DeSantis nails down win over Gillum as hand recount continues: The automatic machine recount is finally over, but the ensuing fight over the manual recount is just getting started. Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum couldn't overcome the nearly 34,000-vote margin between himself and Republican nominee Ron DeSantis. The former Republican congressman from Ponte Vedra Beach will become Florida's next governor, though Gillum would not initially concede, insisting that "a vote denied is justice denied – the state of Florida must count every legally cast vote." Meanwhile, manual recounts started last week in the U.S. Senate race between Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, as well as several other state races. Manual recounts are required in races where the margin is below 0.25 percent after a machine recount. In the case of the high-profile Senate race, Nelson was trailing closely behind Scott by about 12,600 votes.
Orlando's first medical marijuana drive-through opens: The city's first medical marijuana drive-through celebrated its grand opening last week. The Massachusetts company Curaleaf invited patients to tour its newest East Orlando medical marijuana dispensary, which includes a drive-through window. Medical marijuana patients who are registered with the state will be able to place their orders online or via phone with the Curaleaf dispensary and pick up without leaving the car, much like picking up medicine at CVS or Walgreens. The medical marijuana company sells oil cartridges, flower pods, flower vaporizer cartridges, vaporizers, capsules and topical balms, plus offers free delivery of its products anywhere in the state. Curaleaf requires first-time patients to visit the dispensary for a private consultation before picking up their medicine in the drive-through lane.
New auto museum at Artegon Marketplace is illegal, draws city fines: Remember the defunct "anti-mall" that was partially shut down, then bought by a Miami developer? Artegon Marketplace is racking up some serious fines after developer Michael Dezer's recently assembled auto museum was found illegal by the city. City officials are currently fining Dezer $200 a day after telling the mall's new owners they couldn't just open a museum without proper zoning and permits for structural and indoor alterations, leading to some dismantled replicas strewn outside the mall. Orlando Weekly reached out to Dezer Development for a comment but did not receive a response. Aside from having one of the most extensive private vehicle collections in the world, Dezer's collection also includes rare jukeboxes, antique metal signs and movie memorabilia.
Communication breakdown impeded Orlando Fire Department's response to Pulse shooting: A review of the Orlando Fire Department's response to the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub found that although the agency followed protocol, breakdowns in communication hindered first responders. The independent report produced by the National Police Foundation found OFD was challenged by the "delayed arrival of executive leadership on scene, the lack of interagency communication, and outdated policies, procedures and protocols." The review also found the agency failed to coordinate with law enforcement during the shooting, which delayed efforts to get victims to the hospital and ultimately could have played a part in the 49 deaths, and still had outdated policies for addressing the aftermath with first responders.
Universal Orlando raises starting pay to $12 per hour: Following a win by Disney World unions to increase starting pay to $15 per hour by 2021, Universal Orlando announced last week that it would also increase its minimum wage, to $12 per hour by early 2019. Universal's current starting pay is $10 an hour, and the company plans to implement the wage hike in February. Unlike Disney, Universal, SeaWorld and other major tourism attractions and hotels have no union contracts. Before the pay increase was announced, Disney union workers rallied outside Universal, asking the company to "do the right thing and match the union raises at Disney," according to a press release from the UNITE HERE unions.