Inside Florida’s citrus groves, where growers are working to tackle devastating disease and climate-related shortages to save America’s oranges
Over the past decade, citrus greening has cut the volume of oranges produced in Florida by more than half — and a 13.8 percent jump in the price of orange juice since last year. That means Americans looking for fresh vitamin C, bottomless mimosas or just a cold glass of orange juice will likely pay more in the coming years, but industry insiders believe the demand will continue. [Source: Business Insider]
Florida insurance companies, not homeowners, benefit from $2 billion in taxpayer funding
Nearly five dozen Florida companies have filed plans to join a $2 billion taxpayer-funded plan designed to shore up the struggling property insurance industry that would save homeowners only about 1 percent to 3 percent of their annual premiums . That would hardly affect the double-digit premium increases millions of statewide homeowners have endured for years — if these companies actually pass those savings on to their customers. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
As NASA’s first Artemis moon launch approaches, so do the crowds: At least 100,000 expected
Hotels sold out. Excitement that seems to grow with each passing day. Potential for hundreds of thousands of visitors, support staff and more. These are just some of the factors being calculated in preparation for Artemis I, the first launch of NASA’s moon-focused Space Launch System rocket, scheduled for August 29. At 322 feet tall, it promises to be the biggest and most powerful rocket launch from the Space Coast in years – bringing with it a level of excitement. [Source: Florida Today]
Publix’s sales rise to $12.9 billion, but profits fall 37.7%
Publix’s sales rose to $12.9 billion in the quarter ended June 25, but the company’s profits fell. The Lakeland-based grocer’s sales rose 9.3% in the quarter, compared to $11.8 billion in the same quarter a year earlier. Net earnings for the quarter were $628.4 million, down 37.7% from $1 billion in 2021. Excluding the unrealized changes in equity securities in both years, net earnings in the quarter would have been $895.5 million , down 2.7% from $920.3 million a year earlier. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Florida congresswoman calls for federal investigation of FPL
A U.S. congresswoman is asking the Justice Department to investigate Florida Power & Light over allegations that the company used “dark money” to conceal sources of political funding and influence Florida elections, as well as other allegations documented in recent news reports. U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., said in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday that recent Florida press reports have “revealed blatant corruption, influence peddling and breach of public trust by Florida’s largest electric utility Florida Power & Light and its employees.” [Source: WJXT]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Driftwood Inn rises again as Mexico Beach recovers from Hurricane Michael
Mexico Beach was home to four hotels and motels before Michael. The Driftwood, three stories tall with 23 rooms, is the first to return, a symbol of the city’s ongoing recovery. It’s taller, stronger — and more expensive. Michael’s recovery is worth about $13 million, more than double the roughly $5 million they received from insurance.
› South Miami’s ‘darkest bar’ has closed after nearly 70 years. Now it’s back
Randy Alonso understands that Miamians are desperate to preserve their history, any history, even if that means finding it in a 70-year-old dive bar. That’s why the buzz has been so constant over the past three years since Alonso and his business partner, Chris Hudnall, announced they were resurrecting Fox’s Lounge in South Miami. It opens today, hoping to emulate the atmosphere that made it anecdotally “the darkest bar in Miami” for 69 years.
› As the stadium on USF’s campus takes shape, Tampa companies are looking to capitalize
When Floyd Freeman was a student at the University of South Florida, the school did not have a football team. The Bulls fielded their first team in 1997, the year after he graduated. As an alumnus and season ticket holder, Freeman is excited about the prospect of a football stadium on USF’s Tampa campus. But he’s even more excited as a business owner.
› What are the legal ramifications of the listeria outbreak linked to Big Olaf?
Big Olaf Creamery has already been sued twice over a listeria outbreak identified this month that public health agencies say has resulted in 23 illnesses and one death. While both cases are very early stage, there is plenty of legal precedent for how other food companies have handled similar situations.
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