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Wednesday's Daily Pulse

NOAA hurricane forecast 2022: Up to 21 named storms possible; as many as 10 hurricanes could form

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasters on Tuesday predicted a seventh consecutive above-average Atlantic hurricane season. With the six-month season starting June 1, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center forecast 14 to 21 named storms with sustained winds 39 mph or higher, of which six to 10 storms would reach hurricane strength with winds topping 74 mph. Of the hurricanes three to six are forecast to be major systems with winds of 111 mph or higher. More from the News Service of Florida, the Florida Times-Union and WINK.

Waves of demand, delays have set Florida pool builders back by months

The Farmer’s Almanac for 2022 forecasts Florida’s summer will be “hot, humid and thundery,” hardly the stuff of crystal balls. But if any Sunshine State residents are looking to install a pool this year for relief, signs point to no. “If they’re going to buy a pool today, they’re not going to swim until next year,” said Ben Evans, president of American Pools & Spas in Orlando. Supply chain delays, material and labor shortages and a backlog of orders are pushing the average construction times for pools by months, leading industry experts to want to temper expectations. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Florida legislature expands special session to include condo reforms

Florida lawmakers on Tuesday reached a deal to overhaul Florida’s condominium laws after the catastrophic collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside last year left 98 dead. The legislative proposal will be added to a special session agenda that originally was called to address only Florida’s ailing property insurance market. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Fast track rejected in redistricting fight

An appeals court Tuesday rejected a request by voting-rights groups to fast-track a congressional redistricting fight to the Florida Supreme Court. The decision by the 1st District Court of Appeal was a blow to the groups and other plaintiffs trying to block a redistricting plan pushed through the Legislature by Gov. Ron DeSantis. Leon County Circuit Judge Layne Smith on May 12 issued a temporary injunction against the plan, but the state appealed and Smith’s ruling was put on hold. [Source: News Service of Florida]

New people charged in Florida sham candidates investigation

A Republican political consultant and a Central Florida sham candidate are facing criminal charges in connection to a 2020 campaign finance scheme that is linked to a widening political scandal involving Florida Senate elections and dark money groups. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Tuesday announced the criminal charges against the consultant, James Eric Foglesong, of Winter Park, and the candidate, Jestine Iannotti, who moved to Sweden soon after the November 2020 election. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]


› Florida researchers collaborate with business to develop next-generation superconducting cables
Researchers at Florida State University’s Center for Advanced Power Systems (CAPS), in collaboration with Colorado-based Advanced Conductor Technologies, have demonstrated a new, ready-to-use superconducting cable system — an improvement to superconductor technology that drives the development of technologies such as all-electric ships or airplanes.

› Tampa Museum of Art receives $5 million from the Vinik Family Foundation for its education center
The Tampa Museum of Art announced Monday that its new education center is named the Vinik Family Education Center, thanks to a $5 million gift from the Vinik Family Foundation on behalf of Penny and Jeff Vinik. The announcement was made at an event on May 23 celebrating the opening of the new education center.

› Jacksonville jobless rates among lowest in Florida, continuing trend of declining unemployment
Jobless rates continue to fall from 2021's unemployment numbers statewide. The unemployment rate in the Jacksonville area, which includes Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties, was 2.3% in April, according to data released from Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity in May. The state unemployment rate was 3% in April, down from 3.2% in March.

› Medical supply company adds another round of layoffs in Lakeland
Medical equipment manufacturer Stryker has announced another round of layoff as part of its plan to cut about 485 employees as it prepares to close its Lakeland facility in 2023. The new round, the fourth, will eliminate 63 jobs Aug. 31, according to a letter to the state. The company previously laid off 22 people Dec. 31 and is scheduled to lay off 86 people May 31 and 30 people June 30.

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› Proposal for a new sports complex in East Gainesville headed to commission
After researching other Florida sports complexes, Gainesville city staff has unveiled a detailed proposal for a new sports complex in East Gainesville. It calls for a major expansion of the MLK Center, making it a two-story structure that could also handle multiple indoor sporting and community events along with a senior center wing.

› Flagler Village may get massive 1,100-unit apartment towers, rivaling city’s tallest
The burgeoning high rises of Fort Lauderdale’s Flagler Village are taking on a botanical connotation, including fighting each other to reach the sun. Ombelle, a proposed 493-foot dual-tower project with 1,100 apartments will be just six feet shorter than the city’s tallest, downtown’s 100 Las Olas condo building and nearby Alluvian luxury rental tower at the New River. Both slot in at 499 feet, a foot under the FAA’s local limit of 500 feet.

› Selby Foundation awards Selby Gardens $250,000 grant for renovation of historic Palm Avenue
The William G. and Marie Selby Foundation has awarded Marie Selby Botanical Gardens a $250,000 grant to assist with the renovation of historic Palm Avenue as part of the Gardens’ Master Plan for its Downtown Sarasota campus. The preservation and enhancement of Palm Avenue is a core component of Phase One, which is now under construction and scheduled for completion in August.

› Florida Theatre building a VIP hospitality area
The renovation of the Florida Theatre is taking another step with work on its second floor at 128 E. Forsyth St. Downtown. The city issued a building permit May 20 for Auld & White Constructors LLC to build-out the space at a job cost of $1.1 million. The project is the next phase of the $10 million renovation announced in July 2019 that is scheduled to be completed in time for the historic venue’s centennial celebration in 2027.