‘System in crisis’: Florida struggles to retain prison guards
Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mark Inch has been making the rounds in Tallahassee to pitch lawmakers on a plan to spend more than $26 million to shorten prison guards’ regular daily work shifts. The shift-hour reduction will help the department alleviate its high turnover rate, recruit new employees and ensure critical posts are manned, said Inch, a former head of the federal Bureau of Prisons and a retired U.S. Army major general. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Space politics: Leaders urge Congress to keep Florida as a major part in space exploration
Florida leaders and politicians are applauding NASA for landing the Perseverance rover on Mars, showing support for the program’s space exploration initiatives. Senator Marco Rubio praised NASA and called the program “a source of unity and pride for the nation.” This recent success may open up new possibilities and economic benefits for the state. “America’s future is pointed toward the sky, with Florida serving as the nation’s gateway to the stars,” said Rubio. [Source: WMFE]
Here’s how Florida will distribute the 414,430 COVID-19 vaccine doses it expects to get this week
Florida will receive 414,430 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines from the federal government this week, with the largest share going to Publix stores, according to documents released by the state. Large allotments also are destined for distribution sites at University Mall in Hillsborough County, the Orange County Convention Center, Tony Bennett Park in Manatee County and Sarasota Square Mall. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Florida wants to stop these reptiles from becoming the next python. Breeders call it overreach
Wildlife managers in Florida are finally moving to address an existential question: If the state is like an all-you-can eat buffet for invasive reptiles originally introduced as exotic pets, then why are some of those species still imported and sold by breeders and pet stores? Florida wildlife managers are proposing the strictest set of rules yet prohibiting in-state breeding and sale of tegus and other exotic reptiles considered high-risk with the goal of preventing an infestation. Importation also would be banned. More from the Miami Herald and the New York Daily News.
Floridians are underpaying for flood insurance, study finds. Get ready for costs to rise
If you live in Florida, you should probably be paying more for flood insurance. And you likely will be soon. That first finding is the conclusion of a new analysis by First Street Foundation, a nonprofit research group focused on climate impacts on property value, which found that the majority of Floridians face a higher flood risk than their insurance costs would indicate. [Source: MIami Herald]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› More billions: Manny Medina’s Cyxtera going public in 10-figure transaction [Miami Herald]
Lightning has struck twice for longtime South Florida developer and tech builder Manny Medina. Medina’s Cyxtera data center company announced Monday it would be going public as part of a $3.4 billion transaction. It comes just two weeks after Medina announced his cybersecurity group, Appgate, would also be going public in a $1 billion deal.
› Developer's $820,000 REV Grant for old FBI Building in Jacksonville advances [Jacksonville Daily Record]
A bill seeking approval for a Recapture Enhanced Value Grant for the proposed $14.545 million redevelopment of the former FBI Building along Arlington Expressway as apartments is headed to City Council. The Mayor’s Budget Review Committee voted unanimously 7-0 on Feb. 22 to file legislation authorizing an economic development grant between the city and apartment developer Theotokos Holdings LLC.
› Tampa Theatre reopening for in-person movies [Tampa Bay Times]
Tampa Theatre will reopen to the public on March 11, exactly one year to the day after closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The historic downtown theater will limit capacity to 200 people per screening inside its 1,200-seat auditorium, and will require temperature checks and masks to enter. Guests will order snacks from their seats via an app, and will receive a notification when they’re ready to pick up in the lobby to eliminate gathering.
› Evidence grows Florida schools aren’t spreading COVID-19, but teachers ‘feel completely exposed,’ want vaccines [Orlando Sentinel]
Most of Florida’s public schools opened in August, the only exception the three big South Florida school districts in counties where the virus was most prevalent. By October, all the state’s public schools were open, and now more than 65% of its students are on campus, with the rest studying online. Across the country, however, schools from Las Vegas to St. Louis to Boston remain mostly shuttered, amid fears that opening campuses will put students and staff at risk.
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› Saying goodbye to a historic Lido motel [Sarasota Magazine]
Built in 1950, the Gulf Beach Resort Motel was one of the first motels on Lido Key, part of the post-World War II motel construction boom that catered to Sarasota’s growing tourism industry. In January, it was purchased for $23.5 million by the Ronto Group, a Naples-based development firm, which plans to replace it with a beachfront luxury condominium tower.
› Small Florida credit union launches new loan program for small businesses [Credit Union Times]
Sheilah Montgomery, president/CEO of the $24.1 million Florida A&M University Federal Credit Union, tells members looking to open a small business not to work for money, but to work for their passion, and then the money will come. “If you’re passionate about your business, you will be successful,” Montgomery said. “What we provide is just the resources that make it happen. If your heart is in it, I promise you that you will succeed.”
› ChappellRoberts promotes principal to president [Business Observer]
ChappellRoberts has promoted Christine Turner to president of the Tampa-based advertising and branding agency, the latest move in a long-term succession plan. Turner has for years worked as a principal at the firm, leading strategy, branding and new business development while managing several key departments. As president, she will direct “all facets of agency operations and growth,” the firm notes.
› Doc’s All American in Delray Beach might still make a comeback. But when? [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
If you miss Doc’s All American — the Delray Beach staple that closed earlier this month after 70 years of serving up ice cream and burgers — don’t despair. There’s a chance the landmark will open again, with a serious facelift. All you have to do is wait until 2023. Possibly.