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Wednesday's Afternoon Update

Florida is the No. 1 state for fraud and the No. 4 for identity theft

Florida was the top state for formal reports of fraud to the federal government in 2018. According to its review of Federal Trade Commission data, Security.org found that people or groups posing as phony debt collectors made up the biggest share of fraud reports at 29 percent (or 71,000 reports), followed by identity theft at 15 percent (38,000 reports). Floridians made about 205,400 fraud reports last year, amounting to an average loss of $400. More from the Tampa Bay Times.

Florida Trend Exclusive
Certification as pharmaceutical freight hub gives Miami International Airport advantage

In 2015, the International Air Transport Association certified Miami International Airport as a pharmaceutical freight hub. At the time, it was only the second certified hub in the world (and the first in the U.S.). The designation means the airport has the infrastructure, personnel and processes to safely and efficiently handle shipping of this high-value, often temperature-sensitive and sometimes time-sensitive cargo. More from Florida Trend.

South Florida construction boom could grind to a halt thanks to new tariffs

There are some 80 major active construction projects in Miami-Dade, making it one of the hottest real estate markets in the country. Broward has as many as 50. But if new tariffs are imposed on Chinese raw materials, as the Trump Administration has warned, many of those projects could grind to a halt. “[This] will wreak havoc in so many areas,” said Anthony Graziano, senior managing director for Integra Realty Resources. More from the Miami Herald.

Florida’s tourism agency to trim staff after budget cut

Florida’s tourism-marketing arm is looking to make staff cuts and put more of an emphasis on digital media instead of television, as it responds to a 34 percent reduction in state funding. The Visit Florida Board of Directors will be asked Wednesday to approve several changes to address the Legislature’s decision to reduce state funding from $76 million in the current fiscal year to $50 million during the year that starts July 1. More from the Tampa Bay Times.

FPL backed on tax cuts, Irma costs

Florida Power & Light Co. customers won’t be getting a $772 million annual tax refund, a state regulatory commission decided Tuesday. FPL will get to hold onto tax refund money that the utility says it applied toward storm recovery, and as a result didn’t seek a storm surcharge for 2017′s Hurricane Irma. More from WLRN and WJXT.

Out of the Box
Exotic Pet Amnesty Day

 The Exotic Pet Amnesty Program offers a legal alternative to releasing exotic pets that owners can no longer keep and helps to reduce the number of nonnative species being introduced into the wild. People may surrender their exotic pets at the event, whether they are being kept legally or illegally, without penalty or cost.

» Read more from FWC and Orlando Weekly.


End of an Era
St. Pete's Holiday Motel, known for its colorful doors, will be demolished

floridaThe cottage-like motel with colorful doors on Fourth Street N seems destined for demolition, fated to be replaced with a retail strip. City Council members last week unanimously denied a request from Preserve the 'Burg — the group whose aim is to "educate, advocate, and celebrate what makes St. Pete special" — to designate the Holiday Motel a local historic landmark.

» Read more from the Tampa Bay Times.