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Wednesday's Daily Pulse

Florida consumer confidence bounces back in June

After a sharp decline last month, consumer sentiment among Floridians increased 1.2 points in June to 97.2 from May’s revised figure of 96.0. Among the five components that make up the index, three increased and two decreased. Florida consumers were more optimistic about their personal financial situations today and a year from now, and about U.S. economic conditions five years from now. Read the annoucement from UF News and see the report here and read more at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Florida's water crisis has sport fishing on the brink of collapse

Florida’s marine fisheries are showing uncharacteristic fragility. It started with increasingly dire reports from Florida Bay, the shallow-water mecca for inshore species between the tip of Florida’s peninsula and the Keys. Then Atlantic Coast communities were hit with a toxic algal bloom that drove visitors out of the water and residents out of their expensive beach homes. Locals still call it the Lost Summer of 2013. In 2016, and again in 2017, red tide killed millions of fish up and down the Gulf Coast, creating a stench that undid years of Sunshine State tourism promotions. But last year was the clincher. [Source: Outdoor Life]

Hemp farming is getting real in Florida

The seeds planted in the 2018 farm bill legalizing the production of hemp as an agricultural commodity are starting to grow. Florida has officially entered the field with the governor just signing a measure allowing an agricultural hemp program to be developed. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried believes hemp could be the boost the state’s farm sector and rural areas need. [Source: Ag Wired]

Flesh-eating bacteria in Florida waters: Three things you need to know.

After two more cases of flesh-eating bacteria infections were reported from Florida waters recently, physicians are warning residents and visitors to be careful swimming in brackish water or eating uncooked seafood. “Necrotizing fasciitis" is a bacteria that stops blood circulation and causes tissue to die and skin to decay. The infection is somewhat rare, and can come from different strains of bacteria, doctors say. But it's called "flesh-eating" because the infection is so rapidly progressing. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

See also:
» Flesh-eating bacteria is not just in the water. It can also ‘colonize’ in the sand.

Admissions to Florida’s public universities are getting more competitive. But schools still admit students lacking basic qualifications.

Even as admissions to Florida public universities have become increasingly competitive, those institutions are still accepting students who don’t meet the state’s basic admission requirements. Nearly 1,000 students who lacked the grades or test scores to get into the state’s four-year universities were admitted and enrolled in the fall 2018 freshman class, data obtained through a records request shows. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]


› Lucky's Market cements Florida growth with new distribution center
Lucky's Marketing is cementing its growth in Florida by opening a central distribution center in Orlando. The niche grocery store based in Colorado announced Tuesday it is leasing a 120,000-square-foot facility at 6375 Emperor Drive and plans to have it operating by the fall.

› Genting’s Chinese monorail plan for Miami and Miami Beach faces first county vote
Casino giant Genting wants to build and operate a monorail between Miami and Miami Beach under a county contract with an unknown cost to taxpayers, and Mayor Carlos Gimenez wants approval next week to launch a bidding process to let other companies compete for the transit route.

› Elaborate statewide identity theft ring targeted thousands of Florida's most vulnerable citizens
An elaborate identify theft ring targeted thousands of Florida’s most vulnerable citizens. Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office detectives say at the top of the ring— a Florida Department of Children and Families Service employee who stole personal, sensitive information.

› Orlando Lockheed Martin executive takes over helicopter division
A longtime Lockheed Martin employee who began his career as an intern and attended University of Central Florida will become head of the division that oversees the defense giant’s helicopters, radar and cyber training programs. Frank St. John, 52, will take over as executive vice president of Lockheed’s Rotary and Mission Systems division based in Washington D.C. after spending 18 months in the same capacity for its Missiles and Fire Control division.

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› Florida hasn’t set up statewide census committee. A former chairwoman is ‘really surprised.’
The woman who oversaw Florida’s far-reaching effort to educate residents on the 2000 census said Monday she was “really surprised” the state has not yet established the committee for next year’s census — and is concerned it might be too late. Ilene Lieberman Michelson, chairwoman of the statewide Complete Count Committee leading up to the 2000 census and who led Broward County’s local committee in 2010, said the two most important outcomes of a high census turnout are representation and population-based federal grants.

› Orange Bowl generates more than $260 million in economic impact
The 2018-19 Orange Bowl Festival, including the 2018 College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital Orange Bowl, generated a total of $261.4 million in new economic impact and media exposure value for South Florida. This is nearly 15% more than the last time the Capital One Orange Bowl hosted the College Football Playoff Semifinal (2015-2016).

› ‘She has no barriers:’ Meet Bethany Baker, UNF’s first deaf nursing student
Bethany Baker would have laughed if someone told her years ago she would become a nurse. Even with a family full of nurses, she still wouldn’t have believed it. Every person on her mom’s side of the family is deaf in one ear, but she is the first fully deaf member of the family. She didn’t imagine that career path for herself. Baker marked another first last summer.

› It may not seem like it, but apparently shark attacks are decreasing in Florida
It’s summertime and the beaches are calling, but if you live in Florida’s “shark bite capital of the world” you may want to be extra careful when catching a wave. In the past month or so, New Smyrna Beach in Volusia County has seen two shark attacks — neither fatal. Sharks have also been spotted on the county’s beaches frequently, according to WESH 2.