Inside the amazing lives of nannies to the super-rich, fro…


Life in the fold of the super-rich comes with serious perks, these nannies and former nannies reveal.

They’re taking to TikTok to lift the veil on the reality of au pairing for the super-rich – and shedding light on the luxurious benefits that are part and parcel of the role. 

Working holidays on private yachts, flying by private jet, VIP access to theme parks and meals cooked by private chefs can be all in a day’s work, they reveal.

One example is Ginger Rose Smith, 27, who recently shared a video about her experience working as a nanny for a Middle Eastern royal family who were spending time in Los Angeles. It taught her ‘how the wealthiest of the wealthy live’, she reveals. 

Ginger Rose, who is no longer a nanny, was employed in the position five years ago  to support herself while she was doing an unpaid internship in the city. Speaking to MailOnline Travel, Ginger Rose says that VIP access to ‘some of the most elite shops, events, and shows’ was one of the biggest perks of the role. She says: ‘We’d go shopping at the Nike store and they would literally close the store down for us to shop there.’

Many nannies and former nannies to the world's millionaires and billionaires are taking to TikTok to share their experiences in the profession. Above is Ginger Rose Smith, who formerly worked as a nanny for a wealthy family in Los Angeles

Many nannies and former nannies to the world’s millionaires and billionaires are taking to TikTok to share their experiences in the profession. Above is Ginger Rose Smith, who formerly worked as a nanny for a wealthy family in Los Angeles 

The most luxurious experience she had, she reveals, was when she accompanied the family on a trip to the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park. ‘I got to see how the one per cent attends these sort of experiences,’ she says, adding: ‘We had a personal guide [and] got to cut straight to the front of every line.’

Ginger adds that when they went on rides at the theme park, no other park visitors were allowed on the ride at the same time. ‘That day was pretty crazy,’ she says.

Another bonus was the ‘free stuff’ she was gifted. Ginger says: ‘I cleared out one of their spare rooms and they told me I could keep anything I wanted – I found a box filled with gift cards and over $400 (£322) worth of quarters.’

And meals cooked by the family’s private chef were another plus. ‘I would get to work in the morning and their private chef would ask me what I wanted to eat. There was always a million staff coming and going,’ she says.

Chef-prepared dishes are something Sami Jean Williams also enjoys daily in her role as a nanny – she frequently shares videos of these lunches and dinners with her 27,000 followers on TikTok.

Ginger Rose says that when she visited Universal Studios Hollywood with a family she nannied for from the Middle East, the public were barred from going on the rides with them

Ginger Rose says that when she visited Universal Studios Hollywood with a family she nannied for from the Middle East, the public were barred from going on the rides with them

Originally from Prince Edward Island in Canada, Sami has spent the Past two years working for uber-rich families – with billionaires among her employers – in the U.S.

In her videos, Sami, who is currently working for a family in Miami, reveals that other perks of the job include travelling by private jet, swimming in families’ private pools and holidaying with families on their private yachts. ‘Some families take you on vacation if they want you to help,’ she explains.

A video she shared of a yacht holiday on the job – titled ‘life is good’ – has racked up more than eight million views, with one user, ‘Bella’, declaring Sami’s role the ‘dream job’. And ‘user423541’ commented: ‘Some people live incredible lives.’

Valerie DaBaldo documents her day-to-day life as a nanny on TikTok. 'The biggest perk is definitely the endless adventures and events I get to experience,' she reveals

Valerie DaBaldo documents her day-to-day life as a nanny on TikTok. ‘The biggest perk is definitely the endless adventures and events I get to experience,’ she reveals

Another North American TikToker, Katrina Martin, also offered insight into the glamorous holidays that can be part of the role in a series of viral videos. 

In one clip, which has racked up more than 3.2million views, she admits: ‘My experience as a nanny was terrible, to say the least, but the one kind of interesting thing from my experience was that they took me with them on a family vacation to Turks and Caicos. We flew there on a private jet and we stayed in this insane villa – I’ve never seen anything like it.

‘It was giant. The staff there later told us that celebrities like Drake, Rihanna [and] countless Victoria’s Secret models had all stayed there.’

And luxury travel is a perk similarly enjoyed by nanny Valerie DaBaldo, 19, who is a university student and works as a live-in nanny in the summertime. Greece, Florida and Long Beach Island on the eastern coast of the U.S are among the destinations she has travelled to as part of the role. 

Describing how wealthy host families travel, she tells MailOnline Travel: ‘They don’t take ordinary trips, it’s always top of the line… the biggest perk is definitely the endless adventures and events I get to experience with [my host family] because they can afford to bring a nanny along.’ 

She adds: ‘I also gain access to limited clubs and country clubs just by being their nanny.’ 

And the homes she stays in as a live-in nanny are equipped for a pampering lifestyle. She says: ‘Wealthy people have an endless amount of luxurious technology and access to luxurious places. The home I stay at now has two saunas, a steam room, [a] home gym and a personal [masseuse] that we can call whenever.’

Documenting her life as a nanny on TikTok, Valerie shared one video showing her enjoying the walk-in shower in her host family’s ‘$9million (£7.3million) beach house’ that has racked up nearly 40,000 views. Another shows her unwinding in their infrared sauna, while others show her sunbathing by the pool or on the beach during her time off work. 

She also frequently shares outfit videos with her followers on TikTok, from bikinis for the beach to more laid-back looks for running errands. 

Valerie says that while working, she spends ‘most travelling days exploring with [the family’s children], at the pool or beach’. She adds: ‘My role as a nanny mainly comes at night when they’d like to visit a theme park or when they need a ride somewhere.’

Documenting her life as a nanny on TikTok, Valerie shared one video that shows her unwinding in her host family's infrared sauna

Valerie frequently shares outfit videos with her followers on TikTok, from bikinis for the beach to more laid-back looks for running errands

Documenting her life as a nanny on TikTok, Valerie shared one video (left) that shows her unwinding in her host family’s infrared sauna. She frequently shares outfit videos with her followers on TikTok, from bikinis for the beach to more laid-back looks for running errands

Valerie says: 'The home I stay at now has two saunas, a steam room, [a] home gym and a personal [masseuse] that we can call whenever'

Some of the destinations Valerie has travelled to in her role as a nanny include Greece, Florida and Long Beach Island on the eastern coast of the U.S

Valerie says: ‘The home I stay at now has two saunas, a steam room, [a] home gym and a personal [masseuse] that we can call whenever.’ Some of the destinations Valerie has travelled to in her role as a nanny include Greece, Florida and Long Beach Island on the eastern coast of the U.S

Naturally, this exposure to luxury also applies to nannies hired by A-list stars, TikToker Rachel DiBease reveals. 

Now a model and content creator, she spent several years working as a nanny for famous families in the U.S and tells her followers: ‘As a celebrity nanny you are exposed to a different kind of wealthy.’

In one TikTok video, she reveals how she received gifts such as a Gucci bag from one of her employers and in another, she describes how one of the high-profile families she worked for ‘had an elevator put in [to their home], a bowling alley, a sauna, a game room with Skee-Ball [arcade machine]… just everything’. 

What about pay? New Jersey native DiBease worked as a medical assistant before becoming a nanny and admits that the career change quadrupled her annual salary.

She says that in the U.S, nannies working for celebrities and high-profile clients are paid annual salaries that range from $75,000 (£61,000) to $175,000 (£142,000). ’They are very high paying, almost always six-figure positions,’ she admits.

This set salary isn’t the only financial perk to the role. DiBease says: ‘I trialled with families who were open to giving me a living stipend if I lived in New York or California where the cost of living is really expensive… that’s something that a lot of families offer.’ Paid time off and a 401(k) – a retirement savings plan – are also common, she explains.

So how do you become a high-profile nanny? There are nanny agencies designed specifically for high net-worth families, DiBease reveals. Among them are agencies such as ‘The Nanny League’ and ‘Elite Nannies’.

When it comes to interviewing for the role, DiBease notes that wealthy families ‘really look for individuality’ from their nannies. It also helps if you’re bilingual, she adds.

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Disney World’s Busiest Week Since the Easter Peak is Happe…


Fall break is one of the busiest times of the year at Walt Disney World. Theme park attendance increases due to federal holidays and school districts having days off, resulting in a sharp spike in crowd levels that catch many visitors by surprise. In fact, October 2023 will have weeks with some of the year’s highest wait times in Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios–the busiest dates since Easter!

Technically, fall break “season” has already started. Some school districts do multiple ‘student holidays’ or ‘professional development days’ for teachers in late September and October. Other colleges, universities, and K-12 school systems take longer breaks during the middle of October. It’s not just fall breaks that contribute to congestion, either; as covered in our 2023 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendars, there are a variety of reasons why the next few months contain some of the busiest dates of the entire year.

Unfortunately, many Walt Disney World visitors still have a now very outdated impression of October as being one of the slowest months of the year. We say “still” because this was actually true a decade ago, but hasn’t been the case for a long time. At least, it hasn’t been consistently true. There will still be pockets of low crowds in October, but they’re getting harder to find and aren’t nearly as good as mid-August through September.

In any case, our goal with this post is to highlight the worst week of fall break that will have the highest wait times and worst crowd levels at Walt Disney World since (literally) the spring break season. That’s right–there’s a week on the horizon that we’re highly confident will be worse than any dates after Easter, surpassing every single week from May through September.

In so doing, we’ll look at school schedules for some of the largest districts that impact Walt Disney World, changes to park hours, and general travel trends for fall break to predict which dates will be “red flags” on Walt Disney World crowd calendar for October 2023. For the many of you that are already booked for that week, we’ll offer advice to help you beat the crowds to the greatest extent possible.

If you don’t already have Disney Park Pass reservations, we’d recommend that you start by making those ASAP. While Walt Disney World theme park reservation availability has improved by leaps and bounds in the last year, there will likely be many yellow–and perhaps even some grey–dates in October. The extent same thing happened last year after months of nothing but green, and we already saw our first yellow days for regular ticket holders in a long time this past weekend!

In particular, expect Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios to end up being fully booked for many days in mid-October 2023. Due to being the host of the Disney100 celebration plus the opening of Moana’s Journey of Water, it’s also possible that EPCOT will end up being fully booked for some dates. (In fact, it was the park that ran out of reservations over the weekend!)

The good news is that Walt Disney World has started to extend park hours for October 2023. These extensions signal that the internal attendance forecast is elevated for at least part of the month, and this practice of extending hours happens with consistency whenever crowd levels are expected to be above-average to heavy.

The bad news is that these extensions are not (yet) for the entire month and are really more of a return to normal than anything else. Magic Kingdom is closing at 11 pm on nights when it’s not hosting Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and is opening at 8 am on days when it is. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is once again opening at 8:30 am; Animal Kingdom is opening at 8 am. Unfortunately, EPCOT is retaining its 9 am to 9 pm hours for now, even on weekends.

While this is good to see, this is simply a return to the standard summer hours and what was normal during the entirety of last year’s Party Season at Walt Disney World–even the slowest parts of September. Normally, some of these hours would be further extended for peak dates, especially since MNSSHP causes major disruptions to crowd dynamics. We’re still hoping that EPCOT and Magic Kingdom might see even more extensions; watch the DisneyWorld.com calendar’s month view for updates.

As you can see from looking at that calendar, the timeframe that has seen the most extensions is October 6 to October 14, 2023. (Our guess/hope is that the following week will also soon see extensions.) This particular week-plus will be bad due to the Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ Day holiday long weekend, plus extended fall breaks.

On top of that, the weather is typically improving–drawing more locals to the parks. And even though Walt Disney World will have been celebrating Halloween for almost 2 months at that point, it’s the heart of the Halloween season, and more people will actually want to experience that now that the holiday is closer and the weather finally feels like autumn.

Similarly, there will be more of an appetite for strolling around World Showcase and grazing from the 2023 EPCOT Food & Wine Festival booths now that the temperatures are more tolerable. That always happens, but this year, the kickoff of Disney100 and EPCOT overhaul nearing completion will further contribute to crowds.

In the end, that’s likely to be one of the top 10 worst weeks of the entire year as measured by wait times, and even worse when it comes to ‘feels like’ crowds and congestion. On top of that, it’ll almost certainly be the busiest stretch since spring break, so locals and fans who have grown accustomed to quieter parks will experience a bit of ‘crowd shock.’

As noted above, this catches a lot of Walt Disney World visitors by surprise–especially those who don’t have kids on break or Columbus Day off. I don’t think we know anyone who gets Columbus Day off, but a lot of Americans must not have work on that Monday, as it’s consistently busy at Walt Disney World! Additionally, a seemingly ever-increasing number of schools use Columbus Day as the basis for their fall breaks, offering an extended holiday between their first and second marking periods.

That’s actually not the case for both Osceola and Orange Counties, which are the districts in Central Florida that call Walt Disney World home. Instead, Orange County lists October 13 as the end of their first marking period and October 16, 2023 as a student holiday. Osceola County has October 12 as the end of the marking period and October 13 off. (Notably, Osceola also had a student holiday on September 22, which was likely a contributing factor to the high crowds over this past weekend.)

Even if no other district in the entire United States had fall breaks then, that long weekend would be busy at Walt Disney World due to those two local school systems. This is another thing that catches some longtime Walt Disney World fans by surprise, as local school districts did not have such an outsized impact on park attendance a decade or so ago.

However, Central Florida has seen a population explosion in the last several years, with these two counties in particular seeing an influx of remote workers and upper middle class families who visit Walt Disney World in strong numbers. As we’ve seen time and time again in the last few years, holiday breaks in Orange and Osceola Counties now have significant impacts on attendance at Walt Disney World. And in actuality, many other school districts around the United States will also have fall breaks at the beginning and end of this same week.

We don’t have the time, resources, or inclination to comb through the schedules of every single school district in the United States. If we did, it would probably reveal a range of breaks in October 2023, but with the majority occurring October 6-16, 2023.

Nevertheless, there are a several specific districts in Florida that are among the largest in the country and have an outsized impact on attendance at Walt Disney World. What’s interesting is how many of these districts have late fall breaks or student holiday dates as compared to the Northeast and Midwest:

  • Miami-Dade County Public Schools: October 26-30, 2023
  • Broward County Public Schools: October 23-24, 2023
  • Hillsborough County Public Schools: October 16, 2023
  • Palm Beach County Public Schools: October 13, 2023
  • Duval County Public Schools: October 16, 2023

Here are other major school districts and their fall break dates that could impact crowd levels at Walt Disney World:

  • Houston Independent School District: October 13, 2023
  • Gwinnett County Public Schools: October 5-9, 2023
  • Chicago Public Schools: October 9, 2023
  • Fairfax County Public Schools: October 9, 2023

Again, this is a very incomplete list. Notably, there’s very little representation from the Northeast and Midwest. This is not to say that New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Indiana, etc. don’t have a huge impact on crowds.

Based on past precedent with crowds and reader feedback from parents, the majority of school districts that feed into Walt Disney World crowds have fall break the same week–beginning or end–as Columbus Day.

One of the lessons Walt Disney World fans should learn from Jersey Week is that school breaks in even a single Northeast or Midwest state can have an outsized impact on crowds. Same idea with fall break, except it’s not just a single state–many have breaks in mid-October.

Additionally, our focus here is on K-12 school districts, but universities have fall breaks that can cause slight spikes to attendance. Colleges usually have less of an impact on Walt Disney World crowds due to age demographics, but they don’t have zero impact. Notable examples include Florida State University, University of Florida, University of Central Florida–you get the idea.

If you don’t find this sufficiently persuasive, how about some context based on last year’s crowd levels (courtesy of thrill-data.com). Average wait times spiked sharply on October 7, jumping to 50 minutes for a 9/10 crowd level. Just one week prior was still the off-season, and the average wait time was 30 minutes (1/10 crowd level).

The peak of those crowds occurred October 7-17 when almost every day had 9/10 crowd levels and average wait times of 47-50 minutes. Daily wait time averages fluctuated and fell the following week, but we’re still high overall and especially as compared to the two previous months. Crowd levels remained elevated through October 24, after which point they dropped to off-season lows at the beginning of November. (Another spike soon followed for Veterans’ Day.)

The high fall break crowds last October spanned portions of 3 weeks, which had average wait times of 43-47 minutes (crowd levels of 7/10 to 9/10). It was a sharp contrast the previous 7 weeks, spanning back to mid-August, during which time crowd levels never eclipsed 3/10. The peak week of fall break ended up being busier than Easter week last year–the worst week of the year since the end of March.

I think it’s unlikely that this year’s fall break peak surpasses Easter 2023. That week had 54 minute wait times on average (10/10 crowd levels) and, in retrospect, was the “last hurrah” for pent-up demand. It was also one of the very few weeks in 2023 that was busier than its prior-year counterpart.

By contrast, pretty much every single week since Easter has underperformed in 2023. For fall break to be the busiest week since then, all it would need to do is have an average wait time of 41 minutes or higher. There are only two weeks that have hit the 40-minute mark since Easter–the week immediately after Easter and the last week of July. Otherwise, the comps are pretty favorable and easy for fall break to beat.

Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if multiple weeks in October 2023 cross the 40 minute threshold. There’s even an outside chance that could start this week and run for the entirety of October. Over this last weekend, Walt Disney World saw its busiest consecutive two days since late July, with average wait times of 44 minutes on both Saturday and Sunday. (More on the noteworthiness of this in a minute.)

Based on both past precedent and current circumstances, we anticipate that October 6 through October 16, 2023 will be the busiest week-plus of fall break at Walt Disney World and one of the the 10 worst ‘weeks’ of the year. Expect daily crowd levels of 7/10 to 10/10 at every park during this date range, with 8/10 and 9/10 being the most common crowd levels if last year is any indication.

