Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Department Partners With Waitrose Stores To Promote Florida Pink Grapefruit In England

Shoppers in England will have the opportunity to “taste the warmth of Florida sunshine” during January and February when Florida pink grapefruit are featured in 220 Waitrose stores in and around London. The promotion builds upon a multiyear marketing relationship between Waitrose and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

“We are very happy to again partner with Waitrose so that shoppers can enjoy Florida’s world-famous pink grapefruit,” Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson said. “In addition to helping brighten the winter for many Londoners, the increased sales generated by this retail marketing campaign will be good news for Florida’s growers.”

As part of the Waitrose promotion, the upscale chain will feature in-store product signs produced by the department touting the theme “Taste the Warmth of Florida Sunshine.” Recipe cards for Florida pink grapefruit will also be available to Waitrose shoppers. In addition, the Florida pink grapefruit promotion will be featured in a half-page ad in “Waitrose Magazine.”
The promotion was originally planned for the month of January, with FDACS providing marketing and advertising dollars. However, Waitrose marketing executives decided to extend the promotion through February, absorbing all costs for the second month, to help maximize the exposure of the Florida pink grapefruit marketing initiative.

Monday, January 18, 2010

EPA offers Fla. water pollution limits

EPA offers Fla. water pollution limits

Standards set in effort to prevent algae blooms, ‘dead zones’

updated 8:49 p.m. ET, Fri., Jan. 15, 2010

MIAMI - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday proposed the first numeric limits in the nation for farm and urban runoff polluting Florida's waterways, limits supporters say could set precedent and lead to similar federal standards in other states.
The agency released its proposed rules after reaching a settlement last year with environmentalists who sued EPA in 2008. They claimed the agency was failing to force Florida to meet requirements under the Clean Water Act, and sought the numeric standards for runoff such as fertilizers and animal waste that are causing toxic algae blooms and poisoning ecosystems.
Friday's proposed rules mark the first time the EPA plans to force numeric limits of so-called nutrient runoff on any state. A handful of other states, at the urging of the agency, have already acted to set their own standards. The remainder have vague limits on waste and fertilizer pollution, while some are in the process of developing their own numeric limits.

"It's actually pretty good," said David Guest, an attorney for Earthjustice, which represented environmental groups in the lawsuit, including the Sierra Club, Florida Wildlife Federation and others.
'Huge leap forward'While noting the standards "aren't as stringent as we'd like," Guest called it "a huge leap forward in getting effective controls on sewage, fertilizer and animal manure."
"This is the beginning of a very serious effort nationwide, and Florida is going to be a model," he said.
The new water standards "will help protect and restore inland waters that are a critical part of Florida's history, culture and economic prosperity," Peter S. Silva, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Water, said in a statement.
Silva also noted that the state "has led the way with rigorous scientific analysis and data collection needed to address nutrient pollution."
The Don't Tax Florida coalition, a group of state associations and businesses, including the Florida Agriculture Coalition and the state Chamber of Commerce, called the proposed rules "a de facto water tax from Washington." The group said they "will impose major economic hardship on Florida's battered economy with questionable benefits," and will lead to significantly higher water and sewer bills.
"It simply makes no sense to force Florida to spend billions of scarce dollars in excess of what is necessary to meet an arbitrary federal regulation," said Mark Wilson, president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
The state Department of Environmental Protection said Friday it was still reviewing the proposal.
Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson, who along with state Attorney General Bill McCollum previously objected to federal rules being imposed only on Florida, also was still reviewing the proposal.
Agriculture Department spokesman Terence McElroy said Bronson wasn't opposed to "reasonable efforts" to clean Florida's waterways.
Florida waterways suffering"He wants a science-based approach, which he was concerned that this may not be, and he was also concerned that the numbers ... not be exceedingly expensive and ultimately unattainable," McElroy said.
In a 2008 report, the state DEP concluded that half of the state's rivers and more than half of its lakes had poor water quality.
The numeric standards proposed Friday set pollution limits for Florida's lakes and rivers, as mandated in the settlement. The rules are now open for public comment, and a final rule is due before Oct. 15, 2010. The agency plans to propose nutrient limits for estuaries and coastal waterways by Jan. 14, 2011, with those final rules due by Oct. 15, 2011.
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The EPA acknowledged more than 10 years ago that Florida needed to promptly develop runoff standards to meet the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act, enacted in 1972 "to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation's waters."
The agency notes that nutrient pollution is among the leading causes of impairment in lakes and coastal waterways nationwide, and has been linked to so-called "dead zones" deprived of oxygen and life in the Gulf of Mexico.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Florida temporarily bans catching of certain fish

Florida temporarily bans catching of certain fish

TALLAHASSEE - The state has temporarily banned the catching of certain saltwater fish because the recent cold snap killed too many of them.

