The drones are coming. Not this year or next, but by the end of 2015 the skies above America could be home to swarms of unmanned aircraft doing jobs like crop-dusting, disaster response -- and surveillance. To help do that, the FAA announced Thursday that it would pick six locales for test runs -- and Florida is among the 35 or more competitors expected to vie for the chance to open its airways as soon as this fall. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Florida ranks second for consumer spending on outdoor recreation in the U.S. at $38.3 billion, according to a state-by-state breakdown released by the Outdoor Industry Association. The Florida statistics also said outdoor recreation creates 329,000 jobs in the state, $10.7 billion in wages and $2.5 billion in state and local tax revenue. The impact ranked second only to California. [Source: South Florida Business Journal]
The parent trigger bill is back, and House Speaker Will Weatherford thinks it has a good chance of passing this year. The measure, which failed on the final day of last year's legislative session, would enable parents at a chronically failing school to petition the school board for significant changes. [Source: StateImpact Florida]
A majority of workers who responded to Vault.com's recent survey about office romance say they've participated in office flings and would do it again. And most say they are OK with co-workers having romantic relationships. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Florida has always been a state to watch, if only as a guilty pleasure or perhaps in self-defense. But some major political stars are aligning and the pundits are beginning to agree, Florida will really be a State To Watch from now at least through the 2016 election. [Source: WLRN]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Florida will not enforce Canadian drivers license law [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
The Florida Highway Patrol will not be enforcing the state law requiring Canadian drivers to carry an international driving permit along with their drivers licence.
› Students' ad creations for nonprofits are an overnight success [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
The numbers: 16 nonprofits, 130 students, 25 hours. The goal: Students from the University of Miami School of Communication creating new advertising campaigns overnight for South Florida nonprofits at the fourth annual PhilADthropy marathon last Friday and Saturday. The results: Thrilling.
› How will mega airline merger affect Orlando? [Orlando Sentinel]
The long-expected combination – an $11 billion deal announced Thursday – merges the fifth and sixth busiest carriers at Orlando International Airport. Based on the market share the two airlines had locally in 2012, the new airline will control about 15 percent of the traffic at Orlando International.
» Related: American Airlines CEO: Merger means more Miami business
› Pathway through Everglades planned [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
A paved, 75-mile path through the Everglades would allow cyclists, joggers and pedestrians to encounter alligators without dodging automobiles.
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› Start-Up City: Miami panelists discuss building tech hub [Miami Herald]
A day-long forum led by Richard Florida explored ways to build an innovation hub in South Florida. Can Miami become one of the great cities of innovation?
› A little Sicily in Cape Coral [Fort Myers News-Press]
Linger long enough at Little Sicily Trattoria and you may catch Mimma, as she is known, exiting the kitchen in her powder-blue duster, purse slung over one shoulder. After 12 hours spent stuffing her manicotti, simmering her red sauce and rolling her tagliatelle into soft ribbons, the sun has set, the dining room has thinned and it’s time for Mimma to rest. She’ll be back again tomorrow to do it all again.
› Florida High School Rodeo competitors span generations [Ocala Star-Banner]
While made up of teenagers, the rodeo is serious business. Points are awarded, which count toward reaching the national finals rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyo. Tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships are also up for grabs as colleges recruit rodeo competitors in the same fashion as other high school athletes.
› Doral: ‘No’ to Spanish as an official language [Miami Herald]
Doral’s city council on Wednesday night voiced their disapproval of part of a resolution that would have made Spanish the city’s second official language.