What you need to know about Florida today
Florida's schools are adopting uniform academic standards shared with most other states, but the move is not creating the kind of uproar that's surrounded some other major changes in public education. Common Core State Standards, which are designed to help American children compete with their peers around the world, are getting mostly high marks from Florida's teachers, administrators and politicians alike. [Source: AP]
As tomato growers in Florida and some other states fight a 16-year-old agreement that they contend allows farmers in Mexico to export tomatoes at a price below their costs, the Mexican farmers are finding allies in the United States. [Source: New York Times]
This year, consumers are expected to take back $62.7 billion worth of holiday merchandise. Some retailers have tightened their return policies in an effort to reduce fraud, which increases during the holidays. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
With millions of baby boomers reaching retirement age, fears are mounting of the economic impact if they follow the pattern of previous generations by curbing spending and draining Social Security and Medicare benefits. But the 78 million boomers — born from 1946 to 1964 — have always broken the mold in terms of setting trends, and some investors and business and community leaders see their retirement as no different. [Source: McClatchy]
A half century ago, as General Development Corp. started selling lots to northerners for $30 down and $20 a month, Mike Swain was there, filming it. Swain had left college to work as a cameraman for his father's company, Hack Swain Productions, in Sarasota. For the next 50 years, he chronicled life in Florida through a camera lens. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› New generation of judges serving on federal bench in South Florida
The federal court in South Florida has undergone a generational sea change with the addition of three new judges.
› Customized letters from Santa, via Lakewood Ranch
Seems Santa Claus had some special helpers this year, far from the North Pole, to assist with his letters to children. Click Magnets LLC, an Internet marketing company, is located in, of all places, Lakewood Ranch.
› Orlando simulation engineers develop 'spiritual triage' training for military chaplains
With the U.S. out of Iraq, operations winding down in Afghanistan and military spending under budget-cutting pressure, the Army is calling on Central Florida's computer-simulation training industry to create new "virtual" exercises for chaplains — at a bargain price.
› Port Canaveral still no. 2 despite South Florida report
For a few hours on Monday, area port officials were thrilled to think Port Canaveral had surpassed PortMiami with the most number of cruise passengers of all ports in the world for the past fiscal year.
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