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Wednesday's Afternoon Update

Florida metros record some of the biggest unemployment drops nationwide

A dozen Florida metros have posted among the biggest drops in unemployment nationwide over the past year. The vast majority of the country's 372 metropolitan areas saw unemployment fall between October 2011 and last month, according to a U.S. Department of Labor analysis Wednesday. More at the Tampa Bay Times and the Department of Labor.

Gov. Scott in Brevard as Embraer breaks ground on new facility

Gov. Rick Scott, in his second visit to Brevard County in as many days, was on hand to break ground for Embraer jet's Engineering and Technology Center USA "You can pick many companies, as successful as Embraer, to come to our state," Scott said this morning Prior to the employer groundbreaking at Melbourne International Airport. More at Florida Today.

Miami auditors: Jungle Island falls short on job creation pledges

Business Profile


Ten years after Claire Evans founded amaZulu, the Clermont business is thriving. The company found a niche sourcing and importing natural and synthetic architectural materials like bamboo and thatch for use in theme parks, zoos, resorts, restaurants, hotels, casinos and homes.

» Full profile

» Official site

Jungle Island employs hundreds fewer workers than required under the terms of a $25 million federal loan, and only a fraction of them are low- and middle-income employees despite a separate loan pledge made by the aviary attraction. The findings, part of a stinging draft audit by the park’s landlord, the city of Miami, are just the latest black eye for Jungle Island. More at the Miami Herald.

Craft beer brewing in Southwest Florida

The craft beer industry generated $8.7 billion in retail sales in 2011 according to brewersassociation.org, an almost 15 percent increase from 2010. Will Lawson is hoping to capitalize on that thirst by serving the untapped microbrewery market between Sarasota and Miami. More at the Fort Myers News-Press.

Study says grapefruit can have harmful interaction with some medications

Just when Florida citrus growers were expecting another profitable season led by a revival of U.S. orange juice sales, the industry took a potentially damaging blow Monday with the release of a new study showing increased risk of harmful interactions between popular medications and grapefruit products. More at the Lakeland Ledger.

Out of the Box
Volunteer Army

handicap parkingWilliam Horn realized just how many people park illegally in handicap spaces when he himself became disabled. But he isn't letting the disability stop him. In fact, it has inspired him to give back to his community. For the past three months Horn has been a volunteer parking enforcement specialist with the Boynton Beach Police Department – part of a group of 13 volunteers who patrol the city in search of drivers parking illegally in handicap spots, fire lanes and at boat ramps. In an average year they write enough tickets to generate $300,000 in revenue for the city.

» Full story from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel