When the COVID-19 pandemic hit it scrambled the labor force in a variety of ways.
The pandemic pushed businesses that were able to move employees to work from home or remotely, it precipitated a surge in voluntarily quitting for higher pay known as the Great Resignation and it led to a decrease in the labor participation rate for women, as mothers often chose to leave work to care for children during lockdowns.
A report from Florida TaxWatch released Thursday shows those trends remain in effect despite the subsiding of COVID-19 and the public health protection measures used to combat its spread.
“Florida’s economy has experienced a strong rebound and significant growth over the last few years, thanks, in large part, to leadership’s strategic and forward-thinking response to the pandemic,” TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic Calabro said in a released statement.
“As noted in this report, however, the state has witnessed drastic changes to the dynamic of its workforce, presenting new opportunities, like normalizing remote work, as well as challenges, such as securing women’s place in the workforce. And today, in contrast to record low unemployment levels, Floridians are still quitting their jobs at considerably high rates — a trend impacting the leisure and hospitality industry in particular — which indicates the ‘Great Resignation’ is far from over and employees will continue to have the upper hand over employers.”
The report shows 38% of employees did at least some of their work from home, 14% higher than in 2019. And while Florida is an attractive state for those who can work remotely, the trend also presents challenges to Florida, the report states, because firms that aren’t tied to a physical location could opt to leave the state.
The quit rate remains high in the US, at 3% in June, but the “Great Resignation” is more pronounced in Florida, which had a 3.6% quit rate that month, about 338,000 workers. The report singles out low pay as a major contributor to the trend, with Florida’s leisure and hospitality industry playing a key factor in the state’s quit rate.
Coming up, the usual assortment of news, intel and observations from the week that was in Florida’s capital city by Peter Schorsch, Drew Wilson, Renzo Downey, Aimee Sachs, Christine Jordan Sexton and the staff of Florida Politics.
But first …
The “Takeaway 5” — the Top 5 stories from the week that was:
Primary Election settles General Election lineup — U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist will now face Gov. Ron DeSantis in November after holding off a challenge from Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. While he wasn’t on the ballot, DeSantis also proved his influence over school boards, where 25 of his 30 endorsees were elected or head to a runoff. Eight also managed to unseat incumbents. State Rep. Anthony Sabatini lost his congressional bid to Cory Mills, and Maxwell Frost looks primed to be the nation’s first Gen Z Congressman. State Sen. Gary Farmer faces a runoff for Circuit Judge, and Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey survived for a runoff against County Commissioner Kristin Dozier, who received more votes than the incumbent. State Reps. Webster Barnaby and Elizabeth Fetterhoff head to a recount in House District 29, where Barnaby holds a 31-vote lead in the GOP Primary. Meanwhile, Crist is primed to name Karla Hernandez-Mats his running mate.
Cabinet approves anti-ESG rule — The Florida Cabinet is moving forward with restrictions against “woke investments.” DeSantis has made environmental, social and governance criteria (ESG) the latest front in his battle against socially conscious culture. At the latest meeting of the Florida Cabinet, held on the day of the Primary Election, Cabinet members approved rules for the State Board of Administration (SBA). The rules require the SBA to make investment decisions solely on economic factors and prohibit the agency from sacrificing investment returns or taking additional risks. Another rule requires the SBA to review voting practices of the pension plan. Meanwhile, Chief Financial Jimmy Patronis wants the state to look into ESG-type influence in the insurance industry.
DeSantis cuts tolls for commuters — Florida commuters who frequently hit tolls will receive a discount at the end of each month, starting Sept. 1. DeSantis unveiled the SunPass Savings Program at an event in Orlando. He said it would save 400,000 drivers $40 million over the course of the six months it’s in effect. SunPass holders and other Florida residents with toll transponders could receive up to a 25% discount if they travel through enough tolls. “This is small but important savings, and when you look at everything else we’re doing, this adds up to give people some breathing room because inflation is costing people thousands of dollars a year,” DeSantis said.
