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Cyber advancements in Florida

Florida’s organized efforts to combat cyber-crime are still less than a decade old. In 2014, the state launched the Florida Center for Cybersecurity to coordinate education and research efforts, recognizing not only the rising tide of online crimes, but a vast shortage of trained professionals to combat cyber-attacks, ransomware, identity theft and manipulation of government systems that control everything from cities’ water supply to public coffers. Since then, Florida has built its cyber capabilities, but as in most anti-crime efforts, it doesn’t take much for the bad characters to gain an advantage. [Source: Florida Trend]

Read between the yards: How sports leagues impact the economy and you in Florida

According to the Florida Sports Foundation, professional sports has an economic footprint of $5.3 billion and accounts for more than 50,000 jobs in the state. “If you add in the ticket sales, the merchandise sales and all of that,” said Mark Johnston, marketing professor at the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College. “It’s a substantial amount of money across all the teams.” [Source: WMFE]

Push for lawmakers to reestablish incentives for films shot in Florida

An organization wants lawmakers to reestablish incentives for companies to shoot films in Florida. A lot of shoots are going to Georgia but years ago several movies were shot in Florida. Film Florida said our state is the only one in the southeast without an economic development program to attract film and television productions and that costs us billions. Florida has not offered the film industry tax incentives to shoot here since 2016. [Source: WINK News]

SpaceX manages late liftoff after weather delay from KSC

SpaceX continued its record pace for 2022 with its 35th launch of the year sending up another 52 Starlink satellites atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday night. Liftoff from KSC’s Launch Complex 39-A was delayed about four hours because of upper-level winds, but managed to light up the night at 10:14 p.m. The first-stage booster on this mission made its third flight, and was able to land again on the company’s droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas in the Atlantic Ocean. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Congress leans on NOAA to avoid major Florida fishery closures

It’s not just the usual push-pull of red snapper gripes this time around — there’s the real possibility of massive federal snapper-grouper fishery closures off Florida’s coasts, especially Northeast Florida. A bipartisan group of Representatives and Senators sent a letter to the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) asking for time to collect better data to avoid closures that could be catastrophic to the local fishing industry. [Source: Florida Politics]

Making sense of new insurance and condo reforms

After a string of devastating hurricanes and just 11 months following the Surfside condominium collapse, the Florida Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis delivered much needed reforms for Florida’s troubled insurance and condominium industries. Some say the reforms made during the special session won’t do enough to bring down insurance rates for homeowner associations and consumers. [Sponsored report]


› Norwegian Cruise Line joins others relaxing COVID restrictions
Norwegian Cruise Line and its sister lines Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises are rolling back COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirements next month, the latest cruise line to relax rules enacted during the pandemic. The three cruise lines, all under Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, LTD, will adjust their protocols as of Sept. 3, under which vaccinated guests 12 and older will no longer be required to do any pre-cruise testing ahead of sailing, and unvaccinated guests will be allowed to sail.

› St. Petersburg’s path to rent control ballot vote hinges on legal process
The second attempt to push rent control through City Hall may come down Thursday to whether council members have met the legal requirements to put the issue on the November ballot. The St. Petersburg City Council last week voted 4-3 to move forward with a resolution declaring a housing emergency and proposing draft ballot language. That surprise vote energized renters who advocated for a rent control comeback since the idea was dismissed in a February City Council meeting.

› GRU has the 2nd highest residential bills in Florida
With the summer months comes hot temperatures. But worse, higher electric bills. In Gainesville, customers may feel those costs more than others. The Florida Municipal Electric Association ranks Gainesville Regional Utilities second for the highest electric bills among all utilities in Florida, including Duke Energy and Florida Power and Light.

› JAXUSA Partnership focuses on attracting talent
Katherine Saunders, talent attraction lead for Development Counsellors International, told the JAX Chamber’s economic development supporters Aug. 8 that there only about half the number of available employees for the current job openings. “There are 11.6 million open jobs (in the U.S.) but only six million people are looking for those jobs,” Saunders told the 530 people who attended the JAXUSA Partnership lunch at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront.

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› Seacoast eyes Miami expansion with $488.6M deal to buy Professional Bank
tuart, Florida-based Seacoast Bank will buy Professional Bank for roughly $488.6 million in a deal that would further cement its foothold in the Miami area, the banks announced Monday. The transaction is set to close in the first quarter of 2023.

› Turnover woes grow for Manatee County with public safety director's mysterious departure
Mystery surrounds the employment status of Manatee County Public Safety Director Jacob Saur, who seems to have been terminated just months before he is supposed to testify in an ethics case against Commissioner Vanessa Baugh. Questions swirled about Saur's employment status with the county after Deputy County Administrator Robert Reinshuttle sent an email to county commissioners and top administrative brass on July 26 indicating Saur had been let go, insinuating the county would not be replacing him.

› The St. Petersburg police are sitting on money meant for the homeless
On street corners around downtown St. Petersburg, bright yellow parking meters urge passersby to “help provide for homeless families and individuals” by dropping in their spare change. Since 2019, the money — adding up to thousands of dollars — has largely sat untouched in the coffers of the St. Petersburg Police Department.

› Pharmaceutical manufacturer to build $20M state-of-the-art facility in Polk County, create 100 jobs
Assure Infusions, a Winter Haven-based pharmaceutical company, is building a 60,000-square-foot facility in Polk County and creating more than 100 jobs in the process. Assure, which launched early this year, produces IV fluid products. According to the company’s website, its bags include sodium chloride, dextrose, lactated ringers and sterile water.