What you need to know about Florida today
Florida reestablished its top-10 ranking this year in a national education report that judges states by their education policies and performance. Florida had been in the top 10 since 2009 and rose as high as fifth place in 2011. But then it dropped to 11th place last year because student progress stalled on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, national tests in math and reading. Read more from the Orlando Sentinel and see the report.
With Gov. Rick Scott facing accusations of using inflated numbers, the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration late Wednesday released a report that slashes the state's estimated costs for carrying out key parts of the federal Affordable Care Act. The report indicates Florida's costs could be as low as $3 billion over 10 years --- a huge drop from the nearly $26 billion figure that AHCA produced in a report last month. [Source: Jacksonville Business Journal]
A top executive at SpaceX said Wednesday that the California-based rocket company hoped to launch U.S. astronauts into orbit as early as 2015 — with the twist that these space-farers would be SpaceX employees and not NASA personnel. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
» NASA, partners discuss commercial crew progress
At the O'Brien Family Farm: In photo, Tom O'Brien with wife Leanne and daughter Shannon
Three years ago, Tom O’Brien decided that he wanted something more to do than helping run his family’s C&D Fruit and Vegetable Co., a $20-million-a-year produce grower and distributor. Full story...
South Florida wages have reached their highest levels in five years, according to the PayScale Index. Wages in the tri-county area jumped 3 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the same time last year. [Source: South Florida Business Journal]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Private-equity firm snags fast-growing Orlando war-game developer
A New York-based private-equity firm has acquired controlling interest in the computerized-war-game developer Bohemia Interactive Simulations Inc., one of the top small-business defense contractors in Central Florida's training-simulation industry.
› Brevard businesses tell flu-stricken workers to stay home
Across the country, businesses are grappling with a flu strain that’s proving peskier than normal. Making matters worse is the tendency of employees concerned about job security to keep coming to the office despite their illness.
› Disney World to get new president amid theme-park-management shakeup
The Walt Disney Co. shook up its senior theme-park management ranks Wednesday, reassigning more than a half-dozen top executives — including a new president for Walt Disney World.
› MacDill won't get new refueling tanker planes
MacDill Air Force Base is no longer in the running to get the first of the Air Force's next-generation air refueling aircraft when Boeing begins delivering them in 2017.
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