Gavin Newsom pledges $100K to Crist — California Gov. Gavin Newsom is pledging $100,000 of support for Crist, with the goal of denying DeSantis a second term. “I like Charlie Crist, and I don’t like bullies,” Newsom told reporters. “If that’s the future of the damn Republican Party, this country’s in real trouble.” Within 24 hours, the DeSantis campaign had latched onto the contribution, calling Newsom “obsessed” in an email to supporters. “It seems like Newsom has done his job encouraging filth and debauchery on the streets of San Francisco that he’s now set his sights on our state.”
DeSantis suspends four Broward School Board members — DeSantis suspended four current members of the Broward County School Board for neglecting their duty, stemming from the way they managed a school construction bond. The suspensions come at the request of the grand jury investigating the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The panel’s report was not released in full until last week. DeSantis appointed replacements for School Board members Patricia Good, Donna Korn, Ann Murray and Laurie Rich Levinson, immediately suspending them for “incompetence, neglect of duty and misuse of authority” relating to mismanaging the $800 million low-cost construction bond.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is continuing to say thank you to Brigade 2506 more than six decades after the Bay of Pigs Invasion.
Rubio on Monday met with veterans of Brigade 2506, the CIA-backed paramilitary group of Cuban exiles who attempted to overthrow Fidel Castro’s government in April 1961. During the meeting at the Bay of Pigs Museum in Little Havana, Rubio thanked the veterans for their service and their continued leadership in fighting for a Cuba free from tyranny.
“The veterans of Brigade 2506 made the selfless sacrifice of defending their beloved homeland from the threat of Communism. Marco was honored to meet with these heroes and discuss their everlasting legacy, as well as their advocacy for a free and democratic Cuba,” Laura Ortiz, Hispanic Media Director for Marco Rubio for Senate, told Florida Politics in a statement.
Last year, Florida honored veterans and the Cuban American community for the 60th anniversary of the failed landing. Rubio, the son of Cubans who immigrated to the United States in 1956 during the Fulgencio Batista regime, was among the Cuban American lawmakers who prominently celebrated the veterans’ contributions in the ongoing struggle for a free Cuba.
In September, DeSantis awarded the Florida Medal of Freedom to former intelligence officer Félix Rodríguez, recognizing his service to the CIA and the Cuban people, including at the Bay of Pigs.
Grifter goes to jail
Scamming victims out of $83,000 on Craigslist earned Leandro Obenauer 12 years in prison.
Attorney General Ashley Moody announced Obenauer, who claimed to be an investor, also wrote fraudulent checks and tried to set up fake investment plans. He also listed homes for sale in his in Craigslist advertisements.
According to Moody’s office, people would send him deposits on the homes or down payments for remodeling. He subsequently cut off all communication with them after receiving the money.
“The defendant targeted multiple victims, with various schemes, all in an effort to steal tens of thousands of dollars. While he was able to run from those he scammed, he wasn’t able to escape justice,” Moody said.
In one instance, Obenauer convinced someone he could mortgage payments that he claimed were too high. The person sent Obenauer $3,500 and stopped paying the mortgage.
“Instead of reworking the rate, Obenauer disappeared with the money and the victim nearly lost the home,” the release noted.
The Florida Department of Financial Services led the investigation. According to Moody’s release Obenauer nearly swindled a widow for $50,000 by getting her to invest in a “bogus investment plan, promising to pay (her) dividends each month.”
The grift was prevented by a bank teller who, according to the release, “thought the interaction seemed strange” and “reversed the payment and the victim did not lose any money.”
Assistant Statewide Prosecutor Rebecca Smith-Hameroff prosecuted this case. Judge Tom Young of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court sentenced Obenauer to 12 years in prison, followed by 15 years of probation. Obenauer is charged with organized fraud of more than $50,000, a first-degree felony.
Strong ag woman
Fried named Glades Crop Care CEO Madeline Mellinger the 2022 Woman of the Year in Agriculture.
