April 24, 2024

Monday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 2/19/2024

Florida could make it harder to sue polluters, assisted living owners

On the heels of legislative changes that make it harder to sue insurance companies, state lawmakers may extend protections to a variety of companies — including in instances where businesses pollute communities or lose consumers’ personal data to hackers. Incoming protection proposals are backed by powerful business groups, but most of them have seen some bipartisan pushback. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

FLORIDA TREND EXCLUSIVE
Endless Horizon

This much is known: The Villages is home to about 145,000 people today, including about 12,000 seasonal residents. The Villages Development Company and the Buffalo Hide and Cattle Company own tens of thousands of undeveloped acres in Sumter and Lake Counties, much of it in the city of Wildwood. Wildwood,had a population of just 6,709 in 2010 — that more than doubled in the next decade to 15,740 and it has doubled again since 2020. By 2050, Wildwood could be home to 120,000 people, says City Manager Jason McHugh. While that’s not all new Villages residents, all the new residents will be there because of The Villages. [Source: Florida Trend]

Communism for kids? Legislators continue advancing instructional plans

Measures moving through the state legislature propose teaching young students the history and horrors of communism. One hitting the Senate Rules Committee, this week: CS/SB 1264 would create a “History of Communism Task Force.” If the proposals pass, kids could learn the names of Marx and Engels and Stalin along with their ABCs... [Source: Florida Politics]

Blue Origin ramping up New Glenn rocket production on Merritt Island ahead of 1st launch

Blue Origin's first New Glenn heavy-lift rocket is finally expected to launch this year — Lars Hoffman, Blue Origin vice president for national security sales, said of the company's Merritt Island manufacturing campus, "It's a rather large facility. And we're building boosters to support not just the first launch this year, but multiple launches per year — ramping up rapidly to support a growing manifest that cuts across commercial, civil and hopefully national security here in the future." [Source: Florida Today]

Metal detectors planned for some Broward schools after successful Palm Beach rollout

The school district plans to install walk-through metal detectors at 10 yet-to-be-named high schools for the start of the 2024-25 school year, Superintendent Peter Licata said. But students needn’t worry about a stressful TSA-like experience where students have to remove every piece of metal on them and face pat-downs, district officials say. These devices are designed to use artificial intelligence to distinguish between routine items, such as cellphones and keys, and forbidden items, such as guns and knives. Students don’t have to take off their backpacks. [Source: South Florida SunSentinel]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

FLORIDA TREND EXCLUSIVE
› AI’s emerging role in cardiac care
Sumit Verma is a board-certified specialist in cardiac electrophysiology and cardiovascular disease with Baptist Health Care in Pensacola. In a recent interview with FLORIDA TREND, he discussed the impact that artificial intelligence is having on the diagnosis and treatment of heart diseases. "Cardiologists currently are not required to learn about AI, but I suspect this will change in the future," says Verma.

› An incurable illness threatens Florida's palm trees. Could a scent be the solution?
A lawn-care expert took one look at the sickly, brown fronds on Steve Cates’s thirty-foot Sylvester palms in his front yard in Florida’s Citrus County and delivered the bad news: Cates’s trees had a textbook case of lethal bronzing disease and needed to be removed as soon as possible. After confirming the diagnosis with his local Extension office, the retiree from Ohio will pay upwards of $3,600 to extricate and replace the pair of prized palms, as well as a Canary Island date palm that also tested positive.

› These are the best large employers in the US. Find out which are in Florida
Forbes released its 2024 list of America’s best large employers, looking at the top companies based on worker surveys. The ranking is based on whether survey respondents would recommend their employer to others and how highly these participants rated their employer.

› Ten Florida airports stand to earn over $112 million in federal funds
The Federal Aviation Authority is awarding over $112 million dollars to Florida airports to help improve infrastructure and create jobs at the airport. This grant money is in addition to the over $2 billion that’s been funneled into improving our nation’s airports over the last two years.

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Florida Trend Video Pick

Florida shoe cobbler mends more than soles
Florida shoe cobbler mends more than soles

Jim McFarland, a fourth-generation shoe cobbler in Lakeland, Florida, never anticipated his trade mending shoes would lead to millions of views on social media. People are captivated by his careful craftsmanship: removing, then stitching and gluing soles on leather footwear.

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