Last update: 2024-07-15 11:48:28


The Dawn of the "DeSantis Dollar": A Stealth Path to Florida's CBDC Nightmare

Welcome to 'Capitol T,' where the brew is strong, the leaves are loose, and the gossip flows as freely as the waters of the Okeechobee. So grab your mug and settle in - it's time to spill the Tea on what's happening in Tallahassee.

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The Dawn of the "DeSantis Dollar": A Stealth Path to Florida's CBDC Nightmare

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News around the USA

Federal Elections in Florida

Officials say man who opened fire at Trump rally was a 20-year-old from Pennsylvania

Former President Donald Trump's campaign has assured the public that he is "fine" after an assassination attempt during a rally in Butler, Pennsylvania. The FBI identified the shooter as 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks from Pennsylvania, and the investigation is ongoing. While the political leanings of Crooks are unclear, Trump stated on social media that he was shot in the upper part of his right ear and was swiftly escorted off the stage by Secret Service agents. The suspected gunman and at least one attendee are reported dead, with two spectators critically injured. President Joe Biden and other political leaders condemned the attack, with Biden returning to the White House for a briefing on the matter. Trump is currently at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, while Vice President Kamala Harris is also involved in the response.

Link: https://www.mercurynews.com/2024/07/14/trump-rally-shooting-officials-say-suspect-was-20-year-old-pennsylvania-man/
Location: Butler, Pennsylvania
Published: 2024-07-14 07:20:10

Secret Service investigating how gunman who shot Trump was able to get so close

Former President Donald Trump was shot and injured at a rally in Pennsylvania by a gunman armed with an AR-style rifle. The shooter, identified as Thomas Matthew Crooks, was killed by Secret Service personnel. The investigation revealed that the gunman was able to get remarkably close to the stage, posing a substantial security breach. Various political figures have called for an investigation into the security failures. The FBI and the Secret Service are leading the investigation, with the Justice Department pledging its full resources. Various politicians from both parties have condemned the violence and called for a thorough investigation to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Link: https://www.wptv.com/news/trump/secret-service-investigating-how-gunman-who-shot-trump-was-able-to-get-so-close
Location: Philadelphia, United States
Published: 2024-07-14 06:31:08

South Florida delegates ready to show their passion for Donald Trump at Republican convention. Who are they?

Republican delegates, including those from Florida, are eagerly preparing for the upcoming Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, where they plan to show unequivocal support for Donald Trump's reelection bid. The delegation includes a diverse group of Republicans, including elected officials, party leaders, donors, activists, and Trump family members. Delegates express excitement and unity in their support for Trump, despite past political divisions. The convention represents an opportunity for networking, showcasing support, and officially nominating Trump as the Republican candidate for president. Delegates are personally funding their participation, with costs estimated at $3,000 to $3,500 per person. The convention marks a significant event for Republicans, particularly in light of the changed political landscape under Trump's leadership.

Link: https://www.sun-sentinel.com/2024/07/14/south-florida-delegates-ready-to-show-their-passion-for-donald-trump-at-republican-convention-who-are-they/
Location: Milwaukee, United States
Published: 2024-07-14 06:30:32

Trump supporters gather near Mar-a-Lago after assassination attempt

Former President Donald Trump's supporters gathered near his Mar-a-Lago residence in a show of support following a shooting incident at a rally in Pennsylvania. Trump visited a local Pennsylvania hospital before flying to New Jersey and was expected to spend the night at his nearby property and golf club. Despite the incident, the Republican National Committee confirmed that the party's convention would proceed as planned and anticipated Trump's attendance.

Link: https://www.wptv.com/news/trump/trump-supporters-gather-near-mar-a-lago-after-assassination-attempt
Location: Palm Beach, United States
Published: 2024-07-14 05:50:20

Gunman in Trump’s assassination attempt identified as 20-year-old Republican from Pennsylvania

Thomas Matthew Crooks, a 20-year-old from Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, was identified as the gunman involved in the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump during a rally. The FBI confirmed that Crooks had registered as a Republican just days before the incident. Additionally, investigations into his political affiliations and motive were ongoing. The shooting resulted in one fatality and multiple injuries, prompting a swift and coordinated response from law enforcement and the Secret Service. Trump sustained a non-life-threatening injury to his right ear, and he was quickly taken to a medical facility for evaluation. The incident remains under active investigation by various law enforcement agencies.

Link: https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2024/07/14/gunman-in-trumps-assassination-attempt-identified-as-20-year-old-man-from-pennsylvania/
Location: Bethel Park, Pennsylvania
Published: 2024-07-14 05:48:49

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Judicial and Legal Affairs

Disinformation swirls on social media after Trump rally shooting

After shots were fired at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, unfounded claims about the incident circulated on major social media platforms, including baseless allegations that President Joe Biden ordered the shooting or that it was staged. Law enforcement agencies are currently investigating the incident, including the possibility of it being an assassination attempt. Some U.S. politicians, including Rep. Mike Collins, Sen. J.D. Vance, and Rep. Ronny Jackson, made unsubstantiated accusations against Biden and his campaign on social media. The shooter's identity has not been publicly released, and earlier misinformation misidentified an Italian YouTuber as the shooter. Additionally, numerous posts on social media claimed the shooting was staged, despite the lack of evidence. Content moderation efforts on major social media platforms have been questioned in the wake of this incident.

Link: https://www.bostonherald.com/2024/07/14/disinformation-swirls-on-social-media-after-trump-rally-shooting/
Location: Philadelphia, United States
Published: 2024-07-14 05:40:02

Four US presidents were assassinated; others were targeted, as were presidential candidates

The article provides a historical overview of assassinations and attempted assassinations targeting U.S. presidents, former presidents, and major party presidential candidates since the nation’s founding in 1776. The incidents range from the assassination of President Lincoln in 1865 to the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump in 2022. Notable events include the assassinations of Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Kennedy, and the attempted assassinations of President Reagan and former President Ford. The article details the circumstances and individuals involved, and the outcomes of the cases.

Link: https://wsvn.com/news/politics/four-us-presidents-were-assassinated-others-were-targeted-as-were-presidential-candidates/
Location: Washington, D.C., United States
Published: 2024-07-14 03:51:05

Blake Dowling: Invoice fraud — a new way to scam

Evaldas Rimasauskas perpetrated a fraudulent scheme involving fake invoices sent to tech giants, successfully obtaining over $100 million from Google and Facebook. He accomplished this by impersonating an Asia-based vendor, Quanta Computer Inc., and creating a fake company in Latvia. Despite his eventual arrest and sentencing, his actions have influenced other cybercriminals, leading to a rise in similar fraud activities. Multiple instances of fake invoice schemes targeting both public and private sectors in Florida have occurred, highlighting the growing threat of this type of cybercrime. To combat such threats, organizations are advised to strengthen their defenses, implement robust protocols, and provide adequate training to their teams in order to detect and prevent fraudulent activities.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/683842-blake-dowling-invoice-fraud-a-new-way-to-scam/
Location: Riga, Latvia
Published: 2024-07-13 09:00:21

Trump injured but 'fine' after attempted assassination at rally, shooter and one attendee are dead

Former President Donald Trump was apparently the target of an assassination attempt at a Pennsylvania rally, with gunshots causing panic and a bloodied Trump being assisted by the Secret Service. The shooter, identified as Thomas Matthew Crooks, was fatally shot by Secret Service agents, and one attendee was killed while two others were critically injured. This incident, the most serious attempt to assassinate a president or presidential candidate since 1981, raised concerns about political violence in the U.S. The Republican National Convention in Milwaukee proceeded as planned, and President Joe Biden condemned the violence. Security measures for both campaigns were reinforced after the attack.

