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Axios Tampa Bay

Breaking down the Florida Wildlife Corridor

This week marks a year since the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act was signed into law.The law incentivized the preservation of a wild, green, vascular web stretching from the Everglades to the Okefenokee Swamp, securing access to habitats for wide-ranging and roaming wildlife, including the endangered Florida panther.A year later: Here's a look at the corridor, by the numbers:18 million acres identified in the corridor9.6 million acres of protected land pre-Wildlife Corridor Act8.1 million acres unprotected36,445 acres protected since the act became law14 land parcels conserved1,300 rivers and streams in and around the corridor75 state parks in the corridor32 state forests in the corridor567 imperiled plants in and around the corridor131 imperiled animals in and around the corridor, including the gopher tortoise, manatee, burrowing owl and swallow-tailed kite
FLORIDA STATE
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Out-of-the-box ways to celebrate July 4th in Tampa Bay

Of course there will be fireworks and block parties this weekend, but you can also get patriotic with a great performance. Here are a few shows to celebrate the USA in Tampa Bay this weekend:"Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash": See Johnny Cash's life story told through his iconic songbook — from "I Walk the Line" and "Folsom Prison Blues" to "Country Boy" and "A Boy Named Sue."8pm Friday, 3pm and 8pm Saturday at Gompertz Theatre in Sarasota. $29-$49."In the Heights": Ovations Dance Repertory Company brings Lin Manuel Miranda's Broadway show, about a vibrant community in New York's Washington Heights neighborhood, to Tampa.1pm and 7:30pm Saturday, and 2pm Sunday at The Cuban Civic Club. $15-60.Jennifer and the For Reals: Powerhouse vocalist Jennifer Real helps celebrate the Fourth at Boom By the Bay in downtown Tampa.5-9pm Monday at The Straz's Riverwalk Stage. Free!Go deeper: See more events roundups in the Bradenton Herald and Tampa Bay Times.
TAMPA, FL
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Tropicana Field redevelopment goes back to the drawing board

The fate of Tropicana Field and the Rays are back up in the air.Driving the news: After a report earlier this week revealed Tampa and Hillsborough County officials have made little progress on a new Rays stadium in Ybor City, St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch held a press conference Wednesday to say he's starting from scratch on plans to redevelop Tropicana Field. Welch is now prioritizing plans that include a new baseball stadium, ditching proposals that focused on office space and non-affordable housing.Why it matters: The Rays have just five years to figure out what they'll do before their Tropicana...
TAMPA, FL

How a hurricane hurled snakes into the South Florida wild

We recently reported about the record-breaking 215-pound Burmese python captured in the Everglades, and how tens of thousands of these invasive snakes now compete with the endangered Florida panther for food.And we said it has long been believed that the Burmese pythons were first introduced to the Everglades by exotic pet owners who turned the snakes loose when they got too big. True.Yes, but: There's another fascinating part of the story that a sharp-eyed reader pointed out: While the first reports of pythons in the Everglades were in the 1980s, it was Hurricane Andrew in 1992 that slung lots of...
FLORIDA STATE

Record Burmese python means trouble for Everglades

In December, a team searching the Everglades for pythons found a snake larger than anyone had ever seen in Florida before.The 18-foot-long female Burmese python weighed 215 pounds — much larger than the previous record holder at 140 pounds — and contained 122 eggs, also a new record.Why it matters: The size of this snake suggests pythons are eating more fauna and growing based on consumption and not necessarily age, per the New York Times.A snake of this size also hints at the difficulty of finding them, despite the state's efforts to kill large numbers with detector dogs and scout...
FLORIDA STATE

Study shows benefits of grapefruit juice for vascular system

We know that citrus juice is good for you, but until recently there's been little clinical data on the effects of grapefruit juice consumption on vascular function.Flashback: A 2015 study showed that drinking 100% grapefruit juice regularly leads to lower vascular stiffness in post-menopausal women. The latest: A recent analysis on blood samples from a subset of women in the study found that the consumption of 100% grapefruit juice affected the expression of certain genes and proteins associated with beneficial effects on inflammation, immunity, cell interaction and vascular function, per the Florida Department of Citrus.🍊 Why it matters: That's good...
FLORIDA STATE

