Monday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
It's for just one congressional seat for about eight months, but Tuesday's special election in Florida has taken on huge political significance. The suburban St. Petersburg district is considered a proving ground for each party's political messages and a possible bellwether for the midterm elections. More from WFMZ and the AP.
All across Florida, public and private universities with highly regarded and nationally accredited business schools have begun offering MBAs online that are comparable to the MBAs they have long offered on campus. Access full story here.
Though Florida's spring break hotspots evolve, with some cities dropping off students' radar and others popping back on, statewide tourism continues to grow during January, February and March. Out-of-state visitors during those months have increased from 19.4 million in 2000 to an all-time high of 26.3 million last year. [Source: USA Today]
With a growing number of health-related colleges, many of them for-profit, competition for essential training spots has become increasingly fierce. In nursing, the Florida Legislature directly encouraged this heightened competition, thanks to laws passed in 2009 and 2010 that made it easier for colleges to get new nursing programs approved. [Source: Miami Herald]
If voters amend the state’s constitution in November to allow the use of medical marijuana, Florida could witness the birth of an $800-million-a-year industry. In short order, Florida would become the second-largest marijuana market in the nation, behind only California. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
» Medical marijuana poised for ad-war win
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Comcast 'doubling down' on theme park business
Comcast Corp., hungry for revenue and profit growth beyond its core telecommunications business, is investing hundreds of millions of dollars into theme parks in California and Florida and doing what few other U.S. companies have the financial muscle to do - challenge Walt Disney Co.'s tourism business.
› Cuban cultural exchange in Key West draws ire from some exiles
But while most of Key West has welcomed the the two-country exhibit “Una Raza/One Race” — including host sites The Studios of Key West, the Hemingway Home & Museum, the Oldest House & Garden Museum, The Florida Council of the Arts and the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum — a strong minority voice has criticized the exchange from the start.
› CEO Clarence Otis feels the heat as Darden struggles
No stranger to uphill battles, Clarence Otis is now facing what may be the biggest one of his career. Otis is under pressure as the company he leads, Orlando-based Darden Restaurants, struggles with plunging profits and declining sales at Red Lobster and Olive Garden, its two biggest chains.
› Simulated slice of Mars could land in Titusville
Plans to build the world’s largest Mars simulation are back on track in Titusville. Interspace, a space-themed attraction and research facility, could open as early as 2016 and employ 200 workers.
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