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500 years of Hispanic culture and business in Florida

It started 500 years ago with ingredients — political intrigue, financial ambition, violence and ethnic rivalries — still prevalent in Florida today. Along the way, Spanish influence waned, echoing today in place names like Leon and Hernando counties and tourist attractions playing off phony legends.

Juan Ponce de Leon
Juan Ponce de León » Full story

More recently, Cubans and now Puerto Ricans and Central and South Americans have become the most dynamic Hispanic elements in the state, demographically, financially and politically. Read more:

» 500 years of Hispanic culture and business in Florida

» Early Spanish settlers saw Florida as 'a business opportunity'

» Hispanic diversity in Florida (map)

Democrats, Republicans join forces to advocate for Florida ports

A bipartisan team from the Florida congressional delegation is banding together to form a "ports caucus" to push the interests of the state's seaports in the nation's capital. "With powerful bipartisan interest in creating and sustaining jobs through Florida's ports, the time has come for a congressional working group focused on this issue.," U.S. Rep Frederica Wilson said in a statement. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

New college graduates disillusioned, underemployed

More than 40 percent of recent U.S. college graduates are underemployed or need more training to get on a career track, a poll released on Tuesday showed. The online survey of 1,050 workers who finished school in the past two years and 1,010 who will receive their degree in 2013 also found that many graduates, some heavily in debt because of the cost of their education, say they are in jobs that do not require a college degree. [Source: Reuters]

Florida Trend's
Viva Florida 500 Travel Guide

There's much to see and do as Florida commemorates the 500-year anniversary of Ponce de León arriving on its eastern shore.

The statewide festivities planned to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Florida — Viva Florida 500 — invite residents and visitors alike to launch their own explorations.

Viva Florida 500

Map out a Florida adventure - start here!

Democrats bring House to halt over health care stalemate

Florida's smooth-running legislative session hit a rough patch Tuesday as House Democrats demanded that every bill be read in full to protest the stalemate on health care reform. The maneuver angered Republicans, threatened to endanger Democratic bills and slowed progress on a session that had been barreling ahead of schedule. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Legislative Roundup:
» House passes Citizens insurance bill that is easier on the pocketbook
» 'Parent trigger' bill fails in Florida, killed by Senate's tie vote
» Bill aims to keep guns away from mentally ill
» Florida House rejects attempts to repeal nuclear fees

AARP joins court fight against FPL base rate increase

AARP has filed a “friend of the court” brief with the Florida Supreme Court objecting to Florida Power & Light Co.’s rate increase and what it calls the failure of state regulators to protect residential consumers. [Source: Palm Beach Post]


› Miami real estate popular online
Miami ranked second only to Los Angeles for foreign consumers shopping for U.S. properties on Realtor.com in March. That was up from fourth place in popularity in February, according to the Miami Association of Realtors.

› With revenue down, Harris Corp. plans 150 job cuts in Brevard
With its quarterly revenue and profit faltering, Harris Corp. confirmed Tuesday it plans to eliminate 150 jobs in Brevard County as part of a previously announced restructuring to cut costs. Melbourne-based Harris, the largest high-tech company based in Central Florida, said it expects to reduce its local head count through both voluntary severance deals and involuntary layoffs.

› Senior services suffer sequestration funding cuts
For the elderly, low-income residents who gather for breakfast and birthday cake at the Winter Park Community Center, the news is not good. Funding cuts mandated by Congress' sequestration means Seniors First is closing five congregate meals sites in Orange County — including theirs.

› Florida leads nation in boating deaths
For years, due in part to lax regulations on safety equipment and few mandates for formal boating safety education, the Sunshine State has led the nation in boating-related deaths and injuries.

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› Donating your brain to science helps unlock keys to Alzheimer’s
Most people don’t think about having their brain donated to medical research when they die. But medical researchers, pathologists and doctors studying brain tissues say obtaining brains from an autopsy helps them learn more about Alzheimer’s disease, memory disorders, addictive behaviors and other neurological conditions.

› App helps wealthy travellers hitch rides on private jets
Wealthy travellers wanting to fly in style can book empty seats on private planes with a new app for a jet-sharing service. Although there are dozens of apps for buying seats on commercial flights, BlackJet is a new iPhone app that connects travellers with private jets that have extra room on their planes.

› Port: Royal Caribbean plans third ship for Brevard
Port Canaveral expects Royal Caribbean International to announce that it is basing a third ship at the port in the winter of 2014-15, as the cruise line tests the waters for expanded service from Brevard County’s seaport.

› Russia charging NASA $70 million per rocket seat
NASA announced its latest contract with the Russian Space Agency on Tuesday. The $424 million represents flights to and from the International Space Station aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft, as well as training, for six astronauts in 2016 and the first half of 2017. That's $70.6 million per seat - well above the previous price tag of about $65 million.