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Wednesday's Daily Pulse

DeSantis vetoes congressional redistricting maps, calls for special legislative session

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday he had vetoed the congressional redistricting maps sent to him by his GOP colleagues in the Legislature. With midterm elections coming in 2022, the Legislature will need to return to Tallahassee for a special session to redraw the maps. DeSantis said during a news conference that the session will come sometime in mid-April. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Alzheimer’s will increase 24% in Florida by 2025. Doctors, caregivers struggle to keep up

Florida has the second-highest number of Alzheimer’s patients over 65 after California: 580,000. But delayed diagnoses are fairly common. It’s hard to find specialists, and nearly 40% of primary care providers rarely feel comfortable diagnosing Alzheimer’s or other dementia, according to a 2019 survey from the Alzheimer’s Association. About 50% said they are ill-equipped to treat people with dementia. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Cruises leaving from Florida are getting more crowded as bookings are twice as strong as last year

After nearly two years of pandemic restrictions on cruises, the industry is coming back as more travelers book trips with cruise lines. According to AAA Travel, cruise bookings during the past four weeks have nearly doubled as compared to this time last year. The study points to several indicators for this increase in booking — including the Center for Disease Control’s recent decision to lower its cruise travel warning to a level 2. [Source: WFSU]

Bobcats with a taste for python eggs might be the guardians of Florida’s swamp

The voracious appetite of the invasive Burmese python is causing Florida’s mammal and bird populations to plummet. With little natural competition to control the big snake’s numbers, the situation looks desperate. But new observations suggest that the bobcat, a wildcat native to Florida, might be able to help. A team of ecologists collected evidence recently of a bobcat devouring python eggs in the Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida and last month reported its findings in the journal Ecology and Evolution. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Florida leads 20 other states in challenging federal mask mandate on planes

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is spearheading an effort to overturn the federal mask mandate on airplanes and other public transportation. Major airline CEOs recently asked President Joe Biden to end the mask mandate, too. Earlier this month, however, the federal government extended the mask requirement through April 18. During a news conference with Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday in Tallahassee, Moody announced she was leading 20 other states in taking the legal action against the Biden administration. More from WTSP and WESH.


› St. Petersburg’s Raymond James Financial to acquire New Jersey firm
Raymond James Financial is bringing another investment firm under its umbrella. The St. Petersburg wealth management company will acquire Jersey City, N.J.’s SumRidge Partners, the company announced Monday. SumRidge is a technology-focused market maker, or broker-dealer that trades in specific types of investments — in this case, corporate and municipal bonds and institutional preferred stocks.

› New Titusville hotel targets space fans by offering clear launch views
A new hotel with a rooftop bar is betting it can lure tourists and local space junkies alike who want to take in a great view of Space Coast launches. Located directly across the Indian River from Kennedy Space Center, The Marriott Courtyard Titusville at 6245 Riverfront Center Blvd. is positioning itself as both a top lodging destination for space fans from out of town and a gathering spot for Central Floridians to watch liftoffs.

› ‘A gift to the city.’ This $4 billion development is creating an outdoor museum in Miami
At first glance, Miami Worldcenter, a sprawling multi-use complex in the heart of downtown, seems like South Florida’s premier spot to spend, spend, spend. Worldcenter has been unveiling one attraction after another: an open-air “high street retail” center, a 60-story luxury condo that changes colors and an infinity sky pool overlooking the city. Its latest addition, though, is completely free.

› Free job fair for veterans is March 31
Military veterans and their family members looking for a job or contemplating a career change have the opportunity to meet more than 60 potential employers seeking military-trained talent at the Recruitmilitary.com Jacksonville Veterans Job Fair. The event, in cooperation with Disabled American Veterans, is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 31 in the East Club at TIAA Bank Field. Free parking is available in Lot C.

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› Likely targeting ships at Naval Station Mayport, Navy budget aims to decommission 9 LCS
U.S. Navy administrators want to decommission nine littoral combat ships next year, apparently targeting the Freedom-variant ships based at Naval Station Mayport. “As we look across LCS, this is a place where we have identified that there are real costs, especially for the Freedom class,” Meredith Berger, performing duties of undersecretary of the Navy, told reporters Monday as the service outlined its 2023 budget request to Congress.

› Environmentalists’ Piney Point lawsuit paused for six months
A federal judge has put on hold a lawsuit that environmental groups filed last year after massive amounts of wastewater were discharged from a former phosphate plant site to avert a potential catastrophe. U.S. District Judge William Jung put a six-month stay on the lawsuit, as a court-ordered receiver in a separate state case works to close the Piney Point site in Manatee County.

› Florida health officials issue toxic algae alert for Lake Washington
Florida health officials warn not to swim, wade, boat in or eat fish from Lake Washington, or let your dog sip the water. The Florida Department of Health in Brevard issued a health alert Monday about harmful blue-green algae toxins in Lake Washington, after samples drawn on March. 23 found the microcystin toxin present in the lake, at 0.3 micrograms per liter.

› Feds say they’ll be watching Florida schools after DeSantis signs ‘don’t say gay’ bill
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said Monday that his department will monitor Florida’s implementation of a controversial new education law that restricts classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity to determine whether it violates federal civil rights law. Cardona’s statement hints at potential legal ramifications for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision Monday to sign the legislation, which critics have called the “don’t say gay” bill, into law.