Across Florida, students of all ages are using summer vacation time to learn more about creating and running a business. "It's about getting them real-world experience in an area they are interested in," said Annette Gray, CEO of the Global Business Development Center, who teaches some of the night classes. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
A new Florida law that speeds up how quickly the state carries out the death penalty is being challenged in the state Supreme Court. Signed by Gov. Rick Scott earlier this month, the "Timely Justice Act of 2013" creates tighter timeframes for appeals, post-conviction motions and imposes reporting requirements on case progress. [Source: AP]
The South Florida Water Management District, one of the state’s largest landowners with some 1.5 million acres ranging from wild banks of the restored Kissimmee River to bird-covered marshes at the southern end of Miami-Dade County, is pondering unloading some of its vast holdings. [Source: Miami Herald]
While gay rights advocates are celebrating two Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriages, gay couples still won't be able to marry in Florida. Florida voters in 2008 approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages. It will take approval from 60 percent of voters to overturn it if the issue is put on the ballot again. More from the AP and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Florida's largest property insurer has approved another round of rate hikes that could affect more than a million policyholders. The board for Citizens Property Insurance Corp. voted Wednesday to raise rates by a statewide average of 7 percent next year. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Shepp named Citrus Department's COO [Lakeland Ledger]
Shannon Shepp, the state's deputy commissioner of agriculture, will move to the Florida Department of Citrus in August to become its chief operating officer. “I'm ready to take on the day,” said Shepp, 44, from her Winter Haven office on Wednesday, echoing one of the Citrus Department's marketing themes.
› Orlando wins No. 2 spot in "smartest cities" ranking [Orlando Sentinel]
Orlando was one of three Florida cities to make the Top 10 in a new, "America's Smartest Cities" ranking. Pittsburgh topped the list as the brainiest place in the nation, according to the ranking by Movoto. The real estate blog ranked Tampa 6th and Miami 10th.
› Workshop aims to keep businesses afloat after disaster [Gainesville Sun]
When disaster hits a home or business, the effects are unpredictable. That’s why it’s best to be prepared. The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association will present a free opportunity for businesses to learn how to prepare for disasters in a series named “Bulletproof Your Business.”
› Evolucia to extend credit to customers [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
In a move aimed at boosting sales, Sarasota-based Evolucia Inc. said Wednesday it will begin offering up to 100 percent financing so customers can more easily buy its light-emitting diode products.
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› Finding new uses for old toll plazas [Miami Today]
As tolling is about to become all electronic in July on State Road 836, authorities are starting the debate on what to do with the old toll plazas that have served their purpose of collecting cash.
› Sarasota County to sever Gulfcoast Legal pact [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
The Sarasota County Commission has notified Gulfcoast Legal Services it intends to terminate its contract with the troubled nonprofit and transfer the remaining funds to Legal Aid of Manasota.
› Florida Democrats vow Medicaid expansion fight is not over [AP]
House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston and a delegation of Broward County Democrats voted Tuesday night to pen another letter to Gov. Rick Scott demanding he call a special session to discuss expanding Medicaid coverage to 1.1 million residents, promising constituents they would not just let the issue quietly die.
› Rescued Florida panther gives birth [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
A Florida panther which was rescued as an orphan and released back into the wild has not only survived, she has given birth. Biologists were elated to discover a one-month-old kitten with the panther Saturday in the Fakahatchee Strand, a swampy strip of dense forest in eastern Collier County.