BUDGET, BEER, GUNS, POT AND POTTIES ON AGENDA AS LAWMAKERS HEAD TO TALLAHASSEE
One hundred and sixty members of the state Legislature are heading to Tallahassee for Tuesday’s start of the annual 60-day law-making session. The only requirement lawmakers have under Florida law is to approve the state budget. But conservation land purchases, beer growlers, tax cuts, guns on state university campuses, medical marijuana and even where transgender people can go to the bathroom will all addressed.
SPACEWALKING ASTRONAUTS FINISH TRICKY CABLE JOB, ROUTING 764 FEET OUTSIDE STATION
Spacewalking astronauts have successfully completed a three-day cable job outside the International Space Station, routing several-hundred feet of power and data lines for new crew capsules commissioned by NASA. It was the third spacewalk in just over a week for Americans Terry Virts and Butch Wilmore, and the quickest succession of spacewalks since NASA’s former shuttle days. The advance work was needed for the manned spacecraft under development by Boeing and SpaceX.
WORLD’S STRAWBERRY CAPITAL SOURS ON ITS TRADEMARK FRUIT; WITH STAGNANT PRICES, ACREAGE FALLS
Some farmers in the strawberry capital of the world are souring on the fruits of their labor. Cold snaps, falling prices and worker shortages have combined to convince some farmers to scale back on strawberries, leading to a decline in acreage of Plant City’s top crop for the first time in at least a decade. Some farmers have responded by venturing into other crops, including blueberries and cantaloupe.
PATROLS INCREASE WITH POLICE BUDGETS AS BEACHES PREPARE FOR INFLUX OF SPRING BREAKERS
Panama City Beach is bracing for the annual onslaught of spring breakers with a surge of additional police. The Bay County Sheriff’s Office roughly triples the number of man hours spent at the beach during spring break weeks, with extra money in its budget to cover anticipated overtime from additional patrols. Law enforcement agencies are also streamlining their operations to deal with arrests from the influx of young visitors.
NEW EFFORTS TO HELP LAKELAND SWANS SEEN PACKING ON POUNDS; WHITE BREAD BLAMED
White bread, the favored food given to Lakeland’s population of swans, is being blamed for a trend among the city’s feathered mascots: They’re getting fat. The veterinarian tasked with caring for the swans says the diet has also led to calcium deficiencies. In response, the city has installed feed dispensers around Lake Morton chock-full of well-balanced feed. Those bringing snacks from home are encouraged to choose lettuce.