Facing the next big health-care challenge in Florida, Uncle Sam plans to enlist hundreds of consumer "navigators" over the next several months to help enroll up to 3.5 million uninsured state residents by January, when everyone is required to have health insurance. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
This summer, the state will hold two auctions — in Tampa in June and Fort Lauderdale in August — to sell off part of the $1 billion in unclaimed property that it has collected from across the state. Many items have sat on the shelves for years; they're being sold off because space is needed for the new stuff that comes in every day. Auctions during the past three years have brought in $1 million to $1.2 million. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Feeding prisoners can cost big bucks. But Marion County has found a way to save taxpayers some money. The Sheriff's Office has started four labor farms. [Source: My FOX Orlando]
Like many catastrophic phenomena, hurricanes have become encrusted with mythology. From bad advice on how to protect your home to erroneous ideas about the most dangerous regions within a hurricane, meteorologists hear all sorts of lore from the public. Some are harmless baloney, others are genuinely dangerous. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
More than half of Florida's delegation to the House of Representatives flew overseas in 2012 at taxpayers' expense, making it one of the most well-traveled contingents in Congress. Florida's congressional representatives said the nearly $100,000 in reported travel expenses last year was necessary to do their jobs. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Port Canaveral's interim leader builds a rapport with disparate groups [Florida Today]
The crowd at Canaveral Port Authority meetings can be tough, with port tenants and the tourism-industry representatives pushing varying agendas. But John Walsh won them over during his first full meeting as the port’s interim chief executive officer.
› Battle looms as commercial space interests seek piece of federal wildlife refuge [Orlando Sentinel]
An effort by Space Florida, a state economic-development agency, to build a 150-acre launch complex at Shiloh has confronted the Space Coast with what for many is a distressing choice: whether to steadfastly protect the natural qualities of the refuge's less-disturbed half, or to encourage the expansion there of a jobs-rich industry that other states want badly.
› Tourism week offers glimpses of industry's future in Tampa Bay [Tampa Bay Times]
Tampa Bay marked National Tourism Week with luncheons and pep rallies, speeches and PowerPoint presentations to thank those who work in the bay area's most important industry. But amid all the cheering and back-slapping, tourism week also offered important glimpses of the industry's future: China. Smartphones. Public dollars.
› Levy nuclear plant more costly than a natural gas facility [Tampa Bay Times]
In the long run, nuclear power is cheap. This, for many of Florida's top decisionmakers, is the Truth. Lawmakers have cast aside their worship of the free market — which long ago lost trust in building nuclear plants — and skewed state law to favor construction of new reactors.
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› UF students from Orlando attract venture capital with high-tech startup [Orlando Sentinel]
At a time when many high-tech startups in Florida can't seem to raise a dime, a couple of 22-year-old entrepreneurs from Orlando have tapped a six-figure investment they hope will help put their young company on the map.
› Medical practices find it a healthy time to expand [Florida Today]
Several Brevard County medical practices say now is the time to undergo expansions to meet the demand for health care. The Space Coast’s growing population of baby boomers and the impending Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — often referred to as “Obamacare”—are contributing to the need.
› COLUMN: Incentives arms race isn't good business [Orlando Sentinel]
Florida's elected officials can be generous to a fault – at least with your money. They're particularly gracious handing out incentives and tax breaks to companies and organizations dangling the prospect of jobs. Even if the company plans to add jobs without an incentive.
› Home sales statistics healthier in Florida [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Closed sales of existing single-family homes rose 10.2 percent statewide in the first quarter of 2013 over the comparable period last year, Florida Realtors reported.