Nothing brings a surge of solar energy in Florida like the mild, sunny days of April. And every year -- though not without setbacks -- the state's combined solar output increases. Those Florida utilities most involved in solar will generate enough electricity this April for 12,000 homes. Just five years ago, that was regarded as an enormous amount of alternative energy for Florida. Before long, it may rank as a blip in the record books. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Featured today, an in-depth look at the economy in each of these regions:
A decades-long battle between Florida's optometrists and ophthalmologists -- nicknamed the "eyeball wars" – is finally over. The Florida Senate, in a 40-0 vote, sent a measure to Gov. Rick Scott Thursday that effectively ended a long battle between the two politically powerful groups by allowing optometrists to prescribe a limited array of drugs while also putting in new protections for patients. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Environmental groups announced a major hurdle Thursday in their attempt to put on the 2014 ballot a constitutional amendment to set aside $10 billion over 20 years to purchase and maintain conservation lands without raising taxes. The measure, known as the Florida Water and Land Legacy Amendment, received enough verified signatures to have the legal language reviewed by the Florida Supreme Court. [Source: Times/Herald]
The flu season that got off to an unusually early and severe start and took a particularly harsh toll on the nation’s seniors, now appears to be winding down, according to the Centers for Disease Control. [Source: Palm Beach Post]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Lockheed picks Texas exec to run Florida sim unit [Orlando Sentinel]
Lockheed Martin Corp. has selected a manager from Texas, Jonathan Rambeau, as the new top executive of its Orlando-based training-simulation operations, the company said Thursday.
› Businesses lament possibly losing nearby gaming parlors [Naples Daily News]
When a neighboring Internet cafe with slot-like computer games suddenly went dark in Bonita Springs, Jerry Paul felt a bit like a losing gambler. For him, it meant a fall off in business at Anthony’s Trattoria. As one of the restaurant’s owners, he saw a 10 to 15 percent drop in his business, or a loss of 40 to 50 customers a week.
› Could rockets launch from Volusia County next? [Central Florida News]
Commercial space companies are looking for new areas across the country to launch their rockets. And Space Florida thinks it has found the perfect place to locate a space port.
› Jobs agency reaches deal to repay feds [Orlando Sentinel]
Workforce Central Florida has reached an agreement with state and federal officials to repay almost $740,000 in money that auditors determined was spent inappropriately four years ago to settle a lawsuit over a lease deal that went bad.
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› Gulfstream close, Calder opening could be for the last time [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Gulfstream Park has what could be it final closing day Friday. Calder Race Course has what could be its final traditional opening day on Saturday. Such is the muddled state of thoroughbred racing in South Florida.
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› Miami company PE-Nexus acquired by IntraLinks Holdings [Miami Herald]
PE-Nexus, a Miami-based company that provides an online deal-sourcing platform for the mergers and acquisitions industry, has been at the center of a major deal of its own: The publicly traded IntraLinks Holdings has purchased PE-Nexus.
› Decision coming on Suncoast Grand Prix [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Suncoast Foundation for Children officials will decide in about a week whether to pull the plug on the Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix this summer. Charity officials say a lack of funding — $90,000 specifically — is threatening to cancel the race, which has brought high-speed boats and big crowds to Sarasota beaches for almost 30 years.
› New vision for Tampa International Airport cleared for takeoff [Tampa Bay Times]
The future of Tampa International Airport is a go. The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority on Thursday morning voted to approve a new $2.5 billion master plan for the airport, charting a course for how TIA will expand and handle growth in the coming years and decades.