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Monday's Daily Pulse

Florida faces more reinsurance problems

As Florida lawmakers try to stabilize the troubled property-insurance system next month, they could face worsening problems with reinsurance, a critical part of the system. Reinsurance, which is sold in a global market, is essentially backup coverage for insurers. It plays a crucial role in Florida, as evidenced by the projected tens of billions of dollars in damage from the Category 4 Hurricane Ian, which made landfall Sept. 28 in Southwest Florida before crossing the state. [Source: News Service of Florida]

See also:
» Legislature to address insurance next month in second special session

Florida hospitals weren’t ready for Hurricane Ian. Some fear the next big storm.

Hurricane Ian exposed an alarming weakness in Florida’s healthcare system: Many hospitals in the state are unprepared to quickly evacuate patients and some facilities likely couldn’t withstand a direct hit from a major storm. The leaders of five hospitals found themselves in that situation in late September as Hurricane Ian approached. [Source: Politico]

Opinion: This hurricane season showed the value of investing in a stronger, smarter energy grid

Every spring, we prepare our teams through an intense hurricane drill to sharpen their skills. Better weather forecasting has given us a more precise view of tropical weather systems, helping us prepare more intelligently for a storm by pre-positioning crews, equipment and supplies to speed restoration afterward. The most important preparation for extreme weather is through sustained, long-term investments to build a stronger and smarter energy grid, as evidenced by this past hurricane season. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Thousands of Florida’s ‘nuisance alligators’ are killed each year. Is it necessary?

According to wildlife commission data, 184,047 nuisance alligators have been killed from 1997-2021. That is about 57% of all permits. And as the state has seen a recent population boom since 2020, some Floridians worry that alligator newbies are calling the nuisance hotline unnecessarily. Some call the number just for seeing an alligator at a lake, according to Elise Bennett, Florida director for the Center for Biological Diversity. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Florida state report shows toxic algae levels

Scientists are saying a red tide bloom that’s lingered along the coast for a few weeks is now being fed by nutrients running off the landscape in the wake of Hurricane Ian. Red tide (Karenia brevis) is a naturally occurring organism in the Gulf of Mexico that sometimes blooms to toxic levels. But research shows that nutrients from farm fields, lawns and septic tanks fuel red tide blooms close to shore — making them more frequent, longer-lasting and more intense. [Source: AP]


› Florida hotel group trains workers to help reduce veteran suicides
Veterans are 1.5 times more likely than the general population to die by suicide, with 20 veterans on average taking their own lives each day. To help combat this crisis, Innisfree Hotels has started its own in-company initiative to train employees working with veterans or individuals experiencing mental health problems with the help of Fire Watch’s Watch Stander program.

› Art meets tech: 20 years after the first Art Basel, Miami Art Week is making digital moves
Miami Art Week, which spans from the last days of November to the first weekend of December, has grown in scale and scope. Alongside the usual satellite art fairs, the week’s schedule is teeming with tech-related events exploring the future of crypto, non-fungible tokens, interactive artworks and virtual reality. That reflects Miami’s greater goal of becoming the country’s emerging tech hub since the pandemic.

› Central Florida business owners happy to see community's support on Small Business Saturday
Neighborhoods across Central Florida were bustling Saturday with large crowds of shoppers supporting Small Business Saturday. Owners of mom-and-pop shops in historic downtown Winter Garden put sales racks outside their storefronts to get customers to come inside and see what they have to offer. The giant retailers get all the attention on Black Friday, but shopping small on Saturday makes a huge difference in local neighborhoods.

› After 38 years, beloved Unicorn Hill Christmas Tree Farm closing after this holiday season
For more than a generation, the Unicorn Hill Christmas Tree Farm has played host to countless holiday memories. Families select their tree from six different varieties of pine, cut it down and have it strapped to their car's roof for a ride to its new home. But for those who are accustomed to making that annual stop at any point since 1984, this year will be the last.

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› SpaceX gives Space Coast 52nd launch of the year
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched Saturday from Kennedy Space Center on the 52nd successful flight of the year from the Space Coast. The CRS-26 mission lifted off from Launch Pad 39-A on a resupply run to the International Space Station at 2:20 p.m. A brand-new cargo Dragon spacecraft is carting up 7,700 pounds of food, scientific investigation and supplies to the station, including a pair of rollout solar arrays to help with power supply.

› Interim executive director named at Sarasota nonprofit
An interim executive director has been announced for Meals on Wheels of Sarasota. The organization’s board of directors appointed Rhonda Leiberick to the role. While in transition, she will be working with Invest in Incredible consultants to refresh organizational policies by developing growth strategies and processes to determine the impact Meals on Wheels has, a press release states. Invest in Incredible is an initiative of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.

› Kennedy Space Center introducing new projection show for holidays
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is adding a new projection mapping show called “Starflake’s Holiday Voyage” to its holiday celebration. The six-minute production will be shown on the exterior of Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex, which opened at the Brevard County attraction this year. “Starflake’s Holiday Voyage” works its way through the stars, but it includes recognizable features such as NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building, International Space Station, the Artemis Moon rocket and more.

› Tampa Bay street races often are posted online for attention. A new law makes it evidence.
Street racing and takeovers have been a part of Tampa Bay’s nightlife culture for “years and years,” according to Sgt. Steve Gaskins, a spokesperson for the Florida Highway Patrol. But now, the internet and social media allow street racers to instantly show off their speed to large audiences. In addition, organizers often use social media to spread the word about meetups — typically at gas stations or parking lots.