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Floridians brace for Arctic blast over holiday weekend

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Beachgoers face the sun on Fort Lauderdale beach, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. While most of the country is under severe cold weather warning, South Florida's high temperature peaked in the mid 80's. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Floridians on Friday braced for unusually chilly weather as rare freeze warnings were issued for large parts of the state ahead of the holiday weekend.

The National Weather Service said an Arctic blast was heading for Florida on Friday, followed by a holiday weekend with some of the coldest temperatures of the season.

“We’re dreaming of a cold Christmas… said no Floridian ever,” the National Weather Service in Melbourne, Florida tweeted Friday.

In the Florida Panhandle, temperatures were expected to drop to the teens and 20s degrees Fahrenheit. Wind gusts also were expected to reach up to 45 miles per hour (72.4 km per hour), and there were some reports of downed trees Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service in Tallahassee.

“Secure those holiday decorations!” the weather service tweeted.

In central Florida, temperatures were expected to drop to near or below freezing. The last time there was a freeze in Orlando was almost five years ago, though nearby communities reached freezing last January, according to the weather service.

Florida is the primary supplier of fresh fruits and vegetables for the rest of the country during the winter, and growers were harvesting as much of their crops as possible ahead of the cold front. In the state’s midsection, where blueberries, strawberries and blackberries are grown, growers planned to use overhead irrigation to spray a protective coat of ice around the fruit.

“We are well into Florida’s winter growing season, and fruit and vegetable growers around the state have been preparing around the clock in advance of this weekend’s cold weather,” Christina Morton, a spokeswoman for the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, said in an email.

South Floridians were on watch for falling iguanas over the weekend. The cold-blooded reptiles that reside in Miami suburbs typically become immobilized when temperatures drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 Celsius degrees). The temperature in Miami on Friday morning, though, was above 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21.1 Celsius degrees), allowing vacationers one last gasp of beach weather before having to don their winter coats.

Central Florida News

Senator Linda Stewart: Electric Scooters Join Tax Free Holiday In July

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State Senator Linda Stewart Re-Files 6 Bills Ahead of 2024 Legislative Session

Orlando, FL – Beginning July 1st as part of the month long Freedom Summer Sales Tax holiday personal electric scooters will be sales tax free. The provision exempting scooters was added by Senator Linda Stewart (D- Orlando) and would eliminate sales tax collected on scooters retailing for $500 or less.

“This tax exemption can help personal autonomy in transportation, reduce our overall emissions, and help close the transportation access gaps experienced by many Floridians,” said Stewart. “There are countless examples I could give where one of these devises could transform someone’s life and unlock opportunities in employment, education, and access to greater transportation resources.”

These personal mobility devices join the long list of other items aimed to help Floridians enjoy the summer months. Other sales tax exempt goods include fishing supplies, outdoor recreation equipment, and admissions to state parks and museums sales.

To qualify for the exemption the electric scooter must be a vehicle having two or fewer wheels, with or without a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, which is equipped to be propelled by an electric motor and which weighs less than 75 pounds, is less than 2 feet wide, and is designed for a maximum speed of less than 35 miles per hour, with a sales price of $500 or less.

“By providing this sales tax break over the course of a month we give people the chance to save a good amount of money on these sometimes expensive purchases and grant them greater access to opportunities through expanding their mobility,” said Stewart.

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Central Florida News

Unopposed: Does Carlos Guillermo Smith has a Straight Shot to the Florida Senate?

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ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – Today, incumbent state Senator Bryan Avila picked-up Democratic challenger Adrian Jesus Jimenez in Senate District 39 race. This move leaves Democratic former state Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith the only state Senate candidate running unopposed.

Its appears that Smith has a straight shot to the Florida Senate. He’s running for state Senate District 17 open seat held by Senator Linda Stewart. She can not run for reelection due to term limits. No Democrat or Republican has filed paperwork to run before the qualifying deadline, June 14.

