After a winter at home, more Canadian snowbirds plan to come back to Florida
Instead of spending last winter sunning at Siesta Beach or sipping a drink at a downtown rooftop bar, many Canadian snowbirds stayed home, waiting out the pandemic. But after a year of hibernation, more snowbirds are planning to return to Florida in 2021 — it's a just a matter of figuring out the best way to get here. As snowbird season approaches once again, the U.S./Canada border remains closed to non-essential travel. But Canadians are coming anyway. Many say they will fly down if they can't drive their car across the border, and several plan to have their cars shipped from Canada for the season. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Experts say climate change can make hurricanes more intense, not cause them
The number of hurricanes making landfall in the U.S. each year has not increased since a century ago, but researchers said it’s likely that global warming will cause future hurricanes to be more intense. “The way we think about climate change impact on extremes, including hurricanes” is that climate change from human activity “can modify their characteristics,” said Suzana Camargo, a research professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Regulators to decide if FPL’s home customers should pay more so businesses can save
Should Florida Power & Light residential customers pay more over the next four years so that commercial and industrial customers pay less? That is one of the pivotal questions before the state’s Public Service Commission on Monday as regulators conduct what is expected to be a two-day hearing on a proposed settlement that would increase FPL rates by $1.53 billion through 2025. [Source: Miami Herald]
SpaceX aims to send up to 6 civilian flights a year after Inspiration4 success
With the successful launch of the first all-civilian flight on board a SpaceX Crew Dragon, the company is looking to ramp up similar flights in the near future. Benji Reed, SpaceX’s senior director for its human spaceflight program projected as many as a half a dozen flights a year. “There’s nothing really that limits our capability to launch,” he said. “It’s about having rockets and Dragons ready to go and having everything in the manifest align with our other launches.” [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Will American Dream Miami mega-mall ever become reality?
Doing just a fraction of the business that its developer had projected, a recently opened New Jersey mega-mall is hemorrhaging red ink, raising questions about the viability of an even larger shopping complex and amusement center planned by the same company in South Florida. Nearly two years after opening, the so-far disappointing financial performance of the American Dream mega-mall and entertainment complex in the Meadowlands, just outside of New York City, has forced its developer, Triple Five Group, to seek a debt restructuring plan that would allow it to retain ownership of the project. Meanwhile, financing for the planned $4 billion American Dream Miami, south of the Broward County line where the Florida Turnpike intersects with Interstate 95, has not yet been secured. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› At St. Pete Pier, local businesses thrive despite the pandemic [Tampa Bay Times]
The Pier opened in the midst of the pandemic last summer with uncertainty over how COVID-19 could dampen its success. But vendors at the Pier said the atmosphere pushed their business to new heights. Nearly all 17 original retailers renewed their lease after a year at the Pier, according to Colliers, a real estate firm advising the city on the project. Two new vendors have also been added to the lineup.
› Key West’s airport hit a new record with passengers. But it has brought problems [Miami Herald]
Key West International Airport just set an annual record by having more than 1 million passengers come through. That’s 1 million people — so far — with airport officials predicting the number will hit 1.4 million by the end of the year. While it’s evidence that tourism to the Florida Keys is booming and removes some traffic on the heavily used U.S. 1, the only highway that runs up and down the island chain, it has also brought problems.
› Orlando officials ‘highly encouraged’ as FIFA visits to review region’s World Cup bid [Orlando Sentinel]
The delegation examining Orlando’s bid to host World Cup games in 2026 saw the region’s venues and amenities made available for the global tournament and said the fast-paced visit had “been very, very good,” after wrapping up a luncheon with more than 100 elected and business leaders. About two dozen delegates from FIFA, U.S. Soccer and CONCACAF had a slate of tours planned in the afternoon of various venues pitched as gameday and practice facilities for World Cup teams, as well as other sites for meetings and fan events if Orlando is selected.
› Fort Lauderdale boat show returning to expanded convention center as tourism starts to rebound [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
An ambitious renovation of Broward County’s convention center, which has been years in the making, will be unveiled at one of the region’s biggest money-making tourism events: the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. The public will gets its first glimpse of the center’s expanded exhibition hall at a time when tourism is struggling to rebound from the pandemic. As conventions start to return and new hotels open, there are finally reasons to be optimistic.
Go to page 2 for more stories ...
› When gasoline climbs about $3 a gallon, it hurts families in Volusia-Flagler [DDaytona Beach News Journal]
Yes, gasoline prices are always fluctuating up or down. But when prices rise to a certain point, the corresponding economic pain for many families in Volusia and Flagler counties rises as well.
› St. Petersburg to require COVID vaccinations for new city employees [Tampa Bay Times]
Mayor Rick Kriseman said he will not require vaccines for current city employees but will require all new hires to be vaccinated against COVID-19. In a video statement shared with employees Friday, Kriseman said he spent weeks deliberating on what to do about staff vaccinations and decided against a blanket vaccine mandate.
› Pitbull donates cash to two small businesses for Hispanic Heritage Month [Miiami Herald]
Pitbull can always be counted on to give back. The rap superstar helped kick off National Hispanic Heritage Month Wednesday, by surprising two small Latinx businesses with a $5,000 gift each to celebrate their entrepreneurial success.
› Southern Grounds building-out coffee shop at Jacksonville International Airport [Jacksonville Daily Record]
The city issued a permit Sept. 16 for Auld & White Constructors LLC to build-out a Southern Grounds & Co. coffee shop at Jacksonville International Airport at a project cost of $640,600. Southern Grounds owner Mark Janasik said Aug. 28 that his goal is to open the shop by the third week of November, which would be in time for Thanksgiving travelers.