Tuesday's Afternoon Update – Florida Trend


March 1, 2023

Improved economic outlook propels consumer sentiment higher
Consumer sentiment among Floridians increased in February 1.9 points to 67.2 from January’s revised figure of 65.3. Similarly, national consumer sentiment increased 2.1 points. “Consumer sentiment continued to improve for the second consecutive month in February, indicating a reversal in trajectory compared with a year ago. This optimistic outlook is consistent with the observed resilience of the labor market, despite the recent layoffs in the tech sector. Furthermore, the easing of inflation and inflation expectations over past months is also in line with growing optimism,” said Hector Sandoval, director of the Economic Analysis Program at UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research. More from UF News.

Publix expands its ‘drink beer and wine while you shop’ concept
Publix has seen strong success with a concept it debuted in 2018, Pours, that provides a gathering spot for customers and serves beer, wine, coffee and more. At least two more Pours locations are planned for the near future, including one in Tampa. Overall, revenue at Lakeland-based Publix is on the rise, up 9.2% year-over-year for the 2022 third quarter and up 10.7% year-over-year in the first nine months of 2022. Margins, on the other hand, have fallen during the same time periods. More from the Business Observer.

Raising taxes, slashing jobs and services. ‘Everything is on the table’ as Gainesville tackles financial crisis
Raising property taxes. Selling the utility. Reversing renewable energy goals. Lowering commission pay. Cutting city services. Issuing a hiring freeze and slashing jobs. That and more are being weighed by Gainesville leaders as they prepare their upcoming budget to address concerns shared by lawmakers last week. The Florida Joint Legislative Auditing Committee met Thursday and raised a series of concerns stemming from a 2022 audit about Gainesville, its utility and plans to address more than $1.7 billion in debt. More from the Gainesville Sun.

Red tide: High risk of respiratory irritation forecast for some Sarasota County beaches
Forecasters caution that gusty winds could lead to respiratory irritation caused by red tide among Sarasota County beachgoers this week. The red tide bloom has lingered in Southwest Florida at various intensities since late October. Samples reported by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission last Friday showed the bloom has spread as far north as St. Pete Beach in Pinellas County, but also measured “high” concentrations of red tide from Lido Beach in Sarasota County to as far south as Naples in Collier over the past week. More from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Here’s when Brightline may start offering trips from South Florida to Orlando this year
Brightline, South Florida’s higher-speed intercity railroad, is gearing up its customers for the prospect that fast train rides to Orlando could come in its second quarter — sometime this spring to early summer. From its latest financial report to the announced arrival of the railroad’s last new train set that rounds out its 10-train fleet, Brightline has been telling the public that the period between April and June is its targeted time frame for starting service over the new 170-mile segment between West Palm Beach and its futuristic station at Orlando International Airport. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Out of the Box
Meet the Tampa dentist who pulls cars with his teeth and makes ‘KGB molars’
It doesn’t take strong teeth for acrobats to hang from a trapeze by their mouths. “They’re protected by a mouthpiece called an iron jaw,” Mike Foley said. “It’s the neck that hurts.” He should know. Using a homemade iron jaw, Foley has hung from his children’s backyard rope swing. He is also a dentist, perhaps Tampa’s most eccentric. Or is he the most unique?
» More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Tech Trends
Power walk
In the event of a power failure, only about half of Tampa’s traffic lights are equipped with backup batteries that can keep the signals operating without a generator for about eight hours. After that, the traffic lights would go dark, and motorists would be on their own. Given the potential for confusion and accidents at intersections with out-of-order traffic signals — and to prepare for tropical storms that might cause widespread power outages — Tampa has partnered with solar panel maker Solar Earth on a $45,000 pilot program to embed 84 solar panels in sidewalks near a downtown intersection.
» Read more from Florida Trend.
Tags: Daily Pulse, Afternoon Pulse
In case you missed it:
Legal battle over Florida importing drugs from Canada continues
Florida home schoolers want no part in voucher expansion bill
Home sales plummet in South Florida. Why do prices keep rising as housing market deflates?
Florida continues to set population growth milestones
Florida Trend Video Pick

From Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives LIVE to the Art of Tiki Cocktail Showdown, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival returned to Miami in 2023. Take a look at some of the main events of the festival.
Video Picks | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend
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