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Friday's Daily Pulse

Retailers start new year on roll

Sometimes, the devil is in the deals. Americans shopped the winter clearance racks in January, resulting in strong sales during the month for retailers. But spending is expected to slow as the deals dry up, and as Americans begin to digest rising gas prices and a 2 percent payroll tax hike that started in January. [Source: AP]

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Boizao, a Brazilian restaurant in Tampa, serves up vertical spits rotated over a log fire. » Go to story

Florida Trend Exclusive
Florida dining: South American tour

Once upon a time, dining on Latin American food in Florida meant Cuban and Mexican. Frijoles negros or rojos. Today, the Latin table stretches all the way down the Southern Hemisphere. The cooking of South America, from the bright taste of marinated seafood in Peruvian ceviche to robust gaucho steaks on skewers, has spread throughout Florida and across the price spectrum. Full story.


Recession bigger blow than 9/11 for S. Fla hotels

The latest hotel-tax figures out of Broward and Miami-Dade show the recovery from the recession continues at a decent clip, with Miami-Dade far outpacing Broward in the rebound. But the more interesting recoveries may be comparing the fall-out from the 2001 terrorist attacks and the 2008 financial crisis. Both events slammed tourism in South Florida. [Source: Miami Herald]


Everglades agriculture leases being challenged

The Florida Wildlife Federation is suing Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet over Everglades restoration land deals that enable two major farming companies to get no-bid, long-term leases for 14,000 acres in western Palm Beach County. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and the AP.


Chamber poll: Floridians want the state out of the insurance business

Floridians believe their state should stay out of the insurance business, rather than supporting a state-run insurance company, according to a recent poll sponsored by the Florida Chamber of Commerce. [Source: Insurance Journal]


ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Theme parks unite in new Florida tourism ad
It's an ad that has everything: Animals, kids and sand castles. On Thursday, Gov. Rick Scott unveiled Visit Florida's newest ad campaign to help position the state as the No. 1 vacation destination in the world.

› Monster Jam to debut 'Hispanic truck' at Sun Life Stadium
The all-American appeal of crushing a car with a giant truck may transcend language, but Monster Jam isn’t taking any chances. Say hola to El Diablo.

› Gainesville Regional Airport pursuing direct flights to NYC
The airport has been pursuing a direct route to NYC for some time as Gainesville continues to experience growth in technology, bio-tech and other creative service industries that require frequent travel to the northeast region.

› Unemployment claims up in South Florida
The bad numbers continue for Miami-Dade’s job market. On the heels of its worst payroll report in two years, Florida’s largest county also shows a continued increase in new unemployment claims. January brought another increase in claims over the prior year — extending the streak first started in October.


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› Goodwill program focused on helping unemployed women
Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida is focusing on women. The nonprofit is one of 45 Goodwill agencies across the country participating in Beyond Jobs, a program that focuses on women who are unemployed or underemployed by providing them with job training and placement services.

› Youfit opening health club in Kendall, its 46th location
Founded by Rick Berks in 2008, the rapidly expanding Youfit Health Clubs offers no-frills gyms that require no long-term contracts and charge about $10 month, less than a third of what most clubs charge.
» Related Florida Trend Content:Youfit profile

› No checking account? Bank on Orlando program can help
If you're among the nearly one in three Orlando-area residents who regularly relies on high-interest payday lenders and check-cashing ventures, help may be on the way. The Heart of Florida United Way today launched a banking program for those with low to moderate incomes who need a little support and financial guidance.

› Scorecards keep hospitals on their toes
One of the biggest changes to health care in recent years is the push to measure and link hospital payments to the seemingly fuzzy concept of patient “satisfaction.”