Link: https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2024/07/13/trump-heads-to-pennsylvania-for-pre-convention-rally-as-vp-announcement-looms/
Location: Washington, D.C., United States
Published: 2024-07-13 04:00:12

NY jury begins deliberations in bribery trial of NJ Sen. Bob Menendez

New York jury began deliberations in Sen. Bob Menendez's bribery trial after being instructed by the judge on the law. Prosecutors accuse Menendez and his wife of accepting bribes from businessmen in exchange for corrupt acts, including benefiting the government of Egypt and interfering with criminal investigations. Menendez's lawyers argue that the senator did nothing wrong and that the cash and gold found at his home were not bribe proceeds. The jury is expected to consider testimony, documents, and emails as they reach a verdict. Menendez's wife's trial has been postponed due to her recovery from cancer surgery. The defense called witnesses, including Menendez's sister, who highlighted the family's history.

Link: https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/national-international/ny-jury-ready-to-start-deliberating-menendezs-bribery-case/3360123/
Location: New York City, United States
Published: 2024-07-12 13:05:50

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State Government

Takeaways from Tallahassee — Next steps

Florida TaxWatch, a nonpartisan government watchdog organization, has released a briefing highlighting the ongoing challenges in Florida's property insurance market. While the state has taken measures to stabilize the market, including limiting lawsuits against insurers and providing reinsurance backing for private companies, property insurance rates in Florida remain the highest in the nation, rising by over 42% since 2019. TaxWatch warns that the high cost of insurance could prompt Floridians to leave the state and recommends further action to bring down premiums. Additionally, the briefing emphasizes the need to offer greater relief or facilitate quicker reductions in rates to alleviate the burden on homeowners. In other news, Florida officials, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, are set to attend the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, while Florida A&M University President Larry Robinson has announced his resignation. Furthermore, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has secured reinsurance coverage for the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, and Florida has appealed a federal judge's ruling on children's health insurance. Note: Due to the extensive length of the provided text, the summary was focused on the central information about the briefing released by Florida TaxWatch and some key highlights from the remaining news articles. If you would like a more detailed summary of a specific news article from the text, please provide further details.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/683683-takeaways-from-tallahassee-next-steps/
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Published: 2024-07-13 10:00:25

Duke Energy Florida rate case put on hold

State regulators in Florida have put a hold on the case involving Duke Energy Florida's potential increase in base electric rates, as the utility and consumer representatives work to reach a settlement. The suspension of the procedural schedule follows a joint motion filed by Duke and the state Office of Public Counsel, indicating that an agreement in principle has been reached. While the details of the potential settlement are not provided, an agreement could be filed by Wednesday. Duke's proposal to raise base rates by significant amounts in the coming years is being objected to by the Office of Public Counsel. The case is expected to impact customers' monthly electric bills and involves multiple parties. Settlements in base-rate cases are common, and similar proposals by Tampa Electric Co. are also pending at the Public Service Commission.

Link: https://www.clickorlando.com/news/2024/07/13/duke-energy-florida-rate-case-put-on-hold/
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Published: 2024-07-13 04:14:16

Deeply Democratic Milwaukee wrestles with hosting Trump, Republican National Convention

Milwaukee, a Democratic stronghold in the swing state of Wisconsin, is slated to host the Republican National Convention, while nearby Chicago will welcome the Democrats in August. This move has raised concerns among local Democrats, exacerbated by past comments from former President Donald Trump, causing some to view the decision as contentious. Despite potential economic benefits, local businesses are expressing skepticism about the expected revenue. Additionally, demonstrators have criticized restrictions on their activities during the convention. The competing events highlight the state's pivotal role in national politics, given its status as a battleground state. Despite its heavily Democratic voting history, the event in Milwaukee is seen as an opportunity for Republicans to energize their base in the surrounding suburbs. The decision to hold the convention in Milwaukee follows the city's previous selection for the 2020 Democratic National Convention, which was ultimately held online due to the pandemic.

Link: https://www.clickorlando.com/news/politics/2024/07/13/deeply-democratic-milwaukee-wrestles-with-hosting-trump-republican-national-convention/
Location: Milwaukee, United States
Published: 2024-07-13 04:02:49

Deeply Democratic Milwaukee wrestles with hosting Trump, Republican National Convention

Milwaukee, a predominantly Democratic city in the swing state of Wisconsin, is set to host the Republican National Convention (RNC) while Chicago, a nearby larger city, welcomes Democrats. President Trump's comment labeling Milwaukee as "horrible" has further strained the relationship between the city and wary Democrats, especially after it missed hosting the Democratic National Convention in 2020 due to COVID-19. While some anticipate economic benefits and an opportunity to showcase the city during the RNC, there is discontent among some residents and business owners regarding the impact of the convention. The selection of Milwaukee for both Democratic and Republican conventions highlights the state's significance as a battleground for the upcoming presidential race. Despite its predominantly Democratic voting record, Republicans view the convention as an opportunity to energize their base in the surrounding suburbs. Local business owners question the projected $200 million revenue and concerns are raised regarding the economic impact of the convention on the city. Demonstrators are also voicing concerns about being kept away from convention sites and claim that city leaders have ignored their input. Despite the divisions, some Democrats hope that the presence of Republicans in the city will mobilize liberal voters for upcoming elections.

Link: https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2024/07/13/deeply-democratic-milwaukee-wrestles-with-hosting-trump-republican-national-convention/
Location: Milwaukee, United States
Published: 2024-07-13 04:02:49

Crackdown on undocumented voting divides Florida’s congressional delegation

The House of Representatives passed the Safeguard American Voter Eligibility (SAVE) Act (HR 8281) on a party-line vote of 221-198. The bill aims to enforce strict voting registration requirements to ensure that only American citizens can cast ballots. Supporters argue that the legislation is crucial for maintaining election integrity, particularly in the face of what they perceive as a threat posed by undocumented immigrants. Democrats criticized the bill as unnecessary, stating that it is already illegal for noncitizens to vote in federal elections. The legislation's passage through the House was accompanied by partisan disagreements, with Republicans praising the bill as essential for election integrity and Democrats opposing it as a partisan maneuver.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/683858-crackdown-on-undocumented-voting-divides-floridas-congressional-delegation/
Location: Washington D.C., United States
Published: 2024-07-12 22:00:52

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State Elections

Yen Bailey files post-qualification deadline to challenge Neal Dunn in CD 2.