Sarasota penthouse with rooftop putting green for sale for $16 million

Who doesn't want to practice putting at peak posh?What's happening: The residence taking up the top two floors of Sarasota's renowned EPOCH building — complete with huge sky-high terraces and a putting green — is on the market for $16.35 million. The 5,600-square-foot penthouse has 4 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms surrounded by glass walls and panoramic views.Other features include a private elevator foyer, chef's kitchen, owner's suite with California Closets and a spa bath.Take a look.
SARASOTA, FL

Tampa Bay area among top 20 U.S. metro markets for homebuilding

The Tampa Bay area is in the top 20 metro markets nationally when it comes to building new homes, per the latest analysis by real estate company Redfin. What they found: The area had 12.5 single-family building permits per 10,000 people in the first quarter of this year, the 17th-most per capita among U.S. metros.
REAL ESTATE

Accelerating minority businesses in Tampa Bay

Derek Mateos, the president and CEO of Matcon Construction, had plateaued.Flashback: When Mateos entered the first cohort of the Tampa Bay Chamber's Minority Business Accelerator Program in 2018, he felt like he'd done everything he could in the local economy. His business was stagnant. But through the accelerator, Mateos connected with big clients like TECO and Publix, and Matcon is now celebrating its 20th anniversary.Why it matters: Mateos wasn't alone in his struggles. Hispanic and Black businesses account for 50% of Hillsborough County companies, but only 5% of revenue, according to research from the chamber. "The idea is to break...
TAMPA, FL

FBI raids Orlando Museum of Art over Basquiat exhibit

Remember those never-before-seen Jean-Michel Basquiat paintings displayed at the Orlando Museum of Art that the FBI's Art Crime Team began investigating last month? The FBI has them now.What's happening: On Friday, FBI agents raided the Orlando Museum of Art, taking all 25 works that had been part of an exhibition on the life and work of Basquiat, reports the New York Times, which first aired suspicions that the pieces were phonies.An affidavit for the search warrant called the collection's origin story into question, and raised doubt about the authenticity of the paintings, which are on scraps of cardboard.The 41-page affidavit...
ORLANDO, FL

Erriyon Knighton's road to breaking records

Erriyon Knighton, a phenom sprinter from our own Hillsborough High School, almost secured a national title with a 19.69-second 200 at the U.S. track and field championship finals in Oregon on Sunday. But he was beat at the finish by Noah Lyles, who clocked 19.67 seconds."Job's not finished. It's never finished," Knighton said after the race.State of play: Knighton has the potential to be an international track superstar, and even the fastest man in the world, if his coaches can keep him healthy and grounded.That's the takeaway from a recent New York Times profile of the 18-year-old, who finished fourth...
TAMPA, FL

Outback Steakhouse releases bloomin' NFTs for National Onion Day

To celebrate National Onion Day Monday, Outback Steakhouse dropped its "Bloom, Baby, Bloom" non-fungible token (NFT) collection.Driving the news: All ​​8,151 of the Tampa-based national restaurant chain's Bloomin' Buds NFTs sold out in 20 minutes Thursday on the Outback site.The tokens were free, but buyers paid fees to process their transaction on the blockchain.The artwork, which pays homage to Outback's signature Bloomin' Onion, sprouted in three stages from baby bulbs into teenagers on Saturday, finally blooming into big ol' fried onions today.Real life perks: Bloomin' Buds owners get a free Bloomin' Onion and two free Dr. Pepper drinks Monday.
TAMPA, FL

Roe v. Wade: Is abortion legal in Florida?

Data: Axios research; Cartogram: Sara Wise and Oriana Gonzalez/AxiosThe U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling Friday overturning Roe v. Wade, effectively ending all federal protections on abortion. What it means for Florida: Abortions are currently legal in Florida up to the 24th week of pregnancy. But starting July 1, a new law set to take effect will ban all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy in the state. The big picture: Abortion rights are protected under the state's constitution due to a Florida Supreme Court precedent that "recognized that the right of privacy in the state constitution protects abortion,"...
FLORIDA STATE

