Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Thursday's Daily Pulse

Citizens braces for influx of policies

Florida’s insurer of last resort is bracing for changes in the commercial market regarding high-rise towers following the deadly condominium building collapse last month in Surfside. Citizens Property Insurance Corp. President and CEO Barry Gilway said Wednesday that the June 24 partial collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South is expected to result in an increase in safety inspections throughout the state. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Richard Branson’s spaceship had a Florida passenger: a UF plant experiment

Three test tubes from the University of Florida accompanied British billionaire Richard Branson aboard Virgin Galactic’s Unity spaceship Sunday. The tubes, containing plants, were the mission’s only science experiment, which was funded by NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program. University of Florida researchers and professors of horticultural science Anna-Lisa Paul and Rob Ferl, who have studied plant gene expression for decades, are behind a study to look at how plants respond during the transition from Earth’s gravity to the microgravity of space. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

‘It’s pretty awful’: Red tide fish kills in Florida prompt calls for help from government officials

Red tide on Florida’s Gulf Coast has prompted more fish kills leading to state and local officials calling for help to deal with the problem. “It’s pretty awful,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman on Wednesday. “The odor sticks to you. It stays in your nasal passages. And there’s the emotional toll of just dealing with all of the dead animals.” [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Federal eviction prevention funds slow to reach Florida renters experiencing pandemic-related hardships

Florida lags in getting federal rental assistance out to households experiencing pandemic-related hardships, with just a small fraction of the state's aid as of May making into the hands of renters facing eviction. Florida received $871 million, and 32 local governments around the state garnered another $570 million. Yet Florida paid out just $100,000 through the end of May, while local governments distributed $62.2 million. [Source: Florida Times-Union]

8% of 2020 US overdose deaths in Florida, according to CDC data

During a dramatic 2020 defined by a pandemic, protests and economic insecurity, the United States saw a new record high in overdose deaths across the country. Florida made up just over 8% of the country’s overdose deaths in the past year, according to new national mortality data.[Source: WFLA]

Beyond the classroom: Caring for the whole student

Thomas Rametta is President of Ultimate Medical Academy, where he leads UMA’s mission to equip and empower students to excel in healthcare careers. His work includes developing a diverse, talented team to support students throughout their academic and career journey, ensuring the institution operates responsibly and always champions student outcomes. Education can enlighten, empower, help solve problems and open opportunities.[Sponsored report]


› Study: St. Johns County residents earn most money in Florida
A study from SmartAsset shows that even though they face a high cost of living, St. Johns County residents more than compensate for it by earning more than the residents in any other county. Using data collected through the U.S. Census Bureau 2019 American Community Survey and other sources, the study found that St. Johns County had the highest household median income in the state at $82,252.

› Property taxes down, gas tax up under Pinellas’ 2022 proposed budget
Last year, the Pinellas County Commission adopted a 2021 budget that prepared for the worst. County officials kept the property tax rate the same as the year before, but with higher property values, they calculated $33.9 million in additional revenue. Most of that was squirreled away into the reserve fund as a cushion for the blow they thought would come from the coronavirus pandemic — a predicted 6 percent drop in property values in 2022.

› Another residential building in Florida evacuated over concrete safety concerns
Residents of an 82-year-old, two-story apartment building in Miami Beach have been ordered to evacuate because of concrete deterioration nearly three weeks after the deadly collapse of Champlain Towers South in nearby Surfside. The city of Miami Beach ordered the evacuation of Devon Apartments on Monday and is giving residents until next Monday to leave the building, city spokeswoman Melissa Berthier said in an email Wednesday.

› Goodyear, JTA announce partnership for pilot program
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. announced a public-private partnership July 13 with the Jacksonville Transportation Authority and mobility companies Local Motors and Beep to supply airless tires for JTA’s automated vehicles. Representatives for Goodyear, JTA and its partners announced the six-month pilot program at JTA’s Armsdale Test & Learn Track in North Jacksonville.

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› Storied law firm names new president
Williams Parker, one of the most storied law firms in the region, recently announced a transition in the role of firm president. Mike Wilson, a partner with the firm and member of its management committee since 2009, is the new president. Wilson replaces Ric Gregoria, who has been firm president for six years, serving two terms. Gregoria, with a practice at Williams Parker that focuses on wealth and business succession matters for high net worth individuals, families and business owners, will remain with the firm.

› Peru steel mill acquires Florida shredder
Aceros Arequipa has moved into the US with the acquisition of a shredder and feeder scrap yard in the Tampa, Florida, area as the Peruvian steelmaker looks to secure raw material for its expanded mill. Aceros Arequipa declined to specify the companies it acquired, but US market sources confirmed that the two major facilities in the deal were previously owned by Maine-based Grimmel Industries.

› Miami Beach sees pedestrian future for Ocean Drive
Miami Beach has applied for a county permit to keep Ocean Drive pedestrianized, but the short-term future of the iconic road is still up for debate. In May 2020 the county approved temporary closure of Ocean Drive to vehicular traffic, Miami Today reported, and a final configuration will be explored as part of the Art Deco Cultural District preliminary concept plan by Zyscovich Architects that is to be complete by December.

› Whataburger on the way to Mandarin
The Ferber Co. is preparing for a Whataburger development at 10600 San Jose Blvd. at a former Wells Fargo branch location that is being demolished. The city is reviewing civil engineering plans and a permit application for the $2.37 million construction of a 3,751-square-foot Whataburger on 1.38 acres at southwest San Jose Boulevard and Hartley Road.