FAC News Clips - December 14, 2017 -

Panama City News Herald
Gulf County weighs beach restoration options
The Board of Gulf County Commissioners hopes to make a decision in January on how to restore the beaches along St. Joseph Peninsula, but some residents say that will be too late.  “Time is of the essence,” said South Gulf resident Butch Kline. “The time keeps going, and we’ve kind of been kicking the can down the road. There are four houses I know of, and probably more, that aren’t going to make it through the winter.”

St. Augustine Record
State approves purchase of conservation easement in St. Johns, Flagler counties
A conservation easement for hundreds of acres of wetlands in St. Johns and Flagler counties was approved Wednesday at a Florida Cabinet meeting.  The easement was purchased for $838,350 by the state.  The parcel is owned by the Perry Smith family and includes 1,863 aces of land — 90 percent of which is wetlands — south of Hastings and into Flagler County.

St. Lucie, Martin County officials drop one Brightline challenge, explore new strategy
he County Commission will drop its challenge of an environmental permit for Brightline and instead might shift the focus of its rail-expansion battle toward freight-related issues.  Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to end their year-long fight against issuance of the South Florida Water Management District environmental-resources permit.

Port St. Joe Star
Eastern dry dock moves forward in Gulf County
The Board of Gulf County Commissioners formally moved ahead Tuesday on constructing a dry dock facility at the Port of Port St. Joe.  The dry dock would be constructed by Eastern Shipbuilding, which would operate the facility under a lease arrangement with the county.

Ft. Myers News Press
Finding solutions to attainable housing in Lee County: your turn
Southwest Florida is a paradise vacation spot, but for many residents, living and working in paradise is growing more unaffordable by the second. Lee County is struggling to fill the gap of attainable housing options for many people working in the area.  Attainable housing — costing 30 percent or less of an individual’s monthly income — is not widely available in Lee County. In fact, 49 percent of all households in the county spend 30 percent or more of their monthly income on rent.

Miami Herald
Florida declares Everglades water cleaner than ever. Miccosukee Tribe says not so fast.
Florida water managers say water running from conservation areas into the Everglades is cleaner than ever, reaching the lowest levels since clean-up efforts began.  “This is one of the most successful environmental projects in the history of the world,” South Florida Water Management District board member Jim Moran said after staff reported on the annual assessment tallying levels of marsh-killing phosphorus. “The farmers alone have reduced their exit numbers by 55 percent.”

Sun Sentinel
Florida has settled just one Hurricane Irma price-gouging case
Florida got thousands of complaints about price-gouging when Hurricane Irma hit, but so far Attorney General Pam Bondi's office has settled just one case.  Bondi's office was inundated with 7,500 complaints in the weeks after the deadly storm struck the state in September. To date, Her office has settled one case for $25,000.  A hotel near Miami International Airport admitted hiking room rates by as much as 138 percent.

Sun Sentinel
FPL opens $6 million Cat 5 storm center in Jupiter, one of 12 planned
Florida Power & Light Co. employees have a place to work and sleep during a storm, thanks to ratepayers.  The Juno Beach-based electric utility opened its $6 million, Category 5-rated storm center in Jupiter on Wednesday, one of 12 throughout the state geared toward housing employees, and even some out-of-state crews, during and after a storm.