Here’s a list below of candidates who filed to run for the Florida Senate 2024

DistrictCandidateStatusPrimaryGeneral
1Gaetz, Don (REP)Active
Newell, Lisa (DEM)Active
3Nesmith, Kimblin Eugene (DEM)Active
Parks, Daryl (DEM)Active
Simon, Corey J. (REP) *IncumbentActive
5Davis, Tracie (DEM) *IncumbentActive
Jeanty, Francky L. (DEM)Active
7Gist, Michael Levone (NPA)Active
Hill II, George Anthony “T” (DEM)Active
James, Gerald Gerry (REP)Active
Leek, Tom (REP)Active
9Dore, Sylvain (DEM)Active
McClain, Stan (REP)Active
11Holleran, Marilyn (DEM)Active
Ingoglia, Blaise (REP) *IncumbentActive
13Blancett, Cheryl “CJ” (REP)Active
Dukes, Stephanie L. (DEM)Active
Entsuah, Ebo (REP)Active
Kou, Bowen (REP)Active
Truenow, Keith (REP)Active
15Bracy, Randolph (DEM)Active
Thompson, Geraldine F. (DEM) *IncumbentActive
17Smith, Carlos Guillermo (DEM)Active
19Ahrens, Vance (DEM)Active
Fine, Randy (REP)Active
Hattaway, Robyn (REP)Active
Sheridan, Charles Chuck (REP)Active
21Carroll, Doris H. (DEM)Active
Hooper, Ed (REP) *IncumbentActive
Siamas, John (REP)Active
23Braver, Benjamin Grant (DEM)Active
Burgess, Danny (REP) *IncumbentActive
Houman, John (IND)Active
25Arguello, Jon H. (REP)Active
Arrington, Kristen Aston (DEM)Active
Martinez, Jose Augusto (REP)Active
Torres, Carmen (DEM)Active
27Albritton, Ben (REP) *IncumbentActive
Carter, Phillip Ray (DEM)Active
29Aldieri, Randy James (DEM)Active
Grall, Erin (REP) *IncumbentActive
31Bauer, Joseph Alan (REP)Active
Harrell, Gayle (REP) *IncumbentActive
Hawkins, Aaron James (DEM)Active
33Martin, Jonathan (REP) *IncumbentActive
Proia, Christopher Joseph (DEM)Active
35Jacobs Jr., Rodney W. (DEM)Active
Klitzman, Chad (DEM)Active
Parlatore, Vincent (REP)Active
Sharief, Barbara (DEM)Active
37Mohammad, Imtiaz (REP)Active
Pizzo, Jason (DEM) *IncumbentActive
39Avila, Bryan (REP) *IncumbentActive
Jimenez, Adrian Jesus (DEM)Active

 

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Central Florida News

BOGO Orlando Auto Museum passes this Father’s Day

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ORLANDO, Fla. (June 3, 2024) — Wondering what to get your car-obsessed or movie-buff Dad for Father’s Day? Gift him an experience any dad would love with a trip to Orlando Auto Museum.

On Sunday, June 16, guests can take advantage of buy-one-get-one-free passes to the Orlando Auto Museum. For each children’s pass purchased for the Orlando Auto Museum, guests can receive a free adult ticket. To redeem this offer, tickets must be purchased in person.

The Orlando Auto Museum is the country’s largest auto museum which is home to more than 2,000 vehicles valued at over $200 million. Dad will love exploring the museum to discover vehicles from a variety of decades and countries around the world, learn about military vehicles used in combat and snap family photos with vehicles made famous by television and movies.

If guests are looking for more attractions to explore with dad, they can purchase a play card and enjoy Florida’s longest indoor karting track with four skill and speed levels, the on-site boutique bowling alley, a trampoline park, Pinball Palace, Toxic Blast and more.

Guests can also enjoy a meal from a variety of cuisines in Dezerland Action Park’s food hall or an immersive dining experience at the 007 Bond Lounge with the $100 Million James Bond exhibit, the world’s largest collection of James Bond vehicles and memorabilia.

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