“Madeline has dedicated 50 years to Florida’s agriculture industry and is an innovator in the field of integrated pest management. As a business owner, scientist, and mentor, she has contributed greatly to the development of Florida’s next generation of growers and our agricultural industry as a whole,” Fried said in a prepared statement. “We are thrilled to be able to celebrate her with this award.”
Mellinger founded Glades Crop Care as an independent agricultural consulting and contract research firm in 1972. Fried said Mellinger’s work in pest control proved to be a game changer for Florida farmers.
“Her work showed producers that they could shift from calendar-based pesticide application to need-based, which saved farmers money and reduced negative agricultural environmental impact,” Fried said.
She serves on a number of boards at the University of Florida and she and her husband, Charles Mellinger, were vital in the establishment of the Doctor of Plant Medicine Program at the University of Florida. She was named one of Florida Trend’s Living Legends for 2018-2020.
For more than 30 years, women who have made outstanding contributions to Florida agriculture have been honored with the “Woman of the Year in Agriculture” award. This award is sponsored by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in conjunction with the Florida State Fair Authority. It is awarded in Tampa.
Going, going, gone
Jewelry, gold and silver coins, and sports memorabilia are up for bid in Tampa this weekend.
When the Unclaimed Property Auction starts at 9 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Tampa Westshore Airport, there will be roughly 461 “lots” that combined offer people roughly 63,113 items to bid on. But registration, which costs $100 and requires a driver’s license, is required. The registration fee is refunded if a purchase is made.
A 10% buyer’s premium will be added to the costs of the sales price of each lot.
A free, downloadable catalog is available from the Division of Unclaimed Property at FLTreasureHunt.gov. Absentee bids may be placed in advance through Fisher Auction Company on the phone at 954-942-0917 or online at fisherauction.com.
The proceeds from the auction are used to help fund education in Florida.
The most common types of unclaimed property are dormant bank accounts, unclaimed insurance proceeds, stocks, dividends, uncashed checks, deposits, and contents from abandoned safe deposit boxes in financial institutions.
The Department of Financial Services’ Division of Unclaimed Property is notified when the holder of the unclaimed property cannot be found.
Unclaimed funds are deposited into the State School Trust Fund and used to support public schools.
The goal though is to return the property to citizens which Patronis has done. “Since I took office in 2017, more than $1.7 billion in unclaimed property has been returned to Florida citizens,” Patronis said in a prepared statement.
Instagram of the Week
The Week in Appointments
Washington County Commission — DeSantis has appointed David Corbin, of Chipley, to the County Commission. Corbin owns Chipley Gun and Pawn and is a member of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, CareerSource of Chipola and First Federal Bank. Previously he served as a member of the Chipley Kiwanis Club and the Advance Washington County Advisory Board. He is a recipient of the Kiwanian of the Year Award in 2018. Corbin received his associate degree from Gulf Coast College.
Florida Commission on Ethics — DeSantis appointed Edwin Moore and reappointed Glenton Gilzean to the Florida Commission on Ethics. Moore is the former president and CEO of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida. He was previously appointed as a member of the Governor’s Efficiency Task Force, as well as CareerSource Florida. Moore earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate from Florida State University. Gilzean is the president and CEO of the Central Florida Urban League and currently serves on the 9th Judicial Nominating Commission. He previously served on the Florida A&M University Board of Trustees and the Pinellas County School Board. He earned his bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences and his master’s degree in entrepreneurship from the University of South Florida.
