December 5, 2022

Wednesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 10/5/2022

Citrus crop losses from Ian expected to top 80 percent in some areas

In addition to the widespread destruction Hurricane Ian left in its wake, the devastating effects of wind and rain also wreaked havoc on Florida's citrus industry. Ray Royce, executive director of the Highlands Citrus Growers Association, has heard from more than a dozen citrus growers across the citrus growing region who are reporting between 15% to 80% of their fruit has falling. In some pockets, those losses could be even higher as flood waters are stubborn to return to lakes and streams and threaten to kill trees. [Source: Lakeland Ledger]

Time to reinvent Florida once again

In Florida — a real place with human roots that rebut the clueless takes that we can all just up and move — the way forward begins with an understanding that the sunny, paradisiacal vision of the state is both carefully constructed and fairly new. Florida, though, is better understood as a place of constant reimagining, its new dream almost always born of disaster. As climate change and crowded coastlines amplify the risks of living here, the question becomes: What’s the next Florida dream? [Source: Politico]

State clears way for jobless benefits after Ian

State officials have taken steps to make it easier for people in areas affected by Hurricane Ian to receive unemployment benefits, as recovery efforts from the massive storm continued Monday and the death toll mounted. The state, in part, temporarily eliminated what is known as a “waiting week” before unemployment benefits can be paid. Also, it removed a requirement that applicants contact five potential employers a week to keep unemployment benefits flowing. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Plans to strengthen electric system get go-ahead

Less than a week after Hurricane Ian knocked out power to large swaths of Florida, state regulators Tuesday approved utilities’ long-term plans to try to bolster the electric system. The state Public Service Commission approved, with some changes, plans submitted by Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy Florida, Tampa Electric Co. and Florida Public Utilities Co. The plans detail a wide range of projects, including increasing the number of underground power lines. But with the work expected to cost billions of dollars over the next decade, commissioners expressed concerns about effects on utility customers’ pocketbooks. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Season's next tropical depressions could form this week

As communities hit hard by Hurricane Ian continue to recover from the storm's wrath, the National Hurricane Center is watching two disturbances in the Atlantic. A tropical wave off the coast of Africa — Invest 92L — shows the strongest potential for development and a tropical depression is likely to form in the next day or two as it moves generally northwest into the central Atlantic. [Source: Florida Times-Union]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Judge says cigarette maker should pay Florida
In a case involving tens of millions of dollars a year, a judge has sided with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and ruled that another cigarette maker is responsible for paying Florida under a landmark legal settlement about health-related costs of smoking. The ruling Friday by a Delaware judge, Lori W. Will, came in a long-running legal battle between R.J. Reynolds and ITG Brands, LLC.

› Fort Lauderdale office park to host three state agencies
Three Florida agencies recently secured 25,000 square feet of office space within the Lakeshore Business Center office park in Fort Lauderdale. The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) signed a 10-year lease for 8,545 square feet of office in suite 200 within the building. The Department of Children and Families (DCF) signed a seven-year lease for 3,369 square feet in suite 220. The third lease was signed by the Florida Department of Corrections.

› Orlando lifts water usage advisory, but still urges residents to be mindful
After suffering a major water main break over the weekend, the city of Orlando on Tuesday lifted its water usage advisory to residents and businesses. Orlando officials said its No. 1, 2 and 3 lift stations suffered the water main break on Sunday, causing an overflow of sewage into nearby lakes after Hurricane Ian brought record rain to the area. A city spokesperson said Tuesday that “progress on emergency repairs to the sanitary system continues to be made by our Public Works staff.”

› Investment firm Baird moving Tampa office to Water Street Tampa
A global investment firm is moving its Tampa office across downtown and into Water Street Tampa. Wisconsin-based Baird has leased a 5,271-square-foot suite on the ninth floor of Thousand & One, the primary office tower at the $3.5 billion residential, retail and business district developed by Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment.

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