Environmental regulation bills start moving in Florida Legislature after algae troubles
Gov. Ron DeSantis has made water quality a top priority, and lawmakers from some of the affected regions have filed a slew of environmental regulation and funding bills. One bill would result in fines for municipalities after sewage spills; another would increase regulations on the spreading of biosolids, or human waste left over from the municipal sewage treatment process. Nutrients found in human waste can feed algae blooms. Toxic red tide, brown tide and blue-green algae blooms impacted Florida last year, killing fish, fouling waterways and hurting local economies. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Using bogus immigration document to get Florida license doesn’t break law, judge rules
A Miami federal judge has thrown out criminal charges against a man who used a phony immigration document to get a Florida driver’s license. The undocumented worker was one of more than 20 undocumented immigrants arrested for using a specific federal form to prove to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles that he was allowed to be in the United States. The judge's decision declares there’s no actual law that says the form can even be used to prove an “authorized stay in the United States.” It’s a highly technical legal argument, but it’s opening the door for the others arrested in the sting to beat their cases, and maybe even stay in the United States. [Source: Miami Herald]
Florida Trend Exclusive
JinkoSolar steps up production in Jacksonville
Last spring, with the help of $3.4 million in city and state incentives, Shanghai-based JinkoSolar, the world’s largest solar-panel manufacturer, announced plans to open its first U.S. factory in Jacksonville.
JinkoSolar says it will use the $50-million plant to fulfill a four-year contract with Juno Beach-based NextEra Energy, the parent company of FPL. During the next decade, FPL will need thousands of panels as it increases its solar capacity from 1,250 megawatts to 11,000 megawatts, enough to power more than 2 million homes.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry praised JinkoSolar’s announcement, saying it will enhance the city’s reputation for manufacturing. [Source: Florida Trend]
Long-Term Brain Health Study Slated for Lakewood Ranch
The Academy for Brain Health and Performance (ABHP) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, recently selected Lakewood Ranch, Florida for The Brain Health Initiative at Lakewood Ranch research study. Located on the west coast of Florida, Lakewood Ranch (LWR) is a 31,000-acre master-planned community that is home to more than 36,000 residents.
This collaborative project will include a longitudinal study of the risks and protective factors that contribute to brain health and performance. [Source: Academy for Brain Health]
South Florida's Dominant Grocer Trying To Outmaneuver Whole Foods, Trader Joe's
Publix will take a bold step with the creation of a stand-alone GreenWise store in Boca Raton to better compete with a market crowded with "fresh food" grocers like Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Fresh Market and Sprouts. Publix had opened three Publix GreenWise Markets prior to 2010, then experimented with a hybrid format that incorporated elements from the GreenWise Market test stores into traditional Publix supermarkets.[Source: Bisnow]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Baby boomers struggle with handing down their businesses to family [Orlando Sentinel]
According to a recent SunTrust study, just 31 percent of business owners plan to pass down their businesses to a family member within the next five years, a trend driven in part by a growing number of baby boomers approaching retirement age. Khanh Tran, owner of Saigon Market on Colonial Drive in Orlando had initially been part of the group hoping to turn over his business to his children. But he said he will try to sell the business instead.
› Hundreds of South Florida passengers affected by grounding of Boeing aircraft [South Florida SunSentinel]
Passengers planning to leave South Florida were forced to change travel plans Wednesday when the U.S. ordered the grounding of all Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 jets — a safety precaution after the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people.
› Fed up with spring breakers hogging the beaches? Here’s how to avoid the crowds. [Tampa Bay Times]
2019 is poised to be the busiest spring break on record--meaning historic throngs of spreak breakers are arriving to overwhelm local roads, airports and beaches.
› Report shows cattle industry is a significant part of local economy in urban areas [WMFE]
Urban areas like Orange compete with more rural ones like Polk and Okeechobee when it comes to the local economic impact of the cattle industry.