: How many is too many? [Tampa Bay Times]
Pasco County’s high-growth corridor is attracting more than single-family homes, restaurants and retail outlets. Nine luxury apartment complexes will bring more than 2,500 multifamily units to the county’s southern tier from Odessa to Wesley Chapel.
› Miami-Dade to seek development bids at transit hub [Miami Today]
Miami-Dade will request development bids in the first quarter of 2019 for the Miami Intermodal Center near Miami International Airport to help turn it profitable, according to Alice Bravo, who said her department’s takeover of the multi-million-dollar transit hub has thus far gone “very smoothly.”