3 To Know: Back-to-school sales tax holiday to begin Friday

Marco Eagle

1. Back-to-school sales tax holiday to begin Friday

Florida shoppers will have the opportunity to save on school supplies, clothing and shoes this weekend as part of the state’s back-to-school sales tax holiday.

Starting Friday at 12:01 a.m. and continuing through Sunday, dozens of items from scissors to soccer cleats will be available to all customers free of tax.

School supplies.

Eligible items include school supplies priced at $15 or less and footwear and clothing $60 or less.

Unlike last year, this year’s savings will not

be extended to tech items such as computers and printers. Savings opportunities were also limited in 2016when the holiday was shortened from 10 days to three and the eligibility threshold for tax-free clothing was reduced from $100

to $60.

Collier County public school students begin classes Aug. 15.

2. US unveils new health plans

The Trump administration on Wednesday unveiled a final rule that will soon allow consumers to purchase less-robust, short-term health insurance plans that typically cost less than Affordable Care Act plans.

Under the new rule, consumers will be allowed to buy plans that offer limited benefits and have less expensive monthly premiums. These plans are meant as a short-term option for consumers who lack coverage from an employer or are contractors, but experts warn these plans also can deny coverage of existing medical conditions.

The ACA required individual plans sold on and off the marketplace to cover a group of set benefits such as emergency, maternity and mental health care. The Obama administration limited the sale of short-term plans to 90-day periods as a stop-gap between more robust plans.

Also, unlike the so-called “Obamacare” plans, the short-term plans can deny or limit coverage based on an individual’s medical history. Experts say the plans may appeal to healthier adults who don’t need coverage for a chronic disease but want to spend less on health insurance premiums.

3. Scientists: 1st sighting of dolphin-whale hybrid doesn’t mean ‘wholphin’

Scientists are touting the first sighting of a hybrid between a melon-headed whale and a roughtoothed dolphin in the ocean off Hawaii. But don’t call it a “wholphin,” they say.

The melon-headed whale is one of the various species that’s called a whale but is technically a dolphin.

This Aug. 11, 2017, photo provided by Cascadia Research shows a hybrid between a melon-headed whale and a rough-toothed dolphin, in the foreground, swimming next to a melon-headed dolphin near Kauai, Hawaii. Scientists are touting the first sighting of the hybrid off Hawaii. It's also only the third confirmed instance of a wild-born hybrid between species in the Delphinidae family.

“Calling it something like a wholphin doesn’t make any sense,” said one of the study’s authors, Robin Baird, a Hawaii research biologist with Washington state-based Cascadia Research Collective. “I think calling it a wholphin just confuses the situation more than it already is.”

In a study published last week, scientists say the animal spotted off the island of Kauai in August 2017 appears to be the first record of a hybrid involving either species.