We highly recommended anyone with flexibility avoid those travel dates. Even though few, if any, school districts have the entire week off, there’s enough of a “patchwork” of breaks (and plenty of parents will pull their kids out for longer) that it’ll likely be bad. Much of this should be restating what you already know–this has been a ‘red flag’ on our October Crowd Calendar for a while, and made our list of the 10 Best and 10 Worst Weeks to Visit Walt Disney World in 2023 to 2025.

Next, let’s talk wildcards. As discussed in Best & Worst Days to Do All Parks at Walt Disney World in 2023 (and elsewhere), weekends have been ‘wonky’ at Walt Disney World this year, and much slower than the historical norm. However, we’ve been highly skeptical that this trend would continue for October through December. There are a bunch of reasons for that–the increased frequency of MNSSHP and MVMCP, better weather, out of state APs/DVC Members taking long weekend getaways to WDW, and probably other variables I’m forgetting.

Well, if the 8/10 crowd levels over this past weekend (September 23-24) are any indication, the slower weekend trend is coming to an end…at least for the rest of 2023. It’s too early to make any definitive proclamations here, as one weekend is hardly a ‘trend.’ But this does lend a bit of credence to what we were expecting, and it’s likely this will continue to varying degrees from October through early January 2024.

Conversely, there’s a new Florida Resident Weekday Ticket Deal for Fall & Holidays 2023 that blocks out weekends. There are also a ton of lower-tier Annual Passes in circulation that aren’t valid on weekends. Those coupled with the higher costs of visiting on Saturdays and Sundays could cause weekends to remain slower.

Speaking of the new Floridian ticket deal…although that’s blocked out on all weekends, it isn’t blocked out for the peak weekdays of fall break. The end result of that is wait times could spike across the board for fall break, but disproportionately during weekdays when the discounted ticket is valid. It’s hard to say how things will play out, but given that fall breaks tend to be shorter and anchored to weekends, our guess is that Saturdays and Sundays will be worse than they’ve been all year.

Then there are some soft indicators of heavier crowds for fall break. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is sold out for every single October 2023 date. That alone is pretty unremarkable, as the same thing happened last year and for most of 2019, plus 2021 with Boo Bash. What’s more noteworthy is that October 2023 dates sold out even faster than last year despite pent-up demand otherwise being exhausted and average ticket prices being higher. Although it hasn’t happened yet, we’d expect many/most Halloween Horror Nights dates in October to sell out, too.

Additionally, on-site resort options are incredibly limited for the peak of fall break at Walt Disney World. Unless you break your stay into two-day increments…hope you like Coronado Springs or Port Orleans! It’s a similar story for the resorts at Universal Orlando, and even off-site accommodations (which have been increasingly abundant) are booking up for some dates.

Finally, we previously speculated that the official opening date for Moana’s Journey of Water (October 16, 2023) was chosen strategically so that it would miss the worst of fall break crowds at Walt Disney World. As was evidenced over the weekend, Journey of Water will need to use a virtual queue when demand is too high–due to lack of sufficient space for a standby line. This suggests that internal forecasts call for the peak of fall break crowds starting to wind down by October 16, 2023.

Before you worry too much or debate cancelling, let’s talk beating the crowds. First, remember how we discussed extended park hours at the top of the post? Well, those added hours are incredibly advantageous–especially the earlier opening times since most travelers don’t want to do the early wake-up call on vacation.

For like the tenth time in the last couple of weeks, choosing the optimal days to do DHS and Magic Kingdom–and then taking advantage of Early Entry at both parks–is huge. Do not understand Early Entry, or visiting those parks on days that are likely to be less crowded. It’s a similar story with Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom in the evenings.

By simply arriving early or staying late at every park, you can beat the worst of the midday crowds. (Of course, that’s “simple” in theory but more difficult in practice, especially if you have small children. That’s a big reason why wait times are lower first thing in the morning and later in the evenings.) Beyond that, be sure to also check out our Walt Disney World Itineraries for plans of attack, including options with and without Genie+ and Lightning Lanes.

Suffice to say, it’s entirely possible to beat bad crowds by utilizing Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, Early Entry, Extended Evening Hours, rope drop, etc. We cover the best & worst approach for each park in Best Time-Saving Strategies for Walt Disney World. If you’re only going to read one planning post, make it that. There are great ways to beat the crowds–even on busy days–without buying Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lanes.

Speaking of which, we have a ~4,500 word Guide to Genie+ at Walt Disney World & Lightning Lane FAQ for those who want to thoroughly master paid FastPass. Weeks like this, it’s definitely a good option for Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT. (We seldom recommend Genie+ at Animal Kingdom, and that remains true during fall break, too.)

Overall, that’s about what you can expect to experience during Fall Break 2023 at Walt Disney World. Expect elevated ‘feels like’ crowds starting pretty much right now, and continuing until the end of October 2023. Based on historical precedent, this week won’t be terrible and neither will closer to Halloween–the worst crowds will be October 6-16, 2023.

We aren’t completely confident that the last week-plus of October will have the same degree of slowdown as last year, given the number of large Florida school districts that have breaks at the end of the month. (I’m going to assume that a lot of districts also had fall breaks during the same time frames last year, though.) Regardless, it still should be as bad as the peak, and there will be a brief slowdown at the start of November before the holiday season kicks into high gear.

In the end, we wouldn’t necessarily avoid fall break ‘season’ if you have a school-aged child and have no better options outside of the big holiday breaks in the final quarter of the year. There’s a very good chance all of those (Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s) will be just as bad or worse than fall break. Just be aware that attendance levels will be higher than they’ve been from mid-April through late September. As always, crowd levels at Walt Disney World have been increasing across the board and still surprise us from time to time. Nevertheless, we’re reasonably confident in this fall break forecast.

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!


Have you visited Walt Disney World during fall break in the past? What did you think of the crowds? Are you visiting this year? Any other major school districts have extended fall breaks in mid-October? Anything else we missed that could impact crowds in October 2023? Do you agree or disagree with anything in our Fall Break 2023 Crowd Forecast for Walt Disney World? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

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Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politi…


Good Wednesday morning.

It’s debate night in America.

Seven candidates have qualified for tonight’s debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, the Republican National Committee said, confirming that former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson did not make the cut this time.

Former President Donald Trump, the early Republican presidential front-runner who skipped the first debate, will also be missing from the stage and will instead hold events in the battleground state of Michigan.

It’s debate night in America!

To qualify for the second debate, candidates needed at least 3% support in two national polls or 3% in one national poll as well as two polls from four of the early-voting states — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

The White House hopefuls also needed at least 50,000 unique donors, with at least 200 of those coming from 20 states or territories. They also had to sign an RNC pledge promising to support the party’s eventual nominee.


An anti-Ron DeSantis group hopes to put a cloud over the Governor’s debate performance with a new ad claiming that his “campaign remains in a state of free fall.”

The DeSantis Watch ad, titled “Crashing,” slams the Governor’s positions on abortion and his “racist agenda,” and claims that “his campaign is broke and fighting with itself.”

“Ron couldn’t even successfully launch his own campaign. Now the DeSantis campaign is crashing,” the ad narrator states. “One misstep after another for a failing candidate while Floridians have real problems that need to be addressed now.”

The ad closes with the narrator telling DeSantis to “give up your ego-driven vanity project and do your job.”

In a news release announcing the ad buy, DeSantis Watch Communications Director Anders Croy said, “Like pudding dropped on pavement, the Ron DeSantis campaign is a massive mess and impossible to clean up.”

“The more voters have seen of Ron DeSantis, the less they have liked, which isn’t surprising given that most Americans don’t support banning abortion or books,” he continued. “It’s time for Ron DeSantis to stop sticking his fingers where they don’t belong, end his ego-driven vanity campaign for President, and come home to fix the affordability crisis in Florida that he created in the state still paying his six-figure taxpayer-funded salary.”

To watch the ad, please click the image below:


@MarcACaputo: Welcome to California, where Republicans are like Republicans in the other states and U.S. territories when it comes to the presidential Primary

@MarcoRubio: The allegations against the Senior Senator from New Jersey are nasty & the evidence offered difficult to explain away But in America guilt is decided by a jury, not politicians in fear of their party losing a Senate seat

@FrankThorp: Asked if he thinks Sen Menendez should resign, Sen CORNYN says, “I’d like all of my Democratic colleagues to resign.”

@atrupar: Cassidy Hutchinson on Matt Gaetz: “I never dated Matt Gaetz. I have much higher standards in men.”

Tweet, tweet:


ESPN+ and Disney+ present ‘Toy Story’ based telecast of game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Atlanta Falcons — 4; Loki Season Two premieres — 9; Republican Party of Sarasota County honors First Lady Casey DeSantis with the 2023 Stateswoman of the Year Award — 22; Martin Scorsese’s ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ premieres — 26; 2023 Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 26; Britney Spears memoir ‘The Woman in Me’ drops — 27; NBA 2023-24 season tipoff — 27; Swift’s ‘1989 (Taylor’s Version)’ released — 30; Suncoast Tiger Bay Club hosts ‘Evening with the Tigers’ — 40; 2023 Florida Chamber Mental Health Innovation Summit — 43; ’Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 44; Formula 1 will take over the Las Vegas Strip — 51; ‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ premieres — 56; Ridley Scott’s ‘Napoleon’ premieres — 57; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 63; 2023 Florida Transportation, Growth & Infrastructure Solution Summit — 65; 2023 Florida Chamber Annual Insurance Summit — 77; Zack Snyder’s ‘Rebel Moon’ premieres — 86; Matt Dixon’s ‘Swamp Monsters: Trump vs. DeSantis ― the Greatest Show on Earth (or at Least in Florida)’ released — 104; 2024 Florida Chamber Legislative Fly-In and reception — 104; Florida’s 2024 Regular Session begins — 104; Florida TaxWatch’s State of the Taxpayer Dinner — 109; 2024 Primetime Emmy Awards — 110; South Carolina Democratic Primary — 129; New Hampshire and Nevada Democratic Primaries — 132; South Carolina GOP holds first-in-the-South Primary — 150; Michigan Democratic Primary — 153; Georgia Democratic Primary — 167; Trump’s D.C. trial on charges related to trying to reverse his 2020 Election loss — 159; Super Tuesday — 160; ‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ premieres — 165; 2024 Oscars — 166; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 171; ‘Deadpool 3’ premieres — 217; 2024 Leadership Conference on Safety, Health & Sustainability — 226; ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ premieres — 236; Republican National Convention begins — 290; New ‘Alien’ premieres — 294; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 303; ‘Captain America: Brave New World’ premieres — 303; Georgia Tech to face Florida State in 2024 opener in Dublin — 333; Swift’s Eras Tour stops in Miami — 377; 2024 Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 390; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 450; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 506; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 585; ‘Moana’ premieres — 642; ‘Avatar 3’ premieres — 816; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 947; Untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 969; Another untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 1,182; ‘Avengers: Secret Wars’ premieres — 1,321; ‘Avatar 4’ premieres — 2,277; ‘Avatar 5’ premieres — 2,640.


Federal trial opens in Ron DeSantis’ congressional redistricting plan that killed a Black-held seat” via Michael Moline of Florida Phoenix — Alex Kelly — DeSantis’ acting chief of staff, who was waist-deep in redistricting negotiations with the Legislature last year, was the first witness called in a legal challenge to the redistricting plan the Governor forced on the Legislature.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers repeatedly emphasized that the Florida Supreme Court itself drew an earlier version of the district following the extended litigation that marked the last redistricting process during the early 2010s.

“The Florida Supreme Court got it wrong,” Kelly declared. DeSantis, by contrast — “He knows better.”

Alex Kelly is the first witness in the North Florida redistricting trial.

Common Cause Florida, Fair Districts Now, the Florida State Conference of the NAACP, and individual voters are suing to overturn the DeSantis map and reinstate the district at issue, which would run 200 miles between Jacksonville and Gadsden County in North Florida.

It includes sufficient Black voters to ensure them the ability to pick the representative of their choice, as required under Florida’s Fair Districts constitutional amendment, itself modeled on the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and which forbids political gerrymandering or diminishment of minority voting strength. Black Democrat Al Lawson held the seat for a decade.

In a separate challenge in state court, a trial judge ruled the DeSantis plan violated the Florida and U.S. Constitution. The appeal is now before the 1st District Court of Appeal.

DeSantis has argued that the district amounted to a racial gerrymander in violation of the equal protection language in the 14th Amendment. He has evinced eagerness to give the U.S. Supreme Court a chance to bar any consideration of race in redistricting.

That was a pretext, plaintiffs’ attorney Greg Baker said during opening arguments. “His real concern was not having any Black districts in North Florida,” he said.


DeSantis will be center stage at second GOP debate” via Zachary Leeman of The Messenger — DeSantis, who has polled the best among Republican candidates next to Trump, is taking the center stage position Wednesday night. The debate airs at 9 p.m. on Fox Business. Trump already confirmed he would be skipping the second debate, as he did the first. He’ll instead speak to autoworkers in Detroit amid an ongoing strike by the United Auto Workers union. Next to DeSantis on the debate stage will be Vivek Ramaswamy and Nikki Haley. Sen. Tim Scott and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie follow in the next spots. In the final spots at the end of the debate stage will be North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and former Vice President Mike Pence.

Ron DeSantis is ready to take center stage. Image via AP.

DeSantis in second place in new Iowa, New Hampshire polls” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — New CBS News polling finds DeSantis alone in second place in two early states in the 2024 Republican presidential race. In Iowa, the Governor is above 20%, his best standing outside of internal polling in a while. With 21% support, DeSantis is still 30 points behind Trump in the Hawkeye State, but well ahead of the rest of the field. His nearest competition, Haley, has just 8% support in Iowa. With 6% support, Pence and Scott are tied in fourth place. In Iowa, only 20% of voters are only considering Trump, with 31% ruling him out and the remaining 48% considering Trump and other candidates, meaning there is still theoretical room to grow.

Poll: 57% of GOP voters see DeSantis as part of the ‘political establishment’” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — In the latest Monmouth Poll, 57% of Republican Primary voters see the Florida Governor as part of the “political establishment,” while 33% do not. That’s just marginally more than Haley’s 56%. However, only 22% of the 510 people polled are confident she is not part of the establishment. “Nearly half the GOP electorate says it is either extremely (26%) or very (21%) important for the next President to be someone from outside the political establishment,” the pollsters say. “Just 22% say this is not important to them. This is a particularly high priority among strong MAGA supporters (47% extremely and 24% very important). Most Republican voters — whether a MAGA supporter or not — see Donald Trump as more of a political outsider (69%) than insider (26%).”

DeSantis is brandishing his military service. Do Republican voters still want that?” via Alex Leary and James Grimaldi of The Wall Street Journal —As he struggles in the race, DeSantis is increasingly highlighting a credential that sets him apart from Trump and the rest of the Republican field. The 45-year-old Florida Governor served as a Navy lawyer in Iraq and the Guantánamo Bay detention facility. It has been three decades since the U.S. had a veteran as President. A military career isn’t always a political winner. David Foy, 60, of Willis, Texas, who twice voted for Trump, said that he respects DeSantis’ service but that it isn’t a top factor as he evaluates candidates. “The job is not about military experience; it’s about governance,” he said.

— MORE 2024 —

Judge rules Donald Trump defrauded banks, insurers while building real estate empire” via Michael R. Sisak of The Associated Press — A judge ruled Tuesday that Trump committed fraud for years while building the real estate empire that catapulted him to fame and the White House. Judge Arthur Engoron, ruling in a lawsuit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, found that the former President and his company deceived banks, insurers and others by massively overvaluing his assets and exaggerating his net worth on paperwork used in making deals and securing financing. Engoron ordered that some of Trump’s business licenses be rescinded as punishment, making it difficult or impossible for them to do business in New York, and said he would continue to have an independent monitor oversee the Trump Organization’s operations.

Is the Trump Organization essentially shut out of New York?

Trump is crushing it in California. His rivals are ‘in denial.’” via Christopher Cadelago of POLITICO — Enduring loyalty to Trump from millions of Republicans in the state combined with new delegate rules are tilting the scales dramatically in Trump’s favor. It’s a rude awakening for the rest of the field as they descend on the state for Wednesday’s debate. “The grassroots across California is all behind Trump,” said Bill Essayli, a conservative Republican state assemblymember from Corona. “He’s the guy that excites them and energizes them and they think that he should have won in 2020. And they’re still behind him and 2024.” That has left never-Trump Republicans “in denial,” and some deep-pocketed establishment donors desperately looking for another candidate, Essayli said. “The best you can say is they’re figuring it out. They thought it was gonna be DeSantis, but he hasn’t manifested.”

Why Trump’s message works” via Byron York of the Washington Examiner — Trump arrived in the suburb of Charleston, South Carolina, buoyed by a Washington Post poll that showed him leading President Joe Biden by 10 points in a hypothetical 2024 rematch. “That’s a lot,” Trump said of his lead. “It’s hard for Republicans to lead by that much in the fake news media.” Trump then went on to mock The Washington Post for distancing itself from its own poll. “They said this must be an outlier. The numbers must be wrong — it was their poll!” When The Washington Post’s research showed Trump with a big lead, the paper suggested its own research must be wrong. The pollsters could fret all day long about whether the question was worded correctly or whether it was placed among other questions in the right order, but Trump supporters simply saw it as part of one big, crooked operation.

Joe Biden, in historic but sensitive move, joins UAW picket line” via Matt Viser of The Washington Post — Biden joined a picket line here Tuesday in an extraordinary attempt to place himself on the side of striking union members against the country’s biggest auto manufacturers and make good on a promise to be “the most pro-union President in history.” It marked the first time a sitting President had joined a picket line, and on a dreary afternoon, Biden stood on a wooden platform and spoke through a bullhorn with an American flag on it to a group of United Auto Workers members clad in red shirts. “Now they’re doing incredibly well,” he said outside a General Motors plant here on the outskirts of Detroit, referring to auto manufacturers. “And guess what? You should be doing incredibly well, too.”

