Thursday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Climate change expected to raise health risks in Florida
Some of the health impacts of climate change are obvious and already apparent in Florida, such as more cases of heat stress and mosquito-borne tropical diseases. But it may be surprising that as climate conditions intensify, health experts say it also will increase the risk of sickness and death for people with diabetes. That’s significant for Florida, where a staggering 1 in 10 residents are part of the nationwide diabetes epidemic. [Source: Miami Herald]
Study finds glimmer of hope in Florida’s battered housing market
Despite worries about the housing market slowing down, a new study shows that Florida ranks among the top states in the country for home building. According to data released by an Oregon real estate firm, 9.8 homes are being developed in Florida for every 1,000 residents. Florida ranked No. 3, behind Utah and Idaho. Utah has 11.7 homes under construction per 1,000 residents and Idaho has 11.43. [Source: Business Observer]
Florida Democrats, Republicans need new leaders but for opposite reasons
Both the Florida Republican and Democratic parties will be choosing new state chairs next month, but the reasons each is seeking new leadership could not be farther apart. GOP chair Joe Gruters is stepping aside after four years to run for a national party position as treasurer, having overseen two successful election cycles that saw former President Trump, Gov. Ron DeSantis and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio all winning decisively in Florida. Former Democratic chair Manny Diaz resigned on Jan. 9 after DeSantis’ and Rubio’s double-digit wins in an election that also swept in Republican supermajorities in the Legislature. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Fixing Florida property insurance mess is a slow process
After the two bills aimed at fixing the property insurance crisis in Florida, experts are hopeful the new measures are a step in the right direction, but the effects will still take time. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed senate bill 4-A and senate bill 2-A from the special session in December. The first bill provides $750 million for disaster relief to Floridians affected by Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole in the form of tax relief. The second bill is a property insurance reform that is aimed at stabilizing the market by increasing competition and strengthening consumer protections. [Source: Miami Today]
Record number of manatees spotted at Blue Spring State Park
Hundreds of manatees congregated in Blue Spring run for warmth on a particularly chilly morning this week, breaking the record for the number of sea cows tallied in one day within the Volusia County waterway. A total of 729 manatees were counted by park officials on Jan. 17, breaking the state park’s previous record of 721 tallied on Jan. 29, 2022. Despite their large appearance and weight averaging 800 to 1,200 pounds, Florida’s sea cows are susceptible to cold stress. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Need gas or a hoagie? Wawa opening 12 more convenience stores in South Florida
Wawa fans are in luck. Twelve more of the Philadelphia-area chain’s convenience stores serving hoagies, fountain drinks and snacks, with gas pumps outside, are soon opening across South Florida. That’ll give the three-county region 37 Wawas. The privately owned retailer is adding stores by the end of March in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, as part of a national expansion. The Media, Pa.-based company operates about 1,000 stores in Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
› Lawsuit challenges Jax mayoral candidate Daniel Davis’ continued Jax Chamber employment
A member of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce has filed suit in the 4th Judicial Circuit to compel the organization not to pay its CEO while he runs for Mayor. Billie Tucker Volpe, a Republican of long standing who was instrumental in the Tea Party movement and a Chamber member of more recent vintage, is suing the Chamber and CEO Daniel Davis to stop Davis continuing to get paid while standing as an active candidate. Her membership with the Chamber grants her standing, the plaintiff argument contends.
› 'Project Comet' may bring $120 million complex to KSC's former Shuttle Landing Facility
Space Florida officials are pursuing "Project Comet," a deal with a confidential company that proposes to invest up to $120 million and create at least 50 jobs by 2025 at a new complex near the former Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center, meeting minutes show. A preliminary site plan depicts a 104,594-square-foot “payload processing facility” standing 133 feet high, flanked by a badging-security office, a 20,342-square-foot storage building, four office trailers, a parking lot with 71 spaces, and wet and dry retention ponds.
› Scenes from Tampa’s ‘dead mall,’ alive with nostalgia
To be clear, University Mall is alive. More than 80 tenants still operate here near the University of South Florida. But in the world of online mall fandom — documenting everything from malls’ sparkling heyday to trespassing excursions in abandoned malls — the term “dead mall” simply means a once-great destination in decline. Think sparse customers, dwindling occupancy and signs of decay, like stained carpets under the benches near a hollowed-out anchor store. University Mall fits the bill.
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In case you missed it:
State projects 1.75 million Floridians could lose Medicaid coverage as pandemic-era law expires
‘Our children are at stake:' Teacher shortage in Florida among worst in the nation