Monday's Top Stories
What You Need to Know About Florida Today
MONDAY, JAN. 11, 2010
The cold giveth, the cold taketh away. Business is booming for stores selling space heaters and companies that repair HVAC systems, as Florida temperatures remained low throughout the week — and another chilly blast is on the way. But for Floridians whose livelihoods depend on a tropical climate, the unseasonable cold snap has meant fewer tourists and damaged crops. The extended frosty spell has been a double whammy for some businesses that finished the year with less profits due to the economy. [Source: Sun Sentinel]
- Last night was 'knockout blow,' says farmer
- Farms maintain freeze vigil
- Farmers not sure if citrus will survive second frigid night
- Progress Energy asks customers to cut back
- Fish farms devastated
As Florida Republicans struggle to define their future, a towering figure from the past has returned to call the shots. Former Gov. Jeb Bush retreated from the public spotlight when he left office in 2006, becoming almost reclusive. But in the last six months, Bush, revered by the party's conservative base, has reasserted his influence and is helping remake the state's political landscape more to his liking. In the process, Bush has dimmed the star of Gov. Charlie Crist. Indeed, Bush has shown in recent weeks that he can still tower over state politics ... [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
More than $2 million in donations doled out by disbarred attorney Scott Rothstein have come back to haunt many of the South Florida charities and nonprofits that once counted on the largess of the alleged fraudster. Hospitals, schools, charities benefiting children, battered women and religious groups all received donations from Rothstein over the past year -- a period when nonprofits struggled to stay afloat amid the economic recession. [Source: Miami Herald]
- Ex-Rothstein attorneys in Boca forge own paths after scandal
- City suspends officers who ran Rothstein detail
Space Florida's Vision for 2020
Frank DiBello was named president of Space Florida in September after serving as interim chief of the organization, which leads development of the state's aerospace industry. He spoke with Florida Trend about Vision 2020, the organization's long-range plan. Read on ... [Source: Florida Trend]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› 'Cover FL' Sponsor Losing Money
The largest health insurer in the program says it needs a 30% rate increase effective March 1. Without the hike, it will cost Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida 23% more to pay claims than it would collect in premiums.
› Homeowners Find Liens Against Property with Bad Contractors
Consumers who don't do their homework on a contractor or grasp Florida's construction lien laws are putting themselves in danger of getting saddled with additional payments they never expected.
› Data Mining Project Hunts Pedophiles
It's a virtual epidemic of child pornography, and to fight it, law enforcement officers from all over are converging on a cavernous building in South Florida. Here they have access to the most advanced technology for finding pedophiles.
› Miami-Dade Plans to Fight State's Rejection of Airport Slots Miami-Dade County is refusing to back down from its bid to install slot machines at Miami International Airport, with the matter now apparently headed to court.
› State Planners Enforcing Climate, Energy Requirements
State planners increasingly are requiring cities and counties to show that proposed new developments include features to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles, a Department of Community Affairs official said.
› Affordable Home Program Puts Dent in Credit Scores
If you accept a modification through Making Home Affordable, you'll probably pay for it with a lower credit score. In some cases the impact could be as much as 100 points. Future borrowing could be compromised, erasing some of the savings from the government bailout.
› Will 'Medical City' Expansion Devour Lake Nona's Rural Lifestyle?
Residents of south Orange and north Osceola fear losing reason they moved to quiet area.
› Defying Recession, One 5-Star Bank Remains
Bank of Belle Glade has hefty capital ratios. It's reporting a profit. And it's the only financial institution based in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast to receive a five-star rating from BauerFinancial for the third quarter.
› Times' 'Help Wanted' Series Brings Results
A bid to play matchmaker between some of Tampa Bay's 150,000 jobless and potential employers has struck a chord.
› Jim Leavitt Fired as USF Coach
South Florida fired football coach Jim Leavitt after a school investigation concluded he grabbed one of his players by the throat, slapped him in the face and then lied about it. Also: Jim Leavitt hires attorneys, contends he was wrongfully fired
› Put Patients Over Politics
Florida has the fourth-highest number of uninsured residents at nearly 4 million, yet Attorney General Bill McCollum and Republican legislators are more concerned with stopping health care reform than with helping those Floridians get health care.