FAC News Clips - August 17, 2017 -

FAC News Clips – August 17, 2017


Local News


Panama City News Herald

Panhandle counties applaud transportation network

PORT ST. JOE — Four Panhandle counties are eyeing economic development through a newly established freight transportation network. The Gulf to Gadsden Freight Logistics Zone (FLZ) is a grouping of transportation-related services throughout Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty and Franklin counties that is intended to improve the region’s infrastructure and boost the counties’ priority for state funding and incentives. “The new Freight Logistics Zone will connect communities, improve infrastructure for freight transportation and strongly impact the local economies,” said Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Cissy Proctor.


Possible changes on the way for Washington County alcohol laws

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The alcohol laws have been a topic of debate for several years in Washington County. The issue was last tabled in 2015. However, changes could be on the way. County commissioners are not trying to reclassify Washington as a "wet" county. Instead, they're looking to change where drinks that are already legal, like beer and wine, can be sold. Commissioners want to ease up on some of those restrictions to help boost economic development in the county, especially in the areas along the I-10 corridor.


Palm Beach Post

Palm Beach County tourism website ranks among best in the world

A new website created to market Palm Beach County as tourist destination ranks among the best in the world, according to Skift, a travel and marketing company. The website, www.thepalmbeaches.com, which was recently launched by Discover The Palm Beaches, the county’s official tourism marketing group, was named one of the “25 best tourism board websites” in the world. Skift noted that the site includes photos posted on social media by recent vacationers and residents using the hastag #ThePalmBeaches. 


Affordable Housing



Miami metro has the most dire need for affordable housing in the country, per report

A new report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to Congress indicates the Miami metro area (Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach) has the highest share of low-income renters with the “worst case needs” in the country. The issue stems from a massive shortage of affordable housing for those with incomes of no more than 50 percent of the Area Median Income. “Worst case needs” are triggered from a severe rent burden where a household is paying more than one-half of its income on gross rent or those being inadequately housed, which entails residing in a physically unsafe living situation.


Citrus Greening


Fort Myers News Press

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue pledges to help hasten citrus industry comeback

The U.S. agriculture secretary came to Southwest Florida and its citrus industry, “to see what you do and how it matters.” At a dinner tonight roughly 500 people attended at FGCU’s Alico Arena, Sonny Perdue vowed to guide the USDA in expediting research and other public-private partnerships to beat the  citrus greening disease that has slashed productivity and killed trees. Perdue thinks that can happen sooner rather than later, with the Trump administration’s emphasis on eliminating “cumbersome regulations that hurt American business.”


Sarasota Herald Tribune

US Ag chief Perdue visits groves, discusses greening

PUNTA GORDA — U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue met with local researchers, citrus growers and others Wednesday to discuss the future of Florida’s citrus industry, which is struggling to survive the devastation caused by greening disease. “I represent the largest citrus-producing district in the country and I have spent the last eight years trying to explain to my colleagues in Washington just how devastating this disease has been for our domestic citrus industry nationwide,” Rooney said.


Confederate Memorials



Marion County NAACP calls for removal of Confederate statue

OCALA, Fla. - Cities across the country are mulling over whether they should remove Confederate statues in the wake of the Charlottesville protests during the weekend. In Central Florida, a confederate statue still stands in Marion County and officials with the county said they've received a single complaint to remove it. "The national discussion has been about hate, about white supremacy or any other supremacists and that's just wrong," Marion County Commissioner Carl Zalak said.


Northwest Florida Daily News

Should the Walton County Courthouse Confederate flag stay put?

DeFUNIAK SPRINGS — Local democratic, NAACP and Democratic Black Caucus of Florida leaders are renewing their push for the removal of a Confederate flag flown at the Walton County Courthouse after nationwide protests following violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend. Margie Jordan, chairwoman of the Walton County Democratic Party, said members would meet in September to discuss a renewed effort to persuade Walton County commissioners to revisit the issue, which was last addressed in 2015.


Tampa Bay Times

Hillsborough will leave Confederate monument up if it can't get private money to move it

TAMPA — If the money needed to move Tampa's Confederate monument can't be raised privately in 30 days, then the statue will stay where it is, Hillsborough County Commissioners decided Wednesday. The contentious 4-2 vote jeopardizes the fragile agreement reached last month to relocate the 106-year-old monument, called Memoria en Aeterna, from outside the old county courthouse in downtown Tampa to a family cemetery in Brandon. A private fundraising effort to move the monument had raised about $11,835 at the time of the vote.


Palm Beach Post

Taunting or tribute? Locally, Civil War symbols confuse, stir emotions

Shaun Mosier of Loxahatcheesays he will keep displaying his two Confederate flags — along with his American flag — on his pickup truck. Mosier said he isn’t budging despite the flames of the long-running debate over Confederate symbols fanned again from the weekend tragedy in Charlottesville, Va., and President Donald Trump’s combative news conference Tuesday. “I’m not doing it to taunt anyone,” he emphasized. “The Confederate flag is a part of of our history. We should honor it,” said Mosier, 31..


Miami Herald

Confederate monument at Florida Capitol sparks debate after Charlottesville

A monument honoring slain Confederate soldiers in front of Florida’s Old Capitol is the latest subject of debate by politicians seeking to act against racism in response to a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend. Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Florida’s capital city and a Democratic candidate for governor in 2018, called on Gov. Rick Scott to remove the monument from the Capitol grounds, where similar memorials honor Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., veterans and firefighters, among others.


Drug Abuse


Palm Beach Post

County still looking into suit against Big Pharma over opioids

At least nine firms are interested in representing Palm Beach County should it decide to sue pharmaceutical companies whose potent products are at the heart of the opioid epidemic, County Attorney Denise Nieman told commissioners at a recent meeting. After the meeting, that number grew to 10 firms, including four based in Florida. At the suggestion of Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, Nieman’s staff is reviewing the legal landscape now that some cities and states have begun to file suit against drug companies they argue have been negligent in allowing their products to be misused.