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Thursday's Daily Pulse

Florida has nation's highest foreclosure rate

For the first time since 2005, Florida led the nation for foreclosures, according to a report by a real-estate research group that tracks home sales across the country. During the past year, foreclosures dropped 13 percent nationally but increased by more than that amount in Florida. The state had one foreclosure legal filing for every 117 houses during the third quarter — the highest rate in the country and double the rate for the entire nation Read more from the Orlando Sentinel, the Miami Herald, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Business Insider, and RealtyTrac.

Affluent Floridians watching their pennies

We all know the middle class counts their pennies, but now their affluent neighbors are doing it too. A new Merrill Lynch survey found that 60 percent of affluent South Floridians are both spending and investing more conservatively then a year ago. Two-thirds of affluent South Floridians say they are gaining greater control over their financial lives and a majority admit to budgeting. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Merrill Lynch.

Caribbean cruises leave wave of bitter merchants

Trade groups say the flourishing cruise ship industry injects about $2 billion a year into the economies of the Caribbean, the world’s No. 1 cruise destination. But critics complain it produces relatively little local revenue because so many passengers dine, shop and purchase heavily marked-up shore excursions on the boats or splurge at international chain shops on the piers. [Source: AP]

Florida Trend Exclusive
Dreams of Fields

Michael Kruszynski
Michael Kruszynski

When the competitive nature that comes with being a successful businessman meets a fantasy football league, watch out. Take, for example:

Michael Kruszynski, 43
Realtor, Showcase Realty of North Florida - Jacksonville

Michael Kruszynski’s entree into fantasy football came when an old college friend sent him an invitation to play in his league. “I was always competitive and loved sports, with football being my favorite sport,” he says.

» Number of leagues he plays in: Four

» Secondary foul: “One year my boss wanted to play fantasy football. I sent him an invite to join. It was the ESPN league with the automatic draft, so great for a beginner. Three weeks in, his team was 0-3. He asked me to help manage his team, which I did so well that I ended up playing him in the championship, and he won. He spent a good deal of time telling me what a great football mind he had for months after the season ended. I told him he was on his own the next season.”

» Favorite team: Chicago Bears

» More from other Fantasy Football Floridians...

Florida sugar companies acquire Belize sugar firm

Two Palm Beach County sugar companies have expanded into Belize in Central America, making it the sixth country outside the U.S. where they own mills and refineries. In a deal that closed last week for a reported $65 million, Florida Crystals Corp., of West Palm Beach, and the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida, of Belle Glade, acquired Belize Sugar Industries Ltd. [Source: Palm Beach Post]


› Miami tourism jolt booked for winter
Greater Miami's tourism industry is expecting to ride a wave of improved business from last summer into the winter season.

› Study: Arts generate $73 million impact on Brevard economy
Sometimes arts and culture might be easy to dismiss but a report released Wednesday evening by Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast said that sector generated nearly $73 million in local sales last year and were responsible for more than 855 jobs.

› Groups: Bank neglects minority-area houses in Orlando
Two national housing nonprofits on Wednesday complained about deplorable conditions at foreclosed houses in an Orlando minority neighborhood that weren't found as much in white neighborhoods.

› Hispanics' education levels rocket up
Education levels attained by Miami-Dade County's Hispanic population have grown exponentially and are pulling ahead of other areas in the nation, experts and studies say.

Go to page 2 for more stories ...

› RNC propels Hillsborough, Pinellas to record bed tax collections
The last week of August is usually a slow week for the local hospitality industry. But this year, hoteliers on both sides of the bay got a welcome jolt from the Republican National Convention.

› AxoGen secures $21M in financing
Alachua-based AxoGen closed on nearly $21 million in financing to expand sales and development of products used in surgeries to repair peripheral nerve damage.

› Hackers heist 300,000 records from Florida college
A massive security breach at Northwest Florida State College has affected 300,000 records in the school's computer systems, including information on about 200,000 students statewide who were once eligible for Bright Futures scholarships.

› Tampa seeks proposals for bike-sharing program
The city of Tampa on Wednesday issued a call for proposals to create an inexpensive bicycle-sharing program that Mayor Bob Buckhorn said could be a "healthy option for residents and visitors traveling around downtown and surrounding neighborhoods."