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Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Florida has never been the perfect climate for growing strawberries -- it's usually too hot or too cold.

And the current cold snap has strawberry farmers in the Tampa Bay region on the defensive this week.

Florida's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.6 percent from October to November, according to numbers released Friday by the state Department of Economic Opportunity. The state's  jobless rate betters the national mark of 4.1 percent, which also remained unchanged in the month to month comparison.

Irma Insurance Claims Near 866,000 As Pace Slows

Dec 18, 2017

Estimated insured losses from Hurricane Irma have topped $6.55 billion, with the number of claims approaching 866,000, according to information released Monday by the state Office of Insurance Regulation.

The latest report showed that 865,974 claims from the September storm had been filed with insurance companies as of Friday, with 719,512 involving residential properties.

Florida Citrus Mutual

David Greene talks to GOP Rep. Dennis Ross of Polk County, who says he won't support a bill to keep the government open through the holidays unless Congress approves more disaster relief for his state.

Putnam: Citrus Industry Squeezed If Congress Doesn't Help

Dec 13, 2017
Florida Citrus Mutual

No “plan B” is available if Congress does not add citrus funding to the latest disaster relief package, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Wednesday.

A day after the U.S. Department of Agriculture further reduced a forecast of the post-Hurricane Irma orange harvest, Putnam reiterated the need for federal assistance to the struggling industry, which could see damages from the storm top $1 billion.

Citrus Forecast Drop Spurs More Calls For Federal Relief

Dec 12, 2017

Florida agriculture leaders say the latest projected decline in citrus production underscores a dire need for federal disaster relief after Hurricane Irma.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated Tuesday that Florida will grow enough oranges to fill a decades-low 46 million 90-pound boxes, 8 percent less than in a November estimate. Meanwhile, grapefruit production held at 4.65 million boxes in the November to December estimates.

Roberto Roldan / WUSF Public Media

Some Seminole Heights business owners are expecting a record holiday shopping season in spite of the recent series of murders in the neighborhood.

Automation. Development. Citrus Greening. Florida’s agriculture industry is hurting, and Hurricane Irma is only the most recent blow. During this year's legislative session, lawmakers will be considering how to support the industry, which is second only to tourism.

Ag Commissioner, Congressman Decry Lack Of Funding For Citrus

Nov 19, 2017

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Congressman Dennis Ross on Friday criticized a lack of funding for the state's storm-ravaged citrus industry in the latest disaster-relief package proposed by the White House.

Putnam said a $44 billion request sent to Congress by the White House Office of Management and Budget “puts government reimbursement in front of real taxpayers and completely leaves out the citrus industry.”

“I am confident our delegation will modify this relief package into something meaningful for Florida farmers and ranchers,” Putnam said.

Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

A new report says Florida is leading the nation in solar permits for homes. This week on Florida Matters we're talking about the promise and prognosis of this type of renewable energy in the state.

In this preview, we look at why residential solar is becoming more popular - as well as at two new co-ops being formed to take advantage of the power of group buying.

Google Maps

The Mosaic Company has announced it will temporarily close its Plant City phosphate processing plant at the end of the year. That comes despite the company reporting increased profits.

VisitFlorida.com

Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, is filing a lawsuit to stop what he calls an illegal tax being charged by the city of Tampa.

The Republican legislator announced the lawsuit on Thursday. The lawsuit is part of a series of moves Corcoran announced to go after local economic development and local tourism marketing agencies.

Flickr

Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal is coming to St. Petersburg to tackle your toughest financial questions.

Even before Hurricane Irma arrived at Florida's doorstep scammers geared into action.

HSN

Home shopping giant and one of the largest employers in St. Petersburg, HSN, is being bought out by its main competitor.

QVC’s parent company, Liberty Interactive, already owns 38 percent of HSN shares. With the new deal, however, the business once known as the Home Shopping Network will cede control of the remaining shares to the rival retail outlet.

The deal is reportedly worth $2.1 billion.

Drivers got a taste of freedom from high prices at the gas pump over the long Independence Day weekend. But these low prices may soon be a thing of the past.

Gas prices have been flirting with going under the $2-a-gallon mark for a couple of weeks now, and were at their lowest price for the July 4th holiday in over a decade.  

Fl Power & Light Accelerates Plans To Add Solar Power

Feb 20, 2017
Photo Courtesy Florida Power & Light

Florida's largest electric utility intends to double its solar-energy plans for the coming year, leading solar proponents to praise the announcement --- and say they would like to see more.

A month after outlining plans to build four solar plants this year, Florida Power & Light on Monday said it will put up eight such facilities by early 2018.

The company anticipates the plants --- combining to create nearly 600 megawatts of power, enough for about 120,000 homes at peak production --- will save customers "millions" over the lifetime of each center.

Duke Energy Cleared Of Paying Big Tab In Nuclear Plant Dispute

Dec 24, 2016
Wikipedia Commons

In a dispute involving an ill-fated plan to build nuclear reactors in Levy County, a federal judge last week said Duke Energy is not required to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to a company that designs and constructs nuclear plants.

Quincy Walters / WUSF News

In November, Hillsborough County saw an increase in bed tax revenue--a five percent tax on hotel and resort stays. Nearly $2.5 million in bed taxes were collected last month. 

www.flickr.com

Some small businesses throughout the Tampa Bay area will be getting surprise visits this week, as part of the inaugural “Small Biz Support Squad”.

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