August 4, 2020

Thursday's Afternoon Update

What you need to know about Florida today

| 7/2/2020

DeSantis backs proposals for Space Force headquarters

Gov. Ron DeSantis has endorsed six Florida counties and three cities that hope to land the command headquarters of the U.S. Space Force. In a letter to Air Force Assistant Secretary John Henderson, DeSantis supported the proposals by Jacksonville, Pensacola, Brevard County, Miami-Dade County, Orange County, Pinellas County, Seminole County and a joint proposal from Tampa and Hillsborough County. More from the Tampa Bay Times and the Orlando Sentinel.

Fewer people are filing for unemployment in Florida. But economists aren’t feeling it

Even as the number of Floridians newly filing for unemployment benefits fell for the third-straight week—and even as the U.S. added a record number of jobs—economists continue to warn that the U.S. economic recovery remains on shaky footing. The U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday that new unemployment claims in Florida fell by 11,075 to 84,608 for the week endeing June 27. More from the Miami Herald.

Why there’s little sunshine on many economic development deals in Florida — and beyond

As the coronavirus has swept the country, forcing state and local governments to adjust to a new way of doing business, the public’s ability to keep track of government activities has not been easy. Video meetings are often the best governments can offer, and that has put new limits on public participation. But when it comes to government economic development deals and efforts to attract jobs, secrecy is nothing new. Whether or not there is a pandemic, the public’s access to information about these deals is limited. More from WUFT.

Visit Orlando handed out nearly $300,000 in extra pay as hotel taxes plummeted because of coronavirus

In April, as the coronavirus pandemic shut down global tourism and Orange County hotel taxes collapsed, the tax-funded advertising agency Visit Orlando paid out nearly $300,000 worth of extra pay to some of its employees. Agency leaders would not say who received the “incentive compensation,” which totaled $278,549.29. The payments were made during a month in which county hotel taxes essentially evaporated, falling from nearly $26 million a year ago to less than $800,000. More from the Orlando Sentinel.

The South Florida office market is holding steady - for now. That may not last

The South Florida office market is holding steady, despite fears that that office might crater amid the work-from-home trend. Vacancy rates remained relatively unchanged in the second quarter 2020, according to Newmark Knight Frank’s second quarter South Florida office market report. And asking rents increased from $34.38 in the first quarter to $34.46 in the second quarter. More from the Miami Herald.

Out of the Box
There’s one more thing Florida has to worry about. Wild boars aren’t social distancing

 As if 2020 could get any worse. Some Floridians are dealing with more than coronavirus, quarantine, campaign season and civil protests. Add wild boars to the mix. In Lehigh Acres, in Lee County, these aggressive animals are not only a bother, but hitting people where it really hurts: their wallets.

» More from the Miami Herald.


Florida History
As the new St. Pete Pier opens, a look back at piers of the past

floridaThe long-anticipated St. Pete Pier will open July 6. Before visiting the new structure, here’s a primer on St. Petersburg’s pier tradition, which goes back over 130 years. The city’s first pier was built in 1889. After John C. Williams persuaded Russian nobleman Peter Demens to bring the Orange Railway Belt to the area, effectively creating St. Petersburg, Demens’ company built the Detroit Hotel and the Railroad Pier.

» Read more from the Tampa Bay Times.

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Florida Trend Video Pick

Floria school districts, staffing agencies need to hire hundreds of substitute teachers
Floria school districts, staffing agencies need to hire hundreds of substitute teachers

Education leaders are in a mad dash working to get ready for the start of the school year. Among the preparations, school districts statewide still need to hire hundreds of substitute teachers.

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