May 17, 2022

Wednesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 1/19/2022

Omicron spread much earlier and faster across Florida than most people realized

The omicron variant of the coronavirus arrived in Florida before the first confirmed case in the U.S. and spread earlier and faster than most people realized, a new state report shows. Now that the state appears to be at or near the omicron peak, new cases are slowing, and the deadly effect of omicron is only starting to become known. A sampling of COVID cases by the Florida Department of Health in a variant report released Tuesday provides the first detailed account of the evolution of omicron in the state and offers some guidance on what to expect going forward. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Florida Trend Exclusive

Jacksonville and Northeast Florida community portrait

Much like the city's bridges connect the north and south banks of the St. John's River, Jacksonville's leaders are building a bridge between the past and the future. City and county governments are working together with business leaders to take advantage of momentum that has been building for a decade to strengthen the city's urban core. [Source: Florida Trend]

Florida music fests are back in a big way for 2022. Here's a guide.

Music fans are ready to return to live venues and festival organizers have plenty in store for them in 2022, with dozens of big festivals on the schedule. Fans can find rock festivals, country festivals, bluegrass, blues, Americana, electronica, R&B, jazz and reggae festivals this year in the Sunshine State. Some are free, some will set you back a pretty penny and some are already selling tickets even though they haven’t yet announced who is playing. [Source: Florida Times-Union]

Department of Energy funds study that could lead to new industry for Florida

China has been the world’s main supplier of rare earth elements needed to produce computers, solar panels, smartphones and electric cars. But now a new study may help position Florida to become a U.S. supplier. The Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute at Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland has been awarded a $150,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to study how rare earth elements can be recovered, separated and purified during phosphate processing. [Source: 83 Degrees Media]

Florida looms large in Republican 2024 primary

Florida is emerging as the epicenter of the early fight for the GOP presidential nomination as speculation grows about the possibility of as many as four Republicans from the Sunshine State pursuing the party’s nod in 2024. Among the Floridians seen as potential White House hopefuls are Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.), and, of course, former President Trump, who has repeatedly hinted at a 2024 comeback bid. [Source: The Hill]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Another Royal Caribbean sailing from Port Canaveral canceled by coronavirus
A third scheduled sailing of Royal Caribbean International's Independence of the Seas out of Port Canaveral has been canceled because of COVID-19. The cruise line told passengers that it canceled the two-night cruise on Independence of the Seas that was scheduled to sail out of Port Canaveral on Jan. 22 "as a result of ongoing COVID-related circumstances."

› New York restaurant chain eyes two new metro Orlando locations for expansion
Fresh&co's first Florida restaurant — set to open Jan. 20 — will be the first of three planned for the region. The New York-based healthy, fast-casual restaurant chain also is set to bring new locations to Winter Park and Baldwin Park near downtown Orlando.

› University of Tampa launches business administration doctoral program
Beginning in the fall 2022 semester, the University of Tampa will offer a doctoral program in business administration. Led by Lonnie Bryant, a UT professor of finance and chair of the university’s department of finance, the three-year program will award an Executive Doctor of Business Administration (EDBA) degree.

› Florida International Air Show board elects first female leadership team president
The Florida International Air Show board of directors elected Denise Dull the first female president of the air show leadership team in the 42-year history of the event. Dull joined the board in 2021 for the 40th Annual Air Show serving as a co-director of vending & concessions.

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How to attract butterflies to a Florida garden

A Bay Area nursery is encouraging people to plant Florida native plants to help the state’s butterflies and bees, which will ultimately benefit humans.

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