Joe Biden makes history by hitting the picket line. Image via X.

Biden team’s don’t-let-him-trip mission” via Alex Thompson of Axios — Biden and his campaign are working on a critical project for his re-election bid: Make sure he doesn’t trip. As voters express deep concerns about the 80-year-old President’s age and fitness for office, Biden’s team is taking extra steps to prevent him from stumbling in public as he did in June, when he tripped over a sandbag at the Air Force Academy. With a physical therapist, Biden has been doing exercises to improve his balance as far back as November 2021. Since his stumble in June, he has been wearing tennis shoes more often to avoid slipping and using the short stairs on Air Force One, entering the plane on a lower deck than before.

Virginia’s Glenn Youngkin signals interest in offices beyond Governor” via Christian Hall of Bloomberg — Virginia Gov. Youngkin signaled interest in running for other elected offices, a move that will fuel speculation about a future Senate or presidential bid. “There might be others,” Youngkin said Tuesday at an Economic Club of Washington event, in response to a question from Carlyle Group Inc. founder David Rubenstein about whether he plans to run again for public office. Youngkin, a former Carlyle co-chief executive officer who won the Virginia Governor’s Mansion in 2021, dodged several follow-up questions during the interview with Rubenstein about whether he intends to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.


Home discomfort for DeSantis as Florida Republicans edge away” via Richard Luscombe of The Guardian — There haven’t been many good days for DeSantis’ flailing presidential campaign lately, and news that the Governor has slumped to fifth place in a poll for the New Hampshire Primary will hardly have lifted his spirits. Yet the biggest blow of the past week came from Florida’s once fiercely loyal Republican Party, which appears to sour on the idea of their man in the White House. The action, which DeSantis lobbied hard against, sends a clear signal to DeSantis that he no longer enjoys the unquestioned allegiance of the party in his own state, a potentially fatal position for a candidate seeking to convince the rest of the country he is best qualified for the presidency.

DeSantis starts to lose juice in Florida. Image via AP.

Charlotte County school district orders librarians to purge all books with LGBTQ characters” via Judd Legum of Popular Information — Charlotte County school librarians sought guidance from the school district about how to apply an expansion of the Florida Parental Rights in Education Act, better known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, to all grades. “Are we removing books from any school or media center, PreK-12 if a character has, for example, two mothers or because there is a gay best friend, or a main character is gay?” the librarians asked. Charlotte County Superintendent Mark Vianello answered, “Yes.”

Advertisement— STATEWIDE —

Ex-CEO of disgraced domestic violence coalition arrested on fraud charges” via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald — The former head of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Tiffany Carr, was arrested Monday on criminal corruption charges accusing her of defrauding the state of $3.4 million, using government funds provided through grants to help fund domestic violence shelters across Florida. Carr turned herself into the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina and was released on a $1 million bond, but law enforcement officials said she was not extradited to Leon County because she cited a medical condition that prevented that. Her arrest came nearly a week after Patricia Duarte, the former chief financial officer, turned herself into Leon County authorities on the same charges. Duarte is accused of receiving $291,000 in excessive compensation because of the scheme.

Tiffany Carr is doing the perp walk. Image via The Ledger.

Hurricane Idalia left $34M bruise on Florida shellfish processors, other aquaculture” via Danny McAuliffe of Florida Politics — The state is anticipating that Florida shellfish processors and others in the aquaculture industry will have suffered losses of more than $34 million from Hurricane Idalia by the time the dust settles. The news is another installment in the mounting toll that officials are scrambling to determine in the aftermath of the Category 4 storm. The numbers are setting the stage for the 2024 Legislative Session, during which some Special Committees in both the Senate and House will focus exclusively on hurricane recovery and resiliency. Wilton Simpson released estimates Tuesday for the adjusted reported losses. He said in a statement that aquaculture is the “most diverse agribusiness” and that it suffered a “hard hit.” He said that was especially true for the shellfish industry.

Florida gambling interests want state Supreme Court to stop sports betting pact” via Mitch Perry of Florida Phoenix — Florida companies with gambling interests are calling on the Florida Supreme Court to issue a “writ of quo warranto,” saying DeSantis and top legislative leaders exceeded their powers in granting the Seminole Tribe of Florida the exclusive rights to offer off-reservation online and-in person sports betting in Florida in 2021. Now, those gaming companies want to suspend the sports betting pact, claiming only that voters must approve a constitutional amendment to do such a thing. The legal brief filed late Monday night shows the players in the lawsuit: West Flagler Associates and the Bonita-Fort Myers Corporation, a corporation doing business as Bonita Springs Poker Room, as well as Isadore Havenick, the vice president of both companies.

Assignment editors — Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis will host an IRS Accountability Roundtable: 9 a.m. EDT, Las Vegas Cuban Cuisine, 8552 Northwest 53rd Street, Doral. For details, contact Amanda Pinto at (786) 338-3375.

Happening today — The Franklin County legislative delegation meets: 10:30 a.m. EST, 34 Forbes Street, Apalachicola. Rep. Wyman Duggan, Chair of the Duval County legislative delegation, will hold a public hearing: 1 p.m. ET, Jacksonville Council Chamber, first floor of City Hall, 117 West Duval Street, Jacksonville. The Gulf County legislative delegation meets: 1:30 p.m. EST, 1000 Cecil G. Costin Sr Blvd., Port St. Joe.

Christine Hunschofsky wants to know what’s on her constituents’ minds” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Rep. Hunschofsky, Parkland’s former Mayor, is returning to City Hall. This time, Hunschofsky is holding a town hall to find out what’s on her constituents’ minds as the next Legislative Session draws closer. The first of two town halls she’s planning in October will be at 7 p.m., Oct. 8 at 6600 N. University Drive in Parkland. The 126th Regular Session since Florida became a state is slated to begin Jan. 9. Hunschofsky’s profile increased as she led her grieving community through the aftermath of the state’s worst school shooting, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in 2018.


Happening tonight:



DeSantis appointee Emery Gainey formally files to run sheriff of Alachua County” via Andrew Caplan of The Gainesville Sun — Sheriff-appointee Gainey has formally filed to run for office in the 2024 election. Gainey is a Gainesville resident with nearly four decades of experience in law enforcement. DeSantis appointed him on Sept. 7 to replace Sheriff Clovis Watson, who will officially resign Oct. 1. Just five days after Gainey’s appointment, Undersheriff Joel DeCoursey, the second in command, also abruptly departed from the sheriff’s office with no reason given and will officially resign with Watson Oct. 1. As a result, Gainey was given “full autonomy” of the agency weeks ahead of his swearing-in ceremony, officials said.


Not again. Federal workers who’ve weathered past government shutdowns brace for yet another ordeal” via Fatima Hussein of The Associated Press — John Hubert, an airport security officer in Fort Lauderdale, recalls helping fellow Transportation Security Administration workers get essentials from food banks when they worked without pay during the last government shutdown. By the end of the 35-day ordeal, he needed the same help himself. Steve Reaves, a union leader for workers at FEMA, went through three government shutdowns while working at FEMA, and remembers having to pull money out of his retirement early to make ends meet during that last one in 2018-19. Jessica LaPointe, a Social Security Administration worker from Madison, Wisconsin, says she had to rely on financial help from friends and family during the 16-day October 2013 shutdown. In anticipation of the next one, she’s already postponing a planned family vacation to Disney World.

Senate votes to advance short-term funding bill to avoid government shutdown” via Alexander Bolton of The Hill — The Senate voted Tuesday to advance a short-term funding measure to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the week. The Senate voted 77 to 19 to advance the legislative vehicle they will use for a continuing resolution funding government until Nov. 17. The vote puts the Senate on a path to pass a continuing resolution (CR) later this week that it could then send to the House to avoid a shutdown Oct. 1. The House has been stuck on how to move forward with funding the government amid disputes among Republicans in the majority. If the Senate does approve a CR, it could put pressure on the House to bring it to the floor and avoid a shutdown, particularly in the lower chamber has not made much progress on its own.

The Senate springs an eleventh-hour plan to avoid a shutdown. Image via AP.

Supreme Court declines to revisit Alabama voting map dispute” via Abbie VanSickle of The New York Times — The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused Alabama’s request to reinstate a congressional map drawn by Republican lawmakers that had only one majority-Black district, paving the way for a new map to be put in place before the 2024 election. Alabama’s request to keep its map was the second time in under a year that it had asked the Supreme Court to affirm a limited role of race in establishing voting districts for federal elections, in what amounted to a defiant repudiation of lower-court rulings. In the latest twist in the case, the lower court had found that the state had brazenly flouted its directive to create a second majority-Black district or something “close to it.”

Marco Rubio doesn’t think Bob Menendez should resign” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — As the list of Democrats calling for U.S. Sen. Menendez’s resignation grows, Florida’s Republican senior Senator offered a different take. U.S. Sen. Rubio, a Miami Republican, delivered somewhat of a defense of his Democratic colleague. “The allegations against the senior Senator from New Jersey are nasty (and) the evidence offered difficult to explain away,” Rubio posted. “But in America, guilt is decided by a jury, not politicians in fear of their party losing a Senate seat.” Menendez faces federal corruption charges and was indicted last week, with federal prosecutors alleging he aided figures in the Egyptian government in exchange for cash.

Darren Soto’s campaign accepted money from Menendez” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Democrats running for Congress across the country have accepted support from U.S. Sen. Menendez, despite his previous scandals. But as he faces new federal corruption charges, will Florida Democrats who accepted donations give the money back? U.S. Rep. Soto accepted $5,000 from Menendez’s New Millennium PAC when Soto first won his seat in Congress in 2016. Two years later, the leadership PAC donated another $4,000 to Soto as he fended off a Democratic Primary challenge by former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson. Now the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) said Soto needs to address accepting support from Menendez. “Why hasn’t Darren Soto spoken up or given back Sen. Menendez’s crooked contributions?” said NRCC representative Delanie Bomar. “Soto’s silence speaks volumes.”

FTC sues Amazon, alleging illegal online-marketplace monopoly” via Dave Michaels and Dana Mattioli of The Wall Street Journal — The Federal Trade Commission and 17 states on Tuesday sued Amazon alleging the online retailer illegally wields monopoly power that keeps prices artificially high, locks sellers into its platform and harms its rivals. The FTC’s lawsuit, filed in Seattle federal court, marks a milestone in the Biden administration’s aggressive approach to enforcing antitrust laws and has been anticipated for months. The agency’s Chair, Lina Khan, is a longtime critic of Amazon who wrote in the Yale Law Journal in 2017 that earlier generations of competition cops and courts abandoned the law’s concerns over conglomerates such as Amazon.

Fentanyl smuggling is hard to stop — but easy to use as a cudgel” via Philip Bump of The Washington Post — Kevin McCarthy has been struggling for days to figure out how he can get his caucus to approve funding bills that would prevent the government from shutting down at the end of the month. Not seeing much success, he has recently shifted his approach. Instead of allowing the conversation to center on House Republican dissension, he’s pushing the media and, by extension, the public to view border security as the sticking point. The White House has pointed out that it had an agreement on funding that it reached with McCarthy earlier this year, a deal that McCarthy has been pushed to jettison. Instead, McCarthy is choosing to cast the Biden administration as negligent, if not dangerous.

FWD.us celebrates Biden administration’s re-designation of TPS for Venezuela — FWD.us is launching a digital ad campaign praising Biden for his recent re-designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Venezuela. The ad features Juan Miguel, a Venezuelan TPS recipient living in Orlando. FWD.us said redesignating TPS for Venezuela “was undoubtedly the right thing to do — and it’s also popular.” The organization cited polling it and SEIU conducted showing that a majority of American voters in battleground states support the Biden administration using TPS as a policy solution for current immigration challenges. “As we celebrate this announcement, we are committed to continue urging the Biden administration to build on their successful use of TPS to safeguard other vulnerable people in need of protection from countries facing devastating humanitarian crises like Cameroon, Mauritania, and other nations in Central America and beyond that clearly meet the program’s statutory requirements.”


— LOCAL: S. FL —

FAU trustees move to prevent Vice Chair’s instant elevation if DeSantis removes Board Chair” via Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — With no letup in the controversy surrounding the leadership of Florida Atlantic University, the school’s trustees voted to short circuit the automatic ascension of their Vice Chair if the Board Chair’s position were to become vacant. The move would prevent Vice Chair Barbara Feingold from automatically becoming the Board’s leader if Board Chair Brad Levine leaves — or is removed by DeSantis. No one mentioned the specific players during a brief discussion of the plan, which passed with 10 trustees voting in favor, two opposed, and one — Feingold — absent. But the subtext was clear to anyone who’s been watching the tumultuous, monthslong attempt to hire a new FAU president.

FAU trustees perform an end run around succession rules if Brad Levine leaves.

Broward College accepts president’s resignation, plans to name acting President soon” via Jimena Tavel of the Miami Herald — After nearly two weeks of uncertainty since Broward College President Gregory Adam Haile abruptly resigned, the college’s Board of Trustees accepted his resignation Tuesday, but decided to wait another week to name an acting president. The Board will meet again next week to interview the qualified applicants, select an acting president and vote on the compensation package. Board members, the student government president, and the faculty Senate Chair will all submit questions for the candidates. In the meantime, the rest of the college’s senior management team, especially provost Jeffrey Nasse, will handle operations, said Board of Trustees Chair Alexis Yarbrough at a meeting Tuesday on the south campus in Pembroke Pines. Haile, who submitted a resignation letter on Sept. 13, will help with the succession.

Former Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office captain wants to be county’s top prosecutor” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — A retired Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBCSO) captain is making it a four-way Democratic Primary contest to replace Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg. Rolando Silva retired from leading PBCSO District 8 earlier this year, ending 33 years with the law enforcement agency. Now, Silva wants to trade in his dress blues for a shirt and tie. He filed to become Palm Beach County’s top prosecutor earlier this month but has not responded to calls and texts from Florida Politics.

Mike Grieco wins pro-LGBTQ group’s endorsement for Miami Beach Mayor” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Grieco’s bid to be Miami Beach’s Mayor got the nod from an LBGTQ rights organization, even after an incident involving a loaded gun. Grieco won SAVE Action PAC’s endorsement for the Nov. 7 General Election over three other candidates: Former Miami Beach City Commissioner Michael Góngora, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer Steven Meiner, and former HBO and MTV executive Bill Roedy. Orlando Gonzales, SAVE’s executive director, said the gun incident that led Roedy to demand Grieco withdraw from the race, did not weigh that heavily on the SAVE members deciding on the endorsements.

Florida ethics panel clears Delray Beach deputy Vice Mayor” via Abigail Hasebroock of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Delray Beach Deputy Vice Mayor Rob Long has been cleared in an ethics probe relating to votes he cast as a member of the city’s Planning and Zoning Board before being elected as a City Commissioner earlier this year. The Florida Commission on Ethics conducted a review of three different votes that Long had made in 2018, 2020 and 2022, and whether there was any conflict in voting. However, the ethics panel found that there was no conflict. Christopher Davey, the former Chair of the Delray Beach Planning and Zoning Board, had submitted a complaint pertaining to Long.

Rob Long is off the hook. Image via Facebook.

Miami man distributed over $16M of adulterated HIV drugs given to U.S. patients” via Omar Rodríguez Ortiz of the Miami Herald — A Miami man has pleaded guilty in federal court to distributing at least $16.7 million of adulterated HIV drugs that were ultimately dispensed to unsuspecting patients across the United States. Armando Herrera, 43, and his co-conspirators established companies in Florida, Texas, Washington and California that they used to sell and distribute adulterated prescription drugs, primarily HIV medications, to wholesale pharmaceutical suppliers from January 2019 to November 2021. A drug is adulterated if, among other things, any substance has been substituted in whole or in part for the drug.

Family of woman killed in Broward helicopter crash asks Sheriff’s Office for $50M” via Grethel Aguila of the Miami Herald — The family of a woman killed after a Broward Sheriff’s Office helicopter crashed into an apartment is now asking the agency for up to $50 million in damages. Attorney Gary C. Robb, who is representing the family of Lurean Wheaton, notified Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony and Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis about the wrongful death claim. Wheaton, 65, was sleeping when the helicopter crashed into her Pompano Beach apartment complex on Aug. 28. BSO Fire Chief Terryson Jackson, 50, was also killed in the crash.

— LOCAL: C. FL —

Four charged under new hate crimes law with placing swastika banners over I-4 in Orlando” via Frank Fernandez of The Daytona Beach News-Journal — Four people were charged in the hanging of antisemitic hate banners along a bridge over Interstate 4 in Orlando in violation of a state law passed this year to combat such hate messages, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Ronald Murray, 41, and Amanda Rains, 36, both of Cypress, Texas, were arrested last week and turned themselves into the Orange County Jail, according to the FDLE. They join two others: Jason Brown, 48, of Cape Canaveral, arrested Sept. 13, and Anthony Altick, 36, of Monroe, Louisiana, who was arrested Sept. 18. The four are accused of placing banners without permission on June 10 along a fence on the Daryl Carter Parkway Bridge in Orlando.

A pro-Nazi protest in Orlando results in four people charged under a new hate crime law. Image via Daytona Beach Police Department.

Miya Marcano’s family sues Orange County Sheriff’s Office over mishandled investigation” via Jeff Weiner of the Orlando Sentinel — The parents of Marcano, who was abducted from her University of Central Florida-area apartment by a worker and killed two years ago, have filed a lawsuit against the Orange County Sheriff’s Office over failings in its initial investigation into her disappearance. The suit, filed in Orange County circuit court by Marlon Marcano and Yma Su-Ling Scarbriel, accuses the agency and deputies Samir Paulino and Kenneth Dale of negligence and violating Miya Marcano’s civil rights. Michelle Guido, a spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office, declined to respond to the lawsuit, saying the agency does not comment on pending litigation.

