Here's one more sign Florida's jobs market is reviving: the state trust fund used to pay unemployment benefits to hundreds of thousands of jobless every week is finally out of the red. Florida this week made the final payment to the federal government to cover the $3.5 billion it borrowed throughout the Great Recession to keep the state's Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund afloat. More from the Tampa Bay Times and the Orlando Sentinel.
In its quest to downsize the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), NASA has found a friend in Florida, which intends to spend $20 million over the next year to help shift shuttle-era facilities into private sector hands. The money for spaceport infrastructure projects is tucked into the $74.5 billion budget that Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed into law May 20. Florida’s new fiscal year begins July 1. [Source: Space News]
Cubans appear to be growing more optimistic about ruler Raul Castro’s economic reforms and large majorities favor direct elections of their president but say the government is repressive, according to a poll made public Thursday. [Source: Miami Herald]
Get ready for another busy hurricane season, maybe unusually wild, federal forecasters say. Their prediction Thursday calls for 13 to 20 named Atlantic storms, 7 to 11 that strengthen into hurricanes and 3 to 6 that become major hurricanes. [Source: Gainesville Sun]
Owners of the unregulated neighborhood mini-casinos had operated with impunity for years in Florida after winning a series of court battles. But lawmakers clarified gray areas in the state's gambling laws and the threat of stiff criminal penalties seems largely to be working. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Universal Studios to add restaurants, shops based on "The Simpsons" [Orlando Sentinel]
Borrowing a page from its Harry Potter playbook, Universal Orlando said Thursday that it will soon add a collection of themed shops and restaurants from the world of the long-running animated television show "The Simpsons."
› Copper pipe factory in the works for Jacksonville [Florida Times-Union]
A Jacksonville company is expanding and hopes to revive an American industry along way. Nuflo is entering a joint venture with the German company KME to produce copper-nickel pipe for ships, oil rigs and other marine uses.
› Ready for a close up: South Florida making a 'scene' [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
South Florida has always offered a lot for filmmakers to like — good weather and plenty of cool backdrops — but local film officials say other factors are making the region even more attractive.
› Dunedin's Sunday Supper blogger plans Orlando food and wine conference [Tampa Bay Times]
Dunedin blogger Isabel Laessig is thinking bigger and bigger. So big that her aspiration to bring family back to the dinner table through her online Sunday Supper campaign has now grown into a venture to connect food bloggers and culinary professionals face to face.
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› After veto, Florida coast-to-coast bike trail boosters look for other sources of money [Orlando Sentinel]
A paved bike trail stretching from coast to coast across the center of Florida can still get built despite Gov. Rick Scott's veto of $50 million for the project, state Sen. Andy Gardiner said Thursday.
› UF helping develop insecticide to target malaria-carrying mosquitoes [UF News]
In malaria-ridden parts of Africa, mosquito netting protects people from being infected while they sleep; now, a University of Florida entomologist wants to improve the netting by coating it with insecticide toxic only to mosquitoes.
› SeaWorld hopes new ride ready for the spotlight [Orlando Sentinel]
After more than a year of construction and two years of hype, SeaWorld Orlando's Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin formally opens Friday to what the marine park expects will be a sea of excited guests. They're betting the icy attraction won't slip up on its first day in the spotlight.
› Brevard entrepreneur wins cool $1,000 on the 'Hot Seat' [Florida Today]
Wherever Jeff Lammers goes next with PadStar Publishing, he’s going to be $1,000 richer. He can thank the Founders Forum, a local group with a core mission of supporting free enterprise and entrepreneurship in Brevard County.