Thursday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Businesses interrupted as red tide, brown seaweed hits Florida
Residents are complaining about burning eyes and breathing problems. Dead fish have washed up. A beachside festival has been canceled, even though it wasn’t scheduled for another month. To add to the misery, a giant stretch of brown seaweed is coming soon to Florida’s spring-breaking beaches. The six-million-ton blob of smelly seaweed, perhaps a record amount, experts said, was spotted on radar east of the Caribbean and is expected to wash up on Florida’s east coast and on other eastern states in coming days. More from the Insurance Journal and the Miami Herald.
"We’ve lost another lion": Former lawmaker, lobbyist Sam Bell dies
Sam Bell, a former powerful member of the Florida House from Volusia County with a long record of legislation aimed at improving education and the lives of children, has died, according to an announcement from the office of his stepdaughter, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor. “With heavy hearts, we are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Sam Bell, husband of Betty Castor and stepfather of Congresswoman Kathy Castor, last night after an unexpected health complication,” said a statement posted on Rep. Castor’s website Wednesday. More from the Daytona Beach News Journal and the Florida Phoenix]
After a pandemic boom, Florida lawmakers seek to regulate 'ghost kitchens' and food trailers
A bill moving through the Florida legislature could soon give the state power to regulate a restaurant model that grew in popularity during the pandemic. House Bill 415 would give the state oversight of the licensing and permitting process of temporary commercial kitchens around the state — think ghost kitchens or kitchens in portable trailers. When the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered restaurants, some entrepreneurs turned to this business model to provide takeout or delivery-only options by preparing meals in shared spaces or portable structures. [Source: WUSF]
Tax breaks get green light
The Senate Finance and Tax Committee on Tuesday approved more than $70 million in proposed tax breaks that could become part of a package lawmakers will negotiate later in the legislative session. The proposals include providing a permanent tax exemption on sales of diapers and incontinence products (SB 114). The bill, sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book, D-Plantation, would save consumers $28.8 million next fiscal year. Lawmakers in 2022 passed a one-year tax exemption for diapers. [Source: News Service of Florida]
Red tide is flaring up in Southwest Florida. How safe is it to eat fish and other seafood?
As red tide has returned to Southwest Florida, with dead fish and dead eels washing ashore on beaches, you may be wondering if you can still eat your favorite fish or seafood. A red tide, or a harmful algae bloom, occurs "when microscopic algae multiply to higher-than-normal concentrations," the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission notes. When the toxin from red tide is inhaled, it can cause respiratory symptoms in people, such as coughing, wheezing and sore throats. In marine life, it’s a killer that affects the nervous system and can cause paralysis. [Source: USA Today]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Revolutionary $468 million solar energy storage plant proposed for north Brevard
The Titusville area, with its views of the launch pads at Kennedy Space Center, is no stranger to moonshots. Now, a spinoff company from Google is planning a nearly half-billion-dollar green-energy "moonshot" for the area Ã¢?• one that could use solar energy to produce electricity, even in the middle of the night. It would be the first of its kind anywhere in the world. Its secret ingredient: Salt. Molten salt.
› NAS Pensacola allows public access to Naval Aviation Museum and lighthouse for one weekend
Naval Air Station Pensacola will allow a weekend of public access to the installation March 25 and 26, 2023. Public access to NAS Pensacola March 25 and 26 will be available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through the West Gate only on Blue Angel Parkway. All guests 18 and older must have a valid picture ID such as driver's license or passport.
› Florida has only 2 Michelin-starred restaurants led by women — Capa’s Malyna Si is one of them
Malyna Si, 35, helms the kitchen at Capa, a steakhouse where the average entree off the fiery parrilla runs about $80, at the Four Seasons Orlando property where the least expensive room averages $1,495 a night. One of her favorite items on the menu is the Ibérico Pluma ($55), an inarguably gorgeous dish that features the “feather” cut of this prized Spanish pig, which is incredibly rich in intramuscular fat and hence, incredibly flavorful.
› Miami-Dade film industry incentives package would balloon with proposal
Frustrated by a dwindling Miami-Dade film industry and its effect on the economy, Commissioner René Garcia wants the county to launch a “high impact film fund program” to attract “major television series and motion picture productions.” His resolution asking Mayor Daniella Levine Cava to create such a program and report to the commission within 90 days passed unanimously Monday in the county’s Chairmans Policy Council and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee. It now heads to the full commission for action.
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