May 20, 2024

Wednesday's Afternoon Update

What you need to know about Florida today

| 5/31/2023

Floridian sentiment inches higher as national sentiment plummets

After dropping for the first time in 2023 in April, consumer sentiment among Floridians inched up one-tenth of a point in May to 68.8 from a revised figure of 68.7. On the contrary, national sentiment plunged 4.3 points. “Despite the ups and downs in consumer sentiment observed over the last 12 months, Florida’s consumer confidence has trended upwards, with a notable increase of 8 points in May compared to a year ago,” said Hector H. Sandoval, director of the Economic Analysis Program at UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research. More from UF News.

Sargassum, flesh-eating bacteria and plastic create 'perfect storm,' says Florida study

Florida beaches have become inundated by a massive seaweed bloom originating from the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt since reports first made headlines in early March. Now researchers say the intricate relationship between the algae, called sargassum, plastic marine debris and vibrio bacteria create the perfect “pathogen” storm and could impact marine life and public health. More from the Gainesville Sun.

Struggles continue for thousands in Florida 8 months after Hurricane Ian

Eight months ago, chef Michael Cellura had a restaurant job and had just moved into a fancy new camper home on Fort Myers Beach. Now, after Hurricane Ian swept all that away, he lives in his older Infiniti sedan with a 15-year-old long-haired chihuahua named Ginger. Like hundreds of others, Cellura was left homeless after the Category 5 hurricane blasted the barrier island last September with ferocious winds and storm surge as high as 15 feet. Like many, he’s struggled to navigate insurance payouts, understand federal and state assistance bureaucracy and simply find a place to shower. More from WINK News.

Private Axiom Space astronauts back on Earth after Florida splashdown

The private Axiom Space astronauts who spent eight days at the International Space Station climbed into their ride home to Earth, making a late-night splashdown off the coast of Florida aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Freedom. “SpaceX we’d really like to tell you that was a phenomenal ride. We really enjoyed all of it. Every bit,” said the Ax-2 mission commander Peggy Whitson after landing at 11:04 p.m. in the Gulf of Mexico near Panama City completing nearly a 10-day mission since launching from Kennedy Space Center back on May 21. More from the Orlando Sentinel.

Enterprise Florida closure teed up

A bill that would close Enterprise Florida, the state’s business-recruitment agency since 1996, was formally sent Tuesday to Gov. Ron DeSantis. The bill (HB 5), a priority of House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, would shift existing contracts and more than 20 programs to the Department of Economic Opportunity, which is being renamed the Department of Commerce. The changes would take effect July 1, the start of the 2023-2024 fiscal year. Numerous incentive programs would be fully repealed, including the Office of Film and Entertainment. More from the News Service of Florida.

Out of the Box
Food chain

Looking for ways to drive more foot traffic to a Kissimmee flea market he purchased in 2015, Nadeem Battla met with Syd Levy, who once owned Flea World in Sanford. Levy told him that people went to Flea World for the food, and they stayed for the shopping, says Battla. Battla took Levy’s counsel to heart and started leasing space on his property to two food trucks. Interest grew, and the number of vendors multiplied. Today, World Food Trucks — which sits adjacent to Visitors Flea Market — is the largest permanent food truck park in the country, with nearly 60 trucks serving 18 types of food to more than 2 million annual customers.

» More from Florida Trend.


Moore odyssey

Roger Moore last year gave a thought to his legacy as the sale of the boat retailing business he co-founded moved toward completion. A salty sailor and showman — call him Rog — who sports a close-cropped goatee and is ever ready with a quip or blunt comment, Moore can fill podcasts and profiles with his life story. He has lived on one or another boat since 1986. His present home is an 84-foot Northern Marine Expedition he’s had on the North Fork of the New River for 12 years.

» Read more from Florida Trend.

Tags: Daily Pulse, Afternoon Pulse

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