Lake-Sumter State College District Board of Trustees — DeSantis appointed Bret Jones, Timothy Morris and Marlene O’Toole and reappointed David Hidalgo and Ivy Parks to the Lake-Sumter State College District Board of Trustees. Jones, of Clermont, is a lawyer for the Law Offices of Bret Jones P.A. Jones earned his bachelor’s degree in management from Webber International University and his law degree from the University of Florida. Morris, of Leesburg, is the vice president of Ernie Morris Enterprises. Morris earned his associate degree from Lake-Sumter State College. O’Toole, of Lady Lake, is the head of Beacon College’s Transition Work for Student Career Development. She was previously an IBM Executive and a member of the Florida House. Hidalgo, of Clermont, is a CRNA for Envision Services. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and nursing from McNeese State University, a master’s degree in anesthesiology from Barry University, and a master’s degree in business management from UF. Parks, of Clermont, is the project assistant and accounting manager for Parks Consulting Services. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration and her master’s degree in international business from the University of Central Florida.
Chipola College District Board of Trustees — DeSantis appointed Melissa Cauley, Travis “Dell” Corbin, James Dean, Joel Paul, Daniel Ryals III and Karla Worley to the Board of Trustees. Cauley is a retired administrator and student advisor at Chipola College. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from FSU. Corbin is the vice president of Corbin Auto Sales. Corbin earned his associate degree from Chipola College. Dean is the City Manager of Marianna and is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. Dean earned his bachelor’s degree in agriculture from FAMU and his master’s degree from Webster University. Paul is the Executive Director of the Tri-County Community Council. Paul earned his bachelor’s degree from University of West Florida. Ryals is the owner and broker of Danny Ryals Real Estate, as well as the owner of R&R Warehouses. He was elected to serve on the Calhoun County School Board. Worley, of Bonifay, is the owner and operator of Castaway Seafood and previously worked for the Florida Department of Health Holmes County. She attended Chipola College, Florida Panhandle Technical College and Gulf Coast State College.
College of Central Florida District Board of Trustees — DeSantis has appointed Russell Branson, Fredrick Roberts Jr., Charlie Stone and Dr. Michael Torres to the College of Central Florida District Board of Trustees. Branson, of Ocala, is the president of SouthState Bank. Branson earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from FSU and his master’s degree in banking from Louisiana State University. Roberts, of Ocala, is a partner and attorney for Klein & Klein. Roberts earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from UF and his law degree from Stetson University. Stone, of Ocala, is the president and owner of Stone Petroleum Products. He previously served in the state House and on the Marion County Commission. Torres, of Ocala, is the vice president and chief medical officer of AdventHealth and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. Torres earned a certificate in military leadership from Air War College, his MBA from Touro University International, and his medical degree from Spartan Health Sciences University.
Florida Keys District Board of Trustees — The Governor named Daniel Leben, Kevin Madok, Michelle Maxwell, Michael Puto, Stephanie Scuderi, Sheldon Suga and Richard Weinstein to the College of the Florida Keys District Board of Trustees. Leben is president of Smart Script Pharmacy and a partner of Leben Family LLP. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Marquette University. Madok is the Clerk of Court for Monroe County. He earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of San Diego and his MBA from the University of Southern California. Maxwell is an attorney and inspector for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Shepherd University. Puto currently serves on the 16th Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission. He was previously elected to the Monroe County Commission, where he served as Vice Mayor and Mayor. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Saint Leo University. Scuderi is the president of Centennial Bank’s Upper Keys market. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communication from Cornell University, her master’s degree in integrated marketing from Northwestern University, and her MBA from the University of Virginia. Suga is the vice president and managing director of Hawks Cay Resort. He earned his bachelor’s degree in hospitality management from Ryerson University. Weinstein is the president and COO of the Ocean Reef Community Foundation. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business marketing from USF.
Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology — DeSantis announced the appointment of Niva Falk to the Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. Falk, of Parkland, owns and operates her own practice as a Speech-Language Pathologist. She is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Falk earned her bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders from UF and her master’s degree in communication sciences and disorders from Emerson College.
With the start of a new year comes the Excellence in Education awards and new student art and essay contests.
This year’s theme is “Celebrating the Achievements of Hispanic, Native American, and Black Floridians,” and will coincide with Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, Native American Heritage Month in November and Black History Month in February.
