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1. Publix: No dogs in grocery carts, including service pets

If you've been bringing Fido grocery shopping with you, sticking him in your shopping cart and passing him off as a "service animal," beware. Florida grocery chain Publix is cracking down.

The grocery store has posted new signs at the store saying only service animals trained to aid those with disabilities are allowed in the store. No service animals are allowed to sit or ride in shopping carts.

A spokesman for Publix told the Orlando Sentinel that's always been the policy, but said the store decided to post the signs to make customers more aware.

Service animals have become a controversial issue as several states have tried to crack down on people potentially abusing federal disability laws. Growing complaints have also emerged as more people have tried to sneak pets onto airlines under the guise of service dogs.

2. Shark count down substantially in South Florida

Thousands of blacktip sharks ordinarily swim languidly off the South Florida coast.

But this year the shark count is down substantially and warmer water temperatures may be the reason.

A researcher at Florida Atlantic University says a recent tally he did off Palm Beach County during the sharks’ annual migration had a high of only 2,800 blacktip sharks.

That’s down substantially from the high of more than 12,000 sharks in 2011, according to Florida Atlantic University researcher Stephen Kajiura.

The drop is dramatic, Kajiura said.

“The numbers have plummeted and this year was the lowest we’ve had so far,” Kajiura said.

The lower blacktip shark numbers correlate with higher water temperatures.

“Temperatures go up, shark numbers go down,” Kajiura said. “Eight years does not show global climate change, but it does show what might be happening on a larger scale and why we might not get those big numbers of sharks like we used to if waters keep warming.”

3. Planet Fitness moving into old Kmart in Golden Gate

A new Planet Fitness is coming to the old Kmart space in Parkway Plaza in Golden Gate, but it will be operated by a different franchisee from the longtime location in Gulf Gate Plaza on the East Trail.

The location on Golden Gate Parkway will be operated by the franchisees who also co-own locations on U.S. 41 in San Carlos Park and Fort Myers. Other area locations in North Fort Myers, Cape Coral and South Fort Myers are owned by different franchisees.

“We expect the Planet Fitness in Naples to open by the end of the year,” said Becky Zirlen, senior public relations manager for the fitness chain based in New Hampshire. “The new location will offer state-of-the art cardio and strength equipment, free fitness training and a Black Card Spa, which will include HydroMassage beds, massage chairs and tanning beds/booths for PF Black Card members.”

The fitness center chain promotes itself as fostering a welcoming environment that is labeled "the Judgement Free Zone.”

 

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