Thursday's Daily Pulse
What You Need to Know About Florida Today
The Great Florida Casino Debate went public on Wednesday with an expletive out of the mouth of one of the executives proposing a mega destination resort in Florida. Colin Au told Florida senators that three resort casinos would create 100,000 permanent jobs and 50,000 construction jobs, pump $10 billion into the economy and attract up to six million new tourists to the region at a time when there are a quarter-of-a-million people out of work in South Florida. There were audible gasps from the crowd when Au twice sprinkled his language with the word "bullsh**" to dismiss rumors swirling around the prospect of new casinos in South Florida. Read more from WTSP and NBC Miami.
» Genting's spectacular promises raise legislative doubts
» Florida should proceed carefully on casino gambling
» Casino developer: South Florida could be bigger than Vegas
» Miami mayor: casino could be "the best" or "the worst" for the city
Tourism in Florida rose 5.1 percent in the third quarter from a year ago, jibing with what was one of the best summers in Southwest Florida's history. Visit Florida, the state's tourism agency, said that preliminary estimates show 20.4 million travelers visited the Sunshine State from July to September. Florida also saw a boost in tourism-related jobs, with an increase of 5.4 percent, or 51,400 jobs, to just over 1 million positions. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Although the 2012 NBA All-Star Game is in grave danger because of the league's ongoing labor dispute, employees from the NBA, the city of Orlando and the Orlando Magic are proceeding as if the exhibition will be played as scheduled. Regular planning meetings are taking place to prepare for the game, which is scheduled to be played on Feb. 26 at Amway Center, and for the events that surround the game. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Orange groves may sound like poor rivals to beaches and theme parks, but the fruits were once a big part of Florida's attraction to a winter-weary nation. Despite changes in the industry, visitors still get orange juice at state welcome centers, and fruit stands still beckon on rural roads, tourist routes and interstate exits. Wherever you're going, stop in. You may see the packing line and juice squeezing or get a lesson on the difference between a tangerine and a tangelo. In fact, one of the most unusual attractions in the tourist zone around Disney World today is the Showcase of Citrus, 40 acres of you-pick citrus trees along with otters and alligators in Clermont. You can sign up for a monster-truck ecotour through the swamps and pastures, or pick your fill of citrus every day of the year and pay by the half-bushel. Read more...
John and Julie Arnold (with sons Josh, 14, John Forrest, 7, Jason, 13, and Jackson, 9), own Showcase of Citrus in Clermont.
Kevin Barnes figures buying a newly built home saved him money. That's because he chose a model with a second master bedroom for his mother-in-law.
"She's a free babysitter," said the 42-year-old chemical salesman, who in June purchased a four-bedroom house in Orlando, Florida, built by KB Home. "Day care costs about $200 a week."
The Barnes residence is part of a growing line of new homes marketed to multigenerational families, a category that increased by 30 percent from 2000 to 2010.
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› UCF may offer domestic partner benefits to employees
Employees at the University of Central Florida would get help paying for health insurance for gay partners under a new program that UCF's board of trustees is expected to approve Thursday. The change is, in part, designed to help UCF recruit and retain top faculty, officials said. Many higher-education institutions nationwide — including Valencia College, Rollins College and Stetson University in Central Florida — already offer some sort of health insurance benefit for domestic partners.
› USF notes patents success in jobs report to Scott
In a detailed response to a list of questions from Gov. Rick Scott, the University of South Florida says it shares Scott's view that the state's universities should focus on creating jobs as a way to help pull Florida from the lingering affects of recession. Scott submitted 17 questions to the state's 11 public universities Oct. 13, asking, among other things, whether they survey local businesses on jobs available or use the 360-degree performance review process that's spreading through the business world.
› Miami office vacancies rise, as do new towers
More space translated into higher vacancy rates for the Miami office market in third-quarter 2011 with the entry of 615,000 square feet at Brickell World Plaza, 600 Brickell Ave. It's the last addition to a market that has been inundated with new product for some time, suggesting that the record high vacancy now characterizing Miami's core represents a kind of bottoming out in terms of unoccupied space.
› 4 places to be a snowbird in style
While curmudgeons in America's cold-weather regions worry about how soon Christmas trees will supplant Thanksgiving turkeys, a loud, flightless bird of a different sort is just settling in for the season in sunny southern states. In Florida, where snowbirds aren't just visitors but cornerstones of the economy, the University of Florida at Gainesville says more than 800,000 temporary residents set up shop on the panhandle or peninsula each year.
» Related: Restaurant hours tailored to snowbirds
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