May 22, 2024

Tuesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 4/16/2024

Pandemic put a hurt on Florida sports programs

Fewer fans during the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a drop in economic returns on state programs that provide sports-related grants and incentives, according to a newly released state analysis. The Florida Sports Foundation claimed a small positive return for each $1 spent on grants to professional and amateur events, the analysis by the Legislature’s Office of Economic & Demographic Research found. But with many games held without fans or with limited crowds because of pandemic restrictions, larger incentives tied to publicly funded stadiums and arenas posted negative returns. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Surge in Haitian migrants hasn’t hit Florida shores, so far. What happened?

The predictions were dire: Florida was on the verge of experiencing an onslaught of refugees from Haiti, driven by widespread gang-fueled lawlessness to make the perilous overwater voyage of hundreds of miles seeking safety in the U.S. A month later, it turns out there hasn’t been an invasion — or a noticeable change in Haitians arriving in Florida by boat. There isn’t agreement about why it didn’t come to pass. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Florida's 2024 constitutional amendments: What voters need to know

As Florida voters start thinking about November, they shouldn't forget a handful of proposed state constitutional amendments that will be at the end of the ballot. Amendments must garner at least 60% approval to become the law of the land. Two of the most consequential on the list — perhaps in state history — are initiatives guaranteeing access to abortion and legalizing recreational marijuana, put on the ballot by citizen-led campaigns. The four others on the 2024 ballot, like repealing public campaign financing and creating a right to hunt and fish, are no small fry, either. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]

Florida officials warn residents to prepare for wildfire season

Some Florida officials are warning about a possible increase in the chances of wildfires this year. Officials with emergency management list the current threat as low because of a wetter-than-normal winter. However, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson said people should limit the amount of debris on their property as wildfire season begins. The Florida Forest Service has responded to more than 500 fires so far this year. [Source: WFTV]

Florida law officers’ phone calls can be recorded secretly, appeal court rules

A Florida appeals court has effectively opened a loophole in the state’s long-standing law against recording telephone conversations without the permission of both sides of the call, ruling that law enforcement officers performing their official duties can be secretly recorded because they have no expectation of privacy. The court’s decision involved a citizen who accused the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office of misconduct. More from WUFT and the Orlando Sentinel.

Trend Mention

Mention ImageOur Goal is to Make Winter Haven the Coolest Small City in Florida

From "authenticity" and "really rare" and "amazing to watch," Downtown Winter Haven is being reimagined - thanks to growth, opportunity, and vision that is being maximized by uncommon collaboration and cohesion. In the nation's third fastest-growing city, and in the second fastest-growing MSA, the once sleepy historic area is sprouting new places to live, work, play and visit.

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› FSCJ receives $1.48 million grant to expand vocational training
Florida State College at Jacksonville will use a $1,484,224 Vocational and Employment Readiness Training in Comprehensive Adult Learning grant to train students with unique abilities. As part of the Florida Postsecondary Comprehensive Transition Program, FSCJ’s VERTICAL program is a vocational, technical and career-readiness training program for adults with intellectual disabilities in Duval and Nassau counties.

› Carnival doles out more details on new Bahamas destination
Carnival Cruise Line has released another round of updates on what travelers can expect when its new private destination Grand Bahama Celebration Key opens. Debuting in summer 2025, the port of call will be welcoming ships from Florida ports Port Canaveral, PortMiami, Tampa and Jacksonville as well as six other U.S. ports. The 369-acre site less than 20 miles east of Freeport will be the first dedicated to Carnival Cruise Line, although Carnival ships have used sister line destinations Princess Cays and Half Moon Cay for years.

› This neighborhood is getting a makeover. Will it become the Wynwood of Fort Lauderdale?
Smack in the center of Fort Lauderdale’s Flagler Village neighborhood sits a swath of land awaiting residential towers, eateries and shops to adorn a revamped FAT Village district. Developers hope the mixed-use development will become the Wynwood of Fort Lauderdale. The idea, developer Alan Hooper said, is to recapture the artistic essence of what was once there when the neighborhood had warehouses and a monthly art walk, but with the addition of housing and shops.

› Pasco loves its growth, but not when it comes to invasive plants
Pasco County officials often tout their booming population, but they recently identified one area of growth they absolutely want to stop — invasive plants, especially Cogon grass. County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey frequently complains about Cogon grass and now the county is in the process of developing new rules to stop the proliferation of the invasive plant species.

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