February 3, 2023

Monday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 12/5/2022

Beach tourism could take years to rebound from damage by Ian

The biggest industry in Southwest Florida may be facing its toughest challenge ever: The re-opening after Hurricane Ian's catastrophic damage. Tourism before Ian generated more than $3 billion a year in Lee County alone, according to the visitor and convention bureau. Now people are struggling to salvage something of this visitor season. [Source: WUSF]

Disney battles to preserve the powers of its kingdom in Florida

When Walt and Roy Disney were dreaming up their plan to transform 25,000 acres of Florida swampland into a utopian city and theme park in the mid-1960s, they wanted none of the oversight they faced from California authorities when they built Disneyland. By the end of a highly effective PR push, Disney had got its wish: Florida handed the company the powers to essentially run a private government. Among the extraordinary rights granted to Disney by the Florida legislature in 1967 was the ability to construct a nuclear power plant and an airport on the property. More from the Financial Times and the Saraqsota Herald-Tribune.

COVID-19 cases spike across Florida after Thanksgiving holiday

Some Florida counties have seen a spike in COVID-19 cases following the Thanksgiving holiday, according to the Florida Department of Health. Across Florida, FDOH reported 18,761 new cases this week, which is unlikely to include people who test themselves at home. St. Johns and Nassau counties have the two highest positivity rates in the state. [Source: News 4 Jax]

Florida expected to be hotbed for wildfires in early 2023

The ingredients are aligning for parts of Florida to be active for wildfires in 2023, despite two hurricanes making landfall in 2022, leading to torrential rainfall. Outlooks recently released by the National Interagency Fire Center show the probability of above-normal wildfire potential to grow in the new year along the Interstate 10 corridor and include the northern Peninsula and Southwest coast in the spring. [Source: Fox Weather]

Agents in drug war must walk a ‘fine line.’ In Florida, more than a few have crossed it

Ever since the United States declared a war on drugs during the Nixon presidency, the federal agency charged with leading the battle — the Drug Enforcement Administration — has been dogged by scandals, more than a few of them with Florida connections. For agents on the front lines, the temptation to cash in on all the dirty money is almost an occupational hazard. [Source: Miami Herald]

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ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Sale of Winn-Dixie parent inevitable; who are the suitors?
From the day Southeastern Grocers Inc. emerged out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2018, a sale of the Jacksonville-based supermarket company seemed inevitable. The operator of the Winn-Dixie, Harveys and Fresco y Más chains has been owned by a group of investment funds, which received stock in exchange for unsecured debt in the bankruptcy reorganization.

› Gainesville leaders OK first vote for nearly doubling own salaries
Gainesville city commissioners are set to soon receive a raise almost double their current salary, despite opposition from a small group of frequent critics. In the first of two votes, city officials voted 4-1 Thursday to approve a significant pay increase among themselves that will raise their salaries from $37,000 to about $71,000 in October 2023. The mayor, who earns more for greater responsibilities, would also see an increase of about $40,000, going from $47,200 to $88,700.

› What did your Miami mall once look like? A trip back to the old Dadeland, Omni, others
Who didn’t like going to the malls in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s? In the days before Amazon and big-box stores and gaming from your phone, people in South Florida spent time at the mall. Miami Beach people went to the Omni across the causeway for strudel at the bakery and a movie at the multiplex. New suburbanites in Kendall poured into Dadeland for the day. Parents took their kids to the then-open-air 163rd Street Shopping Center for a spin on the rides in front of Burdines.

› Tampa’s Hyde Park Village brings the charm to holiday shopping
First things first: Hyde Park Village is no shopping mall. And you couldn’t rightly call the sprawling outdoor stretch of stores and restaurants across six city blocks a shopping center, either. Tucked into one of Tampa’s most charming neighborhoods of historic bungalows and graceful oaks, Hyde Park Village seems to have hit its sweet spot as what developers call a lifestyle center.

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