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Central Florida Business Briefs - June 2006

? Volusia County is accepting new construction bids for the $63-million expansion of the Ocean Center after the first round of proposals came in over budget. The process is expected to delay work by at least four months.

? Halifax Medical Center plans to expand its facility by 50% and increase its number of beds by more than one-third by building a 10-story tower in a $200-million project expected to wrap up its first phase in 2009.

? Harris Corp. (NYSE-HRS) has been awarded a $600-million contract to provide the U.S. Census Bureau with wireless computer technology to use in the 2010 population survey. The company will oversee a project to create 500,000 mobile units for surveyors to carry from house to house.

? University of Central Florida researcher YouMing Lu has discovered a way to improve chances of recovering from a stroke without brain damage by altering a receptor that mediates communication between nerve cells. This is done by administering treatment within a few hours of the stroke.

? The University of Central Florida will guarantee admission to area community college graduates through a new consortium formed this spring. Education officials expect more than 4,000 graduates a year from Brevard, Lake-Sumter, Seminole and Valencia community colleges to receive bachelor's degrees from UCF by 2015 through the agreement.

? Orlando Sanford International Airport is scheduled to open its new $10.7-million parking garage west of the main terminal by Nov. 1 with five levels and 830 spaces.

? The Central Florida Zoo has been accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association's Accreditation Commission, indicating it meets industry standards for collection care, veterinary programs, conservation, education and safety.

? The Seminole County Convention & Visitors Bureau is establishing an advisory board to help attract meetings of fewer than 250 attendees. The county saw record numbers of corporate travelers in 2005.

? Healthcare Partners, a Pennsylvania-based company that handles medical products and information technology, has been approved for $18,000 in tax refund incentives from the county to relocate to Daytona Beach and create 30 full-time jobs. The state is expected to add $72,000 in funding.

? Winter Park rescue workers have helped manufacturers redesign fire-rescue vehicles to make them safer for firefighters. Two new rescue units contain a space where rescuers can remain seated and harnessed as an ambulance is in motion.

? Barnie's Coffee & Tea is selling 56 of its stores to Starbucks for an undisclosed price. The 26-year-old Winter Park company, which has revenue of $67 million, has more then 100 company-owned and franchise stores world-wide.