Florida’s housing market reported increased sales, higher median prices, more pending sales and the continued shrinking of inventory levels in January, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors. “This year started out strong for Florida’s housing market,” said 2013 Florida Realtors President Dean Asher. “Homes sales continue to rise, mortgage rates remain near historic lows and the inventory of for-sale homes is lower than it’s been in years." [Source: Brevard Times]
Fed up Tampa Bay area state senators want utilities to either start building nuclear power plants or lose a state law that allows them to charge customers for the plants in advance. The lawmakers also are proposing a reduction in the amount the utilities can earn from the money they collect through the nuclear advance fee. Under the proposal, the utilities would refund any money they earn from the fee if they never build the plants. [Source: Times/Herald]
Florida’s 2.1 million small businesses represent 98.9 percent of all employers, and they employ 42.9 percent of the private-sector labor force. The Small Business Profile for the States and Territories, an annual analysis of each state’s small businesses, finds that self-employment in Florida improved over the last decade, while minority self-employment saw the largest growth. Read more from the South Florida Times and the SBA.
Tim Shoop (center) and his Digital Boardwalk team resolve computer problems remotely, cutting computer down time.
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When Tim Shoop completed his Navy service about 20 years ago, he bought a Coleman stove and lanterns and set out for Hollywood to pitch a tent and make movie acting his new career. But an interim job he took with Los Angeles' fastest-growing IT business sent him in a different direction. "I caught the entrepreneurial bug from the owners,” he says. Full story.
Vision Airlines, touted by Gov. Rick Scott early in his term for agreeing to bring jobs to Florida's western Panhandle, has paid $117,000 to Okaloosa County to settle up over fees the county said it owed, though it wasn't clear if that would avert criminal charges sought by prosecutors earlier in the week. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› KSC officials: Atlantis will "wow" the crowd [Florida Today]
Mark your calendars — June 29 is the grand opening date for the $100 million Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex — then prepare to be awestruck by the magnificent flying machine.
› Florida Tech on verge of drug breakthrough [Florida Today]
A research team at Florida Tech may change the way the drugs of the future are developed. Working under a $390,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, the team is examining the synthesis, computational modeling and submicroscopic aspects of tryptanthrin compounds, for their capacity to become a potent drug against malaria and other illnesses.
› Florida's poor take up residence in motels [USA Today]
Many of the hundreds of low-cost motels Florida house not tourists, but impoverished families who moved to the Sunshine State for jobs in the tourism industry and found that things did not work out as hoped.
› Report: Florida students out-gain peers in other large states [Tampa Bay Times]
A first-time report released Thursday on the nation's five most heavily populated states, or "megastates," shows that Florida students made some of the most significant gains over 19 years on closely-watched federal tests.
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› Funeral Protest Ban Advances in Florida [AP]
Florida lawmakers are poised to vote on a bill that would ban protests at all funerals, not just military ones.
› St. Petersburg's new Pier project gets a boost with Columbia restaurant [Tampa Bay Times]
As if representing a new era on the city's waterfront, the youngest generation of one of the nation's few wholly family-owned restaurant operations were enlisted to make the big announcement about the St. Petersburg's next Pier.
› Bill focuses on 'career' course options, could change grad requirements [Orlando Sentinel]
In an effort to link public education to "Florida's new economy," high school graduation requirements would change under a Senate bill filed Thursday that's designed to better match students' skills with industry needs.
› CNBC purchases rights to Miami’s Nightly Business Report [Miami Herald]
The plug is being pulled on Miami’s homegrown Nightly Business Report’s South Florida operation. CNBC announced Thursday that it intends to purchase the rights to the evening business news program from investment firm Atalaya Capital Management. The show will continue to air on public television, but beginning March 4 it will be produced by CNBC employees.