FLORIDA LOTTERY TO JOIN NEW MULTI-STATE GAME The Florida Lottery has joined twenty-two states offering a new “Monopoly Millionaire’s Club” lottery based on the popular Monopoly board game. Tickets cost $5 and the top prize is $25 million. The number of $1 million prizes up for grabs will grow each week, and the creators say the idea is to generate hundreds of millionaires versus a handful of multimillionaires.
APALACHICOLA OYSTER INDUSTRY The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared the Apalachicola Bay a fishery disaster in 2013 because of the serious decline in the oyster harvest. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has tried to help the commercial seafood industry by limiting oyster fishing in the past, but the bay is still not producing enough to keep thousands oystermen and women in business.
As a result, the Bay may be shut down for 18 months in order to help reinvigorate the oyster population. Three state agencies (the Department of Economic Opportunity, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) are investing $4.5 million in a program to re-shell the bay with oyster shells in the hopes of helping the oyster beds rebound through favorable habitat creation.
CITRUS GREENING Citrus greening continues to be a difficult and costly battle in Florida. Recently, researchers have identified a way to slow down the disease in infected trees by tenting the trees and exposing them to 136 degree steam for a period of time. While the treatment does not cure the tree, the heat kills the bacteria and extends the lifespan of the tree allowing more fruit for harvest. Because the infection starts in the root of the tree, researchers continue to search for another cure or vaccine to eliminate the disease.
CAPTAIN CITRUS In an effort to entice more people to love orange juice, the Florida Department of Citrus unveiled “Captain Citrus”, a Marvel Comic-created “superhero” they hope will bring families together over a glass of juice. A steady decline in U.S. consumption, coupled with citrus greening decimating the crops, has severely hurt the industry. And here he is: Captain Citrus.
AMERICAN CROCODILE POPULATION ON THE RISE While alligators garner most of our attention here in Florida, the state is also home to the American crocodile. Researchers at the University of Florida have been monitoring the crocodiles, who live in the Everglades, since 1978 when their numbers began to decrease. The crocodiles were moved to the U.S. government’s threatened species list in 2007. It is unclear if restoration efforts are the cause for the increase in crocodile numbers.