This is the first time that Native American Heritage Month is included in the contests.
“I’m excited to recognize Native American Heritage Month. Our state is rich in contributions from the Hispanic, Native American, and Black communities throughout Florida,” First Lady Casey DeSantis said. “We are honored to highlight their achievements and impact on Florida’s history. These contests will help students learn about Florida’s leaders and their contributions to our great state.”
Marcellus Osceola Jr., Chairman of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, thanked the Governor, the First Lady and Education Commissioner Manny Díaz for including Native American Month in the essay and art contests.
“The Seminole Tribe plays an important part in Florida’s history and culture, and we sincerely appreciate being included in this meaningful educational outreach program that reaches students across our state,” Osceola said in a prepared release.
The art contests are open to all kindergarten through third grade students in Florida. Four statewide winners will be selected for each month, and each winner will receive a $100 art supplies gift card and a one-year pass to Florida state parks.
The essay contest is open to all fourth- through 12th-grade students.
Essays cannot exceed 500 words. Six winners will be selected: two elementary school students (grades 4–5), two middle school students (grades 6–8) and two high school students (grades 9–12). Each winner will receive a 2–Year Florida College Plan scholarship provided by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation and a $100 gift card for school supplies.
The Excellence in Education awards are open to any full-time educator who works in an elementary, middle, or high school in Florida. Nominations may be submitted by a principal, teacher, parent or guardian, or student.
In 2022 three winners were selected: one elementary teacher (grades K-5), one middle school teacher (grades 6-8), and one high school teacher (grades 9-12).
Giddyup, Guv and Cab
DeSantis and the Cabinet agreed to spend $56 million to acquire seven parcels of land, nearly 19,000 acres, most of it for inclusion in the Florida Wildlife Corridor.
“Acquiring lands for conservation and recreation is a top priority for my administration,” DeSantis said. “Conservation of these key properties will forever benefit water quality, rare wildlife habitats and corridor linkages, as well as support Florida’s ever-growing economy.”
The 17.7 million-acre Florida Wildlife Corridor is a network of connected lands that are crucial for wildlife habitat. Forty two endangered species are in the area. More than half of the corridor — or about 9.9 million acres — is already protected, and the Cabinet decision protects more land. There are another 8.1 million of land in the corridor that do not have conservation status yet.
The Cabinet agreed to purchase 768 acres in Santa Rosa County, which is part of an ongoing strategic partnership between federal, state, local and private entities. This acquisition expands public recreational opportunities and provides a corridor between Blackwater River State Forest and other state-owned conservation lands near Whiting Field Naval Air Station. This property will be managed by the Florida Forest Service as an addition to Blackwater River State Forest.
The Cabinet purchased another 76-acre parcel in Franklin County. The parcel will expand Tate’s Hell State Forest and will create access for wildlife to nearly two miles of streams that flow into the East Bay. It provides a diverse habitat for native wildlife including the red-cockaded woodpecker, a federally recognized endangered species.
Nearly 12,000 acres in DeSoto and Hardee counties also were purchased. In addition to land the The Southwest Florida Water Management District is purchasing, the Cabinet purchase means there will be more than 16,000 acres of conservation easement over Carlton Horse Creek Ranch.
The Cabinet also agreed to purchase 663 acres within the Lake Wales Ridge, 1,882 acres within Fisheating Creek in Highlands County, and two plots — 3,634 acres and 615 acres — within the Kissimmee-St. Johns River Connector in Okeechobee County.
The move was praised by environmental groups, including the just launched Live Wildly which called the purchase a win-win for the state.
Live Wildly is a campaign of the Live Wildly Foundation nonprofit organization dedicated to raising public awareness for the importance of wildlife corridor conservation.
Proud as a peacock
Around 3.7 million Floridians successfully cast ballots in the 2022 Primary Election, according to the Department of State.
Secretary of State Cord Byrd was able to report that there were “no systemic issues” and the results were timely during the state’s first contest since he was appointed to oversee elections.