Attorney Yen Bailey, a Democrat, has filed to run against incumbent U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn in Florida's 2nd Congressional District, despite another Democrat, Meghann Hovey, being the sole qualifier in April. Rumors suggest that Hovey may drop out of the race, leaving leaders from county Democratic Executive Committees to select a replacement. If Hovey withdraws, there will be an opportunity for a new candidate to appear on the ballot. Yen Bailey is a member of the Florida Bar and works as an attorney at the Bailey Law Firm in Tallahassee, and is the vice president of Every Vote Florida. The Leon County Democratic Party did not respond to requests for comments on the race.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/683866-yen-bailey-files-post-qualification-deadline-to-challenge-neal-dunn-in-cd-2/
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-07-12 23:32:00

RNC 2024: Republican National Convention is in Milwaukee next week. Here's what to expect

The upcoming Republican National Convention is set to be different from Donald Trump's previous nominating events, with his party united behind him as he prepares to accept the Republican nomination. The convention will take place from July 15-18 at Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum, with Trump expected to announce his running mate. The event is expected to feature a range of speakers, including Trump family members, rapper Amber Rose, and Teamsters union General President Sean O’Brien. The convention's themes include economics, immigration, and national security, and Trump is urged to focus on Biden's weaknesses and avoid divisive rhetoric in his acceptance address. There may be dissent over the party's abortion platform, which leaves abortion policy to state governments. Notably, Wisconsin's role in the presidential election and potential protests outside the convention arena are also discussed.

Link: https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/politics/rnc-2024-republican-national-convention-milwaukee-what-to-expect/3360110/
Location: Milwaukee, United States
Published: 2024-07-12 12:44:20

Super PAC describes Mike Haridopolos as a fighter for Florida in new ad blitz

The Fight For Florida PAC has launched a significant ad buy to promote former Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos as the preferred candidate in the upcoming U.S. House election. The ad emphasizes Haridopolos' endorsement by former President Donald Trump and other prominent Republicans, highlighting his stance on key issues such as spending, immigration, and freedom. Haridopolos has also secured endorsements from U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, as well as from House Speaker Mike Johnson. The ad presents Haridopolos' legislative record and positions him as a candidate who will fight for Florida and challenge career politicians. This ad buy represents the second major effort from the Fight for Florida PAC since its recent launch. Additionally, it is noted that Haridopolos is the front-runner for the open U.S. House seat representing Florida’s 8th Congressional District, with other candidates in the Republican Primary and Democratic challengers also in the race.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/683674-super-pac-describes-mike-haridopolos-as-a-fighter-for-florida-in-new-ad-blitz/
Location: Melbourne, Florida
Published: 2024-07-11 22:40:30

‘No one involved in the effort thinks he has a path': Biden insiders say the writing is on the wall

Key allies of President Joe Biden have expressed doubts about his ability to win re-election, with some suggesting he should drop out of the race. This sentiment is reportedly growing within his own campaign and among Democratic supporters. Concerns include questions about Biden's cognitive abilities, fundraising challenges, and polls showing a decline in support for him. While the campaign leadership insists that Biden can still win, there is internal debate and uncertainty about his prospects. Some Democrats worry that a weak Biden candidacy could harm down-ballot candidates. There are also reports of a quiet assessment of Vice President Kamala Harris's potential as a candidate. Despite Biden's insistence on continuing, there is growing pressure for him to reconsider his decision to stay in the race.

Link: https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/national-international/biden-insiders-say-writing-is-on-the-wall/3359120/
Location: Washington D.C., United States
Published: 2024-07-11 15:19:12

Daryl Parks launches ads attacking Corey Simon for insurance bailouts

Darryl Parks, a Democratic candidate for the Senate, has released two new campaign ads. One ad highlights Parks' personal journey and commitment to fighting for the public, while the other criticizes incumbent Sen. Corey Simon and the Republican-controlled Legislature for their handling of the home insurance crisis in Florida. In the first ad, Parks shares his life story and emphasizes his dedication to standing up against powerful interests. He also takes aim at Simon for supporting insurance companies that raise policyholder bills. The second ad, titled "C’Mon Man," directly targets Simon for giving significant tax dollars to insurance companies, linking it to a bill passed during a 2022 Special Session. The ads are set to run across multiple media platforms within Senate District 3 and come at a crucial point in the Democratic primary race between Parks and Gadsden County Commissioner Kimblin NeSmith. The winner of the primary will face Simon in the November election, with the Senate contest expected to be highly competitive. Parks has raised around $330,000 in donations, while Simon has reported over $570,000 in contributions.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/683344-daryl-parks-launches-ads-attacking-corey-simon-for-insurance-bailouts/
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-07-10 08:00:26

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Tourism and Economy

Salt Life to close stores, lay off 98 Florida staff if buyer can't be found

Delta Apparel, the owner of Salt Life brand, is planning to close 15 stores in Florida and a distribution center in Hialeah by late August. This decision may result in the layoffs of 98 employees in Florida, with 40 of those in South Florida. The potential closures and layoffs follow Delta Apparel's filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on July 1, and the company's delisting from the New York Stock Exchange on July 2. The company is set to sell the Salt Life brand in a bankruptcy auction on August 20. WARN notices have also been sent to state agencies in Ohio, Arizona, and North Carolina. The closure of the Hialeah distribution center would affect 12 employees, while the closure of the six Salt Life retail stores in South Florida would affect 28 employees. In total, 58 employees across Florida may lose their jobs if these stores close. No immediate comment was available from representatives of Delta Apparel.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/news/2024/07/12/salt-life-layoffs-stores-closing-florida.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Hialeah, Florida
Published: 2024-07-12 21:23:50

Yes Hospitality to move headquarters to Miami under new leader

Jay Shirodkar, a young South Florida restaurateur, has been appointed as the new president of Yes Hospitality Group, succeeding celebrity chef Ralph Pagano. Shirodkar plans to relocate the company's headquarters to Miami and expand its culinary offerings. In an interview with the Business Journal, he discussed his vision for the company's future, including the launch of a unique concept restaurant called Jay's Steakhouse in Miami, which aims to evoke nostalgic experiences through its menu. Shirodkar emphasized the importance of understanding and catering to the preferences of the younger generation in shaping the future of the restaurant industry. He also expressed a focus on creating innovative and meaningful culinary experiences over solely pursuing revenue targets. Shirodkar's ambition is rooted in infusing his restaurants with genuine art and emotional connection, driven by a love for the craft and a desire to evoke powerful dining experiences for his guests.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/news/2024/07/12/yes-hospitality-moving-headquarters-miami.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Miami, United States
Published: 2024-07-12 19:54:44

Salt Life to close Florida stores if buyer not found for parent company

Salt Life, a lifestyle brand, may close 16 of its stores in Florida if its parent company, Delta Apparel, does not find a buyer during its Chapter 11 bankruptcy process. Approximately 98 job cuts could occur by Aug. 29 if a buyer is not found. Delta Apparel plans to sell the 28-store brand in a bankruptcy auction on Aug. 20, with a stalking horse bid of $28 million by FCM Saltwater Holdings Inc. Meanwhile, the National Retail Federation reported a 3.42% year-over-year increase in non-gasoline and automobile retail sales in June, with clothing and accessories stores experiencing a 5.35% year-over-year sales increase during the same period.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2024/07/12/salt-life-florida-stores-may-close-delta-apparel.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Published: 2024-07-12 18:53:38

