Report: SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy booster spotted arriving at Florida’s Space Coast

SpaceX is taking another step toward preparing for its next Falcon Heavy Launch — there’s just no telling when it might actually launch. Blog site Teslarati that follows all things Tesla and SpaceX-related posted a photo of one of the Falcon Heavy’s three boosters being transported to Florida’s Space Coast. Once the center booster — the main vehicle that holds cargo nose at the top — is delivered, all three booster will head into the integration stage and testing. The Hawthorne, Calif.-based rocket company, owned by billionaire Elon Musk, is the company’s most powerful rocket. The tentative launch date is scheduled for sometime in March, according to Spaceflight Now. Orlando Business Journal

Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis to hire ‘chief science officer’ to deal with algae, red tide

SARASOTA — Gov. Ron DeSantis unveiled an executive order Thursday aimed at boosting natural resource protection and staged a series of events across Florida in which he promised to continue making the environment a top priority. Just 48 hours after being sworn in as Florida’s 46th governor, DeSantis traveled to Stuart, Sarasota and two other communities hit hard by toxic algae to talk up the executive order and reiterate his commitment to cleaning up the environment, a key campaign promise. “I just got into office and here I am so I think that shows people that this is not just going to be an issue that I am gonna put out there but it’s going to be one of our priorities,” DeSantis said during an event at Mote Marine Laboratory. Mote has been deeply involved in studying and monitoring red tide, a harmful algae that has primarily fouled waterways in Southwest Florida. But Palm Beach County, and South Florida, also saw a bout with the toxic bloom last fall. Palm Beach Post

Florida jobless rate steady amid hurricane recovery

Florida’s unemployment rate held steady at 3.3 percent as 2018 ended, while Hurricane Michael’s impact continued to be felt in parts of the Panhandle. The state Department of Economic Opportunity reported Friday an estimated 335,000 Floridians were out of work in December from a labor force of 10.28 million, keeping the state mark below the national unemployment rate of 3.9 percent. The state rate held steady as two counties that sustained major damage in Hurricane Michael continued to struggle with the effects of the October storm. Gulf County posted the state’s highest unemployment rate, 7.9 percent, followed by Bay County at 5.9 percent. Tampa Bay Business Journal

St. Joe Company plans a “very important role” in Hurricane Michael recovery

WATERSOUND — In the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, the St. Joe Company is looking to help rebuild Bay County. The company has announced or reaffirmed its involvement in several projects since the storm, including developing a 592-acre residential community in east Bay County to help alleviate the shortage of workforce housing caused by the storm, continuing with plans to build a hotel at the Panama City Marina and plans to develop a 200-acre retail and residential village in Mexico Beach. As the largest private landowner and a major developer in Bay County, St. Joe actually has a much more ambitious agenda for helping the region recover. Here are excerpts from an extended conversation on Wednesday with company President and CEO Jorge Gonzalez. Panama City News Herald

Gulf Power restored service to 95 percent of customers within 13 days after Hurricane Michael. They got an award for it.

BAY COUNTY – Gulf Power crews worked right after Hurricane Michael to restore power in Bay County, which earned them an Emergency Recovery Award from the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) on Wednesday. “This recognition is for the team, who all contributed in one way or another to the restoration efforts,” Shelley Scarborough, area distribution manager for the Panama City region, stated in a news release. “They worked 24/7 to make sure our customers got their power back on safely and as quickly as possible.” Bay County residents sat in the dark or had to use generators after the hurricane knocked out power. Gulf Power crews restored service to 95 percent of its customers within 13 days after the storm, according to the release. “The dedication of Gulf Power’s efforts to restore service throughout Florida after Hurricane Michael illustrates our industry’s commitment to customers,” EEI President Tom Kuhn stated in the release. “Gulf Power’s crews worked tirelessly in hazardous conditions to quickly and safely restore power. They are truly deserving of this award.” Panama City News Herald

Manpower Survey: Hiring pace in Lee County, Fla. expected to be among the strongest in the nation for the first quarter

Lee County’s employers are expected to hire at a brisk pace in the first quarter. That’s according to the latest survey by the ManpowerGroup. Among employers surveyed in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area, or Lee County, 34 percent said they plan to hire more workers from January through March. This number is offset by the 2 percent that plan to reduce their payrolls, giving the area a net employment outlook of 32 percent. Manpower no longer surveys employers in the Naples area or Collier County. The Deltona–Daytona Beach–Ormond Beach area ranked first, with an outlook of 37 percent. Fort Myers News Press

Miami named healthiest city in the nation

Anyone who has lived or visited South Florida knows we’re pretty fit and healthy. Folks run along the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk or Miami Beach’s boardwalk or they’re cycling along the beaches of AIA (and sometimes on Interstate 95.) We’re the land of the tanned, toned and trimmed and you might even be reading this at the gym or somewhere outdoors. So it shouldn’t be a total surprise that Miami was named the sixth-healthiest city in the world. That honor comes from a new study by the United Kingdom-based vacation price-comparison service TravelSuperMarket.com. The website considered various factors in its rankings — such as the number of vegan-option restaurants and hours of daily sunlight. South Florida Sun Sentinel

For Mobile, Ala., a groundbreaking. For Airbus, a world stage

Set aside, for a moment, the Airbus pitch to Alabama. The interesting thing about the last few days is the way Airbus has used Alabama in its sales pitch to the world. Wednesday’s groundbreaking for the company’s new assembly line in Mobile, where it will build the new A220 jet alongside the A320 airliners it has been cranking out for nearly three years now, wasn’t an isolated point of interest. It was a fulcrum that Airbus used to leverage attention for some messages it wanted to put out. The shiny ceremonial shovels had barely finished turning the dirt on Wednesday when some of those messages started hitting the Internet under headlines about Brexit, international economic strategy and the titanic, never-ending battle between Airbus and Boeing. AL.com

Birmingham-based Regions Financial Corp. posts $390 million profit in fourth quarter

Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF) reported a $390 million profit in the fourth quarter, as well as a profit of more than $1.5 billion for 2018. The fourth-quarter earnings represented a 28 percent increase compared to the fourth quarter in 2017. It was also an increase from third-quarter earnings, which reached $354 million. The annual earnings also represent a 28 percent increase over 2017 for Regions, which is Birmingham’s only Fortune 500 company and one of its largest employers. Full-year 2018 net income available to common shareholders was $1.7 billion, a 41 percent increase over the prior year. Birmingham Business Journal

Montgomery Launches Smart City Living Lab

Today, the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce along with Mayor Todd Strange, County Commission Chairman Elton Dean and Alabama Power’s Southern Division Vice President Leslie Sanders announced the creation of a Smart City Living Lab in downtown Montgomery. It will feature fiber optic infrastructure, an expansion of the Open Data Portal, free public Wi-Fi in downtown areas, the conversion of street lights to LED, a public safety initiative and deployment of smart parking solutions. Montgomery leaders announced the smart corridor will be formalized through the creation of the Montgomery Smart Community Alliance, a public-private partnership focused on advancing smart city initiatives in the City of Montgomery. As part of its work, the alliance is coordinating a smart community strategic plan to identify community priorities and solutions that address them, with several initiatives already underway: Montgomery Chamber of Commerce