3 tourism capital projects recommended for county grants totaling $1.71M” via Dave Berman of Florida Today — A county advisory board has recommended grants for three tourism capital projects next year ― two in Titusville and one in Palm Bay ― totaling about $1.71 million. Funding for the grants would come from Brevard County’s 5% tourist development tax on hotel rooms, vacation rentals and other short-term rentals. The unanimous grant recommendations from the Tourist Development Council’s Capital Facilities Committee next go to the Tourist Development Council itself on Wednesday, then to the County Commission on Oct. 10. Each of the three grant applicants was recommended for only a portion of what was requested. The nine Capital Facilities Committee members score the grant applications on a 0-to-100 scale.


Some Tampa Bay Fall festivals canceled due to labor, migrant worker shortage” via Sharon Kennedy Wynne of the Tampa Bay Times — The annual Fall festivals at St. Raphael’s and St. Paul’s Catholic churches in St. Petersburg and Blessed Sacrament in Seminole have been canceled — though they hope for a Spring rescheduling — mostly because their amusement vendors are not able to get enough labor for their biggest fundraiser. It echoes a problem nationally, where many companies in the carnival industry that rely on hiring seasonal workers from outside the United States are facing a shortage of workers. The industry leans heavily on the government’s temporary work visa program (called H-2B and J-1 visas) to meet staffing needs. However, the government has been slow to grant visas, especially for the family-owned vendors who work at these smaller festivals. Amusement and recreation jobs are the second-most common occupation granted nonagricultural temporary work permits.

St. Petersburg hires first Chief Equity Officer” via Colleen Wright of the Tampa Bay Times — City officials on Tuesday announced the hiring of Lenice C. Emanuel as St. Petersburg’s first Chief Equity Officer. According to a news release, Emanuel is an executive with 25 years of experience in nonprofits, including as chief executive officer of the YWCA of Tampa Bay from 2010 to 2015. Her work starts Monday. Emanuel’s job is to create and carry out policies and practices that put everyone on the same playing field, in and out of City Hall, and make sure equity and inclusion are baked into city government policies, procedures and practices, according to the job posting. The goal is to work with the community to oversee and advance racial equity and inclusion within city government. The city received 112 applications for the job, said spokesperson Alizza Punzalan-Randle. Emanuel will make a salary of $185,000.

Lenice C. Emanuel becomes St. Petersburg’s first Chief Equity Officer. Image via City of St. Petersburg.

Stadium naming rights deals hint at what Rays could fetch for new ballpark name” via Henry Queen of the Tampa Bay Business Journal — Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stu Sternberg will need to amass $700 million for the team’s portion of a $1.3 billion deal to build a new stadium in St. Petersburg. One way to attract financing will be through the ballpark’s naming rights. In the years since the ThunderDome was rebranded as Tropicana Field before the 1997 season, the value and volume of naming rights deals have risen sharply — a good sign for Sternberg. That Rays-Tropicana deal will bring in $46.2 million through the end of the team’s stadium lease in 2027, according to terms of the deal obtained through a public records request. That amounts to an annual average value of $1.5 million … Elsewhere in Major League Baseball, teams have been able to procure about $10 million annually for the license to name a new stadium.

St. Pete awards $430k to South St. Pete business owners” via Veronica Brezina of St. Pete Catalyst — Inside the St. Petersburg College’s Allstate Center, St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch congratulated business owners for participating in the city’s first South St. Pete Microfund program aimed to help entrepreneurs continue their venture … Welch, the city’s economic development team and St. Petersburg Greenhouse executives announced the rollout of the South St. Petersburg CRA (Community Redevelopment Area) Microfund program earlier this year, touting it as a new accessible funding pot for business owners who utilize the funds toward making targeted improvements without providing any upfront capital … According to CNBC reports, 25% of small businesses fail by the first year and 50% by the fifth year. Minority-owned business owners face even greater odds. Eight out of 10 Black-owned businesses fail within the first 18 months, largely due to financial hardships and lack of support.

Kathleen Beckman campaign shows early momentum after launching bid for Clearwater Mayor” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — Clearwater City Council member Kathleen Beckman only just launched her campaign for Mayor last week, but already she appears off to a strong start. She raised more than $25,000 in the first 72 hours of her campaign, according to a campaign spokesperson, and those donors came almost entirely from within Pinellas County. “The support for my campaign since last week’s launch has been both humbling and overwhelming. I plan on running a local campaign fueled by local donors and volunteers who are excited about Clearwater’s future,” Beckman said. Of the first three days’ contributions, more than 120 came from individual donors, while 90% of donations came from within Clearwater or Pinellas County. Beckman’s campaign said she has already landed 16 local endorsements, though she didn’t specify who offered the early nods.

— LOCAL: N. FL —

Florida Democratic Party condemns Trump visit to Jacksonville gun shop — FDP is slamming Trump for making a campaign stop at Palmetto State Armory, where the neo-Nazi who shot three Black people in Jacksonville last month purchased his weapon. “This visit was no accident,” said FDP Chair Nikki Fried. “Donald Trump’s visit to this gun shop sends a clear message to his extremist supporters: he supports the horrific racism that drove a man to murder Black Floridians in broad daylight. It’s a sickening decision from the de facto leader of the GOP and the presumptive choice for their presidential nomination. … The use of racist dog whistles and coded neo-Nazi sympathies are a danger to our society, and any elected Republican with a backbone should be condemning their creeping influence on the party.”

Donald Trump does gun shopping — infuriating Florida Democrats. Image via X.

City plans to buy proposed Brentwood liquor store” via Will Brown of Jax Today — The proposed package store that raised the ire of Brentwood residents will not open. Council member Ju’Coby Pittman has told neighborhood residents the city will buy the property along Golfair Boulevard. A funding source for the purchase has not been identified, nor has legislation been introduced to acquire the property, which is less than 200 feet from a school, KIPP Voice Academy. But during a community conversation on Aug. 24 at the Legends Center, Pittman indicated that she would soon look to have legislation introduced to purchase the property. St. Johns-based SBPS 3 JI LLC bought the property in 2019. At the time, it was a vacant property that once held a gas station. The family that bought the property manages a RaceWay gas station less than a half-mile away.

DeSantis appoints three to the Gainesville Regional Utilities Authority — DeSantis made three appointments to the new GRU Authority on Tuesday evening, effective Oct. 1. James Coats is the CEO of Phalanx Defense Systems and a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society. He earned his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in business administration from American Military University. Robert Karow is a retiree who previously served as the manager, legal counsel, and contracts manager for Oleoductos de Crudos Pesados. He is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration from Chapman College and a law degree from the University of Florida. Eric Lawson is the CEO of HCA North Florida Regional Hospital and most recently served as the Division CFO for HCA TriStar. Lawson earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Tennessee Technological University.

Pensacola and Baptist in serious talks about demolition, land donation of old hospital” via Jim Little of the Pensacola News Journal — Pensacola is in active talks to secure an agreement with Baptist Health Care for the donation of the old Baptist Hospital campus to the city in exchange for paying for the demolition of the old hospital. Pensacola Mayor D.C. Reeves and Baptist Health Care officials had their first negotiation meeting Tuesday morning. Reeves said during his weekly news conference Tuesday the meeting was “very productive.” “(The meeting was) our largest substantive discussion we’ve had to date in terms of a potential donation agreement between Baptist Hospital in the city of Pensacola on the donation of their parcels,” Reeves said.

Mexico Beach hires outside firm to represent city in lawsuit filed by Mayor Michele Miller” via Nathan Cobb of the Panama City News-Herald — With an attorney selected, Mexico Beach can officially begin crafting its defense in the lawsuit filed by Mayor Miller against the City Council. In a special meeting on Monday, Mexico Beach City Council members voted to hire the firm Sniffen & Spellman to represent the city in the lawsuit, which alleges financial information about the city was intentionally withheld from Miller by former City Administrator Douglas Baber and Current Administrator Chris Hubbard under the direction of some Council members. Sniffen & Spellman has locations in West Palm Beach, Tallahassee and Pensacola.

FSU bar exam scores rise to second best in state; FAMU falls to lowest rate in state” via Benjamin Taubman of the Tallahassee Democrat — Florida State University College of Law graduates who took the Summer Florida bar exam for the first time in July passed at the second highest rate in the state, moving up from the third highest in the year prior. Florida A&M University College of Law, which is based in Orlando, graduates who took the exam for the first time passed at the lowest rate in the state, moving down from the third lowest last year. At a passing rate of 83.4%, 121 of 145 FSU College of Law graduates are one step closer to joining the Florida Bar. The college only scored lower than Florida International University College of Law, which had 113 of 124 graduates pass at a rate of 91.1%.

Leon County Schools launch ‘Littles to Leaders’ program for early childhood development” via Alaijah Brown of the Tallahassee Democrat — “We are committed to doing everything we can to prepare this diverse population of young people to enter school ready to succeed,” LCS Superintendent Rocky Hanna said in a statement. Under the leadership of LCS Director of Early Childhood Programs Brooke Brunner, and Capital Area Healthy Start Executive Director Chris Szorcsik, the initiative will support families with resources and education on the development of children from birth to five years old to prepare them for school. The program received a financial boost of $150,000 from Simply Health Care, a health insurance company based in Florida. The contribution helped pay for an exclusive book by local author Heidi King and local illustrator Janae Easton called “Good Morning Tallahassee” which will be included in every “brain bag” for families.

A new program in Leon County is helping foster future leaders.

National Park Service to seek U.N. World Heritage Site label for Okefenokee near Jacksonville” via Steve Patterson of The Florida Times-Union — The National Park Service will nominate the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge near Jacksonville for listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the agency has announced. The listing would be an extraordinary endorsement of the vast swamp’s ecological value and could fuel ecotourism travel through Jacksonville to reach the refuge about 50 miles northwest in Folkston, Georgia. A final decision through a panel of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization could be years away. The designation wouldn’t automatically create new regulations or limits on how nearby property is used but would underscore that the 400,000-acre refuge is environmentally precious.


Sarasota County Commissioners partially reverse course on funding” via Barb Richardson of the Englewood Sun — Blowback to a Sept. 12 decision by the Sarasota County Board of Commissioners about funding social services manifested itself at Tuesday’s meeting. A total of 23 people spoke for organizations that were excluded from county funding at the previous meeting. All the agencies had been recommended for funding approval by two county Advisory Committees before making it to the County Commission. Whether they represented the groups or just spoke on behalf of them, the message was the same: Funding is needed; please restore it. The discussion resulted from changes largely driven by Commissioner Mike Moran about how Commissioners provided funding for social services.

Sarasota County Commissioners, led by Mike Moran, unanimously approved major changes to funding for mental health and other programs.

City Council approves tax increase in Naples for 2024, despite opposition” via Laura Layden of the Naples Daily News — The City Council has approved a property tax increase in Naples, despite opposition from residents who asked for a break in tough times. Usually, the city’s budget hearings don’t attract much attention. This year, the final hearing drew a crowd. Those who spoke in opposition asked for a reprieve, not just for themselves, but for the less fortunate, who are struggling to pay their monthly bills. Many residents are still fighting to recover from Hurricane Ian while facing higher living costs across the Board, driven mostly by record inflation. Last week, the Council voted 5-2 in favor of an increase from 1.15 to 1.17 mills for the city’s general fund.

Sarasota Bradenton International Airport is expanding. When will construction be done?” via James A. Jones Jr. of the Bradenton Herald — The planned ground-level passenger terminal at Sarasota Bradenton International Airport is no longer just a concept. The 75,300-square-foot ground boarding facility, which will eventually have five gates, a four-lane security checkpoint, nursing rooms, a pet relief area and restrooms, now has a roof and a concrete floor, as well as underground utilities. Also planned are 970 seats, 630 with power for phones and other electronic devices. The new terminal rising from the construction site was a welcome sight for members of the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority. “Steel is going up. It’s coming along well,” Rick Piccolo, the airport’s president and Chief Executive Officer, said of construction.


Americans are down on Biden. Why does his party keep winning elections?” via Reid Epstein of The New York Times — For nearly two years, poll after poll has found Americans in a sour mood about President Biden, uneasy about the economy and eager for younger leaders of the country.

And yet when voters have actually cast ballots, Democrats have delivered strong results in special elections — the sort of contests that attract little attention but can serve as a useful gauge for voter enthusiasm.

In Special Elections this year for state legislative offices, Democrats have exceeded Biden’s performance in the 2020 Presidential Election in 21 of 27 races, topping his showing by an average of seven percentage points, according to a study conducted by the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, the party’s campaign arm for state legislative races.

Taken together, these results suggest that the favorable political environment for Democrats since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade has endured through much of 2023. Democratic officials have said since the Summer of 2022, when the ruling came down, that abortion is both a powerful motivator for the party’s voters and the topic most likely to persuade moderate Republicans to vote for Democratic candidates.

Political operatives remain vexed about how much stock to put into the results of special elections. Such races tend to draw a fraction of the turnout in regular contests, and the voters skew older and more educated — a demographic that in the Trump era is more likely to favor Democrats.

The party that wins special elections tends to trumpet their importance and predictive power, while the losing side writes them off as insignificant measures of voters’ mood.


DeSantis’ ‘communist’ school accusation rings hollow, reveals ugly truth” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel — Over the past six years, the Orlando Sentinel has spotlighted a slew of publicly funded voucher schools in Florida with disturbing policies and woefully inadequate educational programs. We’ve found schools that flat-out refuse to serve children with disabilities — with written policies saying that they simply won’t accept kids in wheelchairs or who have conditions like autism. Also, schools that refuse to admit students who are gay or even have gay parents. In each and every one of those cases, GOP lawmakers have said: Well, that’s how school choice works. Parents get to choose. But now that the Governor has lodged wild and unproven accusations about Chinese, communist indoctrination, these same politicians are suddenly no longer smitten with choice and freedom.

Why DeSantis went limp as Georgia-Pacific ruined a small Florida town” via Danny McAuliffe of Florida Politics — He launched a legislative blitz against Disney when it dared to weigh in on a homophobic law. He demanded the state sue Bud Light’s parent company after the beer brand involved a transgender actor in a marketing campaign. He dedicated the bulk of a Legislative Session to his war against “Big Tech” companies. But when — in an audacious display of greed — Georgia-Pacific threatens the existence of the rural town of Perry, all that known-corporate-assailant DeSantis can muster is a feeble request for severance benefits in a bare-bones statement devoid of criticism of the paper giant. Why? The issue is too real. There’s no sexy culture-war angle. It doesn’t exhibit any of that forbidden wokeness and DeSantis won’t touch something that doesn’t advance his national ambitions.

Lucy Morgan’s mission was to ‘roam around Florida and cause trouble’” via Diane Roberts of Florida Phoenix — Those of us who worked with her, or for her, or just hung out at her house drinking copious amounts of good red wine, cannot get our heads wrapped around this. Lucy, tough, funny, stiletto-sharp Lucy, Lucy the Hall of Famer, Pulitzer-winner, dogged investigator, epic badass, would surely live forever. That’s not, of course, the way the universe works. Causing trouble — for the powerful, at least — was her job. She mentored generations of journalists at the Times, a paper that has always been a kind of incubator for young talent, people who’ve gone onto Politico, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Miami Herald, the Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. Those of us lucky enough to have been around her will mourn her, miss her, and never forget.

Michelle Flowers: Cancer outcomes must not be determined by insurance protocols” via Florida Politics — All too often, we see patients denied the medications their doctor prescribes because of insurance barriers. Meanwhile, patients’ quality of life and mental health are diminished as they wait to receive the treatment they need. One of these barriers is “step therapy” or “fail first,” as patients must go through steps and fail to earn the right to access the medication their oncologist believes is best. Things like step therapy protocols undermine this crucial connection and strip patients of their freedom to take the best treatment path. Another tactic, known as “prior authorization,” requires an insurer or other third party to run a check to determine coverage. Given the potentially life-threatening nature of many cancers, such delays can have significant implications for continuity of care and, ultimately, health outcomes.



— ALOE —

FIFA moving 100+ jobs to Florida from Zurich as legal department transfers to 2026 World Cup base” via Graham Dunbar of The Associated Press — FIFA is moving more than 100 jobs from its Swiss headquarters to Florida, where a growing workforce is already working on organizing the 2026 World Cup. FIFA informed staff on Tuesday that its entire legal department and the audit, compliance and risk management teams will move from Zurich to Coral Gables near Miami, a city whose status on the global soccer map is growing after Lionel Messi’s move to play in MLS for Inter Miami. “The move is planned to be fully operational in August 2024,” FIFA said.

FIFA is taking its show to Florida.

Retailers expect hefty Halloween spending from Floridians” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — Halloween is a sweet holiday for many. But that’s especially true this year for those selling candy and costumes. The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), an advocacy group for Sunshine State sellers, highlighted data this week showing that Americans will spend more this spooky season compared to 2022. The numbers suggest that consumers plan to spend a record $108.24 per person, an increase of more than $8 since 2022. “More Floridians plan to celebrate Halloween this year, many of which have already started their shopping,” said FRF President and CEO Scott Shalley.

Epcot Food & Wine: What would it cost to eat everything in 2023?” via DeWayne Bevil of the Orlando Sentinel — All marketplaces are up and running for the 2023 edition of Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, so it’s time to break out the calculators for an annual tallying. This exercise answers the burning Disney World question, “What would it cost me if I ordered one of everything?” It isn’t an inflation gauge or a double-dog-dare-you sort of thing. It’s more of a trivia question. For the total cost, the published prices of all the menu items in the official festival passport plus a couple of late additions are considered, as well as a key subtraction. When you add up the cost of every solid food on the festival menu, you would be dishing out $637.58, and you’d probably feel like it. To walk away with one of every beverage, too, it’s an additional $1,014.36. That makes the festival total $1,651.94.


