Friday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
‘A silent surge’: While the newest omicron subvariant drives up COVID cases in Florida, effects are mild
A subvariant of omicron is spreading rapidly in Florida, and health experts say it will likely become the dominant strain of the virus in the state before the summer. The subvariant, named B.A.2.12.1, is a new mutation of the omicron COVID-19 variant — and even more contagious. Some experts believe it may be the most contagious strain thus far. The subvariant was first detected in New York last month, and made up 42% of all new cases in the Southeast region of United States for the week ending May 7. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Get top news-to-know with Florida Trend's headline-focused video newsbrief, hosted by digital content specialist Aimée Alexander.
Amazon seeks to hire disabled workers in Florida to help fill warehouse job openings
As it seeks to fill job openings in Florida, Amazon is reaching out to employment agencies for workers with disabilities and accommodating the environment they need to thrive. Amazon’s Florida officials see hiring persons with disabilities as a way to fill some of the tens of thousands of jobs the e-commerce giant is creating in the Sunshine State, at a time when a tight labor market is already squeezing many businesses. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Consumer inflation, mainly gas and home prices, keeps pounding South Floridians
Consumer prices in South Florida shot up 9.6% during the 12 months ending in April, outpacing the U.S. consumer inflation rate of 8.3% — still hovering around a 40-year nationwide high. Led by lofty energy (mainly gas prices at the pump) and housing costs, the inflation mark last month for the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metropolitan area was a slight drop from the 9.8% most recent reading in February, according to a bimonthly report released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. [Source: Miami Herald]
‘We’re setting new records in Florida and not in a good way.’ Why is gas going up again?
What goes up must ... go up again? Sorry, the law of gravity will eventually apply to the cost of a gallon of gas in Florida, but on Thursday, May 12, the cost went up again to a new record daily average of $4.40 per gallon, according to AAA. Florida was at $4.38 in mid-March, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, said Mark Jenkins, AAA’s spokesman. The county with the highest cost for a gallon gas in Florida? Palm Beach at $4.53, topping Jefferson County’s $4.50 and Monroe’s $4.49. [Source: Miami Herald]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Tampa’s First Citrus Bank merging with Michigan credit union in $100M deal
Tampa’s First Citrus Bank is merging with a Michigan credit union in an all-cash deal worth more than $100 million. DFCU Financial, a credit union based in Dearborn, Mich. with nearly 30 locations, will take over First Citrus Bank’s six sites in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, marking its entry into the Florida marketplace. All six branches will stay open under the DFCU Financial banner.
› Orange Bar association elects all women officers for 1st time
For the first time in its 89-year history, the Orange County Bar Association elected this week four female officers to lead the organization of more than 3,000 judges, attorneys and legal professionals. Through unopposed nomination, Karen Persis will serve as OCBA’s president for the 2022-2023 term, the association said in a news release. Amber Davis was elected as president-elect, and Arti Ajit Hirani and Keshara D. Cowans will serve as treasurer and secretary, respectively.
› New proposal could keep Ultra Music Festival in downtown Miami through 2027
Ultra Music Festival could stay in Bayfront Park through at least 2027 under a renegotiated deal with the city agency that manages Miami’s downtown waterfront parks. The terms of the agreement that allows organizers to stage the annual three-day electronic music festival in downtown Miami remain largely the same, though the city would raise Ultra’s fees each year by a higher percentage than before.
› Bicoastal law firm expands to downtown Sarasota
Bicoastal comprehensive services law firm Ball Janik LLP is expanding on the Gulf Coast. The firm’s fourth office opened in Sarasota right off of Main Street in the Center Pointe Office Building. Salvatore Scro will lead the office in the role of special counsel. The Lakewood Ranch-based attorney joins partners Phillip Joseph, James Prichard, Evan Small, Kelly Corcoran and Brian Crevasse.
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