Tech startup advice from a toddlers' hockey coach

There's not much difference between a preschool hockey player and the CEO of a tech startup. Just ask Kevin Goodwin. When he's not at the Tampa Bay Wave running his startup, Reptrics, he's at the rink coaching his 3-year-old and 5-year-old sons in Timbits hockey."At first they're terrified to fall, but we teach them how to fall safely and all their fear goes away," Goodwin told Axios of his Timbits team. "​​Once you realize it's OK to fail, you're able to really adapt and be fearless in the way you drive a business."State of play: Goodwin, who started both his...
KIDS

Clearwater company leads suit against DeSantis for "Stop WOKE" act

A honeymoon registry company and a company that offers training on diversity and inclusion are suing to block Florida's "Stop WOKE" act. Driving the news: Honeyfund, based in Clearwater, joined workplace diversity consultancy Collective Concepts and its co-founder Chevara Orrin to file their suit Wednesday. HB7, dubbed by Gov. Ron...
FLORIDA STATE

Nude pickleball takes over Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay nudists have been working on their groundstroke.State of play: Pickleball — that mash-up of tennis, badminton and ping-pong — has exploded in popularity lately.Pickleball participation grew by 21.3% between 2019 and 2020, prompting the Economist to declare it "the fastest growing sport in America," as Axios Sports Kendall Baker reports. And demand for courts is exploding, with cities building new facilities and private clubs opening new courts all over.The rub: It only makes sense, then, that the sport would also be growing in popularity among those who call Tampa Bay's nudist communities home.Clothing-optional resorts are advertising their pickleball...
TENNIS

Get Out: Kristen Hare's favorite Florida places

If you know Kristen Hare, you'll never be bored in Tampa Bay. The Poynter and Tampa Bay Times writer is also the author of "100 Things to Do in Tampa Bay Before You Die," which recently came out with a third edition. To kick off the official start of summer, we asked Hare about her favorite outdoor places and activities in Florida:🚶‍♀️ To stroll: "I really love Tampa's Riverwalk. It's gotten better and better in the 10 years I've lived here. I love that, weather permitting, you can walk from Sparkman Wharf to Armature Works and have lots of adventures...
TAMPA, FL

Judge to rule on use of Marsy's Law to withhold deputies' IDs in a fatal shooting

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune is currently prohibited from naming the Sarasota County sheriff's deputies involved in the fatal shooting of an elderly man during an attempt to evict him from his condo in April.And a judge said Tuesday that he'll rule within a week on whether an emergency injunction preventing the newspaper from printing the deputies' names should stay in place.What's happening: The state attorney's office previously provided the last names of the deputies involved in the shooting to the Herald-Tribune in response to a routine public records request.Yes, but: When the paper asked for more information, the sheriff’s office quickly...
SARASOTA COUNTY, FL

Bucs fans don't buy Gronk's retirement

Fool Champa Bay once, shame on you. But Champa Bay cannot be fooled again.What's happening: Rob Gronkowski formally announced his retirement from the NFL Tuesday.Yes, but: ESPN's senior NFL insider Adam Schefter reports that Gronkowski's agent Drew Rosenhaus said the Bucs tight end would most likely come back if his BFF Tom Brady called.Not so fast: Gronk also "retired" in 2019. And fans aren't buying it this time. Screenshot of @Ic3yHurt's Twitter feed Screenshot of @RealFanelli's Twitter feed Screenshot of @BallsDeepInYm3's Twitter feedBetween the lines: In the 40 days of Brady's faux-retirement, he picked up a movie deal and soon after got a broadcasting gig at Fox Sports for $375 million over 10 years, whenever he actually does retire.What they're saying: Boxing legend George Foreman told USA Today in March that in his own experience, a big enough check can pull anyone out of retirement."​​People look at you and say, 'Man, why don't you just walk away?' I said, 'How can I walk away from this?'"
BAY COUNTY, FL

Profile positions DeSantis as conservatives' new folk hero

Gov. Ron DeSantis, who won the Florida governorship by less than 1% and whose name was virtually unknown to greater America just a few years ago, is now rising in presidential polls and presents voters with a quicker, sharper version of Donald Trump's angry style of politics. That's the bottom line in a more than 10,000-word profile of DeSantis by Dexter Filkins in this week's New Yorker magazine.The big picture: Filkins positions DeSantis as a new conservative folk hero, unafraid of battling the left and presenting himself as the only one brave enough to do it.And the kid from Dunedin...
FLORIDA STATE