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Friday's Daily Pulse

Florida orange groves continue to shrink

Florida’s citrus industry continues to be squeezed, as it now uses less than half of the amount of land that it used in 2000, according to reports released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Florida growers during the past two decades have faced pressure from residential and commercial development, foreign imports, changing drinking habits and citrus greening, an incurable bacterial disease. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Business BeatBusiness Beat - Week of September 10th

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Hall of Fame inventor Norma Alcantar

On her research: “Nobody really knows how the plaques in Alzheimer’s disease form, so I thought that would be a niche for me. It was not until about 2013 that we realized the mucilage (from cactus) could be instrumental in dissolving or disrupting the formation of Alzheimer’s disease plaques." [Source: Florida Trend]

Florida jobless claims below 6,000 last week

First-time unemployment claims in Florida continue to roll in at a pre-pandemic pace. The U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday estimated 5,814 initial claims were filed in Florida during the week that ended Sept. 4, down from a revised count of 9,700 during the week that ended Aug. 28. The federal agency initially estimated 8,270 first-time unemployment applications were submitted in Florida in the week ending Aug. 28. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Reports: Florida is on track to become a regional leader in solar energy

While climate scientists are sounding the alarm on rising global temperatures, a recent federal report is saying the U.S. is at least heading in the right direction in terms of using one form of renewable energy. The report by the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy says solar energy has the potential to supply up to 40 percent of the nation’s electricity within 15 years. But, that's not without requiring massive changes in U.S. policy and billions of dollars in federal investment to modernize the nation's electric grid. Florida could be leading the charge on solar in the next decade. [Source: AP]


› Florida Supreme Court agrees to hear post-Parkland case about local gun regulations
The Florida Supreme Court will take up a closely watched case about a 2011 state law that threatens tough penalties if city and county officials approve gun-related regulations. The court issued an order Thursday saying it will hear a challenge to the law, which was upheld in April by the 1st District Court of Appeal.

› Prison mail change moves ahead with tweaks
State corrections officials are tweaking a plan to replace hard copies of prisoners’ mail with digitized versions, after a legislative committee raised concerns about the proposal that sparked an outcry from inmates’ families and advocates. The Department of Corrections this week published two changes to a proposed rule to address numerous issues flagged by the committee, but the department is continuing to move ahead with the switch.

› In the 20 years since 9/11, security at Orlando’s theme parks has adapted with new tech and threats
For many theme parks, the terror attacks on America that day highlighted the need for tighter security as officials realized that large venues could become targets for terrorism. And in the 20 years since, other attacks and events — including the Pulse shooting and the COVID-19 pandemic — have prompted the parks to constantly update their security protocols in a changing landscape.

› Three years in, Tampa’s Embarc Collective hits 100 tech startups served
If the Embarc Collective had charted out a growth timeline when it launched in 2018 — and then opened a shared physical workspace in early 2020 — it definitely wouldn’t have included a global pandemic. Even if it had, CEO Lakshmi Shenoy couldn’t have foreseen the Tampa startup community growing like it has in that span.

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› Six Manatee County employees under investigation for favoritism allegations
Manatee County has placed six building department employees under administrative leave pending an investigation by the county clerk's Inspector General. The investigation relates to potential favoritism shown on possible construction code violations on an agriculturally zoned property in Myakka City.

› Redwire stock jumps on first day of trading
Other than the new name, nothing really changed when Redwire Corp. began trading Sept. 3 under that moniker. Still, the stock jumped higher on its first trading day as Redwire. Jacksonville-based space technology company Redwire agreed in March to merge with Genesis Park Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company formed to find a merger target.

› Tampa’s Straz Center delays $25 million request from city amid budget talks
Back in January, officials from the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts presented a proposal to City Council members for the city’s Downtown Community Redevelopment Area to provide $25 million to help fund the art center’s expansion plans. The five City Council members present — Luis Viera and Charlie Miranda were absent — didn’t raise any strong objections. Several sung the praises of the project. Now, it’s budget crunch time.

› SeaWorld extends beer fest, last call for Meliá event
SeaWorld’s brew fest got an extension ahead of its final weekend, but it’s the last call for a Meliá celebration. Originally slated to end Sept. 12, the Craft Beer Festival — featuring more than 100 craft beers, wines, seltzers and cocktails — now runs Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 31 at SeaWorld Orlando.