Thursday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida jobless claims tick up
First-time unemployment claims in Florida increased for a second consecutive week, but the pace remained close to the average this year. The U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday estimated 5,702 initial claims were filed during the week that ended Sept. 16, up from 5,418 the previous week, which included the Labor Day holiday. Meanwhile, the number of claims filed nationally dropped by 20,000 to 201,000. More from the News Service of Florida.
Olive Garden owner’s sales grow, but fine dining business falls again
Sales at Orlando-based Darden Restaurants grew in the quarter ending Aug. 27, but its fine-dining business continued to weaken compared with last year. Total sales improved 11.6% to $2.7 billion in the quarter, a figure that included the addition of 77 company-owned Ruth’s Chris Steak House restaurants after Darden acquired the brand in June. More from the Orlando Sentinel.
NASA's Artemis II astronauts suit up and head to the launch pad for the first time
Practice makes perfect, especially for a mission to the moon. At Kennedy Space Center, the four person crew of NASA's Artemis II mission had a first chance to practice what their launch day will feel like. In what's called a dry dress rehearsal, the astronauts got suited up and took their new electric crew transportation vehicles for a spin to the launch pad. More from Florida Today.
Fort Lauderdale sends $1.2 million to phishing scammer, city says
Fort Lauderdale was the victim of a phishing scam that tricked the Accounts Payable department into making a payment of $1.2 million to a scammer pretending to work for a local construction firm, City Manager Greg Chavarria confirmed on Wednesday night. The city’s bank is working to get the money back, but it will take at least a week, Chavarria said. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
More Port Canaveral cruise passengers means higher cost for law enforcement, custodial work
As Port Canaveral commissioners approved a record-setting $187.15 million operating budget for the coming fiscal year, they also approved increases in several large annual contracts, including for law enforcement and custodial services. The increases are largely the result of the port's increased volume of cruise voyages and cruise passengers, which necessitates the need for everything from more sheriff's deputies patrolling the port to more custodians cleaning cruise terminals more frequently. More from Florida Today.
Small business, big needs — Treat your startup seriously
Small business growth has been on a record pace since the height of the pandemic. Whether side hustles or full-time startups, some 10.5 million new business applications were filed in the past three years alone. But side hustles and startups don’t thrive on their own, and successfully “hanging your shingle,” especially if you have partners, takes more than registering with the state or federal government. [ Sponsored report]
Miami Marlins fans can now name their price to attend home games. Here’s how it works
The Miami Marlins are in the midst of their final homestand of the 2023 season and are still playing for a playoff spot. The Marlins and TicketRev, a live event ticketing platform, announced they are partnering to launch the “Make Your Pitch” program, which allows fans to “choose their seating preferences and price.”
» More from the Miami Herald.
Out of the Box
This is what AI thinks a Florida politician looks like
Generative AI is a powerful tool that can make it easier for people to intentionally spread mis- or disinformation through altered words, photos, video, or audio. But AI can also be used to explore ideas and present an unbiased point of view of view of a given topic. That’s exactly what a team of programmers sought to accomplish when generating an assortment of ‘politician’ portraits based on one simple command.
» Read more from WFLA.
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