Thursday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Economic boom leads to shortages, inflation as Florida bounces back from pandemic
The economy is bouncing back quickly now that more people are getting vaccinated and returning to normalcy. But a quick economic boom could have some ramifications. People from around the country are moving to the Sunshine State. Economy and finance experts say that's great for the economy as the nation rebounds from the pandemic, but it can be a double-edged sword. More from WTVT.
A new mutation of the Brazilian COVID variant surfaces in Broward
Florida’s Department of Health has reported a new coronavirus variant of concern in the state, a mutation of the highly contagious variant first discovered in Brazil. So far, two cases of the variant known as P2 have emerged in Florida, in a 74-year-old male in Broward County and a 51-year-old woman in Duval County. The variant has a slightly different sequence than the P1 strain, which in Brazil has been found to more likely re-infect people who have already had COVID-19 compared to the original virus. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Tiptree cancels Fortegra IPO offering
Tiptree Inc. said in March it hoped an initial public offering of The Fortegra Group Inc. would unlock value in the subsidiary that was not reflected in Tiptree’s stock price. The strategy worked, for a while anyway. Fortegra, a Jacksonville-based specialty insurance company, is the major operating subsidiary of New York-based Tiptree. It bought the company for $218 million in 2014. More from the Jacksonville Daily Record.
Florida regulators approve Duke Energy rate hike
State regulators this week unanimously approved a Duke Energy Florida plan that will raise customers’ rates. Residential customers’ monthly bills will go up between 3 percent and 4 percent over a three-year period, which begins in January. The exact amounts will be determined later this year when fuel costs and other calculations are factored in. More from the Tampa Bay Times.
SeaWorld’s interim CEO Marc Swanson gets the top job
Last year, SeaWorld executive Marc Swanson was named interim CEO after the previous leader resigned abruptly. It was perhaps the worst time in history for someone to be running a theme park company with all the attractions shut down in the middle of the coronavirus crisis. On Thursday, Swanson got his reward for helping the company navigate through such unprecedented times. He was named the permanent CEO after more than a year of carrying the interim title. More from the Orlando Sentinel.
Gatorland brings back 2-day Gatorpalooza festival
Gatorland is reviving its Gatorpalooza Fun Fest as a two-day event in mid-May, the attraction announced Wednesday. Gatorpalooza will feature live music, artisans, craft vendors, expanded food offerings, games, appearances by the Gatorland Vlog Team and more on May 15 and 16. On Gatorpalooza Saturday, the park will hold the Gator Man Challenge contest. The next day will include the Turkey Dog Toss Contest with visitors heaving the dogs to Gatorland folk stationed in boats in the alligator breeding marsh.
» More from the Orlando Sentinel.
USF professor who harnessed the power of cactuses is a top Florida inventor
When Norma Alcantar got a call from Judy Genshaft, the former University of South Florida president, she wondered what had happened. She was pleasantly surprised to hear that she would be inducted into the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame. Genshaft had nominated her for the honor. For Alcantar, a professor of chemical engineering who holds 22 patents, it was recognition for a lifetime of work. Much of her research focuses on using the gooey fluid found in cactus leaves for water filtration — something she credits her grandmother for teaching her.
» Read more from the Tampa Bay Times.
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