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Friday's Afternoon Update

Space launches soar in Florida

Space Coast residents had a chance to wake up Thursday to the 18th orbital launch of the year from Cape Canaveral, as a SpaceX Falcon 9 topped with 53 Starlink internet satellites lifted off just before sunrise. With at least five more launches expected this month, Space Florida President and CEO Frank DiBello said Wednesday that local launch facilities might handle more than 40 additional launches before the end of 2022 from private companies, NASA and U.S. Space Force. More from the News Service of Florida.

Miami-Dade is working on a plan to clean up Biscayne Bay. One part of it, at least  

Biscayne Bay is in dire straits, with several fish kills racked up over the last few summers, vanishing seagrass meadows and climate change cranking up the heat on Miami-Dade’s blue gem. Now, for the first time, Miami-Dade County is developing a formal, state-monitored plan to clean up its act and restore the bay. It’s hired a consultant and set a self-imposed deadline of September to deliver a plan to the state to address the dirtiest sliver of the bay. More from the Miami Herald.

Universal, SunRail, Brightline eye $1B rail expansion from Orlando airport to I-Drive

A presentation Thursday called the “first salvo” by Orlando’s mayor shows Brightline, SunRail and Universal working toward building passenger-rail tracks from Orlando’s airport to a station near the Orange County Convention Center and then to south International Drive. Dubbed the “Sunshine Corridor,” the tracks and station would cost roughly $1 billion, though no design has been done for a cost estimate, and are envisioned for hourly Brightline trains and quarter-hour SunRail service. More from the Orlando Sentinel.

On the Rebound: Volusia tourism leaders celebrate 9.9 million visitors in 2021

Volusia County attracted 9.9 million visitors in 2021, as the destination rebounded from a 7.2 million total in pandemic-plagued 2020, according to figures released by the Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. The news was announced at a celebration event to mark National Travel & Tourism Week on Wednesday at Hard Rock Hotel, where tourism officials and other local leaders praised the resiliency of the area’s leading industry. More from the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Tampa Bay food banks see more need and supply challenges as grocery costs climb

Requests for food, housing, rent and utility assistance have gone up by 500 percent since last fall, Burke said. Thomas Mantz, the president and CEO of Feeding Tampa Bay, said his organization estimates there are as many as 1 million food insecure people in the region, down from a pandemic peak of 1.5 million but still above the pre-pandemic mark of about 700,000. Burke and Mantz said current demand marks an increase from mid-2021, when the economic fallout of the pandemic seemed to have stabilized. More from the Tampa Bay Times.

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Florida Dining
This ‘French’ steakhouse from New York just opened a new spot in Brickell

floridaMove over, Morton’s. There’s a new steakhouse in town. Dirty French Steakhouse is the newest restaurant by the New York-based group that brought Miami several over-the-top venues in the last year: Carbone, HaSalon, Sadelle’s and the members-only sushi restaurant ZZ’s Club. “Think of a dirty martini, something that’s super classic infused with big, bold flavors,” said partner Jeff Zalaznick.

» Read more from the Miami Herald.