Lawmakers seek to end Florida’s key role in shark fin trade
While Florida gains notoriety as the epicenter of the shark trade in the United States, state lawmakers advanced legislation this week that would ban the possession of shark fins. While the practice of finning is already illegal in the United States, most states currently have no prohibitions against possessing and selling shark fins. Advocates are pushing the U.S. Congress to enact a national law banning the shark fin trade. In the absence of such a law, they have been working state-to-state. More from the AP and NBC Miami.
» See also: 1,400 pounds of shark fins seized at PortMiami
Jeff Vinik’s Embarc Collective innovation hub opens in Tampa
The original idea at the Embarc Collective was to open the building housing the new innovation hub first, then bring in the startups for coaching. But when you’re renovating a 99-year-old warehouse, construction doesn’t always go as planned, so the sequence got flipped. Last March Embarc Collective’s staff started working with 25 young companies off-site. Today, about a month after the collective’s home near downtown Tampa had its soft opening, the physical space will get a formal launch. More from the Tampa Bay Times.
State approves blockbuster conservation deal preserving Sarasota County ranch
State leaders voted Tuesday to approve one of the most significant conservation deals involving a Sarasota County property in decades, dedicating $19.5 million in Florida Forever money toward the purchase of Orange Hammock Ranch in North Port. Once slated for 15,000 homes, the ranch will now remain undeveloped forever, a move that conservationists have sought for many years because of the property’s importance for water quality, it’s relatively pristine condition and its location linking other conservation areas to create a broad ribbon of protected land. More from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
South Florida properties involved in $85M debt relief scheme head to auction
Two South Florida properties that were allegedly part of a wide-ranging debt relief scheme that scammed 15,000 investors out of $85 million will be auctioned off this week. The auction on Wednesday seeks to refund money to victims of the scheme led by Jeremy Marcus, Craig Davis Smith and Yisbet Segrea, who allegedly convinced people to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars a month by falsely promising to resolve their debts and improve their credit scores, according to the Federal Trade Commission. More from the Real Deal.
Fired JEA CEO Aaron Zahn knew bonus plan could yield $280 million before it was approved
JEA’s now-fired CEO Aaron Zahn told city attorneys last month that before the JEA’s board of directors approved a controversial bonus plan in July that he knew the plan could have resulted in a $280 million payout for employees if the city-owned utility was sold. Zahn gave inconsistent answers to attorneys about what he knew about the bonus plan although he ultimately said he was aware early on of the bonus plan’s potential to yield an exorbitant payout. More from the Florida Times-Union.
Tampa Bay’s economy is in great shape. Just ask an architect.
Architects don’t just draw pretty designs. They help select sites, bring development teams together and keep projects on budget. They also provide useful intelligence about where the economy is headed. Architects get involved in projects early on, before a hole gets dug or concrete gets poured. If they are busy, that’s a sign of more development in the coming months and years. Tampa Bay area architects are already busy and expect to get busier as the year progresses.
» More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Universal’s Super Nintendo World was inevitable, video game experts say
When Universal Studios announced last month that it would base an area in its Epic Universe theme park in Orlando around video games, experts in the industry were not surprised. After all, the generation that was born and raised around the video game giant Nintendo’s first home console in the mid-1980s now has some spending power. Why not create a land that could immerse them into the worlds they grew up playing in – while slinging merchandise themed around it?
» Read more from the Orlando Sentinel.