FloridaTrend.com, the Website for Florida Business


Thursday's Daily Pulse

Florida’s housing market still healing slowly

New data on home foreclosures and negative home equity illustrate that Florida’s battered housing market is continuing to inch toward recovery but remains far from healthy. While fewer Florida homeowners are facing that initial grim news that lenders are moving to take their homes, Florida logged the highest foreclosure rate in the nation in October for the second month in a row. [Source: Miami Herald]


Dan Richey
The Gainesville Renewable Energy Center is now under construction. Go to story.

Florida Trend Exclusive
Energy: Paying the price

In 2009, when the Gainesville City Commission entered into a 30-year contract to buy up all the electricity generated by a private, 100-megawatt biomass plant, it seemed like a win-win for the economy and environment alike. Full story...


South Floridians are budgeting well despite lack of jobs

South Florida has been burdened with the weakest job creation record and the worst foreclosure rate of the nation's largest 12 metro areas. Yet, South Floridians are holding tough, managing well what money they have, said the creators of a national Consumer Distress Index. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]


State to change no-bid system at Division of Blind Services

State officials said they will now begin competitively bidding contracts issued by the Division of Blind Services after a Times/Herald report found examples of possible taxpayer waste and poor vendor oversight. The Times/Herald reported this week that no-bid contracts awarded to private vendors are so loosely worded that the groups could charge $58 dollars per hour for drive time to a blind person's house or more than $2,000 for a brief phone call. [Source: Times/Herald]


Supporting the Boy Scouts: A growing issue for companies

Intel and United Parcel Service say they will no longer fund the Boy Scouts of America because of the organization's anti-gay policies. The issue is likely to hit home for South Florida businesses, given the region's large gay population and some of the region's largest employers being targeted by ScoutingForAll.org. [Source: South Florida Business Journal]


ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Shuttle era's end triggered contract change
Stephen Whitney is one of about 85 firefighters at Kennedy Space Center whose situations changed dramatically when the security contract at the spaceport changed hands near the end of the space shuttle program.

› Trump not giving up on movie studio proposal in Homestead
Donald Trump is once again looking toward Homestead to build a futuristic movie studio complex. In fact, he had never written off the site in deep South Miami-Dade County — despite comments to the contrary made by a Trump representative just a month ago.

› Office space: Gainesville cowork
The Gainesville CoWork, a new multi-use space in Magnolia Parke on Northwest 39th Avenue, wants to help matured startups grow beyond the “stuck at Starbucks stage” by giving them the space and services and they need, but likely can’t afford.

› Myregion.org wants tax dollars for values study
A business group is seeking more than $128,000 in taxpayer money to do a survey on the values of Central Floridians, as leaders look for ways to pay for transportation needs. Myregion.org, an arm of the Central Florida Partnership, was granted $9,300 for the study.


Go to page 2 for more stories ...

› Educating Women in Technology Startups
If North Central Florida mirrors national trends, then women are taking fewer of the entrepreneurial opportunities that Gainesville offers than men take, and they make up a smaller share of the region’s tech startup community.

› Remediation firm provides support for the worst of spills
Hazardous materials, dangerous chemicals, natural disasters and even oil spills are in the forte of Environmental & Labor Solutions, located in Jacksonville’s San Marco district.

› Healthcare reform could impact clinics
Healthcare reform, set to kick in by 2014, could send more people to community clinics, a group of medical and local leaders said Wednesday.

› Record-setting months result in record-setting year for Pinellas tourist tax
Pinellas County collected $28.7 million in tourist tax revenue during fiscal year 2011, the county's Tourist Development Council announced at Wednesday's monthly meeting. The fiscal year started in October 2011 and ended in September 2012.