Corner Lot closes on Westside Circle K for $2.4 million

Corner Lot has recently closed a ground lease deal for $2.4 million between CLDG Land V LLC and Circle K Stores Inc. with the buyer being Everhart LLC from North Carolina. The property, located in Jacksonville, consists of a working gas station and convenience store on 2.85 acres and was built in 2024. This is the second deal between Corner Lot and Circle K, showcasing Corner Lot’s investment in the growing submarket of Jacksonville’s Westside. It is also the second investment sale of a development driven by a national end-user for Corner Lot.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2024/07/11/corner-lot-closes-on-jacksonville.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Jacksonville, United States
Published: 2024-07-11 18:49:06

Fourth of July travel at JIA soars past pre-pandemic numbers

Jacksonville International Airport (JIA) experienced a significant rise in departing passenger traffic during the week of Independence Day, exceeding the numbers seen before the Covid-19 pandemic. Specifically, the Transportation Security Administration reported that 125,552 passengers passed through security screenings in the five days before and after July 4, surpassing the 2023 figure of 121,497 and the pre-pandemic number of 109,849 in 2019. This surge in activity comes after a record-breaking May, when JIA saw 723,913 total passengers. In 2023, JIA had a record 7.44 million total passengers, marking a 13% increase from the previous year and a 4% increase from 2019. Moreover, JIA's passenger traffic for the first five months of 2023 is up by 5.4% compared to the same period in 2023. This strong performance during the July 4 holiday aligns with reports of increased travel activity at other airports, such as Orlando International Airport, which saw over 707,000 travelers depart during the nine-day travel period.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2024/07/11/fourth-of-july-travel-for-the-airport.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Jacksonville, United States
Published: 2024-07-11 18:37:49

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Local Government

DIA terminating 2021 agreement for Laura Street Trio project

The Downtown Investment Authority (DIA) has taken a preliminary step towards formally terminating its 2021 development agreement with SouthEast Development Group for the redevelopment of the historic Laura Street Trio. CEO Lori Boyer stated that significant changes to the project over the past three years have rendered the 2021 agreement obsolete. The DIA's Strategic Implementation Committee voted unanimously to terminate the agreement, citing the need to update terms that no longer accurately represent the property's current state. Boyer emphasized that termination of the contract doesn't preclude future developments related to the project but would require a new agreement. The DIA would move toward declaring SouthEast in default if both parties do not agree to termination. Additionally, discussions also addressed misconceptions about the City Council Special Committee's impact on DIA operations, with plans for clarification on the DIA's future operations forthcoming in early August.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2024/07/12/dia-terminating-2021-agreement-for-laura-st-trio.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Jacksonville, United States
Published: 2024-07-12 20:49:18

Riverside Avondale Preservation market director, John Silveira, to retire in August

John Silveira, who has served as the market director for the Riverside Arts Market (RAM) for over eight years, will be stepping down on August 31. During his tenure, the market witnessed significant growth, with vendor counts increasing from 60 to 150 and the implementation of the "Vendor Interest Form" that receives over 1,000 applicants yearly. Silveira emphasized the market's role in promoting local artisans and fostering economic opportunities, as well as creating a unique visitor experience. His departure marks the end of a successful period marked by expansion and community engagement at RAM.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2024/07/12/john-silveira.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Riverside, United States
Published: 2024-07-12 19:08:36

2 Faculty Named UCF Trustee Chairs for 2024-29

Two professors at the University of Central Florida (UCF) have been appointed or reappointed to prestigious UCF trustee chair professorships in the College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS). Subith Vasu has been named a new trustee chair, while Alain Kassab has been reappointed. The five-year appointments, which were created in 2003 to retain and attract exceptional faculty, provide an annual stipend for honorees to advance their scholarship. Deans nominate candidates for the appointments, which are then evaluated by a trustee chair review committee and confirmed by UCF’s president and provost to take effect in August. Vasu and Kassab have demonstrated a strong commitment to teaching and have accomplished significant work in their respective fields. Their appointments align with UCF’s strategic plan goals of retaining and recruiting outstanding faculty.

Link: https://www.ucf.edu/news/2-faculty-named-ucf-trustee-chairs-for-2024-29/
Location: Orlando, United States
Published: 2024-07-12 18:57:26

Downtown nighttime parking restriction is no more. City says it was in place for only one weekend

The City of Orlando implemented a temporary restriction on nighttime parking at downtown parking garages, only to lift it after one weekend. The ban, which limited entry and reentry to parking garages after 11 p.m. on weekends, prompted concerns from business owners and patrons. The city made no public announcement about the change, and it was only revealed two months later that the restriction was intended as an "experiment" to ensure downtown safety. The city did not provide specific reasons for the initial policy or the lack of communication surrounding it. Additionally, the city extended its moratorium on downtown nightclubs and bars due to safety and security concerns.

Link: https://www.orlandoweekly.com/news/downtown-nighttime-parking-restriction-is-no-more-city-says-it-was-in-place-for-only-one-weekend-37312827
Location: Orlando, United States
Published: 2024-07-12 15:57:00

Indoor pickleball club opens in Hialeah

The Yards Pickleball and Social Club, located in Hialeah, is a newly opened 25,000-square-foot indoor recreational venue offering eight air-conditioned pickleball and tennis courts for booking at rates starting at $40 an hour. Operated by hospitality subsidiary Black Box Entertainment of Prestige Companies, the venue aims to offer VIP private rooms, lockers, and outdoor courts. The club also provides discounted meals from a mobile food truck court outside the facility. The recent surge in popularity of pickleball has led to the opening of similar venues across the region, with developers using courts as amenities to attract potential buyers and residents. The Yards was strategically situated in an industrial area near Amelia Earhart Park to provide amenities to the community and create a lifestyle.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/news/2024/07/11/indoor-pickleball-club-opens-hialeah.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Hialeah, United States
Published: 2024-07-11 21:52:49

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Education

FSU Panama City Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice graduates earn 100% pass rate on national certification exam

The first doctoral program offered at FSU Panama City, the Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP), has seen its inaugural graduates achieve a 100-percent passing rate on the National Certification Examination to become certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs). With a near-100-percent completion rate and a 100-percent employment rate upon graduation, the program transitioned from a master's degree to a doctoral program in 2020. The graduates are recognized for completing over 30,000 anesthetics, accumulating 81,000 clinical hours, and undertaking a scholarly inquiry project. The rigorous 36-month program prepares registered nurses to become CRNAs and has consistently produced a 100-percent passing rate on the NCE. The program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs and aims to advance the science of anesthesiology. CRNAs practice in various medical settings, including hospitals, surgical centers, and military and public health facilities. For more information on the DNAP program, visit pc.fsu.edu/nap.

