PYTHON HUNT The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Fish & Wildlife
Foundation of Florida sponsored a month-long Python Challenge. The Challenge ran January 16th through February 14th and yielded 106 pythons. During the February 27th awards ceremony, prizes were awarded for the longest python (fifteen feet) and the most captured (thirty-three). Only sixty-eight pythons were caught during a similar hunt in 2013.
FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CITRUS Dozens of Florida’s biggest citrus growers are proposing to cut the Department’s current budget by more than seventy-five percent. The downsizing would eliminate most of its marketing and research programs and transform it into a small regulatory agency. The Department’s revenue is generated from tax paid by the growers on each box of citrus harvested. Growers say the decade-long spread of the fatal citrus greening bacteria, which has greatly diminished their crops, is the reason to reduce the tax. The Citrus commissioners discussed the proposal at their March 16th meeting.
ZIKA VIRUS Florida now has 62 confirmed cases of the Zika virus, including the first sexually transmitted case. All are travel-related. Recently, scientists from Florida State, Johns Hopkins and Emory universities revealed a breakthrough study that possibly links the Zika virus to microcephaly. The condition causes babies of infected women to be born with unusually small heads and underdeveloped brains. This is the first study that definitively links the virus and microcephaly.
PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCE PRIMARY Florida’s presidential preference primary was held on Tuesday, March 15th. Early voting ran March 5th through March 12th. You may visit the Division of Elections website for more information about other important election dates this year.