The state canceled the upcoming snook season and banned the catching of bonefish and tarpon until April.

The cold snap killed thousands of fish.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Chairman Rodney Barreto called the ban "a proactive, precautionary approach." He said it is warranted to preserve the state's population of snook, bonefish
and tarpon, which are among Florida's most popular game fish species.

Florida temporarily bans catching of certain fish

Saturday, January 16, 2010

EERE News: DOE to Invest $8 Billion in Weatherization and State Energy Grants

DOE to Invest $8 Billion in Weatherization and State Energy Grants

DOE announced on March 12 that it will invest nearly $8 billion in state and local weatherization and energy efficiency efforts as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The funds will be divided between the Weatherization Assistance Program, which will receive nearly $5 billion, and the State Energy Program, which will receive up to $3 billion. This will help families save hundreds of dollars every year on their energy bills, while creating approximately 87,000 jobs. To jump-start the job creation and weatherization work, DOE is releasing $780 million in the next few days, and will release more as the states demonstrate that they are using the funding effectively.

To read more of this article please click on link below:

EERE News: DOE to Invest $8 Billion in Weatherization and State Energy Grants

South Florida set to get $48M in green energy incentives - South Florida Business Journal:

South Florida set to get $48M in green energy incentives

When it comes to green energy, it’s difficult to find someone in South Florida who can’t potentially take advantage of the federal stimulus package.

Utilities, municipalities, universities, homeowners and small businesses all stand to gain from stimulus incentives for renewable energy and energy conservation.

The energy provisions are still evolving, but there are some certain impacts to local business:

To read full article click on link below

South Florida set to get $48M in green energy incentives - South Florida Business Journal:

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Boley Centers receives $2.3 million to promote green jobs - Tampa Bay Business Journal:

Boley Centers receives $2.3 million to promote green jobs

St. Petersburg nonprofit Boley Centers Inc. is the recipient of a $2.3 million grant through U.S. Department of Labor’s Pathways Out of Poverty program.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis discussed the $150 million national stimulus program in a Wednesday morning media teleconference that also featured U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa.
The grants are designed to help people living below the poverty level, people with criminal records, high school dropouts and others find employment in green industries, Solis said.
Boley will use the money for on-the-job training to help people land jobs in plumbing, electricity and other trades critical to a clean economy, Castor said.
“St. Petersburg is a leader in green technology, but now we will be able to create new jobs and build on our community’s success,” Castor said.

Rest of the article

Boley Centers receives $2.3 million to promote green jobs - Tampa Bay Business Journal:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Whooping Cranes reach destination

Whooping Cranes Reach Destination

Operation Migration staff on Monday led the 2009 class of 20 whooping cranes 46 miles from Decatur, Ga. to Jefferson County, Fla.

Later in the day, workers divided the flock into two cohorts — one that will fly to St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Wakulla County, and the other that will head toward Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge.

The group has now completed 1,085 miles of its 1,259-mile journey. They have had 79 days of migration — one day ahead of last year’s trek.

Once the first flock reaches St. Marks, the second group will begin its trek to a preserve in Marion County where visitors can watch the flyover at the Dunnellon Airport. Before reaching Marion County, the group plans stopovers in Madison and Gilchrist counties.

In 2001, Operation Migration’s pilots led the first whooping crane chicks, conditioned to follow their ultralight aircraft surrogates, south from Necedah National Wildlife Refuge to Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge. Each subsequent year, Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership biologists and pilots have conditioned and guided additional groups of juvenile cranes to Chassahowitzka NWR. Once led south, the cranes are able to migrate on their own, without assistance, in following years.

