Friday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today.
Gov. Rick Scott promised steps will be taken to make sure counties' Medicaid bills are accurate Thursday as he signed legislation requiring them to pay nearly $300 million in disputed past-due billings. Scott signed the measure (HB 5301) over objections from county officials who contend they are being overcharged due to mistakes by the state's electronic billing system. Counties are required to pay a share of the costs for their residents who are enrolled in the state-federal health care program for low-income and disabled patients. [Source: AP]
Richard DeNapoli on the July 2005 cover of Florida Trend.
In July 2005, Florida Trend looked at the state's condo boom. Our story profiled lenders still lending, developers still developing and buyers still buying undeterred, as we noted at the time, "by talk of a bubble and fears that interest rates may rise." We featured on the cover Richard DeNapoli, then a 28-year-old Hollywood lawyer and real estate investor who had put down $200,000 for contracts on four units in three condo towers under construction in Miami.
» Find out how DeNapoli is doing today in this story update.
Florida East Coast Industries, owner of the storied Florida East Coast Railway, announced plans for "All Aboard Florida" last Thursday. The private, intercity service would initially connect passengers in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Orlando, with possible future extensions further west to Tampa, and north to Jacksonville. With a substantial right-of-way and a well-run freight railroad that could be adapted to passenger service more easily than most, the major question that remains is that of funding. [Source: International Business Times]
As Gov. Rick Scott considers whether to sign or veto a bill that spins off USF Polytechnic in Lakeland into a 12th state university, he hears a lot of advice from both sides. "The question on one side is going to be, is this something that we can afford. Can we afford a 12th university when we know it's difficult," Scott said, citing multibillion-dollar budget deficits in his first two years in office. "The other side of it is that people in the Lakeland area think they're underserved. It's going to be something I believe in — science, technology, engineering and math — so that's a real positive. But there's lots of arguments." [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
The Jacksonville-owned utility JEA is making moves to plug into the new energy economy. The Jacksonville-owned utility purchases electricity generated by a privately owned solar farm on the Westside and also buys electricity fueled by methane gas from decomposing garbage in the Trail Ridge landfill. But less than 1 percent of JEA’s electricity comes from those two renewable energy sources. One reason is that renewable power costs more than conventional power. Another, the agency admits, is because the state doesn’t mandate it.
[Source: Florida Times-Union]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Orlando's military-simulation industry pleases Google exec.
Google Inc.'s top technology guru said Thursday he expects Central Florida's military-oriented simulation industry to be at the forefront of the country's next wave of advances in training-and-education technologies. Michael T. Jones, chief technology advocate for the Silicon Valley-based Internet giant, said Central Florida should be in the vanguard of those developing next-generation systems for commercial and academic uses..
Panama City Beach struggles with changing nature of spring breakers
Many see the face of Spring Break changing from a college smile to a thuggish snarl, and local officials are struggling to cope. Caught in the middle are local businesses chained to the revenue and local residents who feel roped off from the beach. "It used to be school kids having a good time," said Vice Mayor Ken Nelson. "Now it’s thugs coming here for the biggest party in Florida. We need drastic action. When you throw a party you are responsible for who shows up."
› Propulsion company American Traction Systems opens in Fort Myers
In south Fort Myers, American Traction Systems engineers work on technology that’s powering vehicles, such as the Ford Fusion 999 hydrogen fuel cell car and the Ohio State University Buckeye Bullet. On Thursday, the company unveiled its new10,000-square foot design, manufacturing, testing and distribution facility to the public. A staff of 15 tinkered with high efficiency electric propulsion systems that power electric and hybrid vehicles. American Traction Systems is looking to create about 44 jobs in Southwest Florida over the next three years. Go to page 2 for more stories ...