The stock market rallied to record heights last month, home prices have rebounded and the wealth of American households has returned to where it was before the Great Recession. But Americans still aren't shopping with enough gusto to add much momentum to the economy. [Source: AP]
The National Rifle Association is urging Gov. Rick Scott to sign a measure overwhelmingly approved this spring by state lawmakers that would expand the definition of mentally ill Floridians prohibited from buying a gun or obtaining a concealed-weapon permit. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
South Florida's technology industry is at a turning point, poised for rapid growth, observers say. To ensure the industry stays on course, the nonprofit South Florida Technology Alliance is launching a new campaign this week to raise the tech sector's profile inside — and outside — the region. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Students who fail the Reading FCAT are at risk of being held back or not graduating high school. Teacher evaluations are, in part, based on FCAT scores. And schools receive coveted “A” grades based on cumulative FCAT scores; schools that get repeated Ds or Fs can be forced to close. With so much riding on FCAT scores, the accuracy of the test is hugely important. [Source: Miami Herald]
Legalizing marijuana, even for medicinal purposes, might seem an extraordinary step in this state. But polls show support for the measure crosses political party lines. And as baby boomers who may have used pot in their youth feel the impact of age, they may add to the push for legalization. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Tampa Bay employers try to cut costs with on-site health centers [Tampa Bay Times]
Large Tampa Bay employers — from municipalities to Raymond James Financial to BayCare Health System — have taken the biggest step yet to control their health care costs: bringing doctors to work.
› A hub for healthcare innovation is taking shape [Miami Herald]
Many U.S. cities are competing to bring biotech companies and jobs to their communities, places like Phoenix, Buffalo, Gainesville and of course, Miami. They all want to develop an industry cluster, and while cities like San Diego and Boston have already successfully grown theirs, Miami’s efforts are still somewhat nascent.
› Space Shuttle Atlantis attraction is green for launch [Florida Today]
The space shuttle Atlantis flew 126 million miles on 33 missions in its illustrious career before NASA retired the fleet nearly two years ago. While Atlantis’ new job is not as dangerous as roaring into space strapped to a humongous fuel tank and two booster rockets, its retirement mission is not going to be free of challenges.
› Big dreams, big hurdles for new Florida Polytechnic University [Tampa Bay Times]
The new Florida Polytechnic University has grand plans, starting with the main classroom building scheduled to open next year. It will have a domed glass atrium shaded by awnings that adjust with the sun. Students on the way to state-of-the-art laboratories will enter through arched entries with skylights. But today, the building is still a mix of wire, pipe and concrete, surrounded by mud and dirt.
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› Darden warns earnings may keep dropping [Orlando Sentinel]
After wrapping up a disappointing year, Darden Restaurants said Friday efforts to lure cost-conscious diners are starting to boost sales, but warned that earnings would likely continue to fall in the months ahead.
› Wi-Fi is about to get a lot faster and more reliable [Orlando Sentinel]
An industry group this week began certifying products capable of running on a faster and more reliable wireless network technology. It marked the unofficial beginning of the next generation of Wi-Fi.
› Dania Jai-Alai may get 500 slot machines by end of year [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Dania Jai-Alai could house 500 slot machines by the end of the year, and nearly triple that number in two years, a representative for the fronton said. Once renovations are complete, the fronton will be among the biggest pari-mutuel casinos in the state in terms of slot machines.
› In fits and starts, long-planned Miami River Greenway makes progress [Miami Herald]
Much like the broader transformation of downtown Miami, the long-promised, continuous “greenway’’ along the Miami River on which Caitung stood one afternoon last week remains incomplete, for now little more than a disconnected series of paved, lushly landscaped and undeniably attractive segments that sometimes lead nowhere.