Friday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida unemployment office axes call centers despite thousands who still need help
Florida’s unemployment office has gotten rid of all of the call centers it brought on in 2020 — a decision that critics said is premature, as thousands of claims continue to pour in and applicants still struggle to get through the state’s antiquated CONNECT website. The Department of Economic Opportunity recently cut ties with Titan Technologies, a company based in the Panhandle it had contracted with to provide up to 2,000 call reps to help the agency field calls from laid-off workers and process the backlog of claims caused by the pandemic. More from the Orlndo Sentinel and Spectrum News.
Get top news-to-know with Florida Trend's headline-focused video newsbrief, hosted by digital content specialist Aimée Alexander.
Survey says Florida is 4th worst for COVID safety as state shifts to weekly reports
Last week, the Florida Department of Health told the public that it will no longer publish daily COVID-19 reports for state deaths, cases and hospitalizations. Instead, the reports will shift to a weekly data dump. Just after the state changed COVID data publications from daily to weekly, a new survey from WalletHub that ranked states based on COVID-19 danger was released, with Florida ranked at 48 out of 51, with the District of Columbia included. As the data shifted from daily reports to weekly reports, information on COVID-19 for non-Florida residents was also removed. [Source: WFLA]
Florida artists begin to recover after grinding to halt during pandemic
The pandemic had a huge and negative impact on the art world. It was a difficult time for artists and while art sales tanked, so did the jobs that artists take part-time to support their work. Most artists need income to support their art. Outside income and there is where the double whammy hit hard. “Artists like to spend time in their studios, many of them will take part-time jobs, they will take jobs unrelated to art. Everything disappeared overnight. Those jobs were the first to go,” said Dennis Scholl, President and CEO of Oolite Arts. [Source: CBS Miami]
Florida bans use of critical race theory, ’1619 Project’ in teaching history
Lessons that deal with critical race theory and the “1619 Project” are not welcome in Florida’s public schools following a State Board of Education vote on Thursday. At the request of Gov. Ron DeSantis, the board unanimously adopted a rule that, in the words of member Tom Grady, emphasizes historical facts over “fiction, projects or theory masquerading as fact.” More from the Orlando Sentinel and the Tampa Bay Times.
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Miami-Dade gets rent check from casino giant Genting for $10 million
Miami-Dade got a big check in the mail last week: $10 million from the Genting Group as part of the Malaysian casino giant’s nearly century-long rental of space above an Omni bus station north of downtown Miami. The one-time payment precedes planned construction of a 36-story hotel and retail center on Northeast 14th Terrace. The county and Genting subsidiary Resort World Miami agreed to the terms in April 2017.
› Naples area country music singer plans restaurant, event venue
Area country music singer Ben Allen, who starred on “The Voice” TV show in 2020, has opened a new restaurant in Naples in conjunction with local experienced hospitality entrepreneur Todd Brooks. The restaurant, Ben Allen's Backyard Grill & Pub, is at 12655 Tamiami Trail E., Naples. It will replace the Brooks Burgers restaurant that was previously there, according to a statement.
› Three Jacksonville firms in Fortune 500
The three usual Jacksonville suspects made the 2021 Fortune 500 list. However, the annual list of biggest U.S. companies, which gives cities bragging rights, could have included two more Jacksonville companies, if only they were public. Fortune magazine’s list is based on fiscal 2020 revenue reported in public filings, so Southeastern Grocers and GuideWell cannot be included.
› As sports card market goes wild, Tampa Bay card grading company cashes in
Today’s sports card industry has more in common with the art market, as ultra-rare, ultra-high-end cards command small fortunes at auction. In August, a 1-of-1 Mike Trout autographed rookie card sold for a record $3.9 million. Last week, an autographed Tom Brady rookie sold for $3.1 million, a record for a football card. The market’s gotten so heated that Target recently stopped selling trading cards to discourage shoppers from fighting for packs.
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