Link: https://news.fsu.edu/news/health-medicine/2024/07/12/fsu-panama-city-doctor-of-nurse-anesthesia-practice-graduates-earn-100-pass-rate-on-national-certification-exam/
Location: Panama City, United States
Published: 2024-07-12 17:30:48

Florida Department of Education includes Jane Austen novel in ‘American Pride’ recs

The Florida Department of Education (FDOE) released its July book recommendations, including Jane Austen’s "Pride and Prejudice" for students in grades 9 to 12. The announcement aimed to instill a sense of American pride during this patriotic month, but some critics question the relevance of Austen’s classic, which tells a story set in 19th century England, to the theme of heroic patriotism and freedom. Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz Jr. urged students to reflect on American pride, emphasizing the role of the founding fathers and Americans in the pursuit of liberty and freedom. However, the connection between Austen's work and patriotic celebrations remains unclear.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/683640-florida-department-of-education-includes-jane-austen-novel-in-american-pride-recs/
Location: None
Published: 2024-07-11 19:34:44

UCF Launches Inaugural Mentorship, Scholarship Initiative for Students in AI

Faculty at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in the College of Sciences and College of Engineering and Computer Science are focusing on preparing incoming students for the emerging field of artificial intelligence (AI). The team has received a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation to support bright, financially challenged undergraduate students in pursuing AI education through STRONG-AI (STEM Opportunities for Nurtured Growth in AI). The program provides mentorship, scholarships, and resources to help students succeed in STEM education. The initiative aims to address the need for a qualified STEM workforce and encourage students to stay in the system and pursue graduate degrees. The program has received over 150 applications and hopes to select 10 to 15 students annually based on financial aid eligibility, academic success, and interviews with faculty. It is designed to provide students with a solid background in AI to prepare them for careers in the field. The program's mentors include prominent faculty members with expertise in various AI-related disciplines. Although the inaugural cohort's applications are closed, future interested students may apply in the upcoming cycles.

Link: https://www.ucf.edu/news/ucf-launches-inaugural-mentorship-scholarship-initiative-for-students-in-ai/
Location: Orlando, United States
Published: 2024-07-11 17:43:41

UCF Awards Promotion and Tenure to 104 Faculty

UCF faculty members achieved significant career milestones by earning promotions and tenure for the 2023-24 cycle. Among the 104 approved faculty, 63 received promotion, 40 received promotion and tenure, and one was granted tenure. The evaluation process involved extensive review and recommendations from peers, college and university leaders. Final decisions on promotions were made by the president and provost, with tenure requiring approval from the UCF Board of Trustees. Tenure is highlighted as a key element in UCF’s strategic plan for academic excellence and faculty retention. UCF's provost expressed confidence in the promoted faculty members' ability to contribute to the university's future success. The approvals will take effect on August 8.

Link: https://www.ucf.edu/news/ucf-awards-promotion-and-tenure-to-104-faculty/
Location: Orlando, United States
Published: 2024-07-10 18:39:53

FSU named ‘Best Value’ public university in Florida, No. 16 in the nation by The Princeton Review

Florida State University (FSU) has been named the top-ranked Best Value public college in Florida and the No. 16 Best Value College nationally among public institutions according to The Princeton Review’s 2024 Best Value Colleges list. The ranking reflects FSU's efforts to reduce financial barriers and prioritize student success. Additionally, FSU is recognized for its career preparation initiatives, including internship programs, leading to a high probability of securing jobs for graduates. The university has also been acknowledged for its strong alumni network. These rankings are based on data points covering academics, affordability, and career preparation, positioning FSU as a leading institution in Florida for providing accessible and valuable higher education.

Link: https://news.fsu.edu/news/university-news/2024/07/10/fsu-named-best-value-public-university-in-florida-no-16-in-the-nation-by-the-princeton-review/
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-07-10 18:17:32

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Healthcare and Public Health

Sen. Klobuchar says she’s cancer-free but will get radiation as precaution after a spot removal

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar recently announced that she remains cancer-free after having a small calcification removed as a precaution, for which she will undergo radiation treatment. This follows her successful battle with early-stage breast cancer in 2021, which was detected during a routine mammogram. Klobuchar encouraged routine screenings and emphasized the importance of proactive healthcare. She is seeking reelection for a fourth term and continues her legislative duties.

Link: https://wsvn.com/news/politics/sen-klobuchar-says-shes-cancer-free-but-will-get-radiation-as-precaution-after-a-spot-removal/
Location: None
Published: 2024-07-12 16:19:20

New peer respite center opens in Orlando for mental health, a first for Central Florida

Eva's Casita, a peer respite center operated by the nonprofit Peer Support Space, is the first of its kind in Central Florida and the nation to be designed and led by LGBTQ+ mental-health advocates. The center offers a non-medical, safe, and comfortable space for consenting adults struggling with non-urgent mental health challenges. With a 24/7 peer support specialist on staff, the center has already provided refuge to over 70 guests within its first two months of operation. While not a replacement for medical or mental health care, Eva's Casita aims to be an inclusive and accessible environment, employing nonclinical, peer-led interventions. The center, funded through a mix of public and private sources, is committed to community outreach and collaboration to address concerns and misconceptions. The current waitlist for a stay at Eva's Casita is approaching two months, with guests mostly learning about the center through word of mouth.

Link: https://www.orlandoweekly.com/news/new-peer-respite-center-opens-in-orlando-for-mental-health-a-first-for-central-florida-37305728
Location: Orlando, United States
Published: 2024-07-12 15:55:00

Phone anxiety disorder a growing phenomenon in the workplace

"Telephonophobia," or the fear of making or answering phone calls, is increasingly affecting workers under 40 due to the growing dependence on text messages and emails. This fear stems from a reluctance to engage in phone conversations, often rooted in the fear of saying something incorrectly as a result of reliance on texting for communication. This has led to a disconnect between younger employees and older workers/managers who view phone calls as more efficient. Even those without diagnosed social anxiety may also have reservations about using phones for business communications. Human resources experts recommend setting clear expectations for returning phone calls and leading by example to encourage effective communication among colleagues.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/news/2024/07/11/phone-anxiety-disorder-grows-workplace.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: None
Published: 2024-07-11 19:20:00

⏳ Counties with the shortest life expectancy in Florida

Life expectancy is influenced by genetics, health and wellness habits, and environmental and community factors. Research suggests that following a balanced diet, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, maintaining a healthy weight, and staying physically active can significantly increase life expectancy. However, life expectancy can also vary based on location and community characteristics. Socioeconomic factors, population density, fast food availability, and industry-based jobs have been linked to shorter life expectancies in certain areas. A study identified the counties in Florida with the shortest life expectancy using 2024 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps. The average life expectancy for a county is calculated based on the number of deaths in a given time period and the average number of people at risk of dying during that period.

