September 19, 2014

Friday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 8/1/2014

Florida Blue raising ACA premiums 17 percent next year

Florida Blue, the state’s largest health insurer, is increasing premiums by an average of 17.6 percent for its Affordable Care Act exchange plans next year. The nonprofit Blue Cross and Blue Shield affiliate blames higher health costs that are a result of attracting older adults this year who previously lacked coverage and are using more services than expected. [Source: Miami Herald]

See also
» Florida's biggest health insurer signals rate hikes ahead, from Kaiser Health News


Gov. Rick Scott, GOP leaders, took secret hunting trips to King Ranch in Texas

Hunting trips to King Ranch in Texas don't show up on Gov. Scott's or Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam's official schedules, or in any RPOF fundraising documents, yet U.S. Sugar paid more than $95,000 to the Republican Party of Florida for at least 20 weekend trips. The trips were revealed by the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald in a week-long series. By not disclosing their King Ranch hunting excursions, officials and sugar lobbyists have avoided scrutiny of their private dealings and whether their relations influence decisionmaking on state agricultural issues. More here.


Tropical Storm Bertha forms, approaches the Caribbean

Tropical storm warnings have been issued for Puerto Rico, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and other nearby islands as Tropical Storm Bertha approaches the Caribbean. More from AP, and see the storm track here.


Delayed Miami port tunnel set to open

PortMiami's long-awaited tunnel is finally set to open to the public at 6 a.m. on Monday. The $1 billion tunnel that travels for three-quarters of a mile under Biscayne Bay was originally scheduled to open May 19. But delays stretched into 11 weeks, thanks to malfunctions that included an exhaust fan malfunction and a drainage pipe leak. [Source: AP]


U.S. Attorney General watching Florida for voting irregularities

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder this month sent a scathing letter to Gov. Rick Scott over voting changes in Florida and issued a warning that the Justice Department is “carefully monitoring” the state. Scott’s office dismissed it as a “bizarre attempt to help Charlie Crist.” [Source: Tampa Bay Times]


ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Orange Juice falls to six-month low amid ‘dismal’ U.S. demand
Orange-juice futures fell to the lowest since January as Americans are shunning the breakfast drink, driving down prices even as disease ravages groves in Florida, the world’s second-biggest citrus grower. According to the the Florida Department of Citrus, in the four weeks ended July 5, retail sales in U.S. fell 8.3 percent from a year earlier to the lowest for the period since 2002.

› UCF considers expanding into downtown Orlando
UCF is considering moving more of its programs into downtown Orlando. On Thursday, the university's board of trustees approved adding a new project identified as "UCF Downtown Presence" to its long-term list of possible construction projects. The project could cost $75 million.

› Work Wanted: Doing internships the right way
With 97 percent of large companies hiring interns, there's a big market out there, so the journalism department at the University of North Florida requires students to prepare for internships. Paula Horvath, journalism teacher at UNF, teaches a mandatory course on how to do an internship right. Horvath makes sure her students have well-written resumes, a personal branding statement, and clips to show potential employers.

› Florida preserve allows close human contact with wolves
At Seacrest Wolf Preserve in northern Florida, owners Cynthia and Wayne Watkins raise their wolves to become accustomed to humans and allow visitors to mingle with a wolf pack for a $25 fee. But some wolf experts worry that Seacrest may allow wolves and humans to get too close.


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