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Tuesday's Daily Pulse

Online-only university among Florida's options for more distance education

Florida's 12th university became a reality earlier this year, and there is already discussion about whether the state needs a 13th. House Speaker Will Weatherford challenged the board governing state universities to look into creating an online-only school in order to increase access to distance education. And Monday, the Board of Governors received the results of an independent study on the topic and discussed next steps. More at the Times/Herald and the AP.

Entrepreneurship: Business trips need not be bank-busters

Travel is an often-neglected aspect of small-business life, and most entrepreneurs don't travel enough. Nothing beats a face-to-face meeting for closing a deal or maintaining a relationship. Business travel can be expensive, especially on a small-business budget, but here are some tips to save you money. [Source: Florida Today]

Texas pumas save Florida panthers from extinction

A new study says breeding with Texas pumas has so far saved the Florida panther from extinction. The study by University of Florida scientists was published Monday in the Journal of Animal Ecology. Wildlife officials imported eight female pumas in hopes they would mate with native panthers in 1995. The study concludes that gamble paid off. More from the AP and UF News.

Boat sales jump 10% this year

More evidence that the U.S. economy is climbing out of the recession: Sales of new recreational powerboats are estimated to be up by 10 percent in 2012, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “We are pleased to see the industry growing,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said. “Our projection is the industry will grow in 2013 by another 5 to 10 percent.” [Source: Miami Herald]

Older, returning students strain Florida’s community and state colleges

Remedial classes in math, reading and writing are seeing a surge of students at Florida’s 28 community and state colleges — schools where all students are welcome as long as they have a high school diploma or G.E.D. From 2004 to 2011, Florida’s remedial education costs for both students and schools ballooned from $118 million to $168 million. [Source: StateImpact Florida]


› Southwest Florida charities believe donations won't fall off fiscal cliff
Uncertainty about the U.S. government going over the so-called fiscal cliff could end up being just a bump in the road for Southwest Florida charities that rely heavily on philanthropy.

› SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment preparing to go public
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is preparing for an initial public offering that could come in early 2013, according to a person familiar with the discussions. The move comes three years after the Orlando-based theme-park operator, which owns 11 parks across the U.S., was acquired by private-equity giant Blackstone Group.

› Salon owner reflects on entrepreneurial journey
This is the season for everyone to head to their favorite salon or spa and get made over, coiffed and dressed up as people celebrate with family and friends for the holidays. The seasonal boost in business is cause for extra celebration for small beauty businesses.

› Orlando home prices at three-year high
The median price for existing home sales in the core Orlando market during November was $129,000 – a 5 percent increase from the month before and 12 percent increase from a year earlier. The midpoint price was at its highest level in three years.

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› Governor names new head of state prison system
A 26-year state corrections and law enforcement veteran is Florida's new prison chief. Gov. Rick Scott on Monday named Michael D. Crews as secretary of corrections to replace Ken Tucker, who is retiring.

› Worldwide cruise associations join forces
Cruise industry groups from around the world announced Monday that they will merge to become one large organization. The new body will take on the name of Cruise Lines International Association, which already has global reach, and use geographic designations for various regions. The change is effective right away.

› New nursing home inspection website helps consumers make choices
Consumers overwhelmed by the prospect of selecting a nursing home now have a new online tool to help them make choices based on government inspections. Nursing Home Inspect 2.0 is a free database that helps users evaluate nursing homes in their area or anywhere in the country.

› Ryder CEO Greg Swienton retiring, COO getting promoted
Trucking giant Ryder will get a new CEO in two weeks, as the Miami-Dade company announces the retirement of Gregory Swienton and the promotion of current COO Robert Sanchez to the top job.