Link: https://www.clickorlando.com/insider/2024/07/10/counties-with-the-shortest-life-expectancy-in-florida/
Location: Miami, United States
Published: 2024-07-10 09:00:00

Meet Pinnacle Home Care, a 2024 Fast 50 honoree

Pinnacle Home Care, a home health services provider based in Tampa, is a Medicare Certified and Florida Licensed full-service clinically owned and operated health care company. The company recently established a strategic partnership with New York-based HCS-Girling and is focused on embracing technological accelerators to enhance operational efficiency. Despite facing challenges such as regulatory changes, the Covid-19 pandemic, and hurricanes, Pinnacle has demonstrated significant growth, outpacing industry averages tenfold. The company's top priority for the year ahead is the adoption of cutting-edge technology and AI to improve patient care. Pinnacle is currently hiring to increase staffing levels, and its current workplace setup involves in-person work for employees.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2024/07/09/meet-pinnacle-home-care-a-2024-fast-50-honoree.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Tampa, United States
Published: 2024-07-09 10:09:36

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Social Issues

Florida baby’s sign language moment with deaf grandparents goes viral. Her mom hopes videos will spread awareness

A St. Augustine mother's videos of her baby interacting with her deaf grandparents have gone viral, sparking a conversation about the benefits of teaching children sign language. Mara McCullough's baby, Jane, is seen attempting to communicate with her grandparents using sign language, which has garnered millions of views on TikTok. While Jane is still learning, the videos have highlighted the potential for babies to understand and communicate through sign language at an early age. Sign language tutor Karen Lewis-Hannah emphasized the benefits of teaching children sign language, regardless of their hearing abilities. McCullough hopes the viral videos will raise awareness about the beauty of sign language and promote understanding of the deaf and hard of hearing community.

Link: https://www.clickorlando.com/news/florida/2024/07/12/florida-babys-sign-language-moment-with-deaf-grandparents-goes-viral-her-mom-hopes-videos-will-spread-awareness/
Location: St. Augustine, United States
Published: 2024-07-12 13:06:25

Support for legal abortion has risen since Supreme Court eliminated protections, AP-NORC poll finds

A recent poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research reveals growing support for access to abortions for any reason among Americans. The survey found that around 6 in 10 Americans believe their state should generally allow legal abortion for any reason, marking an increase from the previous year. The majority of Americans oppose strict abortion bans that have been enacted in several Republican-controlled states, and they also oppose national abortion bans and restrictions. The survey indicates that opinions on abortion are becoming more permissive, with a majority of Americans supporting legal abortion in all or most cases. Additionally, the poll highlights nuanced and sometimes contradictory views on abortion among the public. Most Americans support legal abortion in extreme circumstances, such as when the patient's life is endangered or in cases of rape, incest, or fetal anomalies. The survey also indicates that a substantial number of people hold opinions and values that are not internally consistent. Notably, the poll suggests that most Republicans are against a nationwide abortion ban, despite the anti-abortion stance of some political figures. The survey was conducted from June 20-24, 2024, and included a representative sample of 1,088 adults with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.0 percentage points.

Link: https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/national-international/support-abortion-rises-supreme-court/3356679/
Location: None
Published: 2024-07-09 09:47:19

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Disaster Response

ICYMI: SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to Businesses and Residents of Florida

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering low-interest disaster loans to businesses and residents affected by severe storms and flooding in Florida from June 11 to 14. The declaration covers Broward and Miami-Dade counties, as well as adjacent counties. Businesses, homeowners, and renters in the area can apply for loans to repair or replace real estate, machinery, inventory, and personal property. Additionally, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) for small businesses and nonprofit organizations to meet working capital needs. The SBA is also encouraging mitigation measures to prevent future damage. Interested parties can apply online or contact the SBA Customer Service Center for assistance.

Link: https://www.floridadisaster.org/news-media/news/20240710-sba-offers-disaster-assistance-to-businesses-and-residents-of-florida/
Location: Broward and Miami-Dade counties, United States
Published: 2024-07-11 23:02:58

United Airlines jet makes unscheduled landing in Orlando after a passenger fights with crew member

A United Airlines flight from Miami to New Jersey was diverted to Orlando, Florida, after a passenger became "aggressive and disruptive." Video footage shows a physical altercation between the passenger and a flight attendant. The passenger was removed from the flight upon landing and taken to a hospital for evaluation. No arrest has been made, and United Airlines stated that their flight attendants worked to de-escalate the situation and protect other customers.

Link: https://www.clickorlando.com/business/2024/07/11/united-airlines-jet-makes-unscheduled-landing-in-orlando-after-a-passenger-fights-with-crew-member/
Location: Orlando, United States
Published: 2024-07-11 15:57:59

2 Florida agencies grapple with cyberattacks

A cyberattack on the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice's computer system has left many contractors unable to access the network for more than three months. Meanwhile, a second cyberattack has caused outages in the Florida Department of Health's Vital Statistics System, affecting the processing of birth and death certificates. The hackers threatened to release health department data unless a ransom was paid, but state law prohibits paying ransoms for cyberattacks. The interruption of the vital statistics system has caused delays in funerals and financial issues for people needing death certificates for various purposes. State and health officials are working to resolve the issue and provide alternative offline procedures for issuing death certificates. The Department of Juvenile Justice confirmed that its network remains inaccessible for many contractors but is operational for agency employees. State officials are working to restore the affected systems, with county health departments and hospitals implementing alternative procedures for issuing birth certificates. The cyberattacks have raised concerns about the state's cybersecurity and the effectiveness of training programs in preventing such incidents. Sen. Jennifer Bradley emphasized the importance of agencies taking precautions to protect their systems from being breached.

Link: https://www.clickorlando.com/news/2024/07/11/2-florida-agencies-grapple-with-cyberattacks/
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Published: 2024-07-11 02:02:12

Florida's hurricane season forecast ratchets up

The Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University has revised its storm forecast for the 2024 hurricane season, increasing the number of named storms and major hurricanes. Warm Atlantic and Caribbean waters, along with a lack of strong vertical wind shear, contributed to this adjustment. The forecast now calls for 25 named storms and 12 hurricanes, with six reaching Category 3 or higher status. The department anticipates an above-average probability for major hurricane landfalls in the United States and the Caribbean. While the projection for a U.S. landfall has dipped slightly, it remains above the historical average. Other forecasters, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Pennsylvania, also predict a highly active hurricane season. The 2023 season was the fourth most active on record, and the average number of storms from 1991 to 2020 was 14.4 per year, with an average of 7.2 reaching hurricane strength.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2024/07/10/floridas-hurricane-season-forecast-ratchets-up.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: City, Country: Fort Collins, United States
Published: 2024-07-10 09:47:20

Their Vermont homes were inundated by extreme flooding. A year later, they still struggle to recover

Lisa Edson Neveu and her family continue to live in their flood-damaged home, facing ongoing struggles with insurance companies, the city, and state agencies. A year after the flooding, they are still waiting for a resolution on whether their home will be elevated or bought out. Similarly affected families across Vermont are in the same predicament, dealing with bureaucratic delays and uncertain housing situations. The city of Montpelier is making efforts to elevate or buy out severely damaged homes, but the process is slow and uncertain. Other affected areas, such as Barre and Berlin, are also grappling with the aftermath of last year's flooding. While some have managed to find new housing, the overall recovery process remains challenging and drawn out.

