Economy adds 431K jobs in March. Will Florida see more tourists?
The US unemployment rate dropped to 3.6% in March, and with more people working, Don Wiggins, the CEO of Heritage Capitol Group, predicts this will boost tourism rates in the Sunshine State. “The tourism is definitely going to make a comeback — it already has made a comeback,” said Wiggins. Right now, there’s an uptick in air travel. According to the Transportation Security Administration, the strongest travel demand is for domestic and short-haul international trips. [Source: WJXT]
New York running ads amid Florida controversy
New York City launched an ad campaign Monday that takes aim at the controversial new Florida law that critics call the “don’t say gay” bill. The campaign will use digital billboards in Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach, according to a New York City news release. The law (HB 1557) will prohibit instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third-grade. More from the News Service of Florida and the Tampa Bay Times.
Florida's yo-yo'ing gas prices on the decline after double-digit increase last week
Florida’s gasoline prices, although still above $4 a gallon, are on the decline following a month of rising costs and a 13-cent jump just in the last week. The average price of gas on Sunday was $4.17 a gallon, a drop of 7 cents in the last five days, according to the weekly briefing by AAA-The Auto Club Group. The latest decline, however, is part of a long-term yo-yo effect that has caused motorists to change their driving habits. [Source: Northwest Florida Daily News]
42% of Florida’s employees make less than $15 an hour
Only three other states do worse than Florida in the number of workers making under $15 an hour. According to Axios, Mississippi, New Mexico, and South Carolina also have high numbers of employees making less than $15 an hour. Florida voters approved gradually increasing wages from $8.65 an hour to $15 an hour by 2026. Currently, the minimum wage in Florida is $10 an hour which workers say is not a living wage. [Source: WMNF]
NASA hits new snag with Artemis test at KSC, could threaten Axiom mission
NASA looked to complete its Artemis moon rocket tanking test at Kennedy Space Center after an issue forced a scrub on Sunday, but a new valve issue forced mission managers to call it off again. NASA officials had already pulled the plug Sunday on the tanking test of the fully integrated Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule at KSC’s Launch Pad 39-B when it wasn’t able to keep safely pressurized the mobile launcher on which the hardware sits. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Garbage war: How Broward’s trash-hauling industry has sparked an $81 million lawsuit [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
A fight over Broward County’s garbage-hauling business kicked off in court Monday — pitting business entrepreneur Ron Bergeron against corporate giant Waste Management. It’s the latest in a clash over which company would ultimately go on to serve many Broward residents.
› Orlando reveals roadmap to electric vehicle future, eco-friendly fleet [Orlando Sentinel]
Orlando plans to expand electric vehicle charging stations, transition its fleet of vehicles to electric or alternative fuel sources, and promote equitable access to the emerging advancements by the end of the decade, the city revealed this week. The “Electric Mobility Roadmap,” put together over the past year, spells out the city’s goals and plans to “embrace emerging technologies, reduce emissions that harm public health, bolster climate change resilience, and increase access and affordability for our disadvantaged communities.”
› Off-beat films, live performances highlight film festival in Jacksonville [Florida Times-Union]
After a two-year COVID break, the Sleeping Giant film festival returns to Sun-Ray Cinema in Jacksonville's Five Points neighborhood, with more than a dozen films, shorts, cartoons and live appearances. Tim Massett, who owns the theater and curated the festival, said the idea is to show films casual movie fans might never see. Sun-Ray is known to show "films that exist in the margins," and Sleeping Giant is just a way to show a bunch of them at once, he said.
› Effort launched to raise $100M to boost diversity, inclusion in Miami-Dade tech sector [Miami Herald]
An initiative was announced Monday that aims to provide $100 million over five years to improve equity and inclusion in Miami’s rapidly growing technology sector. Called Tech Equity Miami, JPMorgan Chase, The Knight Foundation, The Miami Foundation and aÄ«re ventures have come together to launch this effort to give underserved communities greater access to tech and create educational and career opportunities for youth, females and small business owners in underserved communities.
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› Have thoughts on Sarasota's seal and logo? You can participate in a survey [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
City of Sarasota residents have until Friday night to participate in a survey that will inform the revamp of the city’s seal and logo. The city has partnered with Sarasota-based benefit corporation DreamLarge, which is running a range of community engagement efforts about the city’s seal and logo.
› EDC Orlando returns this fall with 3 days of electronic music [Orlando Sentinel]
Ravers, get ready: EDC Orlando is set to return for its annual event featuring larger-than-life sets, pyrotechnics, and tens of thousands of festival-goers dancing to thumping beats. The City Beautiful rendition of the Electric Daisy Carnival is back in town Nov. 11-13 at Tinker Field just outside Camping World Stadium. According to a news release, 300,000 attendees were present at the 2021 festival, which featured six music stages and more than 100 artists.
› NEFBA Executive Officer Jessie Spradley navigates new challenges [Jacksonville Daily Record]
Jessie Spradley, executive officer for the Northeast Florida Builders Association, sees his job as that of an advocate. He took the NEFBA helm in October 2021, after working with the organization as government affairs director since 2013. “We are the primary advocate for the building and development industry,” Spradley said.
› New Tampa golf course dispute heads to court [Tampa Bay Times]
The dispute over a shuttered golf course in New Tampa is moving from the clubhouse to the courthouse. The owner of the former Pebble Creek Golf Club is suing a neighborhood activist, contending she conducted “a campaign of harassment and dissemination of blatant falsehoods” toward Bill Place and his company, Ace Golf.