Thursday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida’s space industry thrived under Trump. What does Biden have planned?
Biden will soon face difficult decisions about the future of American interests in space. Enthusiasm for space exploration has reached levels not seen since the Apollo missions — but Biden also will quickly confront the challenges of a growing military presence by the United States and foreign adversaries from the sky. Former U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a champion of the space program during his four decades in public office, said he expects Biden, a close friend, to advance a space agenda after tackling the coronavirus and the unstable economy. More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Florida Trend Exclusive
Florida vets on the campaign trail
Election Day 2020 wasn’t a good one for many Florida Democrats, but it served up a victory for Andrew Learned. The 34-year-old Navy veteran and small business owner from Brandon won a seat in the Florida Legislature, beating Republican Michael Owen, a 44-year-old attorney, 51% to 49%. He partially credits his military background for insulating him against his opponent's attacks. More from Florida Trend.
FPL shuts down its last coal-fired plant in Florida and converting another to natural gas
After the clock struck midnight on Dec. 31, Florida Power & Light Company formally closed its last coal-fired plant in Florida, ending its use of coal in the state while accelerating its long-term investments in other fuel sources to generate and deliver clean and affordable power to its customers. FPL purchased the Indiantown Cogeneration plant, located in Martin County, in 2017 for the sole purpose of shutting it down and saving customers money. The formal retirement marks the end of coal in FPL’s power plant operations. Read the official announcement here and more from Power Engineering.
More Disney World employees are back to work, but recovery is still a long way off
Disney World’s recovery plan after a devastating 2020 is forging ahead with a regular stream of employees getting called back to their jobs, although the resort’s massive workforce is still nowhere near full strength. About 30,000 workers who belong to the largest union coalition are working, while about 13,000 are still furloughed or laid off and waiting for a recall, said Service Trades Council Union president Matt Hollis. “I certainly think it’s trending in the right direction,” Hollis said. “The goal is to get everyone back to work and able to make a living.” More from the Orlando Sentinel.
Microsoft exploring opening a new office in downtown Miami, sources say
Microsoft is considering opening an office in Miami’s business core. According to multiple sources who declined to be named, Microsoft is reviewing at least two Class A options for a new Magic City footprint: one, at the still-under-construction 830 Brickell, and the other at 801 Brickell office tower. All sources cited the sensitive nature of ongoing discussions as the reason for reticence. More from the Miami Herald.
Bank promotes one-time teller to top regional executive
Regions Bank has tapped a veteran consumer banking professional to lead its efforts in Pinellas County. As market executive, Tina Gilmore-Johnson will oversee the bank’s operations in St. Petersburg, Clearwater and the surrounding community, the bank says. She will also work to execute in delivering Regions360, the bank’s “comprehensive approach to meeting consumers’ needs.”
» More from the Business Observer.
What is Orlando? A winning response on ‘Jeopardy!’
Orlando had a moment in the “Jeopardy!” spotlight on Tuesday. The City Beautiful was part of the question in the first round of the game show. The category: American cities. The answer, in that backward format that has served the show for decades: “The Magic Kingdom South, it was once known as Jernigan but got a name change in 1857 and a Wet ‘n Wild water park, a bit later.”
» Read more from the Orlando Sentinel.
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