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Wednesday's Daily Pulse

Florida’s consumer confidence hits post-recession high

Floridians’ consumer confidence rose another two points in May to 81 — a third straight month of increases for a post-recession high, according to a University of Florida survey. “The last time confidence was this high was August of 2007 when it was 82, shortly before the Great Recession began,” said Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. More from UF News, the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald.

Doc Dockery
C.C. 'Doc' Dockery, in his own words
» Full interview [Photo: Mark Wemple]

Florida Trend Exclusive
Florida Icon: C.C. 'Doc' Dockey

» I’ve learned that both political parties in Florida do better running and building than they do governing. Really. The Democrats had a lock on things for many, many years — no elected Republicans to speak of — and they weren’t interested in my view of doing what’s right for the state of Florida. Now, the Republicans have been in control for many years, and they’re not doing what’s right for Florida. Parties get the power and then work to stay in power.

» Full profile...

Floridians living longer but are sicker

Floridians may be living longer, but not necessarily better, according to a new state-by-state report on seniors out today from America's Health Rankings. Although the Sunshine State ranked 30th overall, the first-time report noted some worrisome trends. For instance, Florida came in last for its high percentage of seniors with more than one chronic health condition, and next to last in chronic drinking. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

South Florida’s luxury home market sizzles

The $30-million sale of Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez’s Miami Beach party pad conjures the old adage, “The rich get richer.’’ As South Florida’s housing market continues posting solid price gains, the luxury end is leading the charge with one record breaking sale after another. [Source: Miami Herald]

Rick Scott signs texting-while-driving ban, but does it have teeth?

It may not be the strongest law, but texting while driving will be prohibited in Florida starting Oct. 1. Gov. Rick Scott signed the watered-down ban into law today at a ceremony in Miami. The ban prohibits motorists from using cellphones to text or email while operating a car in most circumstances. The in most circumstances, however, is critical. [Source: Times/Herald]


› Grocery wars: Tampa's Sweetbay sold to Winn-Dixie parent
Bi-Lo Holdings wants to purchase Sweetbay and two additional chains from their Belgian owner Delhaize Group for $265 million in cash. The deal calls for Bi-Lo, which acquired Winn-Dixie in 2011, to buy 72 Sweetbay stores, plus leases for 10 prior Sweetbay locations.

› Miami, Orlando lead state in population growth
If you're feeling a bit more crowded lately, there's a reason: Orlando had the second-highest population growth in the state from 2010-2012. Miami topped the list of highest population growth, adding 15,243 and increasing its total population to 414,751. See the full report from the Florida League of Cities.

› The cost of rapid transit
The Gainesville Regional Transit Service is still working towards convincing residents that its proposed bus rapid transit project is the answer to creating a more fluid and reliable transportation infrastructure, but locals are mixed on its implementation.

› What's an NBA Championship worth?
Ask the Miami Heat how much an NBA championship is worth, and they'll tell you in one word: "Priceless." But there's real money — and lots of it — to be counted after winning an NBA title.

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› Apps are the new salespeople in U.S. stores
Some retailers in the United States are starting to communicate with shoppers via a smartphone app called Swirl that uses in-store sensors to track their location in the shop to send them personalized offers and recommendations. It's just one of the ways that brick-and-mortar shops are using apps to appeal to younger, more tech-savvy consumers.

› Medina's Grocery, hub for Orlando's Cuban community, closes after 43 years
Medina's Grocery Store & Restaurant at 2405 E Washington St. in Orlando has closed because owners Rafael and Luisa Medina are retiring. The market was a hub for the Latino community in Central Florida for 43 years.

› TECO Energy acquires New Mexico natural gas company
The acquisition of New Mexico Gas Co., expands TECO's customer base outside of Florida for the first time and enlarges an operation that now stands as the Sunshine State's third largest investor owned utility.

› Five questions for...Beverly Raphael
Beverly Raphael, head of a Deerfield Beach general contracting firm, has been named the first female recipient of the Entrepreneur of the Year award by the Wharton Club of South Florida.