Thursday, December 14, 2017
News Roundup

Welcome in 2014: light bulb ban, new minimum wage, Potter spin-off

As the new year approaches, it's time to brace yourself for what comes next starting on Jan. 1. We consulted our calendars and news reports and came up with these significant Florida, national and world events that are ahead.

 

A bulb that's going off

While you were reading and perhaps fretting about the new Affordable Care Act requirements for insurance coverage by Jan. 1 taking effect, another new U.S. law is scheduled to take effect that day as well.

And while the stakes are smaller, for some it might be even more of an adjustment than the health care boondoggle.

Beginning Jan. 1, the manufacture of 40 and 60 watt incandescent bulbs is banned because they don't meet energy efficiency requirements. The bulbs are to be replaced by halogen and compact fluorescent bulbs.

In case you didn't notice already, 75 and 100 versions of Edison's original illumination already disappeared from store shelves because of the ban on them that took place in 2013.

The 140-year-old versions won't disappear immediately, but instead will not be replaced as store shelves empty. (Hoarders, on your marks ...)

The new bulbs will be considerably more expensive. CNN reported that high efficiency incandescents cost about $1.50 each, compared to 50 cents or so for the old version. New ones last twice as long, though, and use 28 percent less power, the report said.

 

Florida and Tampa Bay watch

• The minimum wage will rise in the state by 14 cents. Jan. 1. Currently minimum wage is $7.79 and it will go to $7.93. Employees whose wages are based on tip earnings will go from the current of $4.77 per hour to $4.91 per hour.

• If a group called United for Care can collect 683,149 valid petition signatures by Feb. 1, a proposal to legalize medical marijuana could go before voters in November.

• The "Bollywood Oscars" are coming to the Tampa Bay area. April 24-26.

• MacDill Air Fest will return. March 22-

• A proposal to extend light transit in Pinellas County will go before voters. November.

• Several empty seats will be filled in the coming year: governor; lieutenant governor; U.S. House District 13 representative; and two police chiefs, one in Tampa (Jane Castor has to retire by April) and in St. Petersburg (Chuck Harmon has already announced his retirement).

• Work should begin on Tampa International Airport's 20-year plan for upgrades and expansion.

• Central Florida will embark on the first 32-mile phase of the $1.2 billion SunRail commuter train. Spring.

• Interstate 75 widening in Pasco County will move north from SR 54 to SR 52. Spring.

• Warning sirens at the Port of Tampa are scheduled to be upgraded. Deadline to complete is July.

• Diagon Alley at Universal Studios is scheduled to open in the summer.

 

World events to watch for

Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Scheduled Feb. 7-23.

• The first same-sex marriages in England and Wales will take place. March 29.

• World's tallest building at 2,749 feet is scheduled to open in China. June.

• The Scottish independence referendum will be held. Sept. 18.

• U.S. and the United Kingdom are scheduled to officially withdraw their troops from Afghanistan. Dec. 31.

 

Celestial occurrences

• Two total lunar eclipses are on the calendar. One takes place April 15 and the other Oct. 8.

• A partial solar eclipse. (Remember, you have to have special glasses or a filter to view it.) The partial eclipse will be visible Oct. 23 throughout most of North and Central America.

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