Link: https://www.clickorlando.com/news/politics/2024/07/10/their-vermont-homes-were-inundated-by-extreme-flooding-a-year-later-they-still-struggle-to-recover/
Location: Montpelier, United States
Published: 2024-07-10 04:04:11

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Central Florida Politics

Last Call for 7.11.24 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

A recent ABC News/Washington Post/Ipsos poll indicates that both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are tied in terms of support from registered voters. However, 67% of those polled believe Biden should step aside and let another candidate run for president, while 58% think both candidates are too old to serve. If Biden were to step down, Vice President Kamala Harris is the top pick for his replacement. Despite Trump's age, 43% view his job performance favorably. Notably, Biden holds leads in trustworthiness and other metrics, while Trump is viewed as more capable to handle the job. Additionally, the Copa America finals will take place between Colombia and Argentina at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Colombia is on a 20-game unbeaten streak, while Argentina, led by Lionel Messi, aims to secure their 15th Copa America title.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/683655-last-call-for-7-11-24-a-prime-time-read-of-whats-going-down-in-florida-politics/
Location: Miami, United States
Published: 2024-07-11 22:00:37

5 Questions with UCF Alum Richard Bilbao: New Editor-in-Chief of Orlando Business Journal

Richard Bilbao, a UCF journalism alum, has been appointed as the editor-in-chief of the Orlando Business Journal (OBJ) after working at the publication for sixteen years in various roles. He has received awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists. UCF’s Nicholson School of Communication and Media (NSCM) director, Robert Littlefield, commended Bilbao's contribution to journalism. Bilbao discussed his career and personal interests, expressing fondness for Nintendo's Super Mario and his family holiday traditions. He also highlighted recent news coverage on Orange County’s tourist development tax collections and the ongoing tussle between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and The Walt Disney Co. Bilbao noted that his time at UCF prepared him for his career with valuable training and support from professors and fellow students.

Link: https://www.ucf.edu/news/5-questions-with-ucf-alum-richard-bilbao-new-editor-in-chief-of-orlando-business-journal/
Location: Orlando, United States
Published: 2024-07-11 14:00:38

Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 7.10.24

Florida's delegates will gather in Milwaukee for the Republican National Convention to renominate Donald Trump. Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson will hold events to rally the state's delegates in support of Trump's re-election. Despite Ron DeSantis not having a main speaking slot at the convention, he will participate in other Republican events. Meanwhile, Trump has returned to the campaign trail and has intensified his attacks on Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Democrats are divided over Biden's future, with some feeling powerless to act against his candidacy. Despite some Democrats' doubts about Biden, attempts to oust him from the ticket have not gained significant traction.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/683178-sunburn-the-morning-read-of-whats-hot-in-florida-politics-7-10-24/
Location: Milwaukee, United States
Published: 2024-07-10 08:00:48

Last Call for 7.9.24 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

The Libertarian Party of Florida has announced its support for Amendment 3, a ballot measure legalizing recreational marijuana in the state. The party believes that the amendment aligns with its core principles of personal liberty and freedom from government interference. However, it also emphasized the need for further marijuana legal protections, including homegrown cannabis and a free market approach. Amendment 3 would legalize possession of up to three ounces of marijuana for adults 21 and older and require medical marijuana centers to sell it for recreational use. A recent poll suggests that around 64% of Florida voters support the initiative, indicating potential success in the upcoming November ballot.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/683339-last-call-for-7-9-24-a-prime-time-read-of-whats-going-down-in-florida-politics/
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-07-10 03:59:35

Craig Erwin Joins UCF Foundation as CFO on July 29

Craig Erwin will become the chief financial officer of UCF Foundation Inc. on July 29. With 25 years of finance experience, including 18 years in higher education financial administration, Erwin most recently served as vice president for administration and finance, and CFO at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He aims to bring expertise in strategic financial planning and real estate management to UCF. Erwin, an avid golfer, looks forward to the Florida sunshine and spending time with his family. He holds an MBA from Texas Christian University and an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering from Louisiana Tech University. Erwin and his spouse, Jenn, have two children and two dogs.

Link: https://www.ucf.edu/news/craig-erwin-joins-ucf-as-cfo-for-ucf-foundation-on-july-29/
Location: Fredericksburg, Virginia
Published: 2024-07-09 17:00:37

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Local Elections

Interview: Maureen Saunders Scott explains ‘Moe Saunders’ campaign against Joe Saunders

Maureen Saunders Scott, a candidate in Florida's House District 106, has drawn attention for changing her name on the Division of Elections website to "Moe Saunders," which is similar to her nephew, Joe Saunders, who is also a candidate in the same district. This has raised concerns of a potential "ghost candidate" scheme. Scott has denied seeking the name change to confuse voters and has expressed her intention to advocate for LGBTQ youth, sexual abuse survivors, and women. Joe Saunders has filed a lawsuit alleging a violation of Florida law, claiming political games are being played. A hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for August 1. The article has also touched upon the family dynamics and alleged attempts to silence Scott regarding a past sexual assault she claims to have suffered from a family member. Additionally, it has been highlighted that Scott plans to move to the district if she wins the election and intends to run a grassroots campaign.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/683646-interview-maureen-saunders-scott-explains-moe-saunders-campaign-against-joe-saunders/
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Published: 2024-07-11 20:13:05

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State Budget

Stetson University scores state funds to restore historic tower

Stetson University has been granted a $500,000 historic preservation grant from the State of Florida to rebuild its landmark Hulley Tower, which was originally constructed in 1934 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The tower, which serves as a mausoleum for the university's second President and his wife, was dismantled in 2005 due to damage from the 2004 hurricane season. The rebuilding will restore the tower to its original 116-foot height and include a 52-bell carillon. The university is also fundraising $5 million for the project and has ongoing construction plans for a new residence hall. Various businesses and government entities have supported Stetson's request for state assistance, and the university's president expressed gratitude for the support received.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2024/07/11/stetson-university-hulley-tower-construction.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: DeLand, United States
Published: 2024-07-11 19:06:04

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Governors Office

An open letter to Gov. DeSantis from Orlando and Tampa Fringe festival staff

The letter addressed to Governor DeSantis from the Orlando and Tampa Fringe festivals aims to clarify misunderstandings about their funding and activities. It emphasizes that Fringe festivals are performing arts festivals, not sexual events, and that they operate within the law and age-appropriate guidelines. The festivals' funding is not directly paid to artists, but supports office expenses, staff salaries, and ADA accommodations. The letter also highlights the significant economic impact of Florida's arts and culture sector and its value to the state. The festivals propose to forego their 2025 state grants to help restore the vetoed arts and culture funding, and offer to host the governor and his family at their festivals in exchange for support in reversing the veto. The letter emphasizes the urgency of the matter due to the impact on arts and culture organizations and calls for collaboration for the benefit of all Florida citizens.

