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Around the State

Bradenton

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- NovaCare bought two Bradenton professional employee organizations, Employee Services of America, which employs 9,000, and Prostaff Human Resources with 400 employees. Pennsylvania-based NovaCare is the country's second-largest provider of rehabilitation and specialty healthcare services.

Clearwater

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- Hops Grill & Bar, with 18 restaurants in Florida, Colorado and Kentucky., was acquired by Madison, Ga.-based Apple South for $31.5 million. Apple South manages 310 restaurants and is the nation's largest operator of Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar.

Fort Myers

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- Palmer Wireless (Nasdaq-PWIR) acquired the cellular regional license Georgia 13 from Mobile Communications Systems for approximately $30 million. The license gives Palmer access to more than 15,000 subscribers in Georgia and expands Palmer's service area to 3.9 million people.

St. Petersburg

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- AGI Publishing, Calif., bought Florida Directory Publishing, a subsidiary of Times Publishing Co., which owns the St. Petersburg Times and Florida Trend. Times Publishing also sealed a four-year marketing deal with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, giving the company exclusive marketing rights among Florida print media. The Devil Rays, a major league baseball expansion team, begin play in 1998.

Jabil Circuit (Nasdaq-JBIL) added 210,000 square feet to its circuit board assembly plant. The company has hired 200 since December and will hire about another 200 in the next few months.

Sarasota

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- Solar-Mates (Nasdaq-SOLR) bought New York-based Serengeti Eyewear from Corning Inc. for $27.5 million and will sell its line of sunglasses under the Serengeti name.

Tampa

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- Electronic components distributor Reptron Electronics (Nasdaq-REPT) will add 300 jobs, mostly in manufacturing. The electronic components distributor, which presently employs 600 locally, posted a record 20.4% growth in 1996 net sales.