Gov. Rick Scott must soon sign the new state budget, and he's getting intense feedback on all sides: from lawmakers protecting hometown projects, hospitals worried about losing money and a business-backed group criticizing pork-barrel spending. [Source: Times/Herald]
The Senate passed a public works bill on Wednesday that would give Georgia an important victory in a long-running water-rights dispute with Florida. [Source: Tallahassee Democrat]
After boasting the lowest crime rates in 40 years in 2011, state law-enforcement agencies have reported even lower numbers for 2012. The overall crime rate fell 6.5 percent statewide, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Uniform Crime Report released Thursday. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Boulevardiers who stroll past the Irish pubs, euro bistros, English tearooms and all-American ice cream and fudge shops this season in Naples will find that Fifth Avenue South takes a new turn. It slyly becomes the Silk Road leading into the exquisite mysteries of ancient Persia, perfumed with the aromas of saffron, cardamom and mint and styled with modern chic of pomegranate crimson walls and swirling sand dune sculptures. Full story...
Florida TaxWatch identified just under $107 million worth of questionable spending _ known as “turkeys” in Tallahassee parlance - in the new $74.5 billion state budget that is awaiting Gov. Rick Scott’s final review. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Florida craft beer guide and map [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
This is American Craft Beer Week, and you can celebrate it by drinking some great, fresh Florida beer. If you hear someone saying there’s not much good beer brewed in the state of Florida, welcome them back from the cryogenic freezer they’ve obviously been in for the last decade.
› Bradenton among best small U.S. downtowns [TBO.com]
A business magazine considers Bradenton to have one of American’s best small-city downtowns. Southern Business & Development, a magazine that focuses on economic development in the South, based its picks on small towns that have vibrant downtown areas.
› Lee County business leaders more bullish about economy [Fort Myers News-Press]
Business leaders are optimistic that the economy will improve next year and they’re more bullish about improvements in the Lee County economy than they were in the first quarter of 2013, according to a local business climate report released Thursday.
› Teaching program gives helping hand to Miami students [Miami Herald]
Students laughed as paper airplanes flew through the air in Catalina Hidalgo’s eighth grade science classroom at Jose De Diego Middle School. This wasn’t just about having fun. The paper planes were part of a science lab report on velocity.
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› UF management of St. Augustine now producing historical dividends [Gainesville Sun]
Visitors to the country's oldest continuously occupied city founded by European settlers can now see the impact of the University of Florida's stewardship of two dozen state-owned properties.
› SBA to offer help to Edward Waters, surrounding area [Florida Times-Union]
Edward Waters College signed an agreement Thursday afternoon with the federal government to bring more business help to its students and the neighborhood that surrounds the college.
› Wawa seeks approval for Bradenton site [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Wawa, a Pennsylvania-based convenience store chain, is one step closer to opening its first location south of Tampa Bay after a Bradenton planning commission approved its permit request Wednesday.
› Enrollment freeze, layoffs plague local Job Corps Center [Gainesville Sun]
In the midst of a contract dispute over who gets to operate the Gainesville Job Corps Center, budget woes on a national level have led to an enrollment freeze and layoffs at the center.