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Friday's Daily Pulse

Report: Small-business confidence drops

Small-business owners are less optimistic about their own shops and the overall economy than they were six months ago, according to a survey of National Small Business Association members. The association surveyed 350 owners of small businesses across multiple industries nationwide. [Source: South Florida Business Journal]

» Nonprofit offering small business loans

Florida Trend Exclusive
Health care trends in Florida: The road ahead

The new health care law no longer allows insurers to exclude patients based on pre-existing conditions, eliminates lifetime limits on coverage and lets children stay on their parents' policies through age 26. Here are three other effects of the law.

Teachers tell Gov. Scott that morale is low and they feel disrespected

The teachers at Fern Creek Elementary quickly drove home their lesson plan when Gov. Rick Scott showed up on their campus Thursday. Teacher morale is low, they told him. That's because educators are grappling with a new evaluation system, tougher academic standards, smaller paychecks and a sense the state is against them. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

» Gov. Scott to have dinner with Fla. teacher union

Presidential race energizes this year's solar-industry convention

The solar-energy industry's huge assembly this week in Orlando buzzed with alternating currents of anxiety and optimism over this year's presidential election. A common thought at Solar Power International, which bills itself as North America's largest conference and exposition for the solar-energy business, was that the future will stay reasonably bright if President Obama wins a second term, but that it might be lights out if Mitt Romney prevails in November. See more from the Orlando Sentinel and Solar Power International.

Hurricane Isaac sends US jobless claims up to 382K

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits jumped to the highest level in two months, although the figures were skewed in part by Hurricane Isaac. Applications increased by 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 382,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's up from 367,000 the previous week. [Source: AP]


› Private plane terminal for ‘fractional’ owners coming to Palm Beach
Companies and individuals rich enough to own a piece of a jet will now have their own private terminal at Palm Beach International Airport.

› Orlando Realtors to go on 'pretend' SunRail
More than 170 Central Florida Realtors, leasing agents and others will ride an Amtrak train Friday, pretending they are on the planned SunRail commuter train.

› Whole Foods eyes site in downtown St. Petersburg
The chain of large health food grocery stores known for its vast salad bar, hot food bar and soup selection along with the many rare products on its shelves is eyeing a spot in the Sunshine City.
» Related: Whole Foods affected by nationwide ricotta cheese recall; Florida, Georgia on the list

› CareCloud is expanding, opening Boston operation
CareCloud, the fast-growing Miami-based healthcare technology startup, is expanding locally — and to Boston.

Go to page 2 for more stories ...

› Miami-Dade schools chief goes on blitz to promote bond-issue for repairs, technology
From improved academics to greater financial stability, Miami-Dade’s school district is in the midst of a remarkably positive turnaround, Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho told a group of business leaders on Thursday. And that success story of local public schools deserves to be rewarded, Carvalho said, in the form of a $1.2 billion bond issue that will be before voters in November.

› State's implementation of required drug tests was 'chaotic'
Kidney patients required to give urine samples through a catheter. Counties without drug testing centers. And drug tests with confidential personal information such as Social Security numbers turning up in unrelated files. That's the scenario that the American Civil Liberties Union laid out in court documents filed this week in its ongoing battle with Gov. Rick Scott's administration over whether it's legal to drug test applicants for welfare assistance.

› Red Lobster seeks customers for TV ads
After making its employees stars of TV ads, now Red Lobster now is looking for a customer to feature. The seafood chain owned by Orlando-based Darden Restaurants is holding a contest giving customers a chance to be in a Red Lobster commercial.

› Fans chomp into Gator-themed Pop-Tarts
Victory is always sweet for college sports fans, and now Gator fans can be even more satisfied by chomping into a Pop-Tart emblazoned with their team's logo in icing.