Belated birthday wishes to Darren Richards of Tucker/Hall. Celebrating today are U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Sen. Joe Gruters’ better half, Sydney as well as Geoff Burgan and Monica Russo.


Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel Dean, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, and Drew Wilson.

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See readers’ picks for the best in food, services, shoppi…


Your votes are in! See how Carroll County Times readers voted in Carroll County’s Best 2023.

– Winner: Antrim 1844

– Honorable Mention 1: Island Green

– Honorable Mention 2: Basta Pasta Eldersburg

– Honorable Mention 3: Flood Zone Marketplace & Brewery

– Winner: Outlaw BBQ Smokehouse

– Honorable Mention 1: Cheers To Snacks

– Honorable Mention 2: RockSalt Grille

– Honorable Mention 3: E W Beck’s Restaurant & Pub

– Honorable Mention 4: MISSION BBQ

– Winner: RockSalt Grille

– Honorable Mention 1: E W Beck’s Restaurant & Pub

– Honorable Mention 2: Island Green

– Honorable Mention 3: Greenmount Station

– Winner: The Local Motive

– Honorable Mention 1: Island Green

– Honorable Mention 2: RockSalt Grille

– Honorable Mention 3: Covalent Spirits

– Winner: The Local Motive

– Honorable Mention 1: Island Green

– Honorable Mention 2: Flood Zone Marketplace & Brewery

– Honorable Mention 3: Greenmount Bowl

– Winner: Island Green

– Honorable Mention 1: RockSalt Grille

– Honorable Mention 2: Flood Zone Marketplace & Brewery

– Honorable Mention 3: E W Beck’s Restaurant & Pub

– Winner: Antrim 1844

– Honorable Mention 1: RockSalt Grille

– Honorable Mention 2: Paradiso Ristorante

– Honorable Mention 3: Fratellis Italian Restaurant

– Winner: The Local Motive

– Honorable Mention 1: RockSalt Grille

– Honorable Mention 2: Island Green

– Honorable Mention 3: E W Beck’s Restaurant & Pub

– Winner: What a Day Cafe

– Honorable Mention 1: Baugher’s Restaurant

– Honorable Mention 2: Collision Course

– Honorable Mention 3: JeannieBird Baking Company

– Winner: Bullock’s Country Family Restaurant

– Honorable Mention 1: Johansson’s Dining House

– Honorable Mention 2: The Stables at Westminster

– Honorable Mention 3: Patiala Curry Culture

– Winner: Island Green

– Honorable Mention 1: Oscar’s Alehouse

– Honorable Mention 2: Five Guys

– Honorable Mention 3: E W Beck’s Restaurant & Pub

– Winner: Forbidden City Chinese Restaurant

– Honorable Mention 1: Asian Sakae

– Honorable Mention 2: Asian Taste

– Honorable Mention 3: Hunan Garden

– Winner: The Local Motive

– Honorable Mention 1: 1623 Brewing Company

– Honorable Mention 2: Flood Zone Marketplace & Brewery

– Honorable Mention 3: Pipe The Side Brewing Company

– Winner: RockSalt Grille

– Honorable Mention 1: Fratellis Italian Restaurant

– Honorable Mention 2: Basta Pasta Eldersburg

– Honorable Mention 3: Island Green

– Winner: Giulianova Groceria

– Honorable Mention 1: Big Belly Deli

– Honorable Mention 2: Rocco’s Market & Deli

– Honorable Mention 3: Hoffman’s Ice Cream & Deli

– Winner: Hoffman’s Ice Cream & Deli

– Honorable Mention 1: Bertucco’s Bakery

– Honorable Mention 2: Snickerdoodles Bakery & Coffeehouse

– Honorable Mention 3: Rocco’s Market & Deli

– Winner: Plum Crazy Diner 2002

– Honorable Mention 1: Baugher’s Restaurant

– Honorable Mention 2: Island Green

– Honorable Mention 3: Olde Town Restuarant

– Winner: Chick-fil-A

– Honorable Mention 1: Genova’s To Go

– Honorable Mention 2: Big Belly Deli

– Honorable Mention 3: Jersey Mike’s Subs

– Winner: Bullock’s Country Family Restaurant

– Honorable Mention 1: Royal Farms

– Honorable Mention 2: Collision Course

– Honorable Mention 3: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

– Winner: E W Beck’s Restaurant & Pub

– Honorable Mention 1: Buffalo Wild Wings

– Honorable Mention 2: Island Green

– Honorable Mention 3: Outlaw BBQ Smokehouse

– Winner: Hoffman’s Ice Cream & Deli

– Honorable Mention 1: J J Hoffmans Creamery

– Honorable Mention 2: The Bus Stop

– Honorable Mention 3: Norwood Ice Cream & Candy Company

– Winner: Fratellis Italian Restaurant

– Honorable Mention 1: Liberatore’s Ristorante

– Honorable Mention 2: Mediterraneo

– Honorable Mention 3: Basta Pasta Eldersburg

– Winner: Bertucco’s Bakery

– Honorable Mention 1: JeannieBird Baking Company

– Honorable Mention 2: Snickerdoodles Bakery & Coffeehouse

– Honorable Mention 3: Delicious Designs by Danielle

– Winner: What A Day Cafe

– Honorable Mention 1: Birdie’s Cafe

– Honorable Mention 2: JeannieBird Baking Company

– Honorable Mention 3: Maison Greene

– Winner: Los Aztecas

– Honorable Mention 1: Papa Joe’s Mexican Restaurant


– Honorable Mention 3: Del Huerto Mexican Grill

– Winner: Hoffman’s Ice Cream & Deli

– Honorable Mention 1: The Bus Stop

– Honorable Mention 2: Chick-fil-A

– Honorable Mention 3: J J Hoffmans Creamery

– Winner: Smokin Roche’s BBQ LLC

– Honorable Mention 1: Outlaw BBQ Smokehouse

– Honorable Mention 2: Smoky’s BBQ

– Honorable Mention 3: MISSION BBQ

– Winner: Genova’s To Go

– Honorable Mention 1: Mediterraneo

– Honorable Mention 2: Ledo Pizza

– Honorable Mention 3: Classico Pizzeria

– Winner: RockSalt Grille

– Honorable Mention 1: Maryland Mallet Restaurant & Smokehouse Pub

– Honorable Mention 2: Fratellis Italian Restaurant

– Honorable Mention 3: Captain Dan’s Crabhouse

– Winner: Texas Roadhouse

– Honorable Mention 1: RockSalt Grille

– Honorable Mention 2: Rafael’s Restaurant

– Honorable Mention 3: Bullock’s Country Family Restaurant

– Winner: Captain Dan’s Crabhouse

– Honorable Mention 1: Blue Point Crab House

– Honorable Mention 2: Maryland Mallet Restaurant & Smokehouse Pub

– Honorable Mention 3: Salerno’s Restaurant & Catering

– Winner: J & Y Sushi Restaurant

– Honorable Mention 1: Sushi Q5 Westminster

– Honorable Mention 2: Katana Sushi & Ramen

– Honorable Mention 3: Asian Sakae

– Winner: The Kate Pearl Tea Room

– Honorable Mention 1: JeannieBird Baking Company

– Honorable Mention 2: Rare Opportunity Bakehouse

– Honorable Mention 3: Steeped Tea Cafe

– Winner: Baltimore Floor Works

– Honorable Mention 1: Traynor’s Floors & Carpets

– Honorable Mention 2: Towne Pride Interiors

– Honorable Mention 3: Lady Baltimore Floors

– Winner: Ash Away Chimney Services

– Honorable Mention 1: Miller’s Chimney and Hearth

– Honorable Mention 2: Magic Mountain Chimney Sweep, Fireplaces & Grills

– Honorable Mention 3: Westminster Chimney Sweep

– Winner: Tim Kyle Electrical Service

– Honorable Mention 1: Brosenne Electric Service Inc

– Honorable Mention 2: Randy J Seeley Electrical Contractors

– Honorable Mention 3: Westminster Electrical Service

– Winner: CCC Fence

– Honorable Mention 1: Thor’s Hammer & Forge

– Honorable Mention 2: New Village Landscape & Tree Services, LLC

– Winner: Habitat for Humanity ReStore – Westminster

– Honorable Mention 1: Gavigan’s Furniture

– Honorable Mention 2: KELLY + CO.

– Honorable Mention 3: Frizellburg Antique Store

– Winner: Sweetbay Farms Nursery & Garden Center (formerly Bowman’s)

– Honorable Mention 1: BotaniGal

– Honorable Mention 2: Farmer Stan’s Plants & Produce

– Honorable Mention 3: Spring Meadow Farms

– Winner: Tevis Energy

– Honorable Mention 1: Southern States

– Honorable Mention 2: Tevis Propane

– Honorable Mention 3: Owings Energy

– Winner: RDH Home Improvements

– Honorable Mention 1: S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows

– Honorable Mention 2: Five K Construction Roofing & Remodeling

– Honorable Mention 3: First Choice Masonry & Construction

– Winner: Design Flow Heating & Cooling LLC

– Honorable Mention 1: Modern Comfort Systems, Inc.

– Honorable Mention 2: Will Air LLC

– Honorable Mention 3: First Class Mechanical

– Winner: Liqua-Grow Turf Inc.

– Honorable Mention 1: Douglas Lawn & Landscape

– Honorable Mention 2: Ecker Lawn Services LLC

– Honorable Mention 3: Lawnscapes Unlimited Md Inc

– Winner: Liberty Discount Lawn Equipment

– Honorable Mention 1: Tractor Supply Co.

– Honorable Mention 2: Atlantic Tractor – Westminster

– Honorable Mention 3: Eldersburg Sales & Services Repair

– Winner: Wilson Homes Inc

– Honorable Mention 1: JT Custom Builders

– Honorable Mention 2: David C Bullock General Contractor

– Honorable Mention 3: J.A. Myers Homes

– Winner: Witte Custom Painting

– Honorable Mention 1: JPs Custom Home Painting LLC

– Honorable Mention 2: Cutting Edge Custom Painting

– Honorable Mention 3: CKS Painting

– Winner: C.J. Miller LLC

– Honorable Mention 1: JEMS Contracting Inc

– Honorable Mention 2: White Pine Paving Inc

– Honorable Mention 3: E & Sons Paving

– Winner: Home Guard Termite, Pest, and Home Services

– Honorable Mention 1: Fogles Termite & Pest

– Honorable Mention 2: Terminix

– Honorable Mention 3: Excello Termite & Pest Solutions

– Winner: Tim Crews Plumbing

– Honorable Mention 1: First Class Mechanical

– Honorable Mention 2: Apple Plumbing, Heating & Air

– Honorable Mention 3: J. E. Turnbaugh Plumbing & Heating, LLC

– Winner: Gallagher Pools & Spas

– Honorable Mention 1: Waterworks Pools & Spas, Inc.

– Honorable Mention 2: North Carroll Pools & Spas

– Honorable Mention 3: Carroll County Swimming Pools

– Winner: K&D Roofing, LLC

– Honorable Mention 1: S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows

– Honorable Mention 2: RDH Home Improvements

– Honorable Mention 3: Roof Right Inc.

– Winner: Fogle’s Septic Services

– Honorable Mention 1: Freedom Septic Service, Inc.

– Honorable Mention 2: Young Septic Services

– Honorable Mention 3: Legacy Septic

– Winner: Atlantic Blue Water Services

– Honorable Mention 1: Sterling Quality Water

– Honorable Mention 2: First Class Mechanical

– Honorable Mention 3: R & G Water Systems, Inc.

– Winner: Carroll Lutheran Village

– Honorable Mention 1: Transitions Healthcare Oakland Manor

– Honorable Mention 2: Lorien Taneytown

– Honorable Mention 3: Brightview Westminster Ridge – Senior Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care

– Winner: Greenmount Bowl

– Honorable Mention 1: Stratosphere Social

– Honorable Mention 2: Island Green

– Honorable Mention 3: Players Fun Zone

– Winner: Zepp’s Tree Farm

– Honorable Mention 1: Showvaker’s Quality Evergreens – Cornmaze & Christmas Trees

– Honorable Mention 2: Wolfe’s Pine Valley Farms, LLC (Sykesville Md)

– Honorable Mention 3: Gaver Farm

– Winner: Fr. Mark Bialek

– Honorable Mention 1: Fr. Collin Poston

– Honorable Mention 2: Rev. Matthew Glasgow

– Honorable Mention 3: Chris Kaskel

– Winner: Tami Gee’s Studio of Dance Inc

– Honorable Mention 1: Savage Dance Co

– Honorable Mention 2: Eldersburg Dance Academy at Merritt

– Honorable Mention 3: Maryland Cheer & Dance Energy

– Winner: Baugher’s Orchards & Farm

– Honorable Mention 1: Local Homestead Products LLC

– Honorable Mention 2: High Ridge Farm LLC

– Honorable Mention 3: Carroll County Farm Museum

– Winner: Tristar Martial Arts Academy

– Honorable Mention 1: Rising Tide Academy

– Honorable Mention 2: Victory Taekwondo Academy

– Honorable Mention 3: Sykesville Family Tae Kwon Do

– Winner: The Band Shoppe Sykesville

– Honorable Mention 1: Carroll Music Teachers

– Honorable Mention 2: Hess Music

– Honorable Mention 3: Hampstead Guitar Lessons

– Winner: Carroll Lutheran Village

– Honorable Mention 1: Lorien Taneytown

– Honorable Mention 2: Lorien Mt. Airy

– Honorable Mention 3: Fairhaven

– Winner: St. John Catholic School

– Honorable Mention 1: North Carroll Community School

– Honorable Mention 2: Carroll Lutheran School

– Honorable Mention 3: Carroll Christian Schools

– Winner: Carroll Lutheran Village

– Honorable Mention 1: Lorien Mt. Airy

– Honorable Mention 2: Fairhaven

– Honorable Mention 3: Nells Acres Condo Association

– Winner: Westminster Self Storage

– Honorable Mention 1: Public Storage

– Honorable Mention 2: Antrim Mini Storage

– Winner: Berry Patch Early Learning Center

– Honorable Mention 1: Sarah Seymour

– Honorable Mention 2: Regina Vorbach-Boegel

– Winner: Hull Company Accountants, Inc.

– Honorable Mention 1: Sturgill & Associates LLP

– Honorable Mention 2: Bounds Accounting & Tax Services, LLC

– Honorable Mention 3: WHS, LLC

– Winner: Mudgett’s Auto Body

– Honorable Mention 1: Roy’s Body Shop Inc

– Honorable Mention 2: Staley’s Body Shop

– Honorable Mention 3: Ron’s Automotive Collision Center

– Winner: Joe’s Garage

– Honorable Mention 1: Peterson Automotive

– Honorable Mention 2: Caples Car Care

– Honorable Mention 3: Green’s Garage

– Winner: PNC Bank

– Honorable Mention 1: Truist

– Honorable Mention 2: M&T Bank

– Honorable Mention 3: First Financial Federal Credit Union

– Winner: HeadMasters Grooming Salon for Men

– Honorable Mention 1: Nana and Pop’s Barbershop

– Honorable Mention 2: Westminster Barber Shop

– Honorable Mention 3: Hair by Bryce

– Winner: Westminster Car Wash & Detailing

– Honorable Mention 1: Reda’s Mobile Detailing

– Honorable Mention 2: Joe’s Garage

– Honorable Mention 3: Duke’s Self Serve Car Wash

– Winner: Freedom Chiropractic & Rehab

– Honorable Mention 1: Carroll Chiropractic and Sports Injury Center

– Honorable Mention 2: K & S Chiropractic: Eldersburg Sykesville

– Honorable Mention 3: Chiropractic First Family Well

– Winner: LevelUp Computers & Technology

– Honorable Mention 1: Carroll Computer Connection

– Honorable Mention 2: Down The Street IT

– Honorable Mention 3: S.B. Technology Resource, LLC

– Winner: The Natural Aesthetic Medspa

– Honorable Mention 1: Restore Therapy Spa

– Honorable Mention 2: The Spa On West Main

– Honorable Mention 3: Artistic Edge Salon & Spa

– Winner: Finksburg Dental Associates & Carroll County Dental Associates

– Honorable Mention 1: Integrative Dental Wellness

– Honorable Mention 2: Resh Family Dentistry

– Honorable Mention 3: All Smiles Care

– Winner: Avenue Tailor, Cleaners & Shoe Repair

– Honorable Mention 1: Amy’s Laundry

– Honorable Mention 2: Enchanted Dry

– Honorable Mention 3: C Y Custom Fit

– Winner: Best Day Events by Lauren

– Honorable Mention 1: Ren & Co. Wedding and Event Planning

– Honorable Mention 2: Deven’s Deals

– Honorable Mention 3: Katie Price Events & Design

– Winner: Montagu Meadows

– Honorable Mention 1: Good Feelings Farm LLC

– Honorable Mention 2: Antrim 1844

– Honorable Mention 3: 1623 Brewing Company

– Winner: Center For Total Eye Care

– Honorable Mention 1: Carroll Eye Care

– Honorable Mention 2: Levin Eyecare – Westminster

– Honorable Mention 3: Carroll Vision Center

– Winner: BW Primary Care

– Honorable Mention 1: Donnell James JR., PA-C

– Honorable Mention 2: Carroll Family Medicine LLC

– Honorable Mention 3: Kerri Davis

– Winner: Flowers by Evelyn

– Honorable Mention 1: Cutting Garden Florist

– Honorable Mention 2: Emali’s Farmhouse LLC

– Honorable Mention 3: Hutchinson’s Flowers

– Winner: Fletcher Funeral Home And Cremation Services, PA

– Honorable Mention 1: Pritts Funeral Home & Chapel

– Honorable Mention 2: Eline Funeral Homes

– Honorable Mention 3: Haight Funeral Home and Chapel

– Winner: HeadMasters Grooming Salon for Men

– Honorable Mention 1: Great Clips

– Honorable Mention 2: Artistic Edge Salon and Spa

– Honorable Mention 3: Elements of Style Hair Salon Eldersburg

– Winner: Dani K Gym & Wellness

– Honorable Mention 1: Blackbird CrossFit

– Honorable Mention 2: MadLab Performance LLC

– Honorable Mention 3: Merritt Clubs Eldersburg

– Winner: Perfectly Maid

– Honorable Mention 1: Mer-Maids

– Honorable Mention 2: Jen’s Max Cleaning

– Honorable Mention 3: Immaculate Clean Inc.