Link: https://www.orlandoweekly.com/news/an-open-letter-to-gov-desantis-from-orlando-and-tampa-fringe-festival-staff-37298549
Location: Orlando, United States
Published: 2024-07-11 06:00:00

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Environmental Policy

Environmental groups, regulators settle lawsuit over massive 2021 leak at Piney Point

Environmental groups and Florida regulators have reached a settlement over the 2021 leak of polluted water into Tampa Bay from a phosphate plant reservoir. The settlement requires the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to issue a Clean Water Act permit for the Piney Point facility and to pay $75,000 for water quality monitoring. The facility, which operated without a permit for 20 years, is currently being closed down, and contaminated water is being pumped into underground wells. The leak caused major fish kills and a red tide outbreak, leading to evacuations and a state of emergency declaration. The settlement aims to prevent future environmental threats and provides closure for affected parties.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/683415-environmental-groups-regulators-settle-lawsuit-over-massive-2021-leak-at-piney-point/
Location: Tampa, United States
Published: 2024-07-10 11:36:22

UCF Biologist Continues Unraveling Mystery of Magnetic Bacteria

Assistant Professor Robert Fitak of the UCF Department of Biology has compiled a database of animal DNA showing the presence of magnetic bacteria, which is seen as a step forward in understanding the relationship between these bacteria and the animals they reside in. This database is being used to identify potential host organisms for the magnetic bacteria and to examine the roles they may play in animal navigation. Although the use of magnetic bacteria for navigation by animals is not yet confirmed, the research is aimed at understanding how animals navigate and how this knowledge can be used for conserving endangered species or in various applications. The team is focusing on sea turtles to study the presence of magnetic bacteria and their potential role in navigation. Ph.D. student Julianna Martin is involved in the collection and analysis of sea turtle samples in this research. The research aims to shed light on the presence and potential function of magnetic bacteria in animal navigation.

Link: https://www.ucf.edu/news/ucf-biologist-continues-unraveling-mystery-of-magnetic-bacteria/
Location: Orlando, United States
Published: 2024-07-09 13:44:40

Florida considers adding more nuclear power, first expansion in decades

State regulators in Florida will be studying the feasibility of adding more nuclear power in the coming months as part of a legislative directive. The Florida Public Service Commission has scheduled a workshop for September 5 to begin carrying out this directive, with a report due by April 2025. The possibility of adding nuclear power at military bases is also being considered. This directive coincides with similar steps being taken at the federal level by the Biden administration to bolster nuclear projects and streamline permitting for nuclear projects. Nuclear plants currently generate about 13 percent of Florida's electricity, and recent interest in nuclear power stems from efforts to reduce carbon emissions and advancements in new technology, which is said to require fewer components and less maintenance.

Link: https://www.orlandoweekly.com/news/florida-considers-adding-more-nuclear-power-first-expansion-in-decades-37287803
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Published: 2024-07-09 11:31:00

New nuclear power plant eyed in Florida

The Florida Public Service Commission is set to conduct a study on the feasibility of incorporating advanced nuclear technologies into the state's energy infrastructure, as directed by legislation. The study, to be completed by April 2025, will explore the potential for adding nuclear power at military bases. This directive coincides with efforts at the federal level, where the Biden administration is aiming to accelerate the deployment of clean and reliable nuclear energy, including at military bases. Nuclear plants currently account for about 13% of Florida's electricity, with the state not having built new nuclear plants since the 1970s and 1980s. The study was included in a bill that also addressed other energy-related issues, reflecting renewed interest in nuclear power due to efforts to reduce carbon emissions and advancements in technology.

Link: https://www.clickorlando.com/news/2024/07/09/new-nuclear-power-plant-eyed-in-florida/
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-07-09 03:20:25

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Bills and Laws

Republicans move at Donald Trump’s behest to change how they will oppose abortion

The Republican National Committee (RNC) has adopted a party platform reflecting former President Donald Trump's stance opposing a federal abortion ban. This marks the first time in 40 years that the explicit basis for a national ban has been omitted. The platform, at 16 pages, contains limited specifics and aligns with Trump's campaign strategy to avoid providing Democrats with ammunition. It retains the party's long-standing principle that the Constitution extends rights to fetuses but removes language supporting an amendment to the Constitution and legislation clarifying the application of the Fourteenth Amendment's protections to unborn children. The platform also reflects Trump's view that the matter of abortion rests with the states. The move has received praise from some, including the President of SBA Pro-Life America, Marjorie Dannenfelser. However, it has also faced criticism from some party members who believe that a federal ban on abortion should remain a party principle. The platform committee began its meeting a week before the Republican National Convention, where Trump is set to accept the nomination for President. Trump's campaign has strived to reshape the RNC into a campaign vessel, aiming to avoid having a lengthy and potentially misrepresented platform.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/683127-republicans-move-at-donald-trumps-behest-to-change-how-they-will-oppose-abortion/
Location: None
Published: 2024-07-08 23:05:01

Republicans move at Trump’s behest to change how they will oppose abortion

The Republican National Committee's platform committee has adopted a policy document reflecting former President Donald Trump's position opposing a federal abortion ban and allowing states to set limits, marking the first time in 40 years that the explicit basis for a national ban has been omitted. The text cites the 14th Amendment as guaranteeing no denial of life or liberty without due process, leaving states free to pass laws protecting these rights. The move aligns with Trump's priorities, seeking to avoid strict abortion language while touting his influence on the Supreme Court's 2022 reversal of Roe v. Wade. Some members have expressed concerns about the absence of a federal ban principle and Trump's influence on the committee's direction. The platform committee begins its meeting a week before the Republican National Convention, where Trump is set to accept his third consecutive nomination for president. There may also be disputes over Trump's preference for tariffs and isolationist foreign policy. The platform drafting process has been criticized for its secretive nature, and Trump's campaign has sought to streamline the platform to avoid misrepresentation by political opponents. The document reflects Trump's past support for a federal ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy but also acknowledges his criticism of strict anti-abortion positions in individual states. The article also highlights public opinion on abortion and the division within the Republican Party over the platform's direction.

Link: https://sun-sentinel.com/2024/07/08/republicans-move-at-trumps-behest-to-change-how-they-will-oppose-abortion/
Location: None
Published: 2024-07-08 18:49:52

Republicans move at Trump’s behest to change how they will oppose abortion

The Republican National Committee moved to adopt a party platform that aligns with former President Donald Trump's stance on abortion, supporting state-level limits over a federal ban. This marks the first time in 40 years that the platform omits explicit support for a national ban. The scaled-down platform reflects efforts by the Trump campaign to avoid contentious issues that could be exploited by Democrats. The document maintains the party's belief that the Constitution extends rights to fetuses but removes language supporting an amendment to the Constitution to clarify protections for fetuses. Anti-abortion advocates largely supported the platform, with some expressing concern over the shift to state control. The platform committee's meeting took place ahead of the Republican National Convention, where Trump is set to accept his nomination for president. The move underscores Trump's influence on shaping the party's priorities and positions.

Link: https://wsvn.com/news/politics/republicans-move-at-trumps-behest-to-change-how-they-will-oppose-abortion/
Location: None
Published: 2024-07-08 17:40:13

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