Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Tuesday's Daily Pulse

Hurricane Idalia caused widespread pollution into Florida’s waterways

While Hurricane Idalia ravaged Florida’s Big Bend region, rain and wind from the massive storm also caused wastewater leaks, chemical dumps and fuel spills in Tampa Bay and other storm-struck parts of the state. At least 26,000 gallons of wastewater spills, mostly raw sewage, were reported to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection as of Friday. In each instance, the flooding was so severe that officials said it’s not possible to tell exactly how much wastewater was released. Instead, estimates were provided. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Florida Trend Exclusive
Florida Icon: Rita Lowman

Rita Lowman, banker, former chair of the Florida Bankers Association and chair of the American Bankers Association's executive board of directors tells us: "There’s a difference between managing and leading. A manager is not necessarily a leader. But, to me, a leader has to have a management skill set. I feel like I am a true leader in that I don’t lead from the front or the back, but I lead side by side." [Source: Florida Trend]

Florida group presses supermarket chains, others to protect farmworkers from heat

As high temperatures continue to scorch Florida, a major Florida-based farmworkers group is imploring major retailers, like Publix, to protect workers from the record-breaking heat wave. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is pushing its Fair Food Program, which encourages retailers to use their clout with farmers and growers to ensure better working conditions and wages for farmworkers. [Source: WLRN]

Quick resolution sought in redistricting fight

Seeking a final ruling before the legislative session starts in January, both sides in a battle over a congressional redistricting plan asked an appeals court Friday to fast-track the case to the Florida Supreme Court. The joint request by attorneys for the state and voting-rights groups was expected: They had filed a document last month in Leon County circuit court signaling that they would seek to effectively bypass the 1st District Court of Appeal and go straight to the Supreme Court. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Gas prices in Florida are going down. Is it a trend?

Gas prices continue to go down in Florida. Across Florida, gas prices have dropped 24 cents since mid-August and are on a three-week downward streak, according to AAA. The average price for a gallon of gas across the country on Monday, according to AAA, was 3.83. [Source: Miami Herald]


› Sea Life aquarium will host mermaids again
Mermaids are returning for appearances at Sea Life Orlando Aquarium, the Icon Park attraction on International Drive, next month. Visitors will be able to spy the performers swimming inside the large tanks alongside sea turtles, stingrays and sharks. There will be on-dry-land encounters and photo ops with the mermaids as well. The experiences, produced for the fourth year at the I-Drive attraction, are included with regular Sea Life admission.

› DHL Express expands its cargo shipping between Miami and Latin America
DHL plans to fly cargo six days a week between Miami International Airport and Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires, the global shipping firm said. This comes after the company launched direct service from Miami to Brazil last year, tapping into growing business and commerce between the United States and Latin America.

› New College of Florida rejects allegations made in federal civil rights investigation
New College of Florida brushed off the U.S. Department of Education's new civil rights investigation into the college in a statement issued Monday morning. New College spokesman Nathan March said the civil rights complaint filed in August was only sent to media outlets and not to the college. He said it detailed false claims only meant to grab headlines.

› JetBlue is stepping up a campaign to save its plan to buy Spirit Airlines for $3.8 billion
JetBlue Airways said Monday it has reached agreement to turn over Spirit Airlines’ operations at airports in Boston and Newark, New Jersey, as JetBlue ramps up its effort to win regulatory or court approval to buy Spirit. JetBlue CEO Robin Hays said the announcement “is aimed at removing any doubt of our commitment to promoting competition.”

Go to page 2 for more stories ...

› Auto dealership group shutters and lays off hundreds, including Bradenton employees
Palm Beach County-based used car retailer Off Lease Only has shut down its five Florida dealerships and laid off 466 employees after failing to find a buyer and filing for bankruptcy. The closures include a dealership at 3230 14th St. W. in Bradenton. According to a letter to the state, 49 employees lost their jobs at that store.

› Pharma giant GSK partners with StartUP FIU again to host student-targeted Innovation Challenge
Impressed by the innovative spirit, hard-work and dedication shown by FIU students last semester, GSK and StartUP FIU have joined forces once again to offer the immersive GSK Innovation Challenge to a new cohort of students this Fall. “The results from our first event were so inspiring that we had to do it again,” said Maya Martinez-Davis, President U.S., GSK.

› North Port city commissioners give preliminary approval to proposed $251.6 million budget
North Port city commissioners gave preliminary approval to a proposed $251.6 million budget for the next year – despite the pleas of several residents, who wanted to see the commission roll back the property tax rate to provide some financial relief. Because of a 16.9% increase in property values, the current tax rate of 3.7667 mills – or about $3.77 per $1,000 of taxable property value − would generate about $4.3 million more than it currently does.

› Brevard's first 3D-printed affordable housing to be built by robots in Melbourne
Habitat for Humanity's third 3D-printed home construction project in America will take shape just north of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Melbourne, thanks to "Frank," a futuristic 2,900-pound long-armed robotic printer that scoots along on tank tracks. “Now, Frank can operate around the clock. But due to local ordinances, we’ll likely be printing from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.," Trevor Ragno, Apis Cor director of construction, explained to a groundbreaking ceremony crowd.