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Thursday's Afternoon Update

Forecasters to Florida: Watch out this hurricane season

The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be more active than usual, according to an early forecast from private forecasting service AccuWeather — and this time Florida may not be so fortunate. If the prediction of another active season sounds familiar, that’s because the last five storm seasons were all active. Last year a record 30 named storms formed and kept forecasters busy for months. Florida faces a heightened risk this year because of the weakening of the Bermuda high. Last year that high-pressure zone pushed many storms south of the state, delaying their turn north until they were past the peninsula and in the southern Gulf of Mexico. More from the Tampa Bay Times.

Florida to receive record number of vaccines as eligibility hits 18+

Next week, Florida is expected to receive its largest supply of the COVID-19 vaccine yet. The shipment will include more than double the amount of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine that the state received during the final week of March. According to data released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Florida is expected to get 313,200 doses of Johnson & Johnson, 286,650 doses of Pfizer, and 217,400 of Moderna. Both the Pfizer and Moderna shipments include an equal number of second shots. More from Bay News 9.

VyStar becomes 13th largest U.S. credit union with purchase of Georgia commercial bank

VyStar Credit Union announced March 31 its second acquisition of a commercial bank in the last two years, agreeing to buy Jonesboro, Georgia-based Heritage Southeast Bank. Heritage has 22 branches in the Atlanta, Savannah and Southeast Georgia markets. Jacksonville-based Vystar said the acquisition will make it the 13th largest credit union in the country with 850,000 members, 88 branches and $12.5 billion in assets. More from the Jacksonville Daily Record.

What happened to the Keys after a pandemic shutdown? It’s a comeback story for tourism

A year after the Keys did what no other place in Florida could do — put up barriers to keep people out — the lifeblood of tourism has returned. The crowds are back. Tax revenues are up. While some question whether all these visitors, many of them clumped together and unmasked, is a good thing when people are still dying in a pandemic, one thing is certain: Visitors are coming with their cash and credit cards. And that makes the people who run the restaurants, shops and hotels very happy. More from the Miami Herald.

Mobile food delivery service plans to hire 200 drivers in Southwest Florida

Mobile and online food delivery service Bite Squad seeks to hire some 200 new contract drivers to deliver meals in the Sarasota region. The drivers, once activated as independent contractors, will be able to start immediately, according to a statement. All applicants must be 18 years or older, have a valid driver’s license, proof of auto insurance and a smartphone. More from the Business Observer.

Sports Business
Icemen announce plans for redeveloped Jacksonville Ice and Sportsplex

 As the Jacksonville Icemen continue their fourth season on the First Coast, the hockey franchise announced plans to further strengthen its roots. The Icemen announced Tuesday its plans for the redevelopment of the Jacksonville Ice & Sportsplex, which is set for an $18 million conversion into an expanded rink and entertainment center. The project includes more than $7 million in public money. The upgraded facility would be known as the Icemen Igloo, including a second rink and numerous other amenities.

» More from the Florida Times-Union.


Out of the Box
Coming soon: $100 million Disney-like auto experience

floridaThe line of people waiting to tell Brad Oleshansky he was nuts for wanting to build a high-end haven for car enthusiasts in a Detroit suburb a decade ago was long. Even racing legend and truck rental entrepreneur Roger Penske was on that line, Oleshansky recalls. “I had people all over saying: ‘You’re crazy. This will never work,’” Oleshansky says. “No one would invest in it. No one would fund it.” The project, M1 Concourse in Pontiac, Mich., has since grown into a 87-acre auto adventure land. With lessons learned from that project, Oleshansky is now on another motor mission: to create and deliver an even better version of M1 in Tampa, on a 200-acre site next to the Tampa Executive Airport, near both Interstate 4 and 75.

» Read more from the Business Observer.