Dozen Trees, Well Swallowed By Sinkhole - Orlando News Story - WESH Orlando

FROSTPROOF, Fla. -- A sinkhole forced the evacuation of residents in three homes in the area of County Road 630 and U.S. Highway 27 South in Frostproof Monday.

The massive sinkhole, which measures 30 yards in diameter and is 40 to 50 feet deep, has swallowed about a dozen trees and a well. The car port that was once connected to the home that is directly in front of the sinkhole is teetering on the edge of the hole.

Fearing homes in the Southern Pines Mobile Home Park could be consumed by the sinkhole, authorities with the Polk County Sheriff's Office evacuated residents as a precaution. The mobile home park is next to the home closest to where the sinkhole opened up. A reverse 911 call was issued to the other residents in the mobile home park who were not evacuated.

Dozen Trees, Well Swallowed By Sinkhole - Orlando News Story - WESH Orlando

Orlando Florida is first city to switch to Google Mail

By Mark Schlueb, Orlando Sentinel, 1/9

Orlando City Hall is gaga over Google.

In a multimillion-dollar move being watched by government agencies across the country, Orlando this week became one of the first cities in America to switch all of its employees to Google e-mail.

The implications are vastly bigger than simply changing the icon that Orlando workers click on their computer desktops. For city officials, it means cutting annual e-mail costs by two-thirds, saving taxpayers an estimated $262,500 a year.

For Google, the deal provides another toehold in the $20 billion-a-year market for office software. For years, that market has been dominated by Google's archrival Microsoft and its Office software,including Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

In contrast, Google doesn't rely on software saved on users' computers but is a so-called "cloud computing" system in which applications are Internet-based and run on remote Web servers. With government budgets squeezed, Google hopes other cities will follow Orlando into the "cloud." "The contract with Orlando is very important to us," said Michael Lock, vice president of sales in America for Google Enterprise. "They're going to be on the leading edge of doing this, not the
bleeding edge. It's not the biggest contract, but Orlando is a very well-known city."
Orlando will no longer need the City Hall servers it uses to run its current Lotus Notes e-mail system, or pay for the electricity those servers consume, the extra data storage to archive employee mail or the two network administrators who oversee it.
"It made more sense to me given my budget. I had to look at a different way of doing business," said Chief Information Officer Conrad Cross, whose IT department was whittled from 84 workers to 69 this year.

If Orlando were to keep its current system, city officials estimate it would cost $133 a year for each of its 3,000 employees — or $399,000 — including annual software licenses. Google is charging $45.50 per user, or $136,500. In return, everyone from city planners to police officers will use a Web-based e-mail system similar to Google's popular Gmail, but without the advertisements that support the free consumer version. Google servers will store all city e-mail and run the application, and Google technicians — not city employees — will make sure it runs smoothly.

"The costs and IT support are someone else's nightmare, and that's what we're paying for," Chief Financial Officer Rebecca Sutton said. A half-dozen Google techs scurried around City Hall on Thursday and Friday, trying to make sure the transition went smoothly.

Orlando's contract includes Google Docs, which includes word-processing, spreadsheet and presentation software meant to compete directly with Microsoft Office. But Cross said the city will stick with Office for now to avoid the expense of retraining employees. Thousands of businesses and universities have switched to Google, according to the company. But so far, few cities other than Orlando have.
Los Angeles became Google's crown jewel in October, when that city approved a $7.25 million e-mail contract with the Internet giant, but Los Angeles has not yet moved its 30,000 employees to the Google system.

Google cited its deal with Orlando, which had already been signed, in its pitch to Los Angeles. The vote there culminated a yearlong battle between Google and microsoft, whose lobbyists warned that Google wasn't ready for the security implications of handling public e-mail for such a large work force.

Lock said Google will archive Orlando records, which must be kept and accessible under state publicrecords law, in "super-secret data centers." And Cross said he's confident city records, including sensitive law-enforcement and legal documents,
will be safe from loss or cyberattack. Google has greater security resources, from people to money, than Orlando could muster on its own.

Besides, Cross said, the city last year contacted other e-mail providers, including Microsoft and IBM, about moving to the cloud. "They gave us pricing that couldn't compete with Google," he said.