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Thursday's Afternoon Update

State agency seeks money, workers as medical marijuana industry grows

Health officials also want $4 million for a state education and prevention campaign to publicize “accurate information” about medical marijuana, money to buy vehicles to transport samples of THC-infused edible products to a testing lab in Jacksonville and additional funds to open three regional offices within the Office of Medical Marijuana Use, according to documents submitted to the Legislature. More from WFOR.

Digital driver’s licenses and IDs ready for public download next month

In an update before a Senate panel Tuesday, FLHSMV officials said the Florida Smart-ID app is already live but not available to the public. The department is on schedule to put the digital ID public on the Apple App Store and Android Google Play store in mid-November. Senate Transportation Committee Chair Gayle Harrell called smartphones a marvelous tool for digital driver’s licenses and other identifications. The state began the process to develop digital driver’s licenses in 2014. More from Florida Politics.

Brightline revamps intercity rail with speedy nose, elegant seats, no coach class

“No detail is too small in setting an impression,” said Michael Reininger, chief executive officer of Brightline Holdings. “We worked really hard to develop a solution that made the train look like you would imagine a high-speed passenger train should look,” Reininger said. “The nose cone is a central signature element of the train for us.” Learning about Brightline’s obsession with noses and skirts, or concealment panels beneath coach cars, reveals much about the private entity’s strategies. More from the Orlando Sentinel.

Florida nursing schools need more funding, faculty to prevent 59,100 shortfall

Commissioned by the Florida Hospital Association and the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida, the report found that Florida’s aging population and expected growth will worsen the already-existing demand for new nurses. The report, done by market analysis group IHS Markit, says the issue could partially be caused by a shortage of nursing school graduates: A 2018-19 survey by the Florida Center for Nursing found that many nursing programs didn’t have the resources or funds to expand, and couldn’t find enough faculty or clinical sites even when they could. More from the Orlando Sentinel.

Commissioner Fried and FDACS announce Virtual Farm to School Conference

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness are excited to announce this year’s Farm to School Experience. The conference will be held virtually on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 and is an opportunity for schools, distributors, and producers to connect and learn more about the 2021 Farm to School initiative. More from the FDACS.

Out of the Box
The history of Cypress Gardens, Florida's first theme park

 Back in the 1930s, Dick Pope Sr. and his wife Julie saw an article about a Charleston banker who opened up his private estate to the public and charged an admissions fee. This man made $36,000 in a single year. After hearing about the banker's success, Pope decided that he would build his own garden in Winter Haven. They originally planned to rebuild the Winter Haven canals and chain of lakes. They also planned to add a hanging garden on Lake Eloise. Eventually, they created Cypress Gardens.

» More from WTVT.


Abandoned Florida draws urban explorers — and a huge online audience

 David Bulit has one piece of advice for his followers. Maybe it’s more like a warning. “Don’t do anything that I would do.” He has spent over a decade slipping into Florida’s strangest spaces. Cigar factories and decrepit prisons, overgrown theme parks and haunted hospitals: He’s seen it all. And through his photographs, so has his audience. The 32-year-old Miami native has worked for years to research and document hundreds of off-limits spaces on his website, Abandoned Florida.

» Read more from the Tampa Bay Times.