Monday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
At Kennedy Space Center, a crush of visitors and contractors greet Artemis era
UPDATE: The August 29 morning launch has been scrubbed, the next launch window is slated for September 2. Stay tuned for more Artemis coverage at FloridaTrend.com
Monday’s planned launch of Artemis 1 as the first chapter of the quest to return to the moon was another boost for Florida’s surging space economy as tourists, space company contractors and NASA celebrated the new chapter of exploration. At center stage, Artemis 1’s Space Launch System powered by its RL10 engine built to propel any craft made for human flight has ever flown. More from Florida Trend and the News Service of Florida.
Is Florida still a swing state? The next 11 weeks will determine the answer
The close of polls Tuesday evening marked the end of Florida’s primary election and the start of an 11-week scramble in which the fate of a U.S. Senate seat, the governor’s mansion, and Florida’s status as a political battleground all hang in the balance. It might not be the kind of election Florida voters are used to seeing. [Source: Miami Herald]
COVID-19 infections continue decline in Florida
The number of Florida residents testing positive for COVID-19 dropped during the past two weeks, while pandemic deaths are nearing 80,000, according to data released Friday by the state Department of Health. The data showed that 43,703 people tested positive for COVID-10 from Aug. 19 through Thursday, after 45,416 tested positive the previous week. More from the News Service of Florida and Local 10.
DeSantis wants pot companies to pay more to do business in Florida
As Florida medical-marijuana companies continue to rake in cash, Gov. Ron DeSantis last week said cannabis operators need to pay more for the opportunity to do business in the state. The state “should charge these people more,” DeSantis told reporters Tuesday. “I mean, these are very valuable licenses,” the governor said. “I would charge them an arm and a leg. I mean, everybody wants these licenses.” [Source: News Service of Florida]
System in central Atlantic Ocean organizing rapidly as forecasters monitor four tropical waves
The National Hurricane Center is monitoring four areas of disturbance — one rapidly gaining organization in the central Atlantic Ocean, one in the Caribbean, one off western Africa that popped up Saturday afternoon and then a system in the north-central Atlantic that debuted in the update released Saturday at 8 p.m. More from the Tampa Bay Times and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Meet Ted Pappas, the Jacksonville architect behind some of the city's iconic buildings
Architect Ted Pappas' older sister, Tee Pappas, is 95 and still comes to work at his office in LaVilla four days a week. She remembers growing up with him in their house in North Riverside in a neighborhood made up largely of immigrants and figures that her little brother has spent his life doing exactly what he was meant to do. “He grew up with a pencil in his hand, ever since he was a baby," she said. "This is not a surprise.” "This" is a career as an architect, one that spans some 60 years in his hometown of Jacksonville — not just designing numerous iconic buildings, but also helping to preserve some of the city's most endangered historic structures.
› Bot topic: Business accelerator event to focus on robots in restaurants
Robotic workers have long been a part of the manufacturing industry, but the pandemic-driven labor shortage in the hospitality sector has accelerated the adoption of robot technology among bars, hotels and restaurants. Eateries in Bradenton and Sarasota have “hired” robotic servers that can bring food to guests and even bus the table after a meal is finished. They aren’t cheap — ranging in price from $9,000 to $17,000, depending on the model — but they don’t need breaks, vacations and health insurance, and they never call in sick.
› FGCU awarded $22.9 million grant to create the Equitable Jobs Pipeline
Florida Gulf Coast University has been awarded the largest grant in the school’s history to fund an effort to fundamentally change how people are trained and jobs are filled in southwest Florida. In partnership with the Collaboratory in Downtown Fort Myers, FGCU will create the “Southwest Florida Equitable Jobs Pipeline.” The goal is to create a system that helps local employers find workers with the skills and credentials needed to fill in-demand positions.
› Another top Red Lobster leader leaves, this time to run Keke’s
The revolving door of top management at Orlando-based Red Lobster is continuing, and it opens at Denny’s. David Schmidt, who started in March as the chief financial officer at Red Lobster, is becoming president of Keke’s Breakfast Cafe, which South Carolina-based Denny’s bought earlier this year. He follows Kelli Valade, who was named CEO and president of Denny’s after her resignation as CEO of Red Lobster in April, where she had spent just eight months on the job.
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