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Friday's Daily Pulse

Place your bets: What to know as craps, roulette & sports betting begin at Florida casinos

The first dice have been rolled and wheels spun as craps and roulette officially launched in Florida at Hollywood’s Seminole Classic Casino Thursday morning, capping off an elaborate ceremony featuring drumming, feathered dancers and cockatoos. But for the Seminoles, Thursday was also a serious affair. It marked a turning point amid ongoing legal battles and another example of the tribe’s continued prosperity despite the obstacles thrown in its path. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, NBC Miami, and Axios.

Business BeatBusiness Beat - Week of December 8th

Get top news-to-know with Florida Trend's headline-focused video news brief, hosted by digital content specialist Aimée Alexander.


Column: Florida’s food fight over tomatoes could send your grocery bill higher

A food fight is brewing between Florida and other states over what may seem the unlikeliest of reasons. Tomatoes. Americans love the red, vine-ripened fruit (yes, tomatoes are a fruit, though the Supreme Court ruled them a vegetable for regulatory purposes), eating 600 million each year. Some of those tomatoes are grown in Florida, where the Florida Tomato Exchange (FTE) is asking the Department of Commerce to step in and reduce the flow of tomatoes grown in Mexico. Florida farmers don’t like the competition, and they’re in a stew over it. More from the DAily Courier and the Palm Beach Post.

Florida lawmakers consider annual fees for owners of electric vehicles

Florida lawmakers have restarted a move to impose annual registration fees on electric vehicles amid pushback over the proposed amount. The Senate Transportation Committee on Wednesday backed a proposal (SB 28) that would require electric-vehicle owners to pay $200 registration fees to try to offset anticipated losses in gas-tax dollars as more people convert to electric and hybrid vehicles. Annual fees of $50 a year would be imposed on plug-in hybrids that use a combination of electricity and gas and $25 fees would be imposed on electric motorcycles. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Hundreds died using kratom in Florida. It was touted as safe.

A Tampa Bay Times investigation found that more than 580 people in Florida have died from kratom-related overdoses during the past decade — even as the industry has touted the safety of its products. Most of the deaths were caused by a fatal mixture of kratom and at least one other substance, but 46 people overdosed solely on the herb. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

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› UNF manufacturers survey shows cautious optimism for Jacksonville economy
A monthly survey of Jacksonville manufacturers by the University of North Florida’s Local Economic Indicators Project showed stability in the Northeast Florida economy but with a cautiously optimistic outlook. A purchasing manager’s index derived from UNF’s Jacksonville Economic Monitoring Survey fell slightly from 51 in October to 50 in November.

› Ghosts of the lagoon: Skeletal remains of boats haunt waterways from Vero to Sebastian
Whenever Keith Drewett takes his boat out from Vero Beach Yacht Club, he witnesses skeletal hulls slowly decomposing, listing and sinking into the sand of the Indian River Lagoon. It's not a sight reserved for Drewett, vice president of the Clean Water Coalition of Indian River County. For boaters up and down the county, this is old news. They know people abandon their boats, leaving the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and local governments to deal with the problem.

› Miami cybersecurity startup helps businesses protect their 'crown jewels'
Cybersecurity startup Enveedo raised $3.15 million to guide businesses through the process of building their own security programs. Headquartered in downtown Miami, the startup's risk management platform provides a roadmap to help security and IT professionals develop strong cybersecurity protocols. The seed funding round was led by Austin-based venture capital firm Silverton Partners with participation from Runtime Ventures and Blu Ventures.

› Sarasota County foresees ecotourism push on 100,000 acres of preserves
Access to almost 100,000 acres of preserves, reserves, state parks and other natural areas could give Sarasota County an additional draw for tourism, Sarasota County Parks and Recreation Director Nicole Rissler told county commissioners at a recent presentation on opportunities to increase public access to preserved and protected lands.

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› Universal reveals Epic hotel names, details for 2 resorts
Universal Orlando has announced the names and additional details for two hotels that will operate adjacent to the upcoming Epic Universe theme park. They will be known as Universal Stella Nova Resort and Universal Terra Luna Resort. The hotels will have 750 rooms each, and that will bring Universal Orlando’s total room count to 10,500. The new resorts are scheduled to open in early 2025 with Stella Nova on Jan. 21 and Terra Luna debuting Feb. 25. The park has been earmarked for a debut by the summer of 2025.

› YouTube star Cleetus McFarland raises concern of rapid development in East Manatee County
YouTube star Cleetus McFarland is raising awareness about the amount of development creeping closer to his East Manatee County racetrack, the Freedom Factory. McFarland, whose real name is Garrett Mitchell, is a popular YouTube influencer known for videos about his automotive endeavors. Most of them take place at the Freedom Factory, which McFarland purchased in 2020.

› See how a landmark Coral Gables theater changed through the years. It’s hit a milestone
The Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables turned 75 this year. Now, arts institution, which has hosted Actors’ Playhouse productions for nearly 30 of its years, is ready to celebrate with an open house on Dec. 9. The Miracle isn’t alone in its milestone. Also turning 75 this year: 2023 Kennedy Center Honors recipient and comedian Billy Crystal, rock icons Stevie Nicks and Ozzy Osbourne, and the British monarchy’s King Charles III.

› Miracle on University: Christmas-themed pop-up bar lifting holiday spirits in Gainesville
A new Christmas-themed pop-up bar in downtown Gainesville is hoping to make the holidays a little bit merrier this year. The Miracle on University is taking over the inside of Cry Baby's and Baby J's, 1 W. University Ave., most nights through Dec. 30. Complete with over-the-top decorations, music and holiday-themed drinks, Miracle describes itself as offering "the nostalgic energy of the best office party you've ever been to," according to its website.