As Gov. Scott signs a $74.5 billion budget before leaving for a trade mission to Chile, he will veto a 3 percent increase in Florida college tuition and approve $65 million in extra Medicaid funding to hospitals that provide much of the care to the poor, including Tampa General and Jackson Memorial in Miami. More at the Times/Herald and the AP.
The oil industry is primed for resurgence in South Florida. Fueled by lofty oil prices, more efficient drilling techniques and the promise of untapped but also largely unproven reservoirs, at least a half-dozen companies plan to expand exploration across Southwest Florida. [Source: Miami Herald]
A group of South Florida attorneys has negotiated a projected settlement of more than $19 million to resolve a class-action case brought on behalf of thousands of homeowners across the state who, through their Wells Fargo Bank mortgages, were subjected to so-called force- or lender-placed insurance. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
When it comes to the ratio of military-to-civilian residents, Brevard County’s veteran community is anywhere from 66,000 to 72,000, depending on which government agency’s data is used to measure its size. In either event, they represent approximately one in every six adults on the Space Coast and they have a significant impact on the community, in everything from spending money to leading community groups. [Source: Florida Today]
Brevard County’s pain from the shutdown of the NASA space shuttle program is getting a significant dose of relief from Northrop Grumman. The defense and technology giant is planning a major expansion at Melbourne International Airport that might bring more than 900 jobs to the county. Full story...
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Luxury drug-rehab center in Umatilla to offer recovery in style [Orlando Sentinel]
Troubled celebs struggling to overcome addictions might start pointing their limos in an unlikely direction: the remote Lake County town of Umatilla. The former Florida Elks Children's Hospital in Umatilla is being reborn as a luxury drug-rehab center designed to attract celebrities and other affluent clients from throughout the Southeast.
» Florida's Ritzy Rehab Centers
› Yacht builder ISA sets up shop in Fort Lauderdale [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Italian yacht builder International Shipyards Ancona, or ISA as it's more commonly known, recently opened an office in Fort Lauderdale to serve as its North American operations.
› SeaWorld's Antarctica could further tilt Orlando's tourism market [Orlando Sentinel]
Three years ago, Harry Potter loosened Mickey Mouse's grip on Orlando's theme-park market. Now, Puck the Penguin is ready to try pulling Mickey's fingers even farther apart.
› Commercial real estate lags improving housing market [Tampa Bay Times]
When builders broke ground this month on an office park in the Tampa suburbs, perhaps the first speculative project this area has seen in half a decade, one developer called it a "good sign that we've turned the corner on the recession." But don't expect office parks to bloom at the same frenzied speed as new homes.
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› Q&A with lawyer Chris Cutler [Tampa Bay Times]
A dozen years ago, lawyer Chris Cutler was among a small group of Securities and Exchange Commission staffers examining the books of relatively unknown Texas energy company Enron Corp. He went on to carve a career centered in the world of investigating financial fraud, public accounting irregularities and other white-collar crimes.
› Jet-set Miami developers entangled in legal drama over private jet [Miami Herald]
For sale: a $12.6 million Bombardier Challenger jet presumably grounded at the Opa-locka Airport. At a price around $7.5 million, it comes stocked with china glasses, monogrammed hand towels and pillows, a mini-bar, and a lap top of navigational charts. It also carries some awful hefty baggage.
› Pick me, please: Homebuyers writing letters to sellers [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Some buyers are solving housing woes with prose. They're not writing poems or romantic novels – just short notes to sellers, telling them how happy they'd be to buy their homes. The simple gesture is paying off in today's ultra-competitive market, where inventory is tight and bidding wars are typical.
› Gov. Rick Scott heading to Chile for trade mission [Tampa Bay Times]
For three days beginning Tuesday, the Florida visitors will meet with U.S. Ambassador Alejandro Wolff and network with business leaders in Santiago.