February 16, 2020

Tuesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 1/21/2020

Economists upbeat for Florida in 2020

Florida passed its annual economic check-up with “flying colors,” says economist Sean Snaith, but it remains afflicted with a minor condition. Snaith, the director of the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Forecasting, believes the state economy is about as healthy as it could be. But the state is experiencing what he calls an episode of economic Osgood-Schlatter disease, known as growing pains. Those figurative achy knees, he says, are in the forms of a housing shortage and a transportation network deficit. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]

Florida targets Space Force, inks new support services contract

Florida’s aerospace agency has launched a new front in its effort to make the Sunshine State more enticing as a potential player in the nation’s up-and-coming Space Force. The Space Florida Board of Directors approved $200,000 for Satellite Beach-based GTOPS, Inc., a veteran-owned business that provides facilities-support services, to further showcase how military bases and businesses in the state are capable of training and equipping the new military branch. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Electric scooters thrive in Florida as they vanish from some other parts of U.S.

Electric scooter rentals are likely to stay in Florida — even though some companies have started pulling their business out of other parts of the country. The e-scooters, which grew popular on U.S. streets in 2018, have helped thousands of tourists, residents and even well-tailored businesspeople quickly get around the streets. But they’ve also drawn public safety concerns as the number of accidents kept mounting. And cities such as Fort Lauderdale, one of the first Florida cities to allow them, still are refining their rules for the two-wheeled devices, focused on safety. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

In Legislature, septic tank problems getting notice after heavy algae impacts prompt state review

With about 30 percent of Floridians using septic tanks, lawmakers are considering steps to help communities switch to sewer lines to avoid environmental problems like toxic algae blooms. With population growth amplifying concerns about preserving clean water, helping homeowners get off septic tanks has appeal for some lawmakers. [Source: Florida Times-Union]

SpaceX launches, destroys rocket in astronaut escape test

SpaceX completed the last big test of its crew capsule before launching astronauts in as little as two months, mimicking an emergency escape shortly after liftoff Sunday. No one was aboard for the wild ride in the skies above Cape Canaveral, just two mannequins. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Sanford mall struggles as Macy’s leaves, but downtown booms with restaurants, boutiques
Sales signs are up at the soon-to-close Macy’s and American Eagle Outfitters stores inside the Seminole Towne Center. The closings are just the latest blows for the major shopping center off Interstate 4 that has already lost its Sears department store. But about five miles away in downtown Sanford, it’s a different scene.

› Bill introduced to forbid animals in Florida restaurants, bars, businesses as soon as July
An Orlando lawmaker introduced a bill in the Florida House last week that would prohibit all nonservice animals from entering a public food service establishment or place of business. The proposed legislation banning animals in places of business defines a business as a "retail establishment, restaurant, bar, lounge, or any other similar place of business where the public assemblies."

› SeaWorld is outsourcing carnival games to United Kingdom company
SeaWorld is outsourcing employees who run carnival games at four theme parks —including Orlando, the company confirmed. United Kingdom-based HB Leisure will run the games starting Jan. 27 at SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay followed by the SeaWorld parks in San Antonio and San Diego in the ongoing weeks, according to an employee memo.

› Miami Beach wants to label North Beach ‘blighted’ to invest $100 million in property taxes
A clash between North Beach residents and one of the neighborhood’s most prominent property owners forced Miami Beach commissioners to punt on a controversial vote requesting that the county designate North Beach as “blighted” for the purposes of establishing a community redevelopment agency there.

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