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Thursday's Daily Pulse

Florida tops nation in foreclosures for 6th straight month

If there is a ground zero for the nation’s foreclosure crisis last month, South Florida is it. With one in every 282 homes receiving a foreclosure notice last month, Florida’s foreclosure rate was more than three times the national average, according to a report from the market research firm RealtyTrac. The report, released today, measures three types of filings — initial notices of foreclosure, notices of a foreclosure sale, and final bank repossession. More from the Palm Beach Post, the Miami Herald and RealtyTrac.

See also:
» Sharp drop in US homes lost to foreclosure in Feb.

Senators vote for closer scrutiny of economic incentives

Florida lawmakers are advancing a sweeping package of reforms of state economic-incentives that would require more transparency about the tax breaks companies have received to create jobs and scaling back some that don't work. Read more from the Orlando Sentinel and see our Legislative Roundup below:

» Senator simulates accident to show why texting ban is needed
» Senate panel votes to tighten brownfield incentives
» House repeals international driving law
» Funeral protest ban clears House
» Florida senator wants an extra hour of daylight

Dengue Fever no longer just a visitor to Florida Keys

Decades after its eradication, the "breakbone fever" has become endemic again in the Florida Keys. Scientists say that Floridians infected during a recent outbreak didn't catch the virus abroad but rather got a dengue strain that's unique to Key West. [Source: KUHF]

Rubio and Bush generate presidential buzz

Both Florida Republican heavyweights are headliners at the Conservative Political Action Conference, which kicks off Thursday, and both are considered likely top-tier candidates for the White House in 2016. Both also have a lot of explaining to do on how they want to overhaul the immigration system. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Pawn shops go mainstream

Pawn shops have become respectable. Not so long ago, they were considered a haven only for drug dealers, thieves, and the chronically poor. But in case you haven't noticed, the pawn industry has given itself a makeover. [Source: US News]


› Colt sells for $1.8 million
A colt by Smart Strike sold for $1.8 million on Wednesday during the second day of the Ocala Breeders' Sales March auction. The sale equaled the highest price paid for a horse at OBS. A Belong to Me colt sold for $1.8 million in 2006.

› CordaRoys jumps in the “Shark Tank”
After 15 years of business and a rollercoaster of loss and success, one of Gainesville’s own entrepreneurs has struck a deal with one of ABC’s Shark Tank investors. Byron Young, owner of CordaRoys, took his beanbag business onto the show as a way to get his brand noticed in millions of households across the country.

› Brevard construction officials: Return of impact fees will freeze us
Homebuilder Elizabeth Porter says things are just starting to get better in the local construction industry. But she and her colleagues in residential and commercial development fear the Brevard County Commission could mess things up if it restores transportation impact fees on construction projects.

› Miami Beach postpones discussion of liquor on the sand
Alcohol sales on the beach will remain an illegal — yet unenforced — daily occurrence in Miami Beach — for now. Commissioner Jerry Libbin said he wants his fellow elected officials to hold off on a decision until the city can gather stakeholders to tackle the issue together.

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› Exports of U.S. craft beer up 72 percent
The United States is sending a lot more craft beer to other countries. Exports of American craft beer increased 72 percent in 2012 over 2011 shipments, according to the Brewers Association. The total value was $49.1 million.

› Everglades bike and walking trail would link Naples, Miami
One day, if all goes according to an ambitious plan now in the works, people will be able to cycle or walk all the way from Miami to Everglades City and Naples on wide, paved trails that link together national parks, nature preserves, campgrounds and tourist attractions.

› Researchers identify gene that allows corn to grow in poor conditions
Approximately 30 percent of the world’s total land is too acidic to support crop production, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, a solution may lie in a strand of corn that is able to grow successfully in acidic soil, thanks to a genetic variation recently identified with help from the University of Florida Genetics Institute.

› The Wave streetcar system right on track for downtown Fort Lauderdale
In a few years, Fort Lauderdale drivers should be able to park their cars and ride the rails instead. Broward County this week gave final approval to run "The Wave," a $142 million electric streetcar system that initially will travel a small loop around the urban core.