Venezuela crisis resonates loudly in battleground Florida
As Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro clings to power, many of the loudest American voices urging on the Trump administration in its campaign to push Maduro out are concentrated in one place: Florida. Florida has a large number of anti-Maduro Venezuelans and Cubans and is also likely to be a critical battleground state in the 2020 race for the White House. As a result, the crisis in the South American country is reverberating politically thousands of miles away in the U.S. [Source: AP]
Web-based business provides Florida a big boost
Buying and selling stuff and services over the internet is obviously a behemoth industry — but just how big is it in Florida? Pretty big. That’s a key takeaway from a new report from the Internet Association, a trade group that speaks for many web-based leaders, from Amazon to Zillow. [Source: Business Observer]
In Florida's suburbs, the coyote next door is here to stay
Humans likely brought the first coyotes to Florida to train hunting dogs in the 1920s, but many scientists believe they now fill the role in Florida’s ecosystem that red wolves left behind. The animals help keep Florida’s rodent, raccoon and fox populations in check, but are known to prey on cattle, turkeys, chickens or unsuspecting house pets. [Source: WJXT]
Study: Puerto Ricans had tougher time in Florida after storm
The study by researchers at the University of Miami and Boston University says the post-hurricane adjustment appears to have been more psychologically taxing for Puerto Ricans who moved to Florida instead of staying, and for people in rural and suburban areas compared to urban dwellers. [Source: News & Observer]
‘Alligator Ron’ Bergeron is the Florida man of Florida politicians
Gov. Ron DeSantis picked Ronald "Alligator Ron" Bergeron — former rodeo champ, python hunter, gator wrestler and wildlife commissioner — to replace pro-sugar water agency officials. He's the most colorful public servant in Florida. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
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Adaptive reuse of parking structures
As anticipation of widespread use of the driverless automobile nears, many industry analysts predict a decrease in parking needs for the near future. The projected decline in future parking requirements and demand has many developers and municipalities exploring options for adaptive reuse or designing for future conversions of parking structures. [Sponsored report]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Former Visit Orlando executive Cranis selected as Brevard tourism chief [Florida Today]
Brevard County Manager Frank Abbate has selected former Visit Orlando executive Peter Cranis as the new executive director of the Space Coast Office of Tourism. If Cranis is confirmed by the County Commission at its Feb. 12 meeting, he will start in his new job on March 4. Cranis will earn a salary of $115,000 a year.
› Ticket resellers can make shows an expensive night out in Southwest Florida [Naples Daily News]
Southwest Florida, as a leisure mecca, has great demand for entertainment, and first-time ticket buyers who want to see a show or a sports event here are vulnerable. When you're buying $57 "Sound of Music" tickets at $425 "Hamilton" prices, there's something drastically wrong. That happened at Artis—Naples in December.
› Florida political experts talk 2018, 2020 elections [Gainesville Sun]
Florida is one of the most competitive battleground states in the nation, forcing candidates to create a formula that resonates with 21.6 million residents, some of whom migrated here from other regions around the country — or across the globe.
› Small biz guru Steve Case has $100k prize for Orlando's most promising startup [Orlando Sentinel]
Orlando’s startup community received a boost Friday in its effort to shift the city’s business image from one that highlights tourism into one known more for technology. Former America Online CEO and Chairman Steve Case announced that he had chosen Orlando as the kickoff location for the latest version of his Rise of the Rest five-city tour.
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› Polk beekeeper trucks hives westward for almond season [Lakeland Ledger]
Strange but true: At least 7,000 hives from Polk County — or approximately 420 million honeybees — are in California right now, buzzing around as they wait to pollinate almond trees in the San Joaquin Valley.
› FPL proposes program to offer generators for customers [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Juno Beach-based Florida Power & Light has proposed a three-year pilot program in which it would offer to install and maintain backup power generators for customers. The proposal, filed Thursday with the Florida Public Service Commission, would be voluntary for customers, who would pay monthly fees to FPL if they choose to participate.
› Cirque Italia splashes into Palmetto [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Cirque Italia splashed into Palmetto this week, featuring a laser man, the wheel of death, a vibrant array of acrobats, aerialists, jugglers and water. About 35,000 gallons, to be exact. A water curtain controls each drop of water meticulously, marrying it with sound and light, which the performers center their acts around.
› Pinellas tourism leader resigns after questions about spending on county credit card [Tampa Bay Times]
David Downing, the longtime leader of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater who worked to attract tourists to Pinellas County, resigned Monday. In an email to county leaders, Downing said he has accepted a position with a private firm that specializes in hospitality development.