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Thursday's Afternoon Update

Space Florida rockets closer to $1 billion annual impact

Can the space industry deliver a $1 billion annual impact for Florida? Officials at Space Florida feel optimistic based on economic trends in the last decade and a half. A report released this week shows a total economic impact of $5.9 billion from Space Florida’s work since its 2007 launch. That includes delivering $2.8 billion to Florida’s gross domestic product, another $1.7 billion in household income, along with some $548 billion in tax revenues. More from Florida Politics.

JEA board approves $106.6 million, 150-megawatt solar deal with TEA

JEA will have access to 150 megawatts of solar power produced by Florida Power & Light Co. through a five-year agreement with public power service organization The Energy Authority. The board of directors for Jacksonville’s city-owned utility voted unanimously for the $106.6 million solar agreement as part of its Jan. 24 meeting consent agenda. More from the Jacksonville Daily Record.

James Beard Foundation names top 2023 U.S. restaurants — and South Florida got 14 nominations

The James Beard Foundation Awards — call it the Super Bowl of restaurants, the Olympics of chefs — just announced this year’s semifinalist nods, and South Florida notched 14 nominations. Five of them hail from Broward and Palm Beach counties. The well-regarded foundation, which released its longlist on Jan. 25, fetes the top tastemakers, emerging chefs, bakers and bars in the country. The local nominees provide the latest proof that South Florida is aglow in culinary prestige, less than a year after the lofty Michelin Guide rode into town, showering 11 stars on Miami-Dade County restaurants. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

High Orlando rents are ‘a new normal,’ expert says

The explosive cost of rent around the country continued to cool in December, according to a report released Thursday, but one expert says Orlando’s high prices of the past two years are likely to be “the new normal.” The median rent in metro Orlando was $2,130 per month in December, up about 2% from November, according to the latest report from Rent.com. The metro area includes prices from Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties. More from the Orlando Sentinel.

Florida’s Lake Okeechobee dike repair done after 18 years, $1.5 billion

After 18 years, a $1.5 billion project was officially completed Wednesday to repair the sprawling dike around Florida’s Lake Okeechobee that protects thousands of people from potentially catastrophic flooding during hurricanes. The Herbert Hoover Dike project overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was completed three years ahead of schedule and at a savings of $300 million over the original cost estimate, officials said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the lake’s shore in Clewiston. More from the Tampa Bay Times.

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Sports Business
Melreese golf course has to close soon to make way for Beckham soccer complex

The family that operates the only public golf course inside Miami city limits has been notified they have to vacate by mid-March. The De Luccas have until March 19 to leave Melreese golf course, where they’ve operated International Links Miami for many years under a contract with the city. The golf course was thrust into the spotlight in 2018 when it became the possible site of a future soccer stadium and commercial complex.

» More from the Miami Herald.


Public Health
Florida gets an 'F' on tobacco control report card

Florida is lacking in tobacco control and efforts to prevent smoking and received failing grades in its efforts to do so according to the annual report by the American Lung Association. "With the 2023 state of tobacco control report, Florida, unfortunately, was listed as one of the states with the worst policies to prevent and reduce tobacco use," said Janelle Hom, Director of the Central Florida Lung Association office.

» Read more from WMFE.