September 19, 2014

Friday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today.

Ban or regulate Internet cafes? Lawmakers fight it out

The Florida House votes to ban Internet cafes and that sets up a clash with the Senate over how to handle the controversial facilities that have sprung up all over the state. Supporters of the bill to ban cafes say the electronic sweepstakes games played on computers are just like slot machines operating in strip mall casinos. They argue cafes use a loophole in law to offer an illegal form of gambling that preys on poor people and the elderly. Opponents of a ban say it's about jobs and letting local communities decide what kind of entertainment they want. They say Internet cafes in Florida employ nearly 15,000 people and the state should not put them out of business. Read more from WTSP and see our Legislative Roundup below:

» Florida House passes new restrictions on welfare
» Florida Legislature passes school prayer bill
» Florida legislators refuse to hike their health premiums
» Disney, sports boosters seek public incentives for soccer teams
» Florida House passes 'anti-Sharia' bill despite protests


Publix sales, profit soar in 4th quarter

Buoyed by the recovering economy, Publix Super Markets' sales and profit leaped in the fourth quarter. Sales at the Lakeland-based supermarket giant climbed 13.4 percent to $7.2 billion, the company reported Thursday. Profit did even better, jumping 16.8 percent to $399.5 million, or 51 cents per share. Publix increased the price of its stock, held only by employees, by $2.20 to $22.40 per shares. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]


Sarasota rated top place in nation to retire

Sarasota came out on top of a list of best places to retire that was produced by a national website, with Venice not too far behind at No. 9. The list by TopRetirements.com — a website managed by John Brady, a retired executive vice president of a business information publisher — was cited in a recent national report by MarketWatch, part of Dow Jones & Co. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]


Florida Trend Exclusive
Job Training: New foundations

The Pragmatic Works Foundation chooses applicants without IT training who have "a strong work ethic and a passion to change their lives." It trains 12 students a month — for free — in Microsoft analytics, teaching them the basic skills to work as a database administrator or reports writer. So far, the non-profit has trained more than 100 military veterans or unemployed or underemployed people. Three-fourths of the graduates have landed IT positions afterward. More...

Brian Knight
Brian Knight's foundation has trained more than 100 people for IT jobs. [Photo: Ryan Ketterman]


New FIU report shows impact of minimum wage on Florida's workers

A full-time minimum wage worker in Florida earns only 82 percent of the poverty line for a family of three, according to a brief released Wednesday by Florida International University's Research Institute on Social Policy. The report explains the impact of the minimum wage in Florida, including which groups and industries benefit, the impact on employment, and how Florida compares with other states. The minimum wage is good for workers and good for the economy, the FIU report says. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]


ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› OPKO gets BioZone platform
OPKO Health, a Miami pharmaceutical company headed by physician-entrepreneur Phillip Frost, announced it has invested in BioZone Pharmaceuticals and acquired rights to BioZone’s drug delivery platforms that can enhance solubility of many drugs to provide better dosages.

› Seminole Hard Rock pastry chef on Food Network show
Pastry chef Alon Gontowski has his secret weapon: an edible paint sprayer that turns confections into phantasmagorical creations that he hopes get him dubbed Sweet Genius on the Food Network's second season of the show of the same name.

› Razing of Hollywood‎ beach eyesore draws cheers
The trackhoe groaned as it plowed into the motel. The rubble dropped with a clatter to the ground. More than a dozen onlookers cheered on the destruction of the Mirador Motel, a dilapidated beachside eyesore whose razing began Thursday and will continue for more than a week. Neighbors and building owners said they were fed up with the unoccupied site luring squatters, rats, graffiti and crime in recent years. They were optimistic its removal would help bring up property values.

› A Mango Gangster grows up
A quarter-century on, Douglas Rodriguez’s fusion fervor has given way to a focus on ingredients — and a disdain for ‘molecular’ cooking.


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