FloridaTrend.com, the Website for Florida Business

Monday's Daily Pulse

Florida public universities shine in U.S. News and World Report’s college rankings

In its 2020 release, U.S. News and World Report gave special kudos to Florida, California and New York colleges and universities for excelling in enrolling and graduating large proportions of low-income students. The rankings authority unveiled a new list this year that ranked colleges on social mobility. Overall, the University of Florida remains the top university in the state, public or private. It ranked seventh in U.S. News’ list of top public schools and 34th among all universities. More from the Miami Herald and the Orlando Sentinel.

After Hurricane Dorian, the Bahamas prepares for another hit — to its crucial tourism industry

In an archipelago that counts the $4.3 billion tourism industry as king — it makes up more than 50% of its gross domestic product — vacations exist alongside relief efforts. In Nassau, tourists perused the shops by the port while on the other side of the city, ships ferried in hundreds of evacuees from the Abacos, where Dorian hit, many of them hungry, newly homeless and carrying with them only the shirts on their backs. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Floridians come to Bahamas’ rescue, but aid is slow to reach the suffering

By Saturday, Dorian’s death toll climbed to 43 in the Bahamas, according to the prime minister’s office. The number of people who lost everything and will be homeless in the weeks to come continues to skyrocket. The number of citizens who will be able to come into the United States to stay with family, and the documentation they’ll need to do so, remains uncertain. In the meantime, some are criticizing their government for what they feel is a slow response in relief efforts. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Florida’s milk prices are trending up. Here’s why.

Milk prices ticked up again recently. A gallon of 2% costs more than $4 in many local stores. Floridians already pay more for milk than residents of most other states. The price could climb even higher in the next few months. How’d we get here? The answer requires a dive into the fascinating and complex dairy supply chain. Milk pricing is a Byzantine mash-up of free markets and fixed prices, a kind of financial GMO. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

New Florida bill offers tax breaks on independent living items

Living independently could soon get a tiny bit easier for those looking to spend their golden years in the Sunshine State. A measure that would provide individuals with tax breaks when purchasing some items designed to help people age in their own home, such as shower seats, bed rails and grab bars, was recently proposed for Florida’s 2020 legislative session. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]


› Florida Chamber voices concern over public nuisance law in wake of opioid verdict against J&J
The recent landmark case in Oklahoma brought against Johnson & Johnson over prescription opioids that resulted in a $572 million judgment has caused some concerns among business organizations, including Florida's Chamber of Commerce, that fears the application of the public nuisance law could reverberate in other industries.

› Habitat key to saving the pine snake in Florida
The Florida pine snake, listed as threatened by state environmental officials, is a non-venomous snake native to the state and parts of Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. It lives mostly underground in burrows. It is often mistaken for the rattlesnake and killed by humans or run over while crossing roads. However, the pine snake’s biggest threat is habitat loss.

› St. Augustine tourism industry takes a hit from Dorian, but expected to bounce back
With September being a traditionally slow month for businesses in St. Augustine, the long Labor Day weekend is normally the last chance for a while to make a nice profit. But instead, many restaurants, hotels and attractions were forced to shut their doors in preparation for Hurricane Dorian.

› Florida health food chain acquired, plans to expand bulk, private label sections
Bulk Nation Holdings, owner of Bulk Nation Foods of Florida, recently purchased Sarasota-based health food chain Richard’s Foodporium. After 40 years in business, Richard’s will continue to stay open, according to a press release. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Company leadership will remain the same, according to an official with Richard's.

Go to page 2 for more stories ...

› Lake County wins four tourism marketing awards
Visit Lake and Lake County’s Office of Communications recently won four tourism marketing awards. They accepted SunSational Awards for the Lake County Fairgrounds website, the Hickory Point ribbon cutting event, the Visit Lake Instagram account and the LakeBigBass hats. There were more than 500 submissions, and winners were announced during the Florida Festivals & Events Association Convention & Tradeshow last week.

› Great Harvest Bakery Cafe coming to downtown Orlando
A bakery offering up fresh bread, sandwiches and salad is coming to downtown Orlando. Great Harvest Bakery Cafe is aiming to open Oct. 11 in a 2,450-square-foot space inside the Citi Tower at 101 Lake Ave., according to the restaurant’s owner/operator Brad Cottle. The first Great Harvest bakery opened in Great Falls, Montana, in 1976 and the closest one is in Jacksonville.

› Non-stop flights to Europe from TIA have taken off
72 percent. That’s Tampa International Airport’s growth in passengers flying non-stop to and from Europe in July, compared with the same month last year. This is an increase from 30,000 European passengers in July 2018 to more than 50,000 this year. That outpaces growth in international travelers more generally (up nearly 25 percent year-over-year to about 110,000) and all passengers for the month (up nearly 5 percent to 1.9 million).

› Florida salvage firm acquires new vessel for long-range operations
Treasure & Shipwreck Recovery Inc., formerly known as Beliss Corp., has acquired a new research vessel, the Bellows, which will allow it to target sites off the coast of Florida and South Carolina and in the Caribbean. According to a press release, the 71-foot, 94-ton Bellows, with a range of 1,500 miles, represents a significant advancement for the company’s efforts to search for and recover artifacts and treasure throughout U.S. and Caribbean waters.