Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Thursday's Daily Pulse

Floridian of the Year
The Advocate: Yolanda Cash Jackson

Attorney and lobbyist Yolanda Cash Jackson has built a career forging paths of opportunity for others. Jackson’s biggest impact, arguably, comes from the work she’s done advocating for state financial support for the state’s three private historically Black colleges and universities: Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens and Edward Waters University in Jacksonville. [Source: Florida Trend]

Florida's costly legal system trumps expenses in other states

Florida has earned a reputation as a litigious state with some of the busiest courthouses in the nation, and a new report shows that the dollars flowing through the Sunshine State’s legal system dwarf other states by a wide margin. Costs and compensation, or the total dollar amount changing hands as a result of litigation and defense expenses or damages paid at the conclusion of a lawsuit, exceeded $40 billion in Florida in 2020, according to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce analysis of tort costs in the U.S. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Wildlife officials approve manatee protections

State wildlife officials Wednesday approved a seasonal no-entry zone in an area of Brevard County waters where manatees gather, while preparing for a second winter of feeding the sea cows to try to prevent deaths. The approval came after the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed this month that it will again work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to feed lettuce to manatees. The agencies also took the unusual step last winter, as manatees starved because of a lack of seagrass, a key food source. [Source: News Service of Florida]

You probably don’t have the right insurance to cover what Ian did to homes in Florida

Florida’s homeowners shell out thousands, even tens of thousands, for property insurance to protect themselves from fierce storms like Hurricane Ian. But tens of thousands of people walloped by the Category 4 storm in September are now discovering that they didn’t have the coverage they needed for one of the biggest impacts of the storm — flood insurance. It’s one of the hardest — and most expensive — lessons from hurricane season 2022, which officially ended Wednesday. [Source: Miami Herald]

U.S. Sugar completes deal amid legal fight

U.S. Sugar Corp. has completed a $315 million purchase of another large player in the sugar industry as the federal government continues to fight the merger on antitrust grounds. Attorneys for Clewiston-based U.S. Sugar said in a court filing Tuesday that it had completed the acquisition of the assets of Imperial Sugar Co. The filing came after a federal judge on Sept. 23 rejected an attempt by the U.S. Department of Justice to block the merger. [Source: News Service of Florida]


› White sharks once again migrate into Florida’s waters, probably eating other sharks
It’s that time of year again: White sharks, just like snowbirds, have started heading south for the weather. They’re turning toward Florida’s waters after spending the summer off Cape Cod and Nova Scotia, hunting seals and tuna. Several sharks have begun pinging off South Florida, as part of a tagging study by nonprofit marine research foundation Ocearch. The tags, which last for up to five years, ping when the shark surfaces, sending location data to researchers.

› Where Orlando's office market ranks for available sublease space and what it means
Orlando has seen its office market evolve dramatically since the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2020, especially in the amount of office space available for sublease as companies continue to reevaluate their needs amid hybrid and remote work models. In fact, Orlando has seen a 246% increase in the square footage of sublease space available between Q3 2019-Q3 2022 — an uptick big enough to rank No. 3 among the 39 markets evaluated.

› So you aren’t a rich art collector? These Miami Art Week events are free (or cheap)
So you’re on a budget or just plain cheap, but you still want to enjoy Miami Art Week. Relax. This is possible, if you know where to go. Here are a few of the free and inexpensive events (under $20) around town, from the offbeat joys of small shows like Fridge Art Fair or Ink and local community centers and museums — and even the Homestead-Miami Speedway.

› Clearwater land with lost graves of Black pioneers gets a historic marker
In 1954, the city of Clearwater was assured that more than 300 graves moved from the Black cemetery on the corner of Holt Avenue and Engman Street accounted for all the burials. More than 60 years later, archaeologists discovered that at least 55 graves were left behind when that land was cleared to make way for a city pool and school. At 10 a.m. on Saturday, a historic marker will be unveiled on that corner as a reminder that the currently unused Pinellas County School District land should still be considered a cemetery despite the absence of headstones.

Go to page 2 for more stories ...

› Pompano’s Festival Market gains apparent reprieve from demolition
The sprawling Festival Market in Pompano Beach, once destined to be sold this year and demolished in favor of a warehouse distribution center, has not changed hands — and a deal is far from a certainty, the owner said Tuesday Last summer, the popular market destination for shoppers and tourists at 2900 W. Sample Road appeared headed for an unspecified date with demolition crews. That was after IDI Logistics of Atlanta was to have bought the site from Yoram Izhak of the North Miami Beach investment firm IMC Equity Group.

› $73 million Miami International Airport bid nets $94 million payout
Procurement to run a Miami International Airport baggage system for which the former contract was enmeshed in scandal took a problematic new twist as commissioners approved a $94 million deal with the same bidder, who had asked $73 million for the job. The increase of more than $21 million from the bid in May 2020 to final commission unanimous approval Nov. 15 took a circuitous route as county officials ranked and scored offers, decided to negotiate with the two top proposers, then requested better offers and discovered that both firms when asked for better bids raised prices about 15%.

› Florida Aquarium breaks ground on Coral Care Complex
The Florida Aquarium has broken ground on a new coral care complex at its conservation campus in Apollo Beach. The 4,200-square-foot facility will provide additional space beyond the aquarium’s existing coral greenhouses and coral spawning laboratories. The overall complex will encompass 9,000 square feet dedicated to preserving, breeding and rearing corals that are rapidly declining along Florida’s Coral Reef, according to the aquarium.

› Epcot unveils lineup for Broadway concert series during 2023 arts festival
Walt Disney World has revealed the singers set to perform during the Disney on Broadway concert series, part of the Epcot International Festival of the Arts, which begins Jan. 13. The 12 entertainers all have experience with Disney stage productions such as “Frozen,” “Aladdin,” “The Lion King” and “Tarzan.” Each evening will spotlight two singers appearing in three sessions.