For millions of baby boomers who witness their parents' journey through a medical maze of unprecedented complexity and cost, it's a question that comes up sooner or later: How will I grow old and die? The 48-to-66-year-olds who will transform Florida's retirement scene for the next four or five decades have so far displayed a characteristically diverse approach to their health care futures. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Brian Ballard’s Ballard Partners is tied with Southern Strategy Group in the top spot for lobbying firms. We profile them and the 18 other top lobbying firms in the state:
» Ballard Partners
(Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Tallahassee, Tampa Bay, West Palm Beach)
» Revenue: More than $8 million
» Lobbyists: Brian Ballard, Tony Boselli, Carol Bracy, Mathew Forrest, John Johnston, Sylvester Lukis, Joseph McCann, Bridget Nocco, Greg Turbeville, Amy Young, Chris Dorworth, Jan Gorrie
» Clients Include: Amazon.com, Automated Healthcare Solutions, Bayfront 2011 Development/Genting, City of Boca Raton, Florida Power & Light, Florida Virtual School, Fortress Investment Group, G.L. Homes of Florida, GEO Care, Harris Corp., New York Yankees, Tampa General Hospital, United States Sugar, Verizon
The nation's newest elite baseball players are courted like free agents, flown cross-country for big games and featured on TV. Bidding wars break out over the most coveted stars, who resemble Major Leaguers in many ways. Except for their age. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
The national debate that erupted following last December’s horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, leaving 26 children and teachers dead, ranged from gun control to mental health to school safety. In Tallahassee, where this month lawmakers started their annual 60-day legislative session, a flurry of bills have been introduced to specifically deal with school security. [Source: Miami Herald]
It starts during spring break or a hastily scheduled winter escape. Minnesota entrepreneurs land on a far-flung beach to spend their vacation soaking in rays and margaritas. But as departure closes in and thoughts of returning to snow and cold disturb the calm, the thought bursts forward like a WaveRunner: “Why not go into business right here?” [Source: Star Tribune]
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ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Keeping spring break subdued [Florida Today]
By all accounts, spring break brings a very welcome financial boost to Brevard County. But by most accounts, it seems, Cocoa Beach officials and businesses are quite happy not to try to make that economic slice larger by attracting a larger spring-break crowd, because they believe the city’s reputation is more valuable in the long run.
› Training-simulation industry frets as furloughs loom [Orlando Sentinel]
Fallout from the federal government's deficit-busting "sequester" spending cuts is gradually descending on Central Florida's military-training agencies, which award billions of dollars in contracts annually and employ more than 2,000 workers.
› Pay phones vanishing from Jacksonville landscape [Florida Times-Union]
Public pay phones were the old reliable form of communication for generations. But now with smartphones, iPhones, Androids and BlackBerrys, it’s hard to find a public pay phone that even works in Jacksonville.
› Elite squadrons: Why keep 'em flying? [Florida Today]
The automatic budget cuts that are expected to furlough federal workers threaten to ground the nation’s elite flight squadrons: the Navy’s Blue Angels and the Air Force’s Thunderbirds. The budget cuts raise an important question: Is it worth keeping these iconic teams in the air when the nation’s soaring debt is forcing drastic cuts in government programs including military readiness?
Go to page 2 for more stories ...
› NASCAR promoter wants millions in state tax breaks for racetrack renovations [Orlando Sentinel]
Business is looking up at International Speedway Corp. The racetrack owner and NASCAR promoter just won an extension of a lucrative tax break from the federal government. And yet the Daytona Beach-based company says it needs help from Florida taxpayers.
› Medical offices moving to traditional retail locations to be closer to clients [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
It used to be that doctors would open offices wherever they wanted, figuring patients had no choice but to find them. Not anymore. "You have to have a Starbucks-like location," said Dr. Peter Lamelas, co-founder of the MD Now chain based in West Palm Beach.
» Related: Affordable Care Act has hospitals rethinking location strategies
› Bills Would Allow Craft Distillers To Sell To The Public [AP]
Craft rum, gin and other liquors have become very popular over the last few years. While they are becoming more readily available in restaurants, bars and retail stores, the one place they can’t still can’t be purchased in Florida is at the distillery itself to visitors who walk in for tours and tastings.
› Colleges track former students to boost degrees [AP]
60-plus schools in six states are taking what seems like an obvious but little-used step to boost college graduation rates: scouring campus databases to track down former students who unknowingly qualify for degrees.