April 7, 2020

Tuesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 2/11/2020

Florida courts struggle to collect fines owed by ex-felons

Of more than $315 million in fines and fees assessed in 2017 and 2018, a study by the Florida Legislature’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability found that state circuit courts, where most criminal cases are adjudicated, collected less than 10% of the money owed. County courts collected just under 40% of money owed. More from the AP and WTSP.

FPL launches incubator for alternative-energy startups

Florida Power & Light Co. said Monday it will launch a startup incubator aimed at innovations in the fields of energy and water. FPL will set aside space on its Juno Beach campus for entrepreneurs from around the world. Inventors with compelling ideas can apply for a package of support that includes office space, guidance from FPL execs and $50,000 in cash. FPL said it aims to bring in 20 entrepreneurs as part of the initiative aimed at launching new companies and finding better ways to provide power. [Source: Palm Beach Post]

Florida leads in USA Today list of best new amusement park attractions

USA Today released its list of 2019’s best new amusement park attractions over the weekend, and Florida made a stronger showing than any other state, with SeaWorld’s Sesame Street Land taking the top spot. Florida had three attractions in the top 10. No other state had more than a single appearance. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Tampa area enjoys record-setting tourism revenues as peak season gets under way

Tourism revenue for Tampa and Hillsborough County reached historic highs in January as the area’s bed tax collections surpassed $3 million for the first time. According to a press release issued by Visit Tampa Bay, a destination marketing agency, Hillsborough County took in $3.38 million in tourist development funds, also known as bed taxes, last month. [Source: Business Observer]

Osceola consultant says LG’s $800M Smart City is a go

South Korean electronics maker LG is coming to NeoCity and has already chosen a development partner for its $800 million “Smart City” town center, according to a report in GrowthSpotter. NeoCity Links confirmed the project status in its 2019 Year End Status Summery, which was provided to the Board of County Commissioners earlier this week. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› UF research spending at record $928.6 million in 2019
University of Florida research spending rose more than 7% to a record $928.6 million in fiscal year 2019, according to a new report to the National Science Foundation. UF’s response to NSF’s Higher Education Research and Development, or HERD, Survey showed a $63 million increase in expenditures, or 7.3%, over 2018’s previous record of $865.1 million.

› After nearly two decades, Dolphin Mall is getting a new owner
Dolphin Mall is getting a new owner, after longtime owner Taubman Centers Inc. announced its entire mall portfolio was being acquired. The transaction, once completed, will see Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group taking over Dolphin, along with 21 other Taubman properties, in a deal valued at $3.6 billion.

› Hotel chain Avid debuts first Central Florida property
A new hotel chain has opened its first Central Florida location near Orlando International Airport, joining a cluster of more than two dozen properties nearby. The region around the 10th-busiest airport in the U.S. is one of the fastest-growing for hotels in Orlando, as most of the major brands have a presence there.

› It’s a struggle to keep anti-Castro fires burning for Tampa’s aging Casa Cuba
Their strident opposition to the communist regime holds sway again in the White House, but it hasn’t brought any bump in membership for La Casa Cuba de Tampa. In fact, the organization that boasted more than 500 members 20 years ago could muster only six people for one of its signature traditions — placing flowers at the statue of José Martí in Ybor City on Jan. 28 to mark the birthday of the Cuban freedom fighter.

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