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Friday's Daily Pulse

COVID-19 in Florida: State passes 50,000 total coronavirus deaths

Florida’s total number of COVID deaths broke 50,000 on Thursday and the seven-day average for number of new deaths was the second highest since the pandemic began, a grim milestone caused by the surge of new cases spawned by the virulent delta variant beginning in August. Florida reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1,554 additional deaths and 9,760 more COVID-19 cases, according to Miami Herald calculations of CDC data. In all, Florida has recorded at least 3,473,873 confirmed COVID cases and 50,811 deaths. More from the Miami Herald, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and the Orlando Sentinel

Business BeatBusiness Beat - Week of September 17th

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Florida unemployment claims see little change

With the state set to update its unemployment rate on Friday, jobless claims continue to roll in at a pace that has varied little since mid-May. The U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday estimated 6,817 first-time jobless claims were filed in Florida during the week that ended Sept. 11, down from a revised count of 7,218 during the previous week. The federal agency initially projected 5,814 new unemployment applications were filed during the week that ended Sept. 4. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Another Florida poll shows voters disagree with DeSantis on COVID-19 policies

A public opinion poll released Thursday shows more evidence that a majority of Floridians oppose one of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signature COVID-19 policies: his attempt to block school districts from mandating masks. The poll showed that already-strong support for requiring masks in schools is increasing. An overwhelming majority of likely Florida voters surveyed during the last five days in August by Data For Progress — 73% — said school districts should be allowed to require masks. Just 25% disagreed. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

South Florida is becoming the nation’s worst place to rent

South Florida could become the worst place in the country for renters by the end of the year, partly because wages don’t keep up with exorbitant rent increases, a new forecast shows. Renters here are likely to devote 40% of their income to rent by the end of the year, according to a forecast by Zillow, an online real estate marketplace that studies real estate trends. That would be a full percentage point above June and well over the 30% that financial advisers prescribe. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]


› Citizens Insurance nears 700,000 policies
With Citizens Property Insurance Corp. nearing 700,000 policies, lawmakers could again look for ways to curb growth in the state-backed insurer. Citizens at the end of August had 687,079 policies as it continues to add thousands of customers a week, according to newly posted information on the insurer’s website. The August total was up from 661,150 policies on July 31 and 638,263 policies on June 30. Perhaps more telling, Citizens had 499,056 policies on Aug. 31, 2020 --- representing nearly 38 percent growth over the past year.

› Lottery for $10 'Hamilton' tickets to Jacksonville performances opens Friday
Tickets to see the highly anticipated run of "Hamilton" in Jacksonville are hard to come by, but a lucky few fans at each performance will be able to get in for, well, a Hamilton. A weekly digital #HAM4HAM lottery that rewards winners with $10 tickets to the Broadway blockbuster kicks off Friday. A limited number of tickets will be offered for each of the 24 performances scheduled for Sept. 29-Oct. 17 at the Times-Union Center.

› Inter Miami lands primary jersey sponsorship deal with crypto finance firm
After playing for more that a season and half, Inter Miami CF signed its first primary jersey sponsorship deal, the team announced Wednesday. The multi-year deal is with the crypto finance firm XBTO, and Miami is the first club in MLS to sign a crypto finance partnership deal. Beginning Friday in the club’s match against the New York Red Bulls at 7 p.m., Inter Miami CF’s primary and secondary jerseys will both feature the XBTO logo.

› Tallahassee Film Festival returns this weekend with a Florida focus
The Tallahassee Film Festival returns Saturday and Sunday to Railroad Square for its 2021 edition, boasting an array of freshly squeezed Florida-made movies from rising young filmmakers and internationally acclaimed directors. The fest’s centerpiece is a free outdoor screening of Dash Shaw's all-star animated fantasy "Cryptozoo," scheduled for Saturday evening at the Railroad Square Craft House. The Sundance favorite joins a bonanza of features and short films, many of them with a Sunshine State focus.

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Trend Mention

Mention ImagePoynter to honor Lesley Stahl at its virtual Celebration of Journalism gala Nov. 10

You’re invited to The Poynter Institute’s virtual Celebration of Journalism gala on Nov. 10, honoring the free press, democracy and the distinguished career of Lesley Stahl, award-winning broadcast journalist and “60 Minutes” correspondent for CBS News. Be immersed in an evening of poignant storytelling featuring special appearances from celebrity journalists and glimpses inside newsrooms making a difference. Together, we’ll uplift the quality of journalism for all. Grab tickets at poynter.org/gala.

› Restaurant workers at Orlando airport may soon vote on joining a union
After more than two years of organizing and seeing hundreds of colleagues laid off or furloughed during the pandemic, restaurant workers at Orlando International Airport will soon be able to vote for unionization, union leaders said. Jeremy Haicken, an organizer with Unite Here, said airport concessionaire HMSHost reached out to organizers Wednesday, and the talks were “very productive.”

› The TendedBar is open: Jacksonville-based company officially debuts automated bar at Jaguars game
Two brothers -- one the inventor, the other the entrepreneur -- have joined forces to make the process of getting a mixed drink at Jaguars' home games a little less time-consuming and a lot more convenient. TendedBar, a portable, 10-foot-long dispenser of beverages that can hold 10 liquors (20 liters per type) and 18 mixers at a time, was first tested at the VyStar Arena at 2019 Ice Men games, the Jaguars preseason game against Cleveland and most recently last week's Saints-Packers game.

› New 138-room hotel in the works south of SeaWorld Orlando
A new 138-room hotel is in the works just 2 miles south of SeaWorld Orlando. Altamonte Springs-based Three Eagles Hospitality LLC filed plans with Orange County for the new hotel that appears to be an Extended Stay America, which is a brand of Charlotte, North Carolina-based Extended Stay America Inc.

› Nonprofit organization elected CEO as chair
Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center, Sarasota, recently elected its CEO, Lisa Howard, as chair of the Florida Agencies Serving the Blind (FASB). The center, with over $4.5 million in assets, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization designed to educate and empower those affected by vision loss in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, DeSoto and Highlands Counties.