Spring break starts officially for college students in Florida and elsewhere this week, and regional tourism officials expect crowds to break records this year. Southwest Florida also expects to welcome its share of families for an early spring getaway, especially after Liveability.com designated Sarasota the No. 1 family-friendly spring break destination in the nation last year. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
For a who's who of tour pros -- Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Ernie Els Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and more -- a 30-mile stretch of Florida's southern Martin County and northern Palm Beach County is a happening place to live, practice and just plain hang [Source: Golf Digest]
Florida Trend Feature:
Online line travel companies like Expedia and Travelocity have won their appeal as to how much tax they should have to pay on hotel rooms they book in Florida. Tallahassee-based Circuit Judge James Shelfer ruled that the online companies should only pay the tourist development tax on the amount of money they pay to hotels. [Source: AP]
Florida Lottery officials told The Associated Press on Thursday that the state would join 42 others later this year in selling tickets to the Mega Millions game. Lottery Secretary Cynthia O'Connell contends that adding Mega Millions is a "winning decision" because it will generate more money for education. [Source: AP]
In Florida, the cuts will hit programs for teachers, students, head start, military readiness, and many other programs in 2013 alone. The cuts could cost thousands of jobs in the state, sending Florida’s unemployment rate back up after years of slow declines. [Source: CBS Miami]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Class-action case takes aim at Citizens’ reinspection program [Miami Herald]
Thousands of Florida homeowners buffeted by higher windstorm premiums have sued state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. to recover potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in “back-door” rate increases driven by “arbitrary” reinspections of their residences.
› Gov. Scott touts advantages of cutting taxes for manufacturers [Tampa Bay Times]
Gov. Rick Scott talked up tax cuts for manufacturers at a St. Petersburg tech maker Thursday, touting his top legislative priority as a key to creating jobs. Part of Scott's $74.2 billion budget plan, the proposal would exclude the state's 17,000 manufacturing firms from paying sales taxes on equipment.
› International Film Festival shines spotlight on Miami [Miami Herald]
Few events in the Magic City have commanded the sort of spotlight as the Miami International Film Festival. The grand dame of festivals that are increasingly putting Miami on the international map turns 30 this year. And there will be more stars and film industry luminaries on the red carpet Friday night when the festival begins its 10-day run at the Gusman Center.
› Delray Beach title trail runs cold in 1931 [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
City leaders are trying to sell a narrow sliver of land off West Atlantic Avenue, but they cannot for one reason: They don't know who owns it. A major search for the heir turned up nothing. It doesn't help that only three things are known about the last proprietor: He was probably alive in 1931, he was black and his name was John Smith.
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› Ponce de Leon's Florida fountain search is a pack of lies? [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
First things first: Forget about the “Fountain of Youth.” Ponce de Leon did explore Florida in 1513, modern scholars agree, but the Spanish conquistador was interested in getting rich, not staying young. Yet throughout this year, as the state celebrates the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon's landing, the fabled fountain will be mentioned over and over.
› 'Real time' really means immediate info [Florida Today]
The internet has changed the way that we communicate both online and offline and our minute-to-minute expectations for everything from business our personal fitness. Social media has fundamentally changed many of our perceptions and actions.
› If FAU nixes it’s naming stadium rights deal, it wouldn’t be the first [Palm Beach Post]
Florida Atlantic University has been dealing with some negative feedback from its student body after its recent decision to accept a $6 million donation from the private prison corporation GEO Group. The Boca Raton-based company pledged the money in exchange for naming rights on the school’s football stadium.
› Crowdfunding site for arts nonprofits in Broward funds its first project in just 21 days [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Power2give.org, the new crowd-funding site for nonprofit arts groups in Broward County, has met it's first target in just 21 days helping The Master Chorale of South Florida raise more than $8,500. "We…are very excited that we were the first Broward County arts group to reach its project goal," Mark Glickman, the president of Master Chorale of South Florida, said.