– Winner: Finksburg Pharmacy

– Honorable Mention 1: McDougalls Drug Center

– Honorable Mention 2: Anchor Pharmacy

– Honorable Mention 3: Manchester Pharmacy

– Winner: Janney Montgomery Scott LLC

– Honorable Mention 1: Puckett & Sturgill Financial Group

– Honorable Mention 2: RBC Wealth Management Branch – Westminster

– Honorable Mention 3: Aquino Financial Group, LLC

– Winner: Airpark Animal Hospital Ltd

– Honorable Mention 1: Waghouse Dog Daycare

– Honorable Mention 2: We’ve Gone To the Dogs LLC

– Honorable Mention 3: Lucky Stars Country Kennels

– Winner: New Beginnings Christian Learning Center

– Honorable Mention 1: Berry Patch Early Learning Center

– Honorable Mention 2: Little People’s Place

– Honorable Mention 3: Celebree School

– Winner: Barnes-Bollinger Insurance

– Honorable Mention 1: Tim Hopkins – State Farm Insurance Agent

– Honorable Mention 2: Mike Kremer – State Farm Insurance Agent

– Honorable Mention 3: Samuel C. Hoff Agency

– Winner: Restore Therapy Spa

– Honorable Mention 1: The Spa On West Main

– Honorable Mention 2: Bello Hair & Nails

– Honorable Mention 3: TheraKneads Wellness Center

– Winner: Anchor Counseling Centers

– Honorable Mention 1: Carroll County Youth Service Bureau

– Honorable Mention 2: Strength Within Counseling Center

– Honorable Mention 3: Wokini Therapy Services

– Winner: PNC Bank

– Honorable Mention 1: Farmers & Merchants Bank

– Honorable Mention 2: M&T Bank

– Honorable Mention 3: ACNB Bank

– Winner: Artistic Edge Salon and Spa

– Honorable Mention 1: Bello Hair & Nails

– Honorable Mention 2: The Spa On West Main

– Honorable Mention 3: Citron Organic Nail Lounge

– Winner: PSJ Orthodontics

– Honorable Mention 1: Carroll County Dental Specialists

– Honorable Mention 2: Baltimore Orthodontic Group

– Honorable Mention 3: Shoe Orthodontics

– Winner: Buddy’s Place LLC

– Honorable Mention 1: Em’s Pawdicures

– Honorable Mention 2: Fancy Paws Grooming Salon

– Honorable Mention 3: A Country Pup Pet Spa

– Winner: Integrated Wellness Physical Therapy, LLC

– Honorable Mention 1: Pivot Physical Therapy

– Honorable Mention 2: Prime Physical Therapy

– Honorable Mention 3: FX Physical Therapy – Hampstead

– Winner: Thomas Walker Photography

– Honorable Mention 1: Sarah Wockenfuss Photography

– Honorable Mention 2: Valerie Michelle Photography

– Honorable Mention 3: Frozen in Time Photography

– Winner: Yeager Homes and Farms Group

– Honorable Mention 1: The Haghgoo Team @ eXp Realty

– Honorable Mention 2: Iron Valley Real Estate of Central MD

– Honorable Mention 3: Atlas Premier Realty

– Winner: Chris Ciccarelli

– Honorable Mention 1: Jeannette Hitchcock

– Honorable Mention 2: Erica Pfeiffer

– Honorable Mention 3: Ashley Skiratko

– Winner: Ben’s Rentals

– Honorable Mention 1: Rental Solutions and Events

– Honorable Mention 2: Taneytown Auto Parts

– Winner: Shannon-Baum Signs

– Honorable Mention 1: Maryland Print House

– Honorable Mention 2: Big Dipper Graphics

– Honorable Mention 3: A Crafty Market

– Winner: Bello Hair & Nails

– Honorable Mention 1: Dani K Gym & Wellness

– Honorable Mention 2: Hollywood Tans Westminster

– Honorable Mention 3: Malibu Tan

– Winner: Bello Hair & Nails

– Honorable Mention 1: Little Vinnies Tattoos

– Honorable Mention 2: House of Madness

– Honorable Mention 3: Matteo Ink

– Winner: Green’s Garage

– Honorable Mention 1: A&D Auto Parts & Towing

– Honorable Mention 2: Leckron’s Towing & Storing

– Winner: Be Blends Collective

– Honorable Mention 1: Pippin’s New and Used Thrift Shop

– Honorable Mention 2: KELLY + CO.

– Honorable Mention 3: Revive & Company

– Winner: Koons Westminster Toyota

– Honorable Mention 1: Heritage Honda Westminster

– Honorable Mention 2: Crouse Ford Sales

– Honorable Mention 3: Antwerpen Chevrolet

– Winner: Koons Westminster Toyota

– Honorable Mention 1: United Used Cars Inc

– Honorable Mention 2: Hampstead Pre-Owned

– Honorable Mention 3: Crouse Ford Sales

– Honorable Mention 4: Manchester Motor Co.

– Winner: Advance Auto Parts

– Honorable Mention 1: NAPA Auto Parts

– Honorable Mention 2: Taneytown Auto Parts

– Honorable Mention 3: AutoZone Auto Parts

– Winner: Battery Warehouse Westminster

– Honorable Mention 1: Battery Warehouse – Eldersburg

– Honorable Mention 2: Interstate Battery System

– Winner: Trek Bicycle Westminster

– Honorable Mention 1: Tri Sport Junction

– Winner: Rudolph Girls Books

– Honorable Mention 1: A Likely Story Bookstore

– Honorable Mention 2: Gotham Comics

– Winner: Bullock’s Country Meats & Farm Market

– Honorable Mention 1: Miller’s Food Market Inc

– Honorable Mention 2: Wagner Meats, LLC

– Honorable Mention 3: Local Homestead Products LLC

– Winner: Be Blends Collective

– Honorable Mention 1: White Rabbit Thrift Boutique At Carroll Hospital

– Honorable Mention 2: Tidal Salt on Main

– Honorable Mention 3: Georgie Lu’s Childrens Consignment

– Winner: Magnolia House Studios

– Honorable Mention 1: Be Blends Collective

– Honorable Mention 2: Baldwin’s Dream

– Honorable Mention 3: A Manor of Thyme

– Winner: Be Blends Collective

– Honorable Mention 1: HomeGoods

– Honorable Mention 2: Revive & Company

– Honorable Mention 3: KELLY + CO.

– Winner: Shipley’s Fine Jewelry

– Honorable Mention 1: Be Blends Collective

– Honorable Mention 2: Pomeroy Jewelers

– Honorable Mention 3: Magnolia House Studios

– Winner: Rite Aid Liquors

– Honorable Mention 1: House of Liquors

– Honorable Mention 2: Total Discount Liquors

– Honorable Mention 3: Main Street Market And Deli

– Winner: Rita’s Closet

– Honorable Mention 1: Cultivated

– Honorable Mention 2: Cowboys and Angels Boutique

– Honorable Mention 3: Tidal Salt on Main

– Winner: The Band Shoppe Sykesville

– Honorable Mention 1: Menchey Music Service, Inc.

– Winner: Be Blends Collective

– Honorable Mention 1: Goose Ridge Soaps

– Honorable Mention 2: The Dispensary

– Honorable Mention 3: Gypsy Systers: Boutique & Gift Shop

– Winner: Bowmans Feed & Pet

– Honorable Mention 1: PetSmart Westminster

– Honorable Mention 2: Pet Supplies Plus Eldersburg

– Honorable Mention 3: Petco

– Winner: DICK’S Sporting Goods

– Honorable Mention 1: Run Moore

– Honorable Mention 2: Geared Up Firearm Training Courses and Accessories, Inc.

– Honorable Mention 3: Play it Again Sports

– Winner: White Rabbit Thrift Boutique At Carroll Hospital

– Honorable Mention 1: Habitat for Humanity ReStore – Westminster

– Honorable Mention 2: NESAP Thrift Store

– Honorable Mention 3: Pippin’s New and Used Thrift Shop

– Winner: Barnes Service Center

– Honorable Mention 1: Matthews Tire & Auto Services

– Honorable Mention 2: Bay Area Tire and Service Centers

– Honorable Mention 3: Caples Car Care

– Winner: Baldwin’s Dream

– Honorable Mention 1: Tom’s Cabin

– Honorable Mention 2: Be Blends Collective

– Winner: Antrim 1844

– Honorable Mention 1: Georges on York B&B

– Honorable Mention 2: Inn at Norwood

– Honorable Mention 3: The Christian Royer House

– Winner: Gamber & Community Fire Company

– Honorable Mention 1: Pleasant Valley Community Fire Department

– Honorable Mention 2: Reese Volunteer Fire Company

– Honorable Mention 3: Sykesville Freedom District Fire

– Winner: Liquidity Aleworks

– Honorable Mention 1: Flood Zone Marketplace & Brewery

– Honorable Mention 2: 1623 Brewing Company

– Honorable Mention 3: Pipe The Side Brewing Company

– Winner: Reese Volunteer Fire Company

– Honorable Mention 1: Gamber & Community Fire Company

– Honorable Mention 2: Sykesville Freedom District Fire

– Honorable Mention 3: Hampstead Volunteer Fire Co

– Winner: Carroll County 4-H & FFA Fair

– Honorable Mention 1: Westminster Pride Festival

– Honorable Mention 2: Maryland Wine Festival

– Honorable Mention 3: Maryland Summerfest

– Winner: Piney Run Park

– Honorable Mention 1: Christmas Tree Park

– Honorable Mention 2: Bear Branch Nature Center

– Honorable Mention 3: Westminster Community Pond

– Winner: Piney Run Park

– Honorable Mention 1: Westminster Community Pond

– Honorable Mention 2: Morgan Run Natural Environment Area

– Honorable Mention 3: Carroll County Agriculture Center

– Winner: Island Green

– Honorable Mention 1: Oakmont Green Golf Course

– Honorable Mention 2: The Links at Challedon

– Honorable Mention 3: Piney Branch Golf Course

– Winner: Carroll County Arts Center

– Honorable Mention 1: Gallery 99 – Ain’t That A Frame

– Honorable Mention 2: Sykesville Pottery and Art Center

– Winner: Tristar Martial Arts of Mount Airy

– Honorable Mention 1: River Valley Ranch (RVR)

– Honorable Mention 2: Hashawha Environmental Center

– Honorable Mention 3: Boys & Girls Club-Westminster

– Winner: Westminster Municipal Pool

Carroll County Daily Headlines


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– Honorable Mention 1: Lineboro-Manchester Lions Club

– Honorable Mention 2: Merritt Clubs Eldersburg

– Honorable Mention 3: The Hill Family YMCA

– Winner: Old Westminster Winery

– Honorable Mention 1: Linganore Winecellars

– Honorable Mention 2: Serpent Ridge Vineyard

– Honorable Mention 3: Black Ankle Vineyards

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Things to do this weekend in Pa., N.J., and Del.


After last weekend’s weather ruined many scheduled events, this week’s forecast isn’t as bad, which is good news for fans of festivals. The Made in New Jersey Festival focuses on things created in the state, while several Philly and suburban festivals center on culture, food, and drink — including Upper Darby’s International Fest. The Philadelphia Orchestra opens its 124th season with Yo-Yo Ma, while Delaware County shines a light on its arts and cultural institutions during Delco Arts Week. We’re keeping it mum, as Longwood Gardens’ Chrysanthemum Festival opens Saturday.

New Jersey | Delaware | Special Events | Arts & Culture | Halloween | Food & Drink | Sports | Music

New Jersey

Made in Jersey Festival

  • Where: Saturday, Sep. 30, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • When: Wiggins Waterfront Park, 2 Riverside Dr., Camden, N.J.
  • How much: Free

If they created it in New Jersey, you’ll find it at the Made In New Jersey Festival. The free event incorporates food, beers, wines, and spirits made in the Garden State, as well as items of various kinds from crafters and makers. The live music lineup includes homegrown artists Matt Cappy, the B Street Band, and the Lenahan Band. 


Chillin with Charlie

Crowd-pleasing Delaware-based cover band, Chillin with Charlie, brings their genre-mixing live show to The Queen. Their range extends from pop music artists like Prince and Billy Joel to grunge bands like Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam to country acts like Luke Bryan and Darius Rucker. Singing along to your faves is encouraged.

Special Events

Philly AIDS Thrift 18-Year Anniversary Block Party

File photo: Philly AIDS Thrift in Queen Village DANYA HENNINGER / BILLY PENN
  • Where: Philly AIDS Thrift, 710 S. 5th St. 
  • When: Saturday, Sept. 30 noon – 6 p.m.
  • How much: Free, pay as you go

Philly AIDS Thrift celebrates its 18th birthday and the return of the Halloween shopping season with a block party and street festival. Live music and games, a celebrity dunk tank, food trucks, and craft beers are part of the day-long celebration. CBS3’s Wakisha Bailey emcees the fourth annual pie-eating contest and the Double Dutch Meet-Up will be there, too.

Hunter Derby

Penns Woods Winery is hosting a Hunter Derby — a two-round horse jumping competition on Saturday and Sunday. The equine event comes with bottomless mimosas, live acoustic music performances, local food trucks and vendors, and fun for kids, including a stick-horse class.

Delco Arts Week

  • Where: Multiple venues
  • When: Sunday, Sept. 30 – Sunday, Oct. 8
  • How much: Various prices

Delaware County celebrates its arts and cultural institutions with the fifth annual Delco Arts Week, encompassing more than 70 events over nine days. The week includes a new Andrew Wyeth exhibition, an Art in the Park workshop, the Penn State Master Gardeners of Delaware County Fall Fest, and an Autumn Harvest Painting Party. 

Out & About in MNYK

  • Where: Multiple venues in and around Manayunk
  • When: Thursday, Sept. 28 – Sunday, Oct. 1
  • How much: Various prices

Ahead of OURfest, the National Coming Out LGBTQ+ weekend which comes to Philadelphia next weekend, Manayunk hosts the Out & About in MNYK Festival. The four-day fest includes Queer Comedy Night, a Queer Run, a Pride Party, the Broadway Under the Big Top cabaret, and drag brunches with Fat Lady Brewing and Philly Drag Mafia. On Saturday, there’s an all-day vendors and artisans market.

Midtown Village Fall Festival

  • Where: Several blocks adjacent to 13th and Walnut streets
  • When: Saturday, Sept. 30, noon – 8 p.m.
  • How much: Free, pay as you go

Center City’s fall food fest, the 16th annual Midtown Village Fall Festival, features food and drink samplings from area restaurants and multiple stages of live entertainment. The fest takes place over several Center City blocks and includes activities suitable for kids.

West Craft Fest

  • Where: The Woodlands, 4000 Woodland Ave. 
  • When: Saturday, Sept. 30, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • How much: Free, pay as you go

Location is everything at the West Craft Fest, set at the historic Woodlands Cemetery. Local wares “made with care” are the focus, and attendees can also make crafts onsite to take home. Live music and food trucks will be onsite for the day-long event.

Upper Darby International Festival

  • Where: Five Points Intersection at 100 Garrett Rd. 
  • When: Saturday, Sept. 30 – 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.
  • How much: Free, pay as you go

Upper Darby bills itself as “the world in one place” as the township boasts 85,000 residents who speak more than 100 languages. The diverse community comes together for the Upper Darby International Festival. Food, music, and dance performers from multiple cultures and a parade of flags reflect the fest’s inclusive theme.

St. Nicholas of Tolentine Authentic Italian Festival

  • Where: 1700 S. 9th St. 
  • When: Sunday, Oct. 1, noon – 8 p.m.
  • How much: Free, pay as you go

St. Nicholas of Tolentine Authentic Italian Festival celebrates the sons and daughters of Italy no matter how many generations removed from their home country. The fest has been going on since 1987, with the theme of faith, family, and tradition — an 11 a.m. Mass is followed by a procession of statues of saints and their followers. Aside from the many examples of Italian cuisine available onsite, there are games and rides for kids, live music, gift bags, and raffles.

Chrysanthemum Festival

  • Where: Longwood Gardens, 1001 Longwood Rd. 
  • When: Saturday, Sept. 30 – Sunday, Oct. 28. Sunday, Monday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
  • How much: $2 – $25 

As cooler fall temperatures move in, chrysanthemums are available at nurseries and home stores everywhere to shore up flagging landscapes. At Longwood Gardens, the mighty mums are the focus of the Chrysanthemum Festival, where you can see the full variety of the blooms they describe as “fall’s favorite flower.”

Arts & Culture

No Exit

Jean-Paul Satre’s classic play, “No Exit,” finds three newly deceased people in a drawing room with no windows or mirrors and a locked door. It doesn’t appear to be heaven, exactly, but the trio is surprised to find they feel pretty comfortable regardless. Is hell a physical place or a figurative one? Only a French playwright/philosopher would try to find a definitive answer.

