December 9, 2023

Monday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 4/4/2022

Here's what experts say to expect as BA.2 omicron subvariant spreads across Florida

As the so-called “stealth omicron” coronavirus subvariant fuels another wave of infections across Florida and the nation, medical experts expect it to be milder than the surges that preceded it. This week, for the first time in months, Florida recorded an increase in new weekly COVID-19 cases, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. But most Americans are vaccinated against the disease or have been infected by the omicron variant. For those reasons, experts say, the BA.2 subvariant fueling the current rise of infections should not lead to big spikes of hospitalizations and deaths. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]

State 'anti-woke' law puts Florida businesses on defensive

Come July 1, Florida employers who mandate diversity training programs to their workers would be well advised to take note of what those programs say — and how they say it. The so-called “Stop Woke Act” passed by the Legislature this month and soon to be signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis, restricts how programs aimed at promoting diversity in the workplace can be presented to employees. The idea is to protect workers as well as students in schools from language that might make them feel “uncomfortable” by references to past acts of bias and discrimination around the country. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

NASA scrubs launch pad rehearsal for Artemis I moon mission after safety concern

NASA scrubbed a wet dress rehearsal on the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center for the Artemis I mission to the moon Sunday because of concerns over the ability to safely fuel the rocket. The decision came on what would have been the final day of a three-day launch rehearsal “due to loss of ability to pressurize the mobile launcher,” a statement from NASA said. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Scientists to study effect farm pesticides are having on Florida's soil health

Florida scientists will study how farm pesticides called fumigants affect the soil in Hillsborough County, and the research results will apply across the state. At least a month before planting crops, Florida farmers fumigate their sandy soils to manage diseases, pests and weeds. They apply the pesticide to the bottom of raised beds. [Source: WLRN]

Cuba's new private companies show off products at trade fair

The event at a convention center in Cuba's capital looks like a lot of trade fairs: Music blares as visitors stroll between colorful booths displaying a wild variety of products: furniture or clothing, glassware or recycled paper, chocolates or cleaning products. But it's a commercial milestone for Cuba: The companies showing off their wares are largely formal, private companies that were legalized only about six months ago — more than a half-century after the Communist government banned nearly all private enterprise. [Source: AP]


› Publix plans stock split with lower prices for employee-owned shares
Publix has approved a move that will lower the cost of its employee-owned shares. The Lakeland-based grocery store chain revealed the stock split Friday. For each share of stock someone owns, they will receive four additional shares. The stock split will be effective at the close of business April 14.

› Former CEO joins Venice nonprofit in new role
In an effort to create long-term systemic improvements in the community, a Venice-based nonprofit announced a couple of changes to the leadership team. Jennifer Johnston, who has been with the Gulf Coast Community Foundation since 2017, was promoted to director of community leadership. Additionally, the organization brought on Kameron Partridge Hodgens, former CEO and executive director of The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center. She will serve with Johnston with a focus on creating strategic initiatives to create regional transformation.

› JEA breaks ground on $150 million water reclamation facility
JEA held a groundbreaking ceremony March 31 for its approximately $150 million Greenland Water Reclamation Facility already under construction on 80 acres near the eTown master-planned community on Jacksonville’s Southside. With backhoes and loaders moving earth about 100 yards away, executives and employees of the city-owned electric and water utility celebrated the multiyear effort with representatives from project contractor Haskell and engineer Jacobs Americas South.

› Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg works to educate, enlighten visitors
Holocaust Remembrance Day begins April 27 and ends April 28. Known as Yom HaShoah, it’s a time when Jewish people commemorate the six million Jews murdered by Nazi Germany during World War II. On April 28, the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg is offering free admission to the museum.

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