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Tuesday's Daily Pulse

Florida hospitals, overwhelmed with COVID, describe nursing shortage, financial hits

Hospital administrators on Monday gave House committees a glimpse into the challenges facing health care professionals, describing efforts to reimagine how care is delivered amid a nursing shortage and sizable financial hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. At the forefront of the concerns is a shortage of nurses, which the executives told lawmakers has created an emergency for hospital administrators. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Florida gas prices soar 10 cents per gallon

Gas prices across Florida jumped an average of 10 cents a gallon in the past week following reports that energy infrastructure across the Gulf of Mexico is recovering slower than expected from Hurricane Ida, according to the auto club AAA. “The roller coaster ride at the pump continues for Florida drivers,” AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said in a news release distributed Monday. “Where pump prices go from here is unclear. Hurricane Ida’s impact in the Gulf Coast has lingered on, causing lower fuel supplies and upward pressure on prices.” [Source: News Service of Florida]

Aspen Ideas conference to make Miami Beach ‘center of the climate action world’ in 2022

A new climate conference is coming to Miami Beach and it’s a big one. On Monday, city leaders announced that global nonprofit Aspen Institute planned to host its first climate-changed theme conference in Miami Beach next year, titled Aspen Ideas: Climate. Call it the climate change version of Art Basel, said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. He says it’s the best comparison for the influx of visitors, international attention and celebrity prestige this annual conference could bring, especially as it grows. [Source: Miami Herald]

$200 Million in refunds unclaimed in Florida Prepaid College Program

More than 30,000 families have yet to claim over $200 million worth of refunds from Florida's Prepaid College Tuition Program, according to program officials. Prices for the prepaid plans were rolled back last year, as tuition at state colleges and universities had not increased in six years. This left some accounts paid off early, with refund balances due. On average, families that have not yet claimed their refunds have $4,700 waiting for them. [Source: News Service of Florida]

The forgotten primary: 11 Democrats vie for Florida’s bluest seat without outside help

There’s less than two months until Democrats will select their next member of Congress in Florida’s 20th Congressional District, a majority Black seat that includes Miramar, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. But the country’s third special U.S. House election this year in a deep blue district isn’t playing out in the same way as battles for open seats in New Orleans and Cleveland. Those seats, particularly the Ohio election, turned into fights between the Democratic Party’s progressive and establishment wings, with the establishment side winning both races. [Source: Miami Herald]


› Lakeland testing lab for cannabis set to expand as part of Polk's emerging pot industry
One of the state's early entrants into cannabis testing is expected to expand with new employees and locations over the next year as part of the emerging cannabis industry in Polk County. Modern Canna Laboratories of Lakeland has played a leading role in the rollout of testing for the medical marijuana industry in Florida, according to founder and CEO George A. Fernandez. He also believes not just his company but Polk County overall is well positioned to have a larger footprint in the cannabis industry statewide and potentially nationally.

› Orlando Museum of Art’s downtown site to feature world’s first rooftop Chihuly garden
When the Orlando Museum of Art opens its new downtown branch in the 33-story tower by Summa Development Group, it will feature the world’s first rooftop garden featuring works by world-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. Museum Director Aaron De Groft told GrowthSpotter the garden would be built in a space that was largely unused in the original design of the building planned for 319 E. Church St. It will host a lush “urban oasis” and tourist attraction in the heart of the downtown cultural district, he said.

› How can Tampa Bay grow with equity and sustainability in mind? An expert explains
The Tampa Bay area is exploding with multi-million dollar real estate projects on both sides of the bay. Leroy Moore has seen firsthand the impacts these changes have had on the region so far as the head of Tampa’s Housing Authority and as a member of the advisory board for Urban Land Institute’s Tampa Bay division.

› ‘Accelerate the future’: The biggest force in Miami tech may be a conglomerate in Japan
How globalized is Miami today? A Japanese technology conglomerate is now one of the most important players in the city’s innovation economy. SoftBank — which is not a bank but rather a technology-focused investment group (“soft” refers to software) — owns stakes in many of the firms that make Miami’s advanced economy run.

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› Downtown Four Seasons hotel review starts over lunch at Jacksonville City Council
The push for City Council approval of a Four Seasons hotel development deal along Jacksonville’s downtown riverfront opened Friday to a small audience as supporters worked to get state backing too. Four of the council’s 18 members joined a lunch-and-learn meeting where Downtown Investment Authority CEO Lori Boyer walked politicians and auditors through the deal and outlined plans to replace Kids Kampus, on the proposed development site, with a new park at the long-dormant Jacksonville Shipyards.

› South Florida still No 1 in healthcare fraud. Ripoffs cost Medicare billions a year
At a cost of billions, fraud is corrupting the new healthcare fields of telemedicine, substance abuse facilities and COVID-19 programs — but U.S. authorities also say it’s still plaguing traditional areas such as medical equipment supplies, home care and pharmacies. South Florida continues to rank No. 1 in the nation for healthcare fraud, draining massive sums of money from the taxpayer-funded federal program, Medicare, and private insurance carriers, authorities say.

› Keynote speakers announced for next year's women's summit
An actress, an athlete and an author were revealed as next year’s keynote speakers for the 2022 Voice and Visibility Women’s Summit. While the reveal was moved to a virtual presentation, instead of in-person, organizers still expect to hold the event in-person. It's scheduled for March 4, 2022, at the Westin in Sarasota. Just in case, the team will only be selling virtual tickets and sponsorship packages for the next six to eight weeks while they assess conditions. The virtual part of the event will launch that day and remain open for 30 days after.

› Emily Dawkins named Truist regional president in North Florida
Truist Financial Corp. named Emily Dawkins regional president for its North Florida region. Dawkins was capital markets originator. She assumed her new role as regional president on Sept. 7, succeeding Scott Keith, who will retire Sept. 30 after a 34-year banking career.