Cirque du Soleil Bazzar

The high-flying troupe Cirque du Soleil brings “Bazzar” to the Philadelphia area in the North American premiere. If you enjoy live performance and artistry with a touch of “How in the world do they do that?” — this is the show for you.

Citizenship Art Bazaar

  • Where: Lenfest Plaza (at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts)  118-128 N. Broad St. 
  • When: Saturday, Sept. 30, noon – 3 p.m.
  • How much: Free pay-as-you-go

When the African American Museum in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts collaborated on the “Rising Sun: Artists in an Uncertain America” exhibit earlier this year, it boosted both institutions. So much so that its original run was extended, along with additional special programming, including this weekend’s Citizenship Art Bazaar. The Eubie Nieves Band will perform and cultural organizations including Art-Reach, the Indigenous People’s Day Philly, the Museum of Black Joy, Opera Philadelphia, Taller Puertorriqueño, and others will be on-site to share information about their missions and connections to the community.


We’re not sure why iconic composer Stephen Sondheim thought a tale of nine assassins would make for a good musical, but with a career that includes “West Side Story,” “Gypsy,” “A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum,” and “Into the Woods,” we don’t question it. “Assasins” follows the lives of nine people who changed the world, albeit in the most violent sense, including JFK killer Lee Harvey Oswald, Abraham Lincoln’s murderer John Wilkes Booth, and Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, who tried to kill President Gerald Ford.


Fright Factory

It’s not Halloween yet, but why wait a whole month to enjoy all the attractions? You can do it right now as Fright Factory opens this weekend. Billed as a high-scare, high-startle attraction that Travel Channel said is one of the nation’s most frightening “haunted” locations, it comes with a long list of rules and precautions. Consider yourself warned.

Food & Drink

Parks on Tap

Strawberry Mansion Bridge
Strawberry Mansion Bridge (Wikimedia Commons)
  • Where: Strawberry Mansion Bridge 
  • When: Thursday, Sept. 28, Friday, Sept. 29, 4 p.m. – 10 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 30, Sunday, Oct. 1, noon – 10 p.m.
  • How much: Free, pay as you go

If enjoying a cold brew on a bridge with like-minded company has been on your bucket list, it can now be your reality. Parks on Tap, the city’s roving beer garden, hosts its last pop-up this season on the Strawberry Mansion Bridge. We’re figuring that means no cars — just a chance to see the world from a higher perspective.

South Street Smorgasbord

  • Where: Multiple locations
  • When: Through Sunday, Oct. 1
  • How much: $10 and under snacks, $20 – $45 lunch and dinner specials

South Street enters the restaurant week chat in its own quirky way with South Street Smorgasbord, a dining promotion that includes $10 and under snacks, a $20 lunch and dinner, and $40 – $45 dinner specials. It takes place on and around South Street incorporating old faves like Bridget Foy’s and Brauhaus Schmitz, as well as new and buzzy eateries like Wim Cafe and Mahalo Hawaiian Barbeque.

Fall for Ardmore Festival

  • Where: Schauffele Plaza, 99 Cricket Terrace 
  • When: Saturday, Sept. 30, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
  • How much: Free, pay as you go, advance drink tickets $45, VIP tickets $100

The Fall for Ardmore Festival transforms Schauffele Plaza into festival central and a celebration of the town’s 150th anniversary. The requisite food, drink, children’s activities, and vendors will be there, along with the option to purchase a VIP ticket package or advance drink packages. A free historic walking tour led by historic preservation planner Greg Pritchard leaves Cricket Terrace at 2:30 p.m.

Philadelphia All Star Craft Beer, Wine, and Cocktail Music Festival

Two people clink glasses of beer at a table.
(Courtesy of Bigstock)

A day tasting wine, brews, and cocktails? Where do we sign up? That’s what’s happening on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park at the All Star Craft Beer Wine and Cocktail Festival. Everyone goes home with a commemorative glass but VIP ticket holders get a meet and greet with Phillies alumni and an even higher-level VIP ticket comes with top-shelf wine, beer, and drinks.


The Philadelphia Eagles v. The Washington Commanders

We know Eagles fans are excited about the team’s 3-0 start, which puts them at the top of the NFC East and among the league’s last three undefeated squads. Head out to the Linc to help them avenge their loss last season vs. the Washington Commanders, who handed the Birds their first “L” after eight straight wins last year.


Philadelphia Orchestra Opening Night

File photo: Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra, opening night 2012. (Image courtesy of the Philadelphia Orchestra)

World-class cellist Yo-Yo Ma opens up the 124th season of the Philadelphia Orchestra on Thursday night at Verizon Hall. He’ll be playing one of his favorites “Cello Concerto No. 1,” composed in 1959 by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich. It was specifically composed for Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, but Ma says after hearing it for the first time as a teenager, it moved him so much he couldn’t sleep. He could similarly inspire another young artist, but you’ll have to be there to find out.

Toni! Tony! Toné!

Raphael Saadiq poses for a photo.
File photo: In this Feb. 5, 2018 file photo, Raphael Saadiq arrives at the 90th Academy Awards nominees luncheon in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

As “Toni! Tony! Toné!” frontman Raphael Saadiq, his brother D’Wayne Wiggins, and cousin Timothy Christian Riley scored massive hits, including “Little Walter,” “It Never Rains ( in Southern California),” “Feels Good,” and “Anniversary” in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Despite their success, creative opportunities and internal strife led them in different directions. Now, Raphael has reunited with the group, and they’re on tour. They make a stop at The Met Philadelphia Thursday.

Starman: The David Bowie Tribute

File photo: David Bowie performs during a concert in Hartford, Conn., on Sept. 14, 1995. (AP Photo/Bob Child, File)

Though the original starman has left for another dimension, Johwie Bowie stands in his stead as David Bowie’s tribute artist. He and his seven-piece band are performing Starman: The David Bowie tribute at City Winery. While a legend like Bowie can’t be replaced, the reverence paid to his music ensures his legacy continues.

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Study pinpoints which areas of New York City are sinking,…


Study pinpoints which areas of New York City are sinking or rising
The land beneath the New York City area, including the borough of Queens, pictured here, is moving by fractions of inches each year. The motions are a legacy of the ice age and also due to human land usage. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Parts of the New York City metropolitan area are sinking and rising at different rates due to factors ranging from land-use practices to long-lost glaciers, scientists have found. While the elevation changes seem small—fractions of inches per year—they can enhance or diminish local flood risk linked to sea level rise.

The new study was published Wednesday in Science Advances by a team of researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California and Rutgers University in New Jersey.

The team analyzed upward and downward vertical land motion—also known as uplift and subsidence—across the metropolitan area from 2016 to 2023 using a remote sensing technique called interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR). The technique combines two or more 3D observations of the same region to reveal surface motion or topography.

Much of the motion they observed occurred in areas where prior modifications to Earth’s surface—such as land reclamation and the construction of landfills—made the ground looser and more compressible beneath subsequent buildings.

Study pinpoints which areas of New York City are sinking or rising
Mapping vertical land motion across the New York City area, researchers found the land sinking (indicated in blue) by about 0.06 inches (1.6 millimeters) per year on average. They also detected modest uplift (shown in red) in Queens and Brooklyn. White dotted lines indicate county/borough borders. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Rutgers University

Some of the motion is also caused by natural processes dating back thousands of years to the most recent ice age. About 24,000 years ago, a huge ice sheet spread across most of New England, and a wall of ice more than a mile high covered what is today Albany in upstate New York. Earth’s mantle, somewhat like a flexed mattress, has been slowly readjusting ever since. New York City, which sits on land that was raised just outside the edge of the ice sheet, is now sinking back down.

The scientists found that on average the metropolitan area subsided by about 0.06 inches (1.6 millimeters) per year—about the same amount that a toenail grows in a month. Using the radars on the ESA (European Space Agency) Sentinel-1 satellites, along with advanced data processing techniques, they mapped the motion in detail and pinpointed neighborhoods and landmarks—down to an airport runway and tennis stadium—that are subsiding more rapidly than the average.

“We’ve produced such a detailed map of vertical land motion in the New York City area that there are features popping out that haven’t been noticed before,” said lead author Brett Buzzanga, a postdoctoral researcher at JPL.

David Bekaert, a JPL scientist and lead investigator of the project, said that tracking local elevation changes and relative sea level can be important for flood mapping and planning purposes. This is especially critical as Earth’s changing climate pushes oceans higher around the world, leading to more frequent nuisance flood events and exacerbating destructive storm surges.

Study pinpoints which areas of New York City are sinking or rising
The team pinpointed hot spots: left, runway 13/31 at LaGuardia Airport in Queens, is subsiding at a rate of about 0.15 inches (3.7 millimeters) per year; right, part of Newtown Creek, a Superfund site in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is rising unevenly by about 0.06 inches (1.6 millimeters) per year. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Rutgers University

Local changes

The team identified two notable hot spots of subsidence co-located with landfills in Queens. One, runway 13/31 at LaGuardia Airport, is subsiding at a rate of about 0.15 inches (3.7 millimeters) per year. The scientists noted that the airport is undergoing an $8 billion renovation designed in part to alleviate flooding from the rising waters of the Atlantic Ocean. They also identified Arthur Ashe Stadium, which is sinking at a rate of about 0.18 inches (4.6 millimeters) per year and required construction of a lightweight roof during renovation to reduce its heaviness and amount of subsidence.

Other subsidence hot spots include the southern portion of Governors Island—built on 38 million square feet (3.5 million cubic meters) of rocks and dirt from early 20th century subway excavations—as well as sites near the ocean in Brooklyn’s Coney Island and Arverne by the Sea in Queens that were built on artificial fill. Similar levels of subsidence were observed beneath Route 440 and Interstate 78 in suburban New Jersey, which traverse historic fill locations, and in Rikers Island, expanded to its present size by landfilling.

The scientists also found previously unidentified uplift in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn—rising by about 0.06 inches (1.6 millimeters) per year—and in Woodside, Queens, which rose 0.27 inches (6.9 millimeters) per year between 2016 and 2019 before stabilizing. Co-author Robert Kopp of Rutgers University said that groundwater pumping and injection wells used to treat polluted water may have played a role, but further investigation is needed. “I’m intrigued by the potential of using high-resolution InSAR to measure these kinds of relatively short-lived environmental modifications associated with uplift,” Kopp said.

The scientists said that cities like New York, which are investing in coastal defenses and infrastructure in the face of sea level rise, can benefit from high-resolution estimates of land motion.

More information:
Brett Buzzanga et al, Localized uplift, widespread subsidence, and implications for sea level rise in the New York City metropolitan area, Science Advances (2023). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.adi8259

Study pinpoints which areas of New York City are sinking, rising (2023, September 27)
retrieved 29 September 2023
from https://phys.org/news/2023-09-areas-york-city.html

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New Jersey Supreme Court Hears Ocean Appeal for COVID Rel…


Posted on: September 28, 2023, 09:52h. 

Last updated on: September 28, 2023, 01:22h.

The New Jersey Supreme Court this week heard arguments from attorneys representing Ocean Casino Resort. The discussion was on why the Atlantic City business should be entitled to insurance coverage stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Jersey Supreme Court Ocean Casino insurance
Boardwalk pedestrians walk past Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City on June 15, 2023. The owners of Ocean Casino continue to seek insurance compensation for business interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The New Jersey Supreme Court heard arguments on the case this week. (Image: AP)

Ocean Casino, doing business as “AC Ocean Walk, LLC,” held property insurance policies to cover losses in the event of the resort’s operations being interrupted. But the three insurers of those policies, AIG Specialty Insurance, American Guarantee & Liability Insurance Co., and Interstate Fire & Casualty Co., have refused to pay out on the combined $50 million in coverages on claims that Ocean Casino didn’t suffer any physical damage as a result of the coronavirus.

The insurers allege in the ongoing litigation that their policies only cover business interruptions caused by “direct physical loss or damage.” Most business interruption policies include virus exclusions, meaning a health-related event doesn’t warrant a property insurance claim. Property insurance policies typically require the insured to demonstrate physical damage.

Ocean Casino Resort is jointly owned and operated by Luxor Capital, a New York hedge fund, and Ilitch Holdings, the parent company of Little Caesars Pizza and Detroit’s MotorCity Casino Hotel. Ilitch Holdings, founded by the late Mike Ilitch, additionally controls MLB’s Detroit Tigers and the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings.

Long Shot Lawsuit

State supreme courts across the country have repeatedly sided with the insurance companies in lawsuits brought by their ensured entities seeking COVID-19 relief. The crux of the matter comes down to determining if COVID-19 physically damaged a brick-and-mortar business.

So far, the vast majority of the lawsuits have either been dismissed or gone in favor of the insurance firms. Penn Law’s “Covid Coverage Litigation Tracker” reports that only 15 lawsuits brought against insurance companies for not paying out on business interruption policies among the 896 cases filed have gone in the policyholder’s favor.

One of those victories was the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, which in September 2021 successfully won its lawsuit to collect insurance money for losses incurred by COVID-19 at its Snoqualmie Casino in Washington.

Washington State Superior Court Judge Catherine Shaffer ruled that since the phrase “all risks of physical loss or damage” was included in the tribal casino’s insurance policies, “a reasonable interpretation of the phrase is that the tribe was deprived of the ability to physically use or operate its properties because of the COVID-19-related closures.”

Ocean attorneys alleged this week before New Jersey’s highest court that their policies define “Covered Cause of Loss” as “all risks of direct physical loss of or damage from any cause unless excluded.” The casino’s legal team also said the policies covered “Time Element” losses, or “the loss of business income resulting from the suspension of business activities.”

No Ruling Yet

Attorneys for the insurance carriers said Ocean Casino didn’t suffer direct physical damage and failed to relay how the resort repaired or physically removed the virus from its property. Interstate Fire & Casualty Co.’s counsel argued that its policy included a “Pollution Contamination Exclusion” that explicitly states that coverage will not be awarded for the “release, migration, discharge, escape, or dispersal of Contaminants.”

Ocean’s lawsuit was initially dismissed by a state appellate court. But after its appeal, the New Jersey Supreme Court agreed to take up the case. The court adjourned after hearing arguments this week. There’s no word as to when a decision might be handed down.

Ocean did receive $850K from the three insurers for separate coverage for “Interruption by Communicable Disease.”

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Nobu Hotel at Caesars Atlantic City Accepting Reservation…


Posted on: September 28, 2023, 11:38h. 

Last updated on: September 28, 2023, 11:52h.

Nobu Hotel at Caesars Atlantic City is accepting reservations as the casino company’s $240 million overhaul of the Boardwalk resort nears completion.

Nobu Hotel Caesars Atlantic City casino resort
A Nobu Hotel room at Caesars Atlantic City overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. The Nobu Hotel occupies the top three floors of the casino resort’s Centurion Tower. Room reservations are being accepted for stays beginning on Jan. 2, 2024. (Image: Caesars Entertainment/Casino.org)

Caesars Entertainment through its merger with Eldorado Resorts in 2020 agreed to invest $400 million into its Atlantic City casinos. The condition was a component of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission signing off on the companies merging.

Caesars operates its namesake casino, plus Harrah’s and Tropicana. The bulk of the spending was allocated to Caesars Atlantic City, which opened more than four decades ago in 1979, and which was in need of a major upgrade.

Part of Caesars Atlantic City’s $240 million overhaul included repurposing the top three floors of the resort’s Centurion Tower into Nobu-branded guest rooms. The Roman décor on those floors has been ditched in favor of a Japanese-inspired motif to fall in line with the Nobu hospitality brand.

Nobu is named after its namesake Japanese celebrity chef and restauranter, Nobu Matsuhisa, who cofounded Nobu Hospitality in 1994 with actor Robert De Niro and film producer Meir Teper. Billionaire James Packer, who founded Australian casino company Crown Resorts, acquired a 20% stake in Nobu Hospitality in 2015 for $100 million.

January Reservations

Caesars Entertainment reps told Casino.org this week that its Nobu Hotel at Caesars Atlantic City is now taking reservations for overnight stays. Bookings are available beginning Jan. 2, 2024.

Along with the Nobu Hotel, Caesars Atlantic City offers a Nobu restaurant, which opened last October.

We are delighted to partner with a world-class hospitality brand like Nobu to further elevate the experience at Caesars Atlantic City,” said John Koster, Caesars Entertainment’s eastern regional president. “With its unique blend of luxury accommodations and culinary excellence, Nobu Hotel Atlantic City will position the market as a premier travel destination on the East Coast.”

Rooms are quite expensive for Nobu Hotel Atlantic City’s opening weekend. A standard king guest room for Friday to Sunday, January 5-7, costs $608 a night before resort fees and taxes. The total portfolio, inclusive of the $28 per night resort fee and hotel occupancy taxes, comes to $1,460.38, or $730.19 a night. A comparable king room on Caesars-branded floors runs just $204 a night before fees and taxes.

The same Nobu Hotel room for a weekend later in January drops to $553 a night. The three floors of Nobu Hotel rooms feature 85 guest rooms and suites, all of which have ocean views.

Caesars Upgrades

The Caesars Atlantic City overhaul has additionally resulted in a new arrival experience, Caesars officials said, highlighted by a fully renovated hotel lobby.

The Pool at Caesars, a rooftop pool complex above the Boardwalk with views of the Atlantic Ocean, has also been renovated, though that amenity won’t be open until summer 2024.

Caesars says its $240 million investment in Caesars Atlantic City and $160 million in upgrades to Harrah’s and Tropicana shows its “ongoing commitment” to the New Jersey casino town.

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Friday worst-case scenario for NJ: Heavy rain, dangerous …


The Bottom Line

Rain, rain, rain. Yet again, New Jersey gets soaked on Friday. Periods of rain are expected all day.

