Thursday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida ranks higher on K-12 achievement
Florida improved its K-12 Achievement ranking on the 2014 Quality Counts report from Education Week. The state increased from a 12th ranking last year to 7th in the country in K-12 achievement earning a C grade in that category. According to the state education department, the increase was partly due to more students scoring proficient or higher on the 2013 NAEP reading and math assessments and increasing Advanced Placement scores. More at the Fort Myers News-Press. See a PDF of the rankings here.
Florida A&M University names first female president, Elmira Mangum
Florida A&M University will have its first woman president, a top administrator at an Ivy League institution who will be asked to lead the state's only public black university to stronger academic and financial footing. Elmira Mangum, vice president for budget and planning at Cornell University, was approved as FAMU's 11th president during today's Board of Trustees meeting. More at the Tampa Bay Times.
Gov. Rick Scott cuts ribbon on new Manatee County company
The Crystal Ball
In the first issue each year, Florida Trend talks to experts who bravely predict the future. To start 2014, we turned to executives in construction, hospitality, insurance, health and the automotive sector. They all see the bright side -- “I see it in a positive mode.” ... “I’m excited.” ... “We’re seeing good signs.” ... “I think it’s going to be a good year.” ... “We’ll be up a little bit.”
Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., a world leader in liquefied natural gas (LNG), opened a new manufacturing facility in Manatee County, creating 250 new jobs and injecting $56.8 million in capital investment into the community. The new facility, located at Port Manatee, will be used to manufacture large custom-made chemical process equipment for overseas customers. More at the Bradenton Herald.
Dolphins “working hard” on new approach for stadium redo
Miami Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel told a business group Wednesday that the team is working on a new approach to upgrading Sun Life Stadium after last year’s push for a tax-funded renovation failed in Tallahassee. “We are having a lot of discussions about the best ways to get to that,” he told the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce during a panel discussion on the local sports industry. More at the Miami Herald.
Loehmann’s begins national liquidation -- including at three South Florida stores
Loehmann’s, a discount retailer which traces its roots back more than 90 years, says it will begin liquidating inventory in a national "Going Out of Business" sale. The New York-based retailer tried unsuccessfully to sell its business in November and filed for bankruptcy protection in December, citing limited access to capital and increased competition in the off-price retail niche. It was the company’s third bankruptcy filing. More at the Miami Herald.
Tonight the weatherworn, graffiti-covered Miami Marine Stadium will get a huge boost from two of Florida's own as Jimmy Buffett and Gloria Estefan join forces in a fundraiser to bring the stadium back to life. The Miami Marine Stadium has been dormant for more than 20 years. The event won't be a full-blown concert, but will be a talk-show-style Q&A with Estefan and NBC6 anchor Jackie Nespral as host, after which Buffett will do a few tunes with longtime steel-drum accompanist Robert Greenidge. » More on the benefit at the Miami Herald.
Unfortunately, tonight's event at the Coral Gables Museum is a sell out, so if you don't have tickets, the videos below will take you there in spirit.
In case you missed it: