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Friday's Daily Pulse

Military contractors fear spending reductions could cut deep

The threat of deep cuts in Pentagon spending is casting a long shadow over businesses in the region that rely on contracts and orders for the military. Defense contracts were a bulwark for parts of Florida during the worst of the recession. The contracts rose each year, pumping money into economies hit hard by the financial meltdown. Those increases are ending. [Source: Florida Times-Union]

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» Top Florida Contractors
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Hotels prepare while awaiting more details about RNC

Here's what hotel executives know about the week of the Republican National Convention: All or most of their rooms have been booked, the delegates won't return from meetings until late at night and security may be an issue. But they don't know exactly how many people will actually check in or what the final convention schedule is, making it difficult to make specific plans. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

See also:
» RNC secure perimeter to bring miles of concrete and steel barriers to both sides of Tampa Bay
» RNC Host Committee facilitates Facebook training for small biz

Big businessman becomes big philanthropist

After almost 50 years of being one of the most successful businessmen on the Suncoast, Jack Urfer's name has now become almost synonymous with charity. He has given about $10 million to the community and has sponsored a new park, a school expansion and a church. "Jack is like a sweeper," said Chip Bennett, the pastor of Grace Community Church, which Urfer bought. "You have no idea he's done what he's done when you meet him. He's so unassuming." [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]

Choppy waters: Port of St. Joe progress update

The story of the port of Port St. Joe is being written in fits and starts. The original port, operated as part of St. Joe Co.’s paper mill, was sold in the ’90s and was later shut down. The last big ship to visit was in 1995, says Doug Wheeler, president of the Florida Ports Council. In 2002, a move to resurrect port operations got under way when the city’s port authority drafted a master plan, which it updated in 2006. Progress isn’t smooth. Full story...

Port of St. Joe
St. Joe Co. has made port development one of its priorities.

Homes still out of reach for many

The American Dream is elusive for some, despite lower home prices in many markets. In South Florida, lower home prices and record-low interest rates in recent months have made homes more affordable than they have been in more than a decade. Yet credit and down payment issues still are keeping some from home ownership, experts say. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]


› Immigrant business ownership soars in Orlando
As of 2010, immigrants made up 23 percent of small-business owners in Metro Orlando, which includes Orange, Lake, Osceola and Seminole counties — up from 10 percent in 1990, according to the Fiscal Policy Institute's Immigration Research Initiative.

› Fort Lauderdale approves urban farming but not chickens
Commissioners this week approved an ordinance designed to bring back urban agriculture, which was pushed out by development over the decades. The ordinance allows community gardens throughout the city and commercial farming in non-residential areas, but it doesn't lift the city's ban on farm animals.

› Dr. Oz brings '15-minute physicals' to Tampa
The first person showed up around 5:30 a.m. Ninety minutes later, the line resembled something you might see at a concert arena, not a hospital. But this was no ordinary day at Florida Hospital's Pepin Heart Institute, which on Thursday hosted a visit by Dr. Mehmet Oz, who is as close to a medical rock star as you get.

› Netherlands targets South Florida trade
Dutch relations with the US are better than ever, according to new Consul General Simone Filippini, who arrived in Miami in August with a primary goal of growing business investments between the two countries.

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› Downtown Miami post office gets new lease on life
Over its approximately 100-year history, downtown Miami’s post office building has been home to a federal courthouse, the Miami Weather Bureau and most recently, an Office Depot. After standing empty for at least a half-dozen years, the circa-1912 building is about to get a new tenant befitting of its stature on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

› Broward County group joins opposition to paying in advance to build nuclear power plants
The Broward League of Cities passed a resolution Thursday in opposition to fees that Florida utilities charge customers in advance for construction of new nuclear plants. In its 18 to 12 vote, the non-profit organization of the county's 31 municipalities joined a growing chorus of opponents to the advance fee, known as the Nuclear Cost Recovery Clause.

› Massive mall proposed at Miami International Airport
Miami International Airport's oldest terminal, dating to the 1950s, could be redeveloped to include a glitzy multi-level indoor shopping mall with escalators that officials say would set the standard for US airports.

› States get another $544M in LCD price-fixing settlement for $1.1B total
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced Thursday that she and even other state attorney generals had reached an additional $543.5 million agreement with manufacturers of LCD panels with the total settlement now at $1.1 billion. The attorney generals along with lead class counsel for private plaintiffs had pursued a price-fixing lawsuit after an investigation into how thin film transistor (TFT) liquid crystal display (LCD) panels were being priced.