Friday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
› James Beard nominations skip Tampa Bay restaurants, again
The James Beard Awards semifinalists for 2023 were announced Wednesday morning, but for Tampa Bay restaurants, there wasn’t much to celebrate. Once again, not a single restaurant owner or chef received a nod from the prestigious culinary organization. The last time Tampa Bay received recognition on the list was in 2019 (the awards were canceled in 2020 and 2021, as the group sought to overhaul some of its practices).
› Federal agents arrest slew of suspects in Florida nursing school diploma scam
Federal agents on Wednesday arrested about 25 suspects accused of selling fabricated nursing degrees to thousands of students who then used the bogus diplomas to take licensing exams in several states, including Florida, New York, New Jersey and Texas. A network of nursing school operators, centered in South Florida, illegally charged each student between $10,000 for a licensed practical nurse degree and $17,000 for a registered nurse diploma — without requiring proper training, according to federal authorities and court records.
› Cocoa Beach Pier gets $3.5 million rehab with new restaurants
For Debbie Riddle and Jean Lang, lunch at the Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier is a relaxing part of their vacation from Michigan. “Just being able to go out on the pier and be able to have a meal is something,” said Riddle, 70. “It’s nice just to relax and watch the water. ... I had crab and shrimp dip.” The friends are repeat visitors to Cocoa Beach and plan to come back, meaning they’ll likely return to an improved version of the pier with new dining options on their next visit.
› FIS board shake-up continues as part of deal with hedge fund
For the second time in a month, Fidelity National Information Services Inc. announced a shake-up of its board of directors as part of an agreement with an activist hedge fund. Mark Ernst, who was appointed as a director in December under the agreement with D.E. Shaw Group, resigned from the board Jan. 13 because of a conflict of interest.
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