“The 2022 Primary Election saw millions of Florida voters successfully cast their ballot in a free and fair election,” Byrd said in a news release. “Yesterday’s results prove once again that Florida leads the nation in election administration.
“Our elections continue to be free and fair because of the reforms championed by Governor DeSantis and the Legislature. Florida voters can have the highest confidence that their vote will be counted, and their voice will be heard.”
Breaking down the numbers, 613,864 voted early, 1.7 million voted by mail and 1.3 million voted on Election Day. That put turnout at 26%, lower than the 27% turnout seen in the 2018 Primary and the 28% turnout from the 2020 Primary — but otherwise the highest Primary turnout since 2002.
There was at least one significant hiccup on Election Day. At two Alachua County precincts, officials temporarily ran out of GOP ballots, which drew consternation from the local State Senator, Keith Perry.
“What we know for an absolute fact is Republican votes have been suppressed while all other voters have had the unimpeded opportunity to exercise their right to vote,” Perry said in a statement.
Some voters gave up waiting and left the “Democrat-led” precincts, Perry said. Byrd disputed that characterization.
“It is our understanding at this time that voters waited until they had ballots and no one was turned away, but we will continue to investigate and talk to the (Supervisor of Elections) in Alachua to find out what happened to make sure a situation like that doesn’t arise again in November,” Byrd told reporters.
Riviera Beach food aid
Elected officials in Palm Beach County are coming together for a Farm Share Drive in Riviera Beach.
State Rep. Jervonte Edmonds is partnering with U.S. Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, State Sen. Bobby Powell, Palm Beach County Commissioner Mack Bernard, Riviera Beach Mayor Ronnie Fedler and members of the local Alpha Phi Alpha chapter to invite community members to the food distribution.
The drive-thru event will be held at Judge Rodgers Community Center from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Supplies are available on a first come, first served basis.
The stated goal of the drive is to help alleviate hunger and malnutrition by recovering fresh and nutritious food and distributing it to those who need it most.
“In partnering with local elected officials and community leaders, our goal is to safeguard the families in the community to have access to healthy and nutritional food. Our office is here (to serve) the community,” said Edmonds, who took office in March.
Farm Share is a nonprofit that distributes fresh food to needy Floridians. Although this event is dominated by Democrats, Farm Share partners with members of both sides of the aisle on a regular basis to provide assistance to their communities.
Talent knows Talent
Rep. Alex Andrade was appointed to the Florida Talent Development Council by House Speaker Chris Sprowls this week.
“Thank you to Speaker Sprowls for appointing me to the Florida Talent Development Council,” the Pensacola Republican said. “I’m excited to help keep Florida’s economy strong in this role, and am looking forward to helping develop the vision for Florida’s career pathways to benefit our employers and our future employees.”
Housed in the Department of Economic Opportunity, the Council has been tasked with creating a coordinated, data-driven approach to meeting Florida’s needs for a 21st-century workforce that employers and educators use as part of Florida’s talent supply system.
“I am proud to appoint (the) Majority Whip for the Education & Employment Committee, Representative Andrade, to the Florida Talent Development Council,” Sprowls said in a statement. “Through his work in the Legislature and in his community, Representative Andrade knows what it takes to cultivate talent for Florida’s job market. He’s been a champion for Florida’s job seekers and will continue to fight for them in this new role.”
Florida Talent Development Council members include lawmakers, agency executives and the chancellors of the state college and state university systems among others.
Rattlers for justice
The original 57 graduates of the FAMU College of Law will be honored on a plaque that will be unveiled Sept. 9.
The 2 p.m. unveiling will take place on the FAMU campus in Tallahassee at the north end of the Coleman Library, home of the university’s original law school.
“The FAMU College of Law’s legacy is engraved in the annals of our state and our country through the accomplishments of the initial 57 graduates of the program,” FAMU President Larry Robinson said. “They have set extraordinary examples for generations to follow, including today’s ‘Rattlers for Justice’ and anyone motivated by service. This plaque will memorialize our original graduates and inspire current students to similar acts of selfless courage.”
