What Orlando is talking about
👀 Tampa may be some ways away from the City Beautiful, but the quality of our state’s waters ought to concern all Floridians. You may have heard over the weekend about a leak at Piney Point, an out-of-commission phosphate mine in Manatee County. Officials are concerned that the breach could cause millions of gallons of contaminated wastewater to flood into nearby homes, prompting Gov. Ron DeSantis to declare a state of emergency for Manatee, Hillsborough, and Pinellas counties. More than 300 nearby homes and businesses have been evacuated.
In order to stave off a complete breach and uncontrolled flooding, the Army Corps of Engineers is assisting state and local crews with pumping millions of gallons of wastewater into Tampa Bay. Needless to say, this is also not ideal, since the influx of nutrients could cause algae blooms and harm the water’s wildlife. Tampa Bay Waterkeeper is keeping close eyes on the situation, and given Orlando's proximity to the threatened bodies of water, so should we.
In other news...
🌳 The city of Orlando kicked off Earth Month yesterday by giving away free trees. You can order two for your own yard by going to arborday.org/cityoforlando. Choose from a white Crape Myrtle, Sweetbay Magnolia, Tulip Poplar, or a Dahoon Holly. The city will deliver the trees to your front door! (City of Orlando)
🚫 A committee of the Florida Senate is meeting today to talk about a proposal that would fine social media companies for banning political candidates from their platforms. The proposed fines range from $10,000 a day to $100,000 a day. An accompanying bill has already been moving through the House. (Orlando Weekly)
⚽️ Lake Nona is getting a semi-pro soccer team. Nona FC will debut in the summer of 2022 and the Nona Soccer Academy is hopeful to feed its players to the MLS. (Bungalower)
⚜️ Universal has extended Mardi Gras again, this time through May 2. The annual foodie and cultural festival was originally set to end on March 28 but due to popular demand, has been extended twice. (WKMG)
In COVID-19 news…
💉 The Salvation Army is giving out Johnson & Johnson vaccines today to adults 18 and up. Start time is at 10 a.m. and they’ll go until they run out. (FOX35)
💉 Publix reopened its vaccine portal yesterday and was booked solid by 10 a.m. The grocery store chain plans to open its portal again on Wednesday and plans to offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. (FOX35)
💉 The University of Central Florida is offering vaccines to students tomorrow through Friday. The school has about 6,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to distribute. (WKMG)
💉 The Orlando VA has expanded eligibility for its vaccines to all veterans and spouses. (Orlando Sentinel)