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Monday's Daily Pulse

Florida ramps up to become a major exporter

Swiveling his chair in a Port of Miami conference room, Bill Johnson smacks his hand on a wall- mounted image that shows planned upgrades. Here, a new highway tunnel. There, a refurbished rail link. The $2 billion makeover, positioning the port for an anticipated surge in cargo, is the centerpiece of an ambitious bid to overhaul Florida’s economy. What’s happening in the Sunshine State, long reliant upon real estate and tourism, symbolizes a national rebalancing toward an economy with greater global links. Read more at Bloomberg and the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Businesses beyond Tampa get set for RNC business and dollars

The RNC is boosting business at a number of Southwest Florida accommodations, as attendees who could not find rooms closer to Tampa have been forced to head south. Hoteliers and tourism experts say the timing is perfect. Late August is one of the slowest times of the year in the hospitality industry, and the convention is bringing a welcome shot in the arm. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]

» See also: Today's Florida Trend RNC photo gallery

Florida strawberry farmers face increasing competition

For decades, Florida ­strawberry growers worried about competition from California, the largest U.S. strawberry grower, and its ability to encroach on their exclusive market window as the sole domestic producer of fresh strawberries east of the Mississippi from late November to March. Entering the 2012-13 season, the competitive threat comes from Mexico, which is fighting in that same market window to supply U.S. consumers with fresh strawberries. [Source: Lakeland Ledger]

One last shot to save

If you are in the last third of your earning years, roughly ages 50 to 65, a retirement date that appeared certain a decade ago is likely looking a little unsteady now. And if you’re feeling a little shaky about the stability of your nest egg, you’re not alone. [Source: Miami Herald]

Weather forecaster by night, weather entrepreneur by day

South Florida’s weather keeps Channel 4 meteorologist Jeff Berardelli busy. But weather in Texas, Iowa and Baltimore, Md.. might make him rich. The 37-year-old spends his weekends working the night shift on air at Miami’s CBS 4, and his spare time managing a side business that sells interactive radar to television and radio stations across the country. [Source: Miami Herald]


› Innovation in Tampa Bay: Ocean exploration, medical technology, defense businesses
Tampa Bay's economic engine may not rival California's Silicon Valley in technology startups or Baltimore's Johns Hopkins in medical clout or suburban Washington, D.C., for its defense industry. Not yet. Even in a roughed-up economy, Tampa Bay's business culture is nothing if not aspirational.

› Suborbital spaceflight industry may launch new era for Brevard
Suborbital spaceflights won’t be routine for years, but a growing suborbital spaceflight industry could bring hundreds of jobs to Brevard County much sooner.

› Clothing by the ton draws people by the hundreds in Manatee
The crowd and set-up at The Source Church on Saturday morning rivaled that of a department store on Black Friday, with one exception: everything inside was free.

› Social media takes center stage at RNC
A digital media “green room” will be near the convention stage inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum to allow speakers to post to Twitter or Facebook, conduct interviews on Skype, take photos or conduct Google hangouts before, during or after speeches.

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› Virtual schools help some students get ahead
Some students take one or two advanced college-prep courses to get ahead. Others are looking for “grade forgiveness,” taking online courses to make up for the classes they failed or did poorly in. Still others are home-schooled, or are taking a full load of online courses but split time between home and school.

› South Florida bars having 'hurricane parties'
If sitting in a shuttered house snacking on canned beans and warm water doesn't sound enticing to you, there are brazen bar owners out there, ready to take in customers, storm or not.

› Hiring plans for tech companies get boost from FloridaWorks grants
The workforce agency for Alachua and Bradford counties awarded almost $3.1 million to 12 companies to train 350 new hires in technical positions over the next two to four years.

› Lakeridge Winery sales soar from expanded distribution
More and more people are clanking glasses filled with wine from Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards. Thanks to the expanding wholesale marketing distribution, revenue increased 24 percent last year for Lakeridge Winery and its sister winery, San Sebastian Winery in St. Augustine.