The event coincides with the law school’s 20th anniversary in Orlando and is part of Rattlers for Justice Day at FAMU.
“The original law school graduates paved the way for those who attend FAMU Law today,” FAMU Law Dean Deidré Keller said. “We are thankful for our original alums, their accomplishments and the legacy of transformative service they established, which we endeavor to continue.”
Among the graduates are former judges, a former U.S. congressman, a former Florida Secretary of State, a former state senator, and other dignitaries. Former State Sen. Arthenia Joyner is one the last surviving original graduates.
FAMU’s law school is one of six HBCU programs that was opened, shut down, and re-opened. Former Gov. Jeb Bush signed legislation in 2000 authorizing a law school at FAMU, which opened in Orlando in 2002.
Florida lineman day
Friday was Lineworker Appreciation Day. The Public Service Commission (PSC) celebrated lineworkers for their daily hard work to keep electricity running.
“As grid reliability in our state continues to improve, we must remember that Florida’s lineworkers are at the core of both maintaining and restoring power to our grid,” PSC Chairman Andrew Fay said. “We are so grateful that these men and women risk their lives so that Floridians can continue to have both safe and reliable service.”
The highly skilled workers work in stormy weather conditions and at times travel to other parts of the country to help restore power after a storm.
The Florida House of Representatives created Lineworker Appreciation Day in 2012 to honor the thousands of lineworkers who put their lives on the line to provide reliable electric service in Florida.
Mark your calendars for Tallahassee’s first “Hope Walk.”
Sept. 9 is the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s first Tallahassee Lights of Hope “Hope Walk” in Tallahassee. The event will take place on the steps of the Historic Capitol.
Each Light of Hope represents a loved one’s cancer story — a survivor, someone in treatment, someone who passed from cancer or someone who served as a caregiver. Those interested in participating can start here.
It’s the 12th year ACS-CAN has held the fundraising event, but it’s the first time for Florida’s capital city.
Nationwide, the goal is to have 55,000 “Lights of Hope” displayed across communities.
It’s the premier fundraising event for ACS-CAN, the non profit non partisan affiliate of the American Cancer Society. The organization is composed of volunteers who want to eradicate cancer.
If comic books, graphic novels, gaming, sci-fi and fantasy and pop culture artwork is your thing, then head on down to the Leon County Main Library on Park Avenue Saturday and check out CosmicCon. This year’s theme: “Fantastic Tales.”
Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in events and activities, including local artist talks and hands-on workshops.
Artist, cartoonist, and graphic designer Nathan Archer will teach people how to create a mini comic at 11 a.m.
Lapis Lantern Studios founder and Artist Rayna Sassano will discuss her artwork and creative process at 1:30 p.m. Sassano’s artwork“ Illuminating Illustrations of Lapis Lantern Studio” is on display at the Main Library now through September 13.
If heading downtown this weekend isn’t your thing, all Leon County library locations will be hosting activities, including free comic book giveaways, escape rooms.
People can also participate in the CosmicCon graphic novel reading challenge and earn badges on Beanstack throughout August.
For a complete list of programming, visit LeonCountyLibrary.org/CosmicCon.
Go Noles, drive safely
It’s football season and that means students, residents and fans from other places will be headed to Doak Campbell Stadium.
Some sad news, the Spirit Express bus service from the Tucker Civic Center won’t be an option for Seminole Boosters or others willing to pay to hop on board.
The Tallahassee and Florida State University police departments, which have been working collectively in anticipation of the state of the 2022-2023 College Football Season, released tips this week to help fans plan their game routes.
The traffic signals along Pensacola Street between Duval Street and Chieftan Way will be set to “flash” two hours before the game to give priority to westbound traffic headed toward Doak Campbell Stadium.
