August 25, 2019

Friday's Afternoon Update

What you need to know about Florida today

| 5/24/2019

Visit Florida lays off one-third of employees

Visit Florida cut one-third of its staff Thursday, slashing its payroll after the state Legislature cut funding for the tourism agency by 34 percent. With a Leon County Sheriff’s Office patrol car parked outside its Tallahassee headquarters on Thursday afternoon, Visit Florida fired 44 of the agency’s 135 workers. The move cut $3.65 million from an overall payroll of $12.1 million. More from the Tampa Bay Times, the Orlando Sentinel, and WCTV.

Florida Trend Exclusive
Next CEO of Lynx, Orlando's bus system, faces same challenges as predecessor

The CEO of Lynx, metro Orlando’s bus system, resigned in February after less than three years on the job, leaving the transportation agency leaderless even as Central Florida politicians struggle to answer questions about how the region will fund mass transit. The move came shortly after the agency revealed it faces a budget shortfall of more than $20 million. More from Florida Trend.

Millions of Floridians now living without health insurance

If you are enjoying the Florida sunshine, swimming in the ocean and braving the non-pedestrian friendly streets, but living without health insurance, you are not alone. In 2018, more than 2.8 million people in Florida — or nearly 14 percent of the population — did not have health insurance of any type, a new survey shows. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Memorial Day travel expected to hit records in Florida

Falling gas prices in Florida are a key reason Memorial Day travel is expected to be up nearly four percent in 2019. According to AAA, 2.3 million Floridians are expected to travel for the long weekend, with increases in the number of people driving, flying and cruising to their destinations. More from WTXL.

Design Interiors, launched to sell used furniture to Ybor cigar workers, closing after 76 years

Mary Jo Polo chokes up at times during the conversation, her eyes welling, as if she were attending the funeral of an old friend. In a way, she is. She and her brother, Matt Cadrecha, are closing Design Interiors furniture store, an Ybor City landmark, after 76 years in business. It was started in 1943 by their grandfather, Belarmino Cadrecha, who came to Tampa from Spain at age 16 to take a job in a cigar factory. Read more from the Tampa Bay Times.

Entertainment
Pat Sajak and Vanna White hit the beach as ‘Wheel of Fortune’ prepares for South Florida segments

 Pat Sajak and Vanna White didn’t buy a vowel — they bought tickets to South Florida while taking a break from hosting “Wheel of Fortune” in Los Angeles. The TV game show hosts were in town this week where they spent three days shooting in various spots. They filmed in Fort Lauderdale beach, Miami Beach, Everglades National Park, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables and Café La Trova in Miami.

» More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

 

Out of the Box
Florida beer used butterflies in the brewing process

floridaA tiny brown butterfly from Florida provided a key ingredient for a new conservation-minded beer from Gainesville’s First Magnitude Brewing. The yeast for Frosted Elfin New England-Style Session Pale Ale originated from the bodies of live frosted elfins in the Apalachicola National Forest. The butterflies once ranged from central Florida to Ontario, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service said, but have declined nationwide due to habitat loss.

» Read more from the Tampa Bay Times and the Gainesville Sun.

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Florida Trend Video Pick

Costco opens to much fanfare in Bradenton
Costco opens to much fanfare in Bradenton

They arrived early. Some for the hard-to-get Van Winkle bourbon. Or maybe the $5,299.99 Chanel handbags. Others came for the deals on necessities such as bottled water and toilet paper. Whatever their mission, a universal priority seemed to be to try the generous food samples that beckoned at the new Bradenton Costco.

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