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Friday's Daily Pulse

Consumer confidence plummets in Florida

Consumer confidence plunged in Florida, reflecting broad concerns over current and future economic conditions. The University of Florida’s Consumer Sentiment Index dropped 6.7 points to 93.3 in August, the largest decline in more than four years. All five components that make up the index fell in Thursday’s report, with sharply weaker confidence among Floridians’ personal financial situations today. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]

Florida shifts to Hurricane Dorian assistance mode

Florida emergency management efforts shifted Thursday from storm preparation to providing assistance as Hurricane Dorian, after devastating the Bahamas and skirting Florida’s East Coast, threatened to cause heavy damage in the Carolinas. Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state awaits aid requests from South Carolina and North Carolina and is offering help, where it can, to the Bahamas, as some islands were leveled in what was a Category 5 storm. [Source: Daily Commercial]

University researchers in Florida make progress with tastier tomato

Tomatoes may not hold the iconic status of the Florida orange, but researchers are hard at work infusing a burst of flavor into the versatile fruit. From soups, sauces and salsa, to sandwiches and subs, tomatoes are widely used in a variety of cuisines. Denise Tieman, a research assistant at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, has made progress of improving the flavor of the Tasti-Lee tomato, a fruit developed at UF. [Source: Naples Daily News]

Manufacturing jobs are coming back to Miami-Dade. You just may not recognize them

You’re unlikely to hear a factory whistle calling out hard-hatters to start up a plant in Miami-Dade in 2019. But according to recent federal data, manufacturing jobs are making a return to the county. In a new report, the Florida International University Jorge M. Pérez Metropolitan Center finds that between 2012 and 2017, Miami-Dade added about 5,000 new manufacturing jobs, an increase of 14 percent. [Source: Miami Herald]

Florida had the second-highest number of federal complaints about robocalls in 2018

Florida had the second-most federal complaints about robocalls last year. According to a study by online “dating investigation service” site SocialCatfish.com that analyzed complaints to the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission, the Sunshine State had 427,404 robocall complaints in 2018. Nationally, there were about 3.5 billion robocalls and telemarketing calls made to Americans. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Attorney General Ashley Moody warns Floridians to beware of Bahamas charity scams
Attorney General Ashley Moody today issued a Consumer Alert warning Floridians about potential charity scams exploiting Bahamian-recovery efforts. Relief efforts are under way to assist the victims of this disaster. However, Attorney General Moody is warning Floridians to be on the look out for fraudulent relief charities or crowdsourcing campaigns that could be scams.

› Florida Air Force base loses $17 million project to Trump’s border wall
When President Donald Trump visited Tyndall Air Force Base in May, he promised it would be rebuilt “better than ever” after Hurricane Michael caused catastrophic damage. Four months later, the Department of Defense announced that a $17 million project to build a fire-rescue station at the base near Panama City will be put on hold to pay for portions of a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, one of Trump’s signature campaign promises.

› 5G tech is coming and it’s ‘an absolute mess,’ Miami-Dade commissioner says
Comparing the 5G tech revolution to the California gold rush, Miami-Dade Commissioner Eileen Higgins bemoaned the unsightly, sloppy and hazardous installation of telecommunications equipment on Miami streets. “It’s a 5G fiasco,” Higgins said during Wednesday’s County Commission meeting. “Downtown is the epicenter of a land grab by the telecommunication companies. We have an absolute mess.”

› Florida beach lights reportedly cause turtle deaths
Hotel and condo lights reportedly caused many baby sea turtle hatchlings to become disoriented and crawl north to their deaths instead of making it to the Gulf of Mexico last week. Johnny Springfield, a volunteer who helps monitor the nests each year on Okaloosa Island, shared a Facebook post Tuesday stating that possibly nearly a hundred baby sea turtles — which by nature follow the moon’s glow on the water to find their way to the water — confused bright hotel and condo lights for the moon.

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› First axe throwing facility opens in Southwest Florida
Two native Floridians wanted to bring a new axe-perience to Southwest Florida. It's a game gaining popularity in bars across the country and has now made its way to Cape Coral.

› The robotic garage at a Brickell condo broke. Now the developer must pay $40.6 million.
The developer of the 46-story BrickellHouse condominium tower in Miami that made news in 2015 over its failed robotic parking garage has been ordered to pay $40.6 million in reparations to the condo association that dealt with the aftermath of the debacle.

› Ripley’s Believe It or Not honors first responders with free admission
As if police, firefighters and EMTs need to see more weird stuff, Ripley’s Believe It or Not is recognizing first responders with free admission. Workers in police, fire and emergency medical services will get into the oddities museum for free Sept. 7-8. In addition, up to four of their guests get 50 percent off their own admission.

› Plans to turn West Tampa cigar factory into hotel roll forward
The old Balbin Bros. Cigar Factory is closer to becoming a boutique hotel than it has been in years, records filed with the city show. In late 2016, a Tampa hotelier and a Louisiana-based hospitality company partnered to buy the 35,000-square-foot property at 1202 N Howard Ave in West Tampa.