April 21, 2021

Tuesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 4/6/2021

Florida tourism: Experts look forward to post-pandemic times (again)

A year ago, reeling from extended shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, tourism experts were asked to predict changes coming in their fields. For the most part, what they anticipated did come to pass ... although projected time frames often turned out to be optimistic. Now, those the same experts have been asked to dust off those crystal balls and to reflect on their comments from a year ago. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Florida gas prices drop for second straight week

You may have noticed a tiny bit of relief if you filled your tank in recent days. Florida’s gas prices have lowered for a second straight week, with the average price Monday morning sitting at $2.85 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline. That’s two cents lower than last Monday and a six-cent decrease since the 2021 peak of $2.91 on March 21, according to American Automobile Association data. “Florida drivers are getting a welcome break from rising prices at the pump,” AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said. [Source: WPLG]

Column: It’s time to finally fix staffing crisis in Florida’s prison system

Over the past year, there has been a great deal of public debate about the problems facing Florida’s prison system, with little attention paid to the staffing crisis at the Florida Department of Corrections and the impact it has on the brave men and women serving on the front lines. Only nine of Florida’s 40 state-run prisons have appropriate staffing. Of the others, 30 prisons currently experience emergency staffing, while 11 others are at critical levels. [Source: Florida Politics]

Take care of that vaccination card. It could be your ticket to what’s next.

So you’re now the proud owner of an official COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card — rectangular proof that you got inoculated against the deadly virus. That card could also be the ticket to what’s to come when it comes to travel, group gatherings and the next phase of the coronavirus pandemic. “It’s an important document,” said Tom Iovino, public information officer with the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County. “Keep it handy.” [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

As families migrate from the Northeast to Florida, private schools report spiking enrollments

A migration of families from the Northeast and other states to South Florida — a shift that’s sending real estate prices to historic highs — is beginning to reflect in a surge in enrollment in the area’s private schools. Although enrollment numbers are mostly not yet available, private schools are confirming an increase in new students that they attribute to new arrivals, especially from New York and other states in the Northeast. The draw, many say, is the opportunity for in-person classes at high-quality schools. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Miami-Dade’s midnight curfew will be lifted next week, county mayor announces
Miami-Dade County’s midnight curfew will be lifted April 12, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced Monday. At a press conference, Levine Cava said her administration considered all available data in deciding to lift the countywide curfew and roll out a new set of guidelines meant to help businesses stem the spread of the virus while getting back to work.

› Alligator mating season begins in Florida: What you need to know
Co-existing with alligators is just part of life in Florida and, now that mating season is here, wildlife experts are reminding people to take caution. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the courtship process for the state’s more than one million alligators begins in April. Mating then happens in May or June before females build a nest and deposit about 32 to 46 eggs. After 63 to 68 days of incubation, the eggs will hatch from mid-August through early September.

› Messy building site at MacArthur entrance to Miami Beach is finally getting a facelift
The long-defunct building site at the MacArthur Causeway entrance to Miami Beach is finally being transformed. Coming attractions include a new park, a pedestrian bridge over the MacArthur Causeway entrance into Miami Beach, a 48-story upscale residential tower and a retail pavilion — all between the 600 and 700 blocks of Alton Road.

› Sarasota chamber launches new business growth program
The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce last week announced a new initiative geared toward helping minority-owned businesses recover from COVID-19. The Chamber’s new “Opportunities for All” program focuses on pairing interns and entry-level workers with new job opportunities, as well as helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses. It’s possible because of a $250,000 grant from the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation.

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Tour one of Florida's top wonders, Rainbow Springs
Tour one of Florida's top wonders, Rainbow Springs

The state's fourth-largest spring offers some incredible views, and kayaking on Rainbow River is one of the top things to do in Central Florida. So, Times reporters decided to head out on the water to give it a try.

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