Reality television finds a home in Florida
It has been several years since the cameras all but stopped rolling in Florida for big TV and film productions. However, unscripted “reality” content in the state is flourishing. From nature-focused “Finding Adventure” to MTV’s “Siesta Key” and even Discovery+ hit “The Queen of Versailles Reigns Again,” audiences are flocking to screens like never before to see “real” Florida stories. And that could be a very good thing for an industry that has been faltering in recent years. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
New lab to simulate 200 mph hurricanes in quest to make storm-resistant homes
A study found that even those coastal residents who consider climate change a growing threat are unlikely to think their home would be destroyed by a storm. Structural engineer Tracy Kijewski-Correa wants to see hurricane prone communities move faster to update their houses, adopting market-based measures like tax incentives to encourage residents to make life-saving improvements to their homes. At best, she says, building codes help individuals survive storms but homes still face costly, structural damage. Implementing better upgrades can help save lives and livelihoods. [Source: National Geographic]
More than a fourth of the Florida Legislature is elected without opposition for 2022
Florida voters won’t have a say in more than a quarter of state legislative races after Friday’s qualifying deadline expired with no apparent opposition filed in 45 House and Senate seats where a Democrat or Republican failed to draw a challenger. Currently, Republicans hold a 76-42 edge in the Florida House, with two vacancies, and a 23-16 advantage in the Senate, with one vacancy. [Source: Miami Herald]
For Central Florida theaters, COVID-19 still wreaks havoc, costs money
With the elimination of mandatory vaccines and masks, and the return to full-capacity seating, going to the theater might feel like business as usual for audiences. But backstage, the pandemic is still on everyone’s mind as theater officials wade through union rules, testing protocols and worry about higher expenditures when ticket sales haven’t yet rebounded to pre-pandemic levels. “We still very much operate as if COVID is a real threat,” said Quinn Roberts, executive director of Theater West End in Sanford. “We don’t want to play a part in spreading the disease.” [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Doctors ‘thrilled’ to order COVID vaccines for young kids after DeSantis changes course
Pediatricians across Florida have begun ordering COVID-19 vaccines for their patients under 5 after Gov. Ron DeSantis changed course Friday and allowed doctors and hospitals in the state to get them from a federal program. On Thursday, Florida doctors and hospitals could not preorder the vaccine for their infant and toddler patients because the state health department refused to order the vaccines from the federal government, the only state in the country that took this stance. [Source: Miami Herald]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Orlando companies lead lawsuits over new homeowners insurance laws [Orlando Sentinel]
Paul Green, vice president of business development for Florida Premier Roofing, doesn’t believe the new insurance regulations that came out of the state Legislature’s special session last month will bring spiraling premiums down for homeowners. “It’s the same thing they said back in 2018 when they hammered [assignment of benefits] law,” he said. “Rates went up.” Florida Premier is one of three Orlando-area companies that have sued over the Legislature’s two new laws.
› Soul of Miami: Liberty City awarded $325,000 in community development grants [Miami Herald]
Affordable housing developer Related Urban and the Related Philanthropic Foundation awarded $325,000 in community investment grants Friday to support residents of Liberty City, site of one of the nation’s first public housing projects. Related Urban is rebuilding and more than doubling the size of Liberty Square housing complex, revitalizing the old community built in 1937 within the inner city of Miami, into much-needed new homes for people from a wide range of incomes and diverse backgrounds.
› Jacksonville artist suing Shein for $100 million [Jacksonville Daily Record]
A Jacksonville freelance artist is suing a China-based online fashion retailer for copyright infringement and is seeking more than $100 million in damages. Magdalena Mollman, known professionally as Maggie Stephenson, is represented by the Holland & Knight law firm. The complaint was filed June 15 in the U.S. District Court, Central District of California.
› Trust firm bucks office shrinking trend, more than doubles office space with $5M investment [Business Observer]
Forget work from home and office contraction. Venice-based Caldwell Trust Co., which handles some $1.4 billion in assets, is going in the opposite direction: it recently moved from 3,000 square feet of space to 8,000 — an investment of more than $5 million. “We ran out of space,” CEO and President R. G. “Kelly” Caldwell Jr. says. “We didn’t have enough conference rooms to meet with people. We were having to use conference rooms for offices.”
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› Retail spaces leased in Bradenton parking garage [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
A coffee shop, a dessert parlor and multiple retail tenants are filling the available spots in a downtown Bradenton parking garage. The city said in the June 7 edition of "the Bradenton Update" newsletter that it has carved out five retail spaces on the ground floor of its City Centre Parking Facility at 3rd Avenue West between 10th and 12th streets.
› Judge upholds Orange County sales ban on puppies [Orlando Sentinel]
Orange County’s ban on the retail sale of puppies and kittens, set to take effect Wednesday, survived a legal challenge brought by three owners of pet shops who argued the new ordinance will bankrupt them. In a six-page decision, Circuit Judge Vincent Chiu said lawyers for two Orlando Petland franchises and for Breeders Pick presented “credible evidence the ordinance would have a catastrophic effect” on their businesses, but law requires him to consider other factors, too.
› SeaWorld names ex-Las Vegas casino executive its new chief financial officer [Orlando Sentinel]
A month after announcing the departure of its chief financial officer, Orlando-based SeaWorld has appointed a former Las Vegas casino executive to fill the role. Michelle “Chelle” Adams is succeeding Elizabeth Castro Gulacsy as the company’s CFO and treasurer, the company said Friday. Adams previously served as the CFO for The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, a luxury hotel and casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
› Florida Cracker Kitchen locations rebranding in Jacksonville [Jacksonville Daily Record]
The Florida Cracker Kitchen at 1842 King St. in San Marco is no more. After lunch service June 17, it began transitioning into a fast-casual seafood restaurant with a bar, Corner Lot said in a news release. The new restaurant name was not provided in the June 17 release. Corner Lot, a Jacksonville-based real estate firm, and Heartfelt Hospitality Group, which operated the Florida Cracker Kitchen, own the property.