In addition, we have to ring more serious alarm bells for flash flooding Friday, for two good reasons:

1.) Torrential downpours are likely, especially along the northern and eastern edges of the state. 2+ inches of rain seems like a good bet. Some models go even higher.

2.) The ground is still saturated from last weekend’s heavy rain. This has been one of the wettest Septembers on record for most of NJ.

Friday will be wet. Then we’ll dry out Friday night into Saturday morning. Skies will start to clear Saturday afternoon. Sunday and beyond look drop dead gorgeous.


At the very least, wet. At worst, significant flooding is possible.

Periods of rain will last pretty much all day. Sure, there might be some breaks of dry weather. But I would not count on it. It’s going to be a wet day, no matter where in the state you are.

It’s another washout. Periods of rain are likely all day Friday, as evidenced by this rainy HRRR model forecast image as of 6 p.m. (College of DuPage Meteorology)
It’s another washout. Periods of rain are likely all day Friday, as evidenced by this rainy HRRR model forecast image as of 6 p.m. (College of DuPage Meteorology)

Rainfall totals in SW NJ will be rather unimpressive, around a half-inch. However, to the north and east, 2+ inches is likely. (That is not really a stretch — parts of the Jersey Shore have already passed 1 inch for the day.)

Now, if it really pours, those totals may soar even higher — some models show 6+ inches around NE NJ. That is a lot of rain.

GFS model total rainfall forecast for Friday through Saturday morning. Northeastern New Jersey will easily surpass 2 inches of rain, with much lower totals to the south and west. (College of DuPage Meteorology)
GFS model total rainfall forecast for Friday through Saturday morning. Northeastern New Jersey will easily surpass 2 inches of rain, with much lower totals to the south and west. (College of DuPage Meteorology)

But let’s be level-headed here. Not everyone in the state will see “multiple inches” of rain and dramatic flooding. The worst-case scenario is very serious — but will only play out if/when stagnant downpours develop Friday. Northern and eastern edges of the state need to stay vigilant and alert to changing weather conditions, especially as you’re out and about.

A Flood Watch is in effect until late Friday night for the following 15 counties in NJ: Bergen, Burlington, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren.

Very heavy rain may leave to significant flooding issues along the northern and eastern edges of New Jersey on Friday. (Accuweather)
Very heavy rain may leave to significant flooding issues along the northern and eastern edges of New Jersey on Friday. (Accuweather)

Meanwhile, it will be cloudy and miserably cool. Temperatures will be stuck right around 60 degrees from morning to afternoon.

Unlike last Saturday, wind will not be a significant issue Friday. Gusts over 20 mph will be in the “breezy” range.

Severe weather is also unlikely. There could be a few rumbles of thunder along the way, but that should be it.

Coastal flooding has been a concern all week. And it still is, with minor category flooding of tidal waterways at high tide again Friday. A Coastal Flood Advisory is in effect for the entire coastline.


Rain will start to scale back Friday evening, both in intensity and in spread. It will still look and feel wet though. Low temperatures will dip into the 50s.


Showers may linger through Saturday morning. Most likely, we will start to dry out starting around mid-morning (8 or 9 a.m.) It is worth mentioning that some models do paint a few raindrops until midday (Noon or 1 p.m.)

We will continue to see gradual improvements through Saturday afternoon, which does look dry. I would not expect much sunshine, but skies should brighten as the day goes on.

Temperatures will respond to the improving weather conditions, by rising into the mid 60s. Still below normal for late September. But we’re getting there.


The first of October will deliver a much brighter, warmer, happier weather pattern to New Jersey.

Skies will turn sunny Sunday, allowing high temperatures to push into the mid 70s. A little cooler than we have suggested previously, but still a beautiful day from start to finish. No rain, light winds, low humidity.

Beyond the rain, the forecast turns gorgeous. High pressure builds in with sunshine and warmth, starting Sunday. (Accuweather)
Beyond the rain, the forecast turns gorgeous. High pressure builds in with sunshine and warmth, starting Sunday. (Accuweather)

The Extended Forecast

The beach weather will continue through most of next week. My latest forecast has sunshine and near 80-degree temperatures for Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday look mostly sunny too, although an on-shore breeze could cool temperatures a bit at the Jersey Shore.

Next storm system does not approach until late next week. Rain is a possibility for next weekend, unfortunately. But still lots of time to sort that out.

Meanwhile, in the tropics, we now have Tropical Storm Philippe and Tropical Storm Rina. They are snuggled up less than 500 miles apart from each other. In a less-than-stellar environment, and stifling each other, it does not look like either storm will pose a serious threat to land.

The tropical satellite overview as of Friday morning show Philippe and Rina meandering in the middle of the Atlantic. (NOAA / NHC)
The tropical satellite overview as of Friday morning show Philippe and Rina meandering in the middle of the Atlantic. (NOAA / NHC)

The Atlantic hurricane season officially runs through the end of November.

NJ WEATHER CENTER: Your 5 Day Forecast and more

BEEP BEEP BEEP: These are the 13 types of Wireless Emergency Alerts auto-pushed to your phone

The Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system allows government officials to immediately and automatically push messages to all cell phones and mobile devices within a specific geographical area. There are a total of 13 types of messages that can currently be sent as a Wireless Emergency Alert. Nine of them are weather-related warnings, including one that is brand new as of August 2021.

Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.

Tropical Storm Ophelia’s Impacts in Ocean City

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Yoair Blog – Discovering the World’s Mosaics.


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New York declared a state of emergency after heavy rains and flash floods caused by devastating Hurricane Ida.  Floodwater rushed into the subway stations and also swept away buses and cars from the roads.

According to local media sources, at least nine individuals died due to flash floods in the northeastern United States. In addition, many people were stranded in their flooded basements. Both New York and New Jersey governors declared states of emergency immediately, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio termed it a “historic meteorological event.” New York Central Park received a minimum of 3in (8cm) of rain in just one hour.

There was a closure of subway lines in New York City, and non-emergency cars were barred from the streets. Additionally, there was a massive cancellation of many planes and trains departing from New York and New Jersey. The U.S. National Weather Service issued an immediate flood emergency across New York City, Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island. It also issued tornado warnings across Massachusetts and Rhode Island. As opposed to a warning, a flood emergency is issued in scarce circumstances when a flash flood poses a severe threat to human life and catastrophic damage occurs or will occur soon.


Credit: Devastation

The Aftermath

Often, the ending of a disaster is only the beginning. The recovery process begins once the storm passes and the dust settles. But, first, the property damage and the profound personal grief need to be assessed, and there should be an assessment of invisible environmental consequences.

Hurricanes rank among the deadliest destructive natural catastrophes. According to the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program, storms account for two-thirds of all property losses in the United States. Natural ecosystems, on the other hand, incur a substantial hit in addition to property. For example, according to WeatherBELL, a meteorological analytics company, Hurricane Harvey dropped an estimated 27 trillion gallons of rain on Texas and Louisiana during six days in August. Harvey also broke the record for the most significant rainfall from a tropical storm in the continental United States, with 51 inches.

Hurricane Ima followed hurricane Harvey and wreaked devastation across the Caribbean Florida and the Southeast. The hurricane knocked out electricity in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands for several weeks. In addition, pollutants from flooded industrial sites allowed dangerous chemicals to infiltrate project sites, groundwater, watersheds, and the seas untreated.

Devastating Hurricane

Credit: Pixabay


What is a Hurricane?

Tropical cyclones across the Northern Atlantic and Eastern Pacific Oceans are hurricanes. They are known as Typhoons, Tropical Cyclones, or Cyclones in different ocean basins. It is a storm system composed of a low-pressure centre and thunderstorms with high winds and heavy rain. Tropical cyclones over the Northern Hemisphere spin counterclockwise, whereas those in the Southern Hemisphere rotate clockwise.

Tropical cyclones classify into four types in the North Atlantic and East Pacific. A tropical depression is a well-defined surface circulation and organized thunderstorm activity with maximum sustained winds at less than 17 metres per second. A tropical storm has a distinct surface circulation with well-organized thunderstorm activity, and maximum sustained winds range from 17 to 32 metres per second.

A hurricane has maximum sustained winds of 33m/s or higher (64kt, 74mph, or 118km/h). At this intensity, a storm will form an ‘eye,’ a zone of relative calm in the centre of the circulation. Hurricanes having maximum sustained winds of more than 111 mph classify as significant hurricanes.

What Causes Hurricanes?

Hurricanes require heat and moisture to survive. They should have six elements to become a tropical cyclone.

  • At depths of up to 50m, water temperatures greater than 26.5°C (80°F) should be there (150ft). As a result, the overlying atmosphere becomes unstable enough to support convection and thunderstorms.
  • Fast cooling of the air with height should occur as this permits the release of latent heat, which provides energy for tropical cyclones.
  • In the lower to mid-troposphere, high humidity levels should exist. Low wind shear is also required to prevent the storm structure from being torn apart.
  • Tropical cyclones must also be more than 5 degrees on each side of the equator for the Coriolis influence to give enough rotation.
  • Finally, a tropical cyclone requires a previously disturbed weather system. There must be circulation and a low-pressure centre.

Where Can Hurricanes Occur?

Tropical cyclones are capable of forming in any of the world’s seas. They are most common in the tropics, although they also exist in the mid-latitudes. Tropical cyclones usually travel westward and bend poleward towards the mid-latitudes due to trade winds. The bulk of tropical cyclones originate between 10 and 30 degrees north and south of the equator. The Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) stands as the primary source of formation.

Path of Hurricane Charley

Credit: NASA


Devastating Hurricanes in the History of the United States

Charley 2004

Hurricane Charley was a small but powerful storm, causing more than $20 billion in damage. After blasting through Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte, the storm increased as it passed the Florida Peninsula. It brought 79 mph winds to Orlando and a tornado across Daytona Beach’s south side. Then it returned for a few seconds, making landfall at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, before slowing down in southeast Virginia.

1938 Hurricane

This Atlantic-borne storm wreaked havoc on Long Island and southern New England. There were heavy winds of 180 mph and the destruction of 150 houses in Westhampton, New York. In addition, the surge and wind gusts from the Category 3 storm produced highly high tides that swept up Long Island’s south shore and climbed to 14 feet in Providence, Rhode Island.

Florence 2018

On September 14, 2018, Florence made landfall in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Florence is one of the deadliest and most expensive storms ever hit the Carolinas. There were at least 51 deaths and floods that shattered 28 different records.

Superstorm Sandy 2012

The second-costliest storm in U.S. history spared none. It wreaked havoc in 24 states from Florida to Maine and then through the Appalachian Mountains to Michigan and Wisconsin. However, New Jersey and New York bore the burn of the hurricane. Sandy’s winds alone knocked out electricity to 8.5 million people in the Northeast. The storm surge and raging waves damaged or destroyed 650,000 houses. Sandy’s destruction is estimated to be worth more than $50 billion.

The storm caused much damage when it reached the densely populated districts of New York and New Jersey. The storm surge that slammed New York City flooded streets, subways, tunnels,  and damaged power systems. The United States, Bermuda, and the Caribbean islands were all affected.

Labor Day Hurricane

Credit: Sun Sentinel

1935 Labor Day

This holiday hurricane was a shocking surprise. The storm, which ripped into the Keys on September 2, 1935, was simply a Category 1 hurricane the day before as it swept through the Bahamas. However, when it reached the United States, the hurricane’s initially peaceful nature became more menacing. The estimated wind speed at landfall of the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane was 161 miles per hour. It stood as the third-highest wind speed at landfall of any hurricane to strike the United States. However, due to the absence of wind sensors, the wind speed is approximated using storms with similar pressure values at landfall.

Lake Okeechobee 1928


The Okeechobee Hurricane, also famous as the San Felipe Segundo Hurricane, recorded the most incredible wind speed at its landfall in U.S. territory. When it made landfall in Puerto Rico in 1928, it reached 160 miles per hour wind speeds. The Okeechobee Hurricane is the only Category 5 hurricane to hit Puerto Rico. The monstrous Category 5 hurricane first terrified Puerto Rico before moving on to south Florida, where it impacted West Palm Beach with 145 mph winds.

While the hurricane damaged around 1700 residences in the city, the region surrounding Lake Okeechobee suffered considerably more damage. The lake overflowed due to storm surge, flooding the surrounding area with 10 to 15 feet of water. Like later Hurricane Charley, the storm traversed Florida before making a second landfall, this time at Edisto Island, South Carolina.

Irma 2017

Hurricane Irma lasted over two weeks, wreaking widespread havoc throughout the Caribbean and the Florida Keys. The Category 5 hurricane had 180 mph winds at its height, decimating the islands of Barbuda, St. Barts, St. Martin, Anguilla, and the Virgin Islands. Irma produced $65 billion in damage, making it the second-costliest Caribbean storm behind Maria.

Michael 2018

On October 10, 2018, Storm Michael made landfall in the contiguous United States, becoming the first Category 5 hurricane since Andrew in 1992. With gusts of 160 mph, it made landfall in Mexico Beach, Florida. Most of the storm’s destruction concentrated in Florida’s panhandle, with Panama City the most affected. The devastation to crops stood at around $158 million.

Hurricane Camille Devastation

Credit: Accuweather

Camille 1969

Camille was so powerful that no one knows how fast the winds were, since the storm destroyed all wind-measuring equipment. Because Camille was small, the storm surge of 24 feet in southern Mississippi was relatively concentrated. As a result, it inflicted limited devastation in comparison to any bigger storm. Nevertheless, Camille’s devastating course resulted in $1.4 billion in losses.

When Hurricane Camille hit the Mississippi coast in 1969, it achieved the most incredible wind speed at landfall, estimated at 190 miles per hour. This wind speed upon landfall is the greatest ever recorded anywhere else. Unfortunately, the actual maximum sustained winds will never be known because the hurricane destroyed every wind-recording device in the landfall region.

Andrew 1992

Andrew, while being a relatively minor hurricane, gave a heavy blow. When it made landfall on Florida, it was a Category 5 hurricane. However, it later dropped to a Category 3 by the time it struck Louisiana’s coast. Andrew was dangerous because of its high wind speeds. These winds destroyed around 127,000 houses in Florida. The damage stood at an estimated total cost of $26.5 billion, making it the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history at the time.

Hurricane Andrew holds the record for the second-highest recorded landfall wind speeds, with gusts estimated at 167 miles per hour as it hit south Florida. Unfortunately, the cyclone destroyed many of the devices used to measure wind speeds. Therefore, the exact sustained wind speeds are unclear.


1926 Miami Hurricane

Credit: PBS

Miami 1926

The actual tragedy of the 1926 Miami Hurricane was when the storm’s eye passed over the city. Many people assumed the storm had passed and abandoned their shelters. However, the hurricane’s worst portion, with a 10-foot storm surge, appeared shortly after. Inland, strong winds drove the water from Lake Okeechobee onto Moore Haven’s beach. The beach was totally inundated and remained devastated for weeks. Damage estimates stood at $105 million.

Harvey 2017

In 2017, Storm Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane with 130 miles per hour winds on San Jose Island, Texas. Harvey then made landfall on mainland Texas some time later . In Texas, an estimated 500,000 cars and 300,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed.

The hurricane subsequently lingered over Texas as a tropical storm, and several places in the Houston metropolitan area received more than 30 inches of rain in three days. Harvey then re-entered the Gulf of Mexico, made landfall in Louisiana, and proceeded northeastward as a tropical depression, producing more flooding along the route. All of the floods, structural damage, and car damage

It slammed into southern Texas as a Category 4 hurricane, causing widespread flooding in the Houston metro region. Over four days, 40 inches of rain fell on Houston and nearby regions, displacing over 30,000 people and costing $125 billion in damage. It is one of the costliest tropical cyclones on record.

Galveston 1900

The Galveston Hurricane, known as the worst hurricane in American history, struck Galveston Island on Texas’ eastern coast in 1900. With winds more than 120 miles per hour, the hurricane bypassed Florida and spun over the Gulf of Mexico. As the cyclone strengthened to Category 4, water levels rose to more than 20 feet. More than 3,000 homes were destroyed, and the damage was estimated to be more than $30 million.

Devastation by Superstorm Katrina

Credit: Britannica

 Katrina 2005

Hurricane Katrina was undoubtedly the most expensive hurricane in U.S. history. The property damages totaled to more than $125 billion. In addition, storm surge damaged several structures along the Mississippi shore, with devastation reaching many miles inland.


The storm surge from Katrina surpassed and burst levees in the New Orleans metropolitan region, inundating most of the city and suburbs. In addition, Katrina’s wind impact stretched well inland into northern Mississippi and Alabama and Miami-Dade and Broward counties in Florida.

Katrina struck Florida and the central Gulf Coast with a double blow. The winds pulled down trees and destroyed structures, as they do in many hurricanes. However, the storm surge inflicted the most damage, peaking at an estimated 28 feet in portions of Mississippi. Most notably, this surge broke New Orleans’ levees and floodwalls, resulting in catastrophic flooding in 80% of the city. There was a total of $108 billion in losses across all impacted areas and it is the most expensive storm in history.

 Maria 2017

After the destruction by Hurricane Irma in 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Dominica as a high Category 5 hurricane and in Puerto Rico as a high Category 4 on September 20, 2017. It was the greatest natural disaster to hit the US . With maximum winds of 175 mph, Maria caused $90 billion in damage, making it the third-costliest tropical storm ever recorded. Maria also became the deadliest Atlantic storm, killing 3,057 people. As of September 2018, Puerto Rican communities were still rebuilding the devastated towns and cities.


Hurricanes lists among the deadliest ecological disasters on planet Earth. They bring devastation, destruction, loss of human life and habitat and some painful memories to leave behind!

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