For the non-believers who aren’t at the game and may be traveling around the area by car, TPD recommends avoiding Macomb and Copeland streets. If possible, motorists are advised to use Ocala Road and Monroe Street for north-south travel to avoid the pre-game traffic pattern near Doak Campbell Stadium.
After FSU trounces the Duquesne Dukes, TPD may modify the traffic on Pensacola Street to flow one-way for eastbound traffic only, heading away from the stadium.
Traffic signals along Pensacola Street from Champions Ways to Duval Street will “flash” to give priority to traffic heading eastbound.
For further assistance navigating the area, fans can download the Waze Traffic App via SeminoleSafe. All game day traffic routes, pregame and postgame, are entered into the app to provide the most direct routes, taking into consideration detours, closures and congestion.
Ron DeSantis — Up arrow — He doesn’t back winners, he makes them.
Ron DeSantis, Part 2 — Up arrow — He waited until after two candidates dropped stacks to endorse in HD 16. Kinda like the Joker money-burning scene, but funnier.
Texas — Crossways arrow — They started a xenophobic busing program, so we don’t have to.
Ron DeSantis, Part 3 — Down arrow — For a man who’s 5’9” in cowboy boots, he has a lot to say about Fauci’s height.
Casey DeSantis — Up arrow — If Jerry Bruckheimer wants to get back in the game, we know a great replacement for Don Simpson.
Gavin Newsom — Crossways arrow — He knows how to rile up the right, but that check is a couple of zeros short.
Nikki Fried — Down arrow — If you’re gonna show up for a “unity” event, at least smile.
Tomato cans — Down arrow — Wilton Simpson dropkicked them, so we’re having a scratch and dent sale.
House leadership — Up arrow — Paul Renner, Sam Garrison, Daniel Perez have a motto: “No Rep. left behind.”
Chris Sprowls — Up arrow — Ask Rep. Blackface what happens when you call him a RINO.
Jason Pizzo — Up arrow — Champagne for the real Dems, real pain for the sham Dems.
James Bush — Down arrow — Maybe Kim Daniels and Daphne Campbell can recommend a good support group.
Blaise Ingoglia — Up arrow — The Guv isn’t the only school board kingmaker.
Michelle Salzman — Up arrow — Someone give her a Walk of Fame star in Pensacola for sparing us from Mike Hill.
Jake Hoffman — Down arrow — If we wanted bitter, we’d go down the street and grab a Jai Alai.
Juan Porras — Up arrow — He made two six-figure spenders look like tomato cans, and he’s only 25.
Florida Chamber — Up arrow — Last time we checked, 93% was a solid “A.”
FJA — Up arrow — Sorry, trial lawyers, Erin Grall is here to stay and Jonathan Martin and Hilary Cassel are heading to Tally, too.
Americans for Prosperity — Up arrow — Is their grassroots army led by Stormin’ Norman or something? They made it look easy.
Ron Book — Up arrow — He gets to keep family dinners during Session for the next couple of years.
Jeremy Matlow — Up arrow — If the Tally Chamber wants him out, they should go ahead and endorse him in the 2026 Mayor race.
David Bellamy — Down arrow — There are less expensive ways to get dunked on.
Diane Williams Cox — Up arrow — In an election that saw Dailey go to a runoff, she did enough to win outright.
St. Pete Polls — Up arrow — We don’t know if Matt Florell wants to be a UNF professor, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask.
The Capitolist — Down arrow — What’s the return policy on crystal balls?
Consensus Communications — Up arrow — Their future client pitch: “Scoreboard.”
Jimmy Patronis — Crossways arrow — Storm hardening is woke. Got it.
Property insurance market — Down arrow — It makes the Centre of Tallahassee look like a vibrant marketplace.
Commuters — Up arrow — By the time “SunPass Savings” ends, the state will have bought you a tank of gas.
Rocky Hanna — Crossways arrow — He’s just begging to get Warren’d.
Panthers — Down arrow — Dickinson Hall is going to need an annex.