December 5, 2022

Tuesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 9/27/2022

With Hurricane Ian, Tampa Bay braces for storm not seen in a century

Gov. Ron DeSantis urged Floridians to be aware of local evacuation orders as Hurricane Ian is expected to strengthen into a “major” storm in the eastern Gulf of Mexico as early as Tuesday. DeSantis said during a media briefing just before noon Monday that Ian will bring heavy rain, strong winds, flash flooding, storm surges and isolated tornadoes to Florida’s Gulf Coast. “Floridians up and down the Gulf Coast should feel the impacts of this up to 36 hours before actual landfall, due to the size of the hurricane,” the governor said, adding that the storm was roughly 500 miles wide Monday as it churned south of Cuba. More from the Tampa Bay Times and the News Service of Florida.

FSU economist: National recession all but certain, state more than likely to follow

A Florida State University economist said he believes the United States will enter a recession in the next nine months, while the probability of Florida joining the rest of the country is about 70% – up slightly from his 67% estimation a few months ago. "The probability of the U.S. going into a recession is 100%,” Jerry Parrish said at a Sept. 21 luncheon meeting of the Sarasota Real Estate Investors Association. “I do not see how we can manage a soft landing," he said, using the term for a Federal Reserve balancing act in raising interest rates to tame inflation without causing a recession. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]

Hurricane Ian’s approach not affecting Florida’s gas prices

Gas prices are declining despite forecasts of Hurricane Ian approaching Florida. Customers are paying an average of $3.38 per gallon across the state, which is four cents lower than last week, according to a press release from AAA. It’s the lowest daily average since January. “There’s actually downward pressure on pump prices, despite the forecast that a hurricane would approach Florida this week,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA - The Auto Club Group. “Gasoline and oil futures prices plunged 7% last week.” [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

NASA plays it safe, to roll Artemis I back from launch pad

With the threat of Hurricane Ian, NASA isn’t going to risk its $4.1 billion rocket to the moon deciding to roll it back to the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center forgoing a chance to launch Artemis I next week. NASA had already decided to skip a launch attempt that was slated for Tuesday because of the approaching storm, but was monitoring Ian’s growth and projected path hoping the threat to the Space Coast would be limited. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Sixth Florida property-insurance company goes under

State regulators have asked a judge to place a property-insurance company in receivership, making it the sixth Florida property insurer declared insolvent this year amid widespread financial problems in the industry. The Florida Department of Financial Services sought to be appointed receiver for FedNat Insurance Co., which canceled 56,500 policies in May and reached an agreement to transfer about 83,000 policies to another company in June. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Jacksonville City Council to decide on $750,000 for JAX Chamber
JAX Chamber's annual request for city support is drawing unusual scrutiny this year about whether taxpayer money will help fund the salaries of chamber employees while the organization's top-paid executive, Daniel Davis, is running for mayor. The city has supported the chamber of commerce in 19 of the past 22 years — taking a break only during the Great Recession years — but the $750,000 in the proposed 2022-23 budget would be the highest payment to date, up from $500,000 this year.

› Why are GRU bills are at an all-time high, about to go up even more?
With ratepayers experiencing sticker shock as they’re opening their Gainesville Regional Utilities bills, some are asking why costs are so high and when can relief be expected. Rising fuel costs and a hotter than normal summer are some of the reasons GRU has routinely cited in response to customers outraged by extremely high utility bills. Gainesville city commissioners also voted Thursday to increase electric rates by 3% and wastewater rates by 5%, as part of rate increases planned through 2027.

› EFSC receives $6.6M grant for high-tech training, CareerSource Brevard gets $3M
Eastern Florida State College has been awarded $6.6 million in state grants to increase the scope of its programs that are training students for the Space Coast's high-tech workforce. In addition, CareerSource Brevard will receive $3 million that will be used for workforce training and outreach programs.

› Orlando startup Helicon envisions new jobs, manufacturing in Orlando after investment round
Fresh off a multimillion-dollar fundraising deal, Helicon Chemical Co. LLC CEO Wes Naylor didn’t shy away from a bold prediction. By the time Helicon seeks out its next round of capital, investors will fight each other to invest in the startup and its high-performance rocket propellant, Naylor told Orlando Inno. “This could be the biggest innovation to [rocket] range in 30 years.”

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