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Thursday's Daily Pulse

Business groups say expanding Medicaid would save them money

Two business-backed health insurance coalitions sent a warning signal Wednesday to Florida's employers about the effects of rejecting Medicaid expansion for the uninsured. In a nutshell: brace yourselves, this is bad for business. More from the Times/Herald and the Orlando Sentinel.

Silver Springs
Runoff from fertilizer and septic waste has caused Silver Springs to become murky. There are 90% fewer fish than in the 1950s. » Story here
[Photo: Craig Pittman/Tampa Bay Times]

Florida Trend Exclusive
Environment: Spring woes in Florida

Silver Springs was Florida's first tourist attraction, drawing visitors since before the Civil War. The preferable way to enjoy the springs was aboard glass-bottom boats. Over time, the 242-acre springs near Ocala evolved into a small amusement park, with reptile and animal exhibits, a concert stage, petting zoos, a 40-passenger carousel and a gift shop. But construction of homes and roads nearby as well as farms has left the springs ailing. Full story...

OfficeMax, Office Depot pit Illinois v. Florida for HQ

OfficeMax Inc. and Office Depot Inc. want Illinois and Florida to compete to be the home of their combined headquarters if their proposed merger is approved by offering the best package of tax breaks that they can. [Source: AP]

Space start-ups launch crowdfunding efforts

Tapping popular interest in space exploration and science fiction, space startups are increasingly seeking funding from a new source: You. Through crowdfunding campaigns and other donations, companies and foundations are offering the public the chance to take pictures from space, develop a space elevator, even save the world from a cataclysmic asteroid strike. [Source: Florida Today]

First Polytechnic University students to get free tuition

How do you attract top tech students to a new university that has no track record, no accreditation and not much in the way of amenities save for a world-class architectural jewel of a building? Faced with that dilemma, Florida Polytechnic University officials on Wednesday unveiled their strategy: Let 'em in for free. [Source: TBO.com]


› Commercial lands prices soaring
Construction is suddenly rampant again across Miami-Dade County, and demand for sites is driving up the cost of commercially zoned land. "Prices are increasing at an incredible pace," said Melissa Tapanes Llahues, a shareholder with Bercow Radell & Fernandez, a law firm specializing in zoning, land use and environmental law.

› Hertz to offer "Dream Cars" in Fort Myers
Fort Myers is one of 35 markets nationally where Hertz Corp. will introduce its Dream Cars line of rentals, which will feature cars just as the Audi R8, the Aston Martin Vantage, Lamborghini Gallardo and Cadillac CTS-V and Ferrari and Porsche models.

› Hillsborough County approves incentives for Amazon
Hillsborough County is giving financial incentives to Internet retailer Amazon.com to build a distribution center. County commissioners unanimously approved the package at a meeting Wednesday.

› Retired Jabil Circuit head's new job: high-end landlord
Three months after stepping down as chief executive of electronic powerhouse Jabil Circuit, Tim Main is trying out a much more low-tech vocation: landlord. This month, Main and his wife, Donna, have spent more than $4 million buying seven high-end homes and condos in or near St. Petersburg's Old Northeast neighborhood.

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› Publix launches full-service catering across South Florida
Having a party? Publix wants an invite. The Lakeland-based supermarket chain is now offering full-service catering across South Florida, bringing chef-prepared meals, drinks, decorations, flowers and other party items. If desired, the chefs will show up and cook on-site.

› Congress still at odds on where astronauts should go next
Where should NASA astronauts go next? That's been the question for the past decade, when President George W. Bush ordered a since-canceled mission to return Americans to the moon. And disagreement over the answer continues to paralyze U.S. space policy.

› Port Canaveral names Walsh as new CEO
Port commissioners named John Walsh as the port's permanent chief executive officer. Walsh has been interim CEO since March, when he replaced Stan Payne, who was CEO for nine years.

› Jacksonville business specializes in getting American companies into international markets
Venezuela native William Guillermo Mora’s passion is connecting Jacksonville’s business community to the rest of the world. His business, GM Consulting-Gamma Brands on Jacksonville’s Southside, specializes in developing business plans for companies — primarily American heavy industrial and manufacturing firms — that want to enter foreign markets, as well as helping foreign businesses enter the U.S.