December 7, 2019

Monday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 12/2/2019

Cruise industry surges with Florida at the helm

Florida isn’t snoozing on cruising. The cruise sector, according to a new report from industry trade group Cruise Lines International Association, contributed $8.49 billion to Florida’s economy in 2018, up 6.4% from 2016. That accounts for 35% of the industry’s spending nationwide. Florida’s ports are the industry workhorses. Nearly 60% of all U.S. embarkations, the report shows, boarded cruises from one of Florida’s five cruise ports. [Source: Business Observer]

Florida not stopping on-shore oil drilling

One environmental issue in Florida that tends to unite people from both parties is opposition to offshore drilling. The risk of a spill damaging the state’s popular beaches and, by extension, the tourism industry seems too great compared to any economic benefit. Oil companies have been far more successful with drilling on land in Florida. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Brightline says it’s on time to open new South Florida stations by next year

Brightline, the high-speed rail system, is poised to check off a critical box on its expansion checklist — adding three more stations across South Florida by next year. The rail service forecasts its new Boca Raton and Aventura stations will start serving passengers in October 2020, according to its most recent financial filing. A PortMiami station is expected to start service by the end of 2020. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

A top boss is leaving at one of South Florida’s most popular companies

Scott Scherr, who founded Ultimate Software, one of South Florida’s most successful technology companies, will retire Jan. 1, the Weston-based company announced last week. Adams Rogers, who has been co-CEO with Scherr since the company went private in April through an $11 billion sale, will become CEO on Jan. 1. Ultimate Software employs 1,650 people in Weston. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Florida prisons can’t go on like this, new chief says

Years of budget cuts and legislative indifference have led to an understaffed, inexperienced crew of corrections officers in command of a penal system stripped of educational programs. They operate out of aging facilities with an increasingly hostile inmate population — as many 70% of whom enter with a substance abuse problem — and a gang hierarchy that is powerful and growing. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› A balloon boutique, lamp shop and flag emporium: How do these Orlando landmarks stay in business?
Ralph Walters can turn anything into a lamp. Deer hooves fresh from the hunt, a mismatched pair of cowboy boots, 40 millimeter bullet shells, a violin. Anything. No one ever taught him how to do it, and he didn’t go to school to learn the trade. He’s one of those guys who naturally knows how to make or fix anything you bring him. The same way he knows where every harp, nut and knob is in his workshop on North Mills Avenue.

› Southwest Florida banks retain solid marks
Southwest Florida’s community banks chalked up another round of solid marks in the latest grading from analyst BauerFinancial Inc. Sabal Palm Bank of Sarasota, Charlotte State Bank & Trust of Port Charlotte and Englewood Bank & Trust all scored five stars, or “superior,” in Bauer’s scorecard for the third quarter of 2019.

› Smart gym comes to South Florida as fitness goes more high tech
Is it possible to do a full-body workout in 20 minutes? The owner of South Florida’s first smart gym says it is. The Exercise Coach, a smart gym with Artificial Intelligence and robotic machines has opened in Boca Raton. Gym-goers can shorten a full-body workout from about an hour to just 20 minutes by using machines that incorporate bio-feedback to adjust and enhance the training.

› Tampa Bay shoppers flock to Small Business Saturday markets
The busiest shopping weekend of the year might have peaked on Saturday, as shoppers crowded outdoor markets to support local businesses. The two-day Shopapalooza Festival took over Vinoy Park as the “local alternative to Black Friday” with more than 225 vendors.

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Demolition has begun at the former Albertsons in Bradenton
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