Wednesday's Daily Pulse
A look back at the 2022 hurricane season, from a historic lull to Hurricane Ian
The 2022 hurricane season, which ends today, will be logged into history as turning out pretty much as forecasters predicted when it comes to the number of storms and their severity. There were anomalies, however. The season started quickly, with a named storm forming within its first week. There was a historic lull in the middle. Then the tropics ramped up to a breakneck speed near the end. Florida didn’t come away unscathed. This year produced one of the deadliest storms in the state’s history — Hurricane Ian. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Florida Trend Exclusive
Florida changemakers: Barbara Brown
Just a two-hour drive from where Barbara Brown grew up, the Space Coast seemed light-years away from the small, rural city of Palatka. But Brown could feel its gravitational pull. “I can remember telling my mother when I was 7 or 8 that NASA needed me,” Brown recalls. Her mother chuckled and said, “NASA needs you, Barbara?” But Brown was insistent that the space agency indeed needed her to help solve hard problems. [Source: Florida Trend]
Opinion: To save the manatees, start acting like them
November is Manatee Awareness Month, and while people from all over the world know a lot about Florida’s famous sea cows, there is a lot about manatees that people don’t know. Manatees don't vote. They don't pollute. I encourage folks who love manatees to embrace their best habits —don’t pollute, don’t litter, don’t recklessly develop the Florida coast.[Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
The state of hispanic businesses in Central Florida
According to the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, there are more than 604,000 Hispanic businesses across the state, contributing more than $90 billion to the economy. Luis Nieves-Ruiz is the Director of Economic Development at the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council. WMFE’s Talia Blake caught up with him at his office to talk about the state of Hispanic business in Central Florida. [Source: WMFE]
Florida Everglades home to world’s ‘most dangerous’ tree
When you think of all the dangerous things that reside in Florida, trees probably don’t come to mind, but the state is actually home to the “most dangerous” tree in the world. The manchineel tree (Hippomane mancinella), according to the Guinness World Records, is the world’s most dangerous tree. Located in the Florida Everglades and the Caribbean coast, the manchineel tree should be avoided by anyone that comes near it. [Source: WFLA]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› If a recession hits Florida, Tampa Bay Chamber leaders are ready [Tampa Bay Times]
Today’s economic climate may be better for small businesses than during the pandemic spring of 2020. But with inflation and interest rates rising, and the threat of a recession looming, it’s still not exactly a time of high cotton. That, said Andy Mayts, is where the Tampa Bay Chamber can help.
› Orange County to convert former Winn-Dixie into multicultural center [Orlando Business Journal]
The county is nearly completed on the first phase of a new multicultural center using the shell of the building with a new interior buildout and exterior upgrades. The first phase, which consists of building out over 17,688 square feet of space in the 60,000-square-foot building, includes over $8 million of work to the community center with exterior reconstruction of the building.
› ‘Go big or go home.’ This $4 billion development debuts its outdoor museum in Miami [Miami Herald]
Women draped in white dance around a drum circle alongside the mangroves. Mermaids wave as manatees swim nearby. Stars and leaves swirl through the air. An alligator grins. This magical and surreal version of Miami — a mural by artist Viktor El-Saieh called “I of the Spiral” — overlooks the reality of noisy, dusty construction sites of Miami Worldcenter, a sprawling multi-use complex in the heart of downtown.
› Weeki Wachee springs protection rule shouldn’t be delayed, river advocate argues [Tampa Bay Times]
Advocates who have fought for six years to reverse the decline of the Weeki Wachee River were dealt a blow earlier this month when officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission decided to delay a decision to enact new protection rules on the river their own staff helped to craft. The agency is, however, poised to give the first designation of a springs protection zone to another location that has not received the same level of public scrutiny.
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› Statewide law firm announces second merger in two months [Business Observer]
A corporate law firm headquartered in West Palm Beach is expanding its reach to Naples after announcing a merger with 27-year-old law firm Grant Fridkin Pearson. The Naples firm will officially merge with Gunster, dubbed Florida’s law firm for business, Jan. 1, 2023. All 12 attorneys and 15 staff members with Grant Fridkin Pearson will join Gunster through the move.
› Hillsborough transit union representatives call for resignation of CEO [Tampa Bay Times]
The union representing hundreds of employees at Hillsborough County’s transportation agency is demanding the resignation of the CEO as allegations of mismanagement and a poor workplace environment boil. The announcement from ATU Local 1593 comes on the eve of a special board meeting scheduled after it was revealed the agency’s fourth-highest paid staffer was simultaneously working for a Louisiana public transit agency, in violation of both agencies’ employment policies.
› DeSantis presents $5.5M grant for infrastructure expansion [WKRG]
Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke at the Cecil Airport in Jacksonville to deliver grant awards for infrastructure improvement in Duval County. He announced $5.5 million to Jacksonville to link a main rail line north of I-10 to Cecil Commerce Center. DeSantis said usually when he goes somewhere with Sec. Dane Eagle of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, it meant they’d “be bringing gifts.” Typical appearances with infrastructure improvement signange come with awards of funding from the Governor’s Job Growth Grant Fund.
› 'Hectic' sale of live Christmas trees leaves slim pickings in Polk County [Lakeland Ledger]
Polk County residents headed out shopping on Black Friday trying to secure the most elusive items on their holiday shopping list. If a Christmas tree wasn’t on it, finding one now may be difficult. Local tree farm sellers across Polk County say there’s a widespread shortage of trees that’s making it difficult to secure enough to meet demand.