UCF's 'national championship trophy' is now on tour: To put the finishing touches on the University of Central Florida's undefeated, highly disputed "national championship" season, there's a trophy making the rounds. However, you'll have to go to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to see it, since it's courtesy of the "UCF Trophy Tour Staff" – a bunch of University of Alabama students and football fans – who made the trophy out of trash and dumpster scraps before unveiling it at a bar on Tuscaloosa's strip.
Florida's Democratic debates are set and none are happening in Orlando: The Florida Democratic Party announced last week that debates will be held June 9 in St. Petersburg, June 11 in Miramar, July 18 in Fort Myers and Aug. 2 in Miami. Additional details about the times and locations will be announced in the coming weeks. The Democratic candidates last squared off in a televised debate on April 18 in Tampa.
Florida will experience the country's largest economic impact from climate change: A recent study published in Nature highlighted a sobering fact: The least amount of impact from climate change our planet can possibly hope for at this point is the oceans only warming 2 degrees, an increase that would raise overall sea levels by roughly 20 feet. In other words, Florida is extremely screwed, because the study suggests that if we continue on our current fossil fuel-use trajectory, ocean levels will likely reach these levels by 2100, which seems like a long time – but keep in mind sea levels are accelerating every year. Just to state the obvious: This is bad.
Marco Rubio questions legitimacy of Brightline train financing: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio raised questions last week about Brightline's intention to sell $1.75 billion in federally authorized, tax-exempt private activity bonds to help fund the construction of its passenger rail service connecting South Florida to Orlando. In a letter sent to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Rubio stated that "it is not clear" whether Brightline's express trains meet the federal standards to qualify for the bonds, which are key to the service's ability to fund the second leg of its project: new rail lines and safety upgrades between West Palm Beach and Orlando.
Puerto Rican governor announces launch of new political organization in Orlando: Early last week, Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced the launch of a new political organization intended to influence the November 2018 midterm elections by mobilizing the Puerto Rican vote in Florida. Poder, which translates to "power," is a nonpartisan civic organization focused on the voter registration and political participation of U.S. citizens from Puerto Rico. "We need to showcase the political power of Puerto Ricans, so we can start pressing the issues that matter most to us – quality of life, real solutions to problems," Rosselló said in a news release prior to the announcement.