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Friday's Daily Pulse

Florida banks boost small business lending

Florida banks participating in the Small Business Lending Fund increased lending to smaller businesses by $41.5 million in the first quarter of 2013. Since the program was established by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, the 16 Florida participants have increased small business lending by more than $357 million [Source: Tampa Bay Business Journal]

See also:
» Florida community banks ripe for mergers and acquisitions
» Professionals decry loss of community banks throughout Florida


Setai Grill
The new Setai Grill in Miami Beach reopened as a sophisticated steak house. » Go to article: Check-in time at hotel restaurants

Florida Trend Exclusive
Florida dining: Check-in time

Whatever your concept of an “urban Italian kitchen,” you wouldn’t look for it among the potted palms in the 80-foot atrium of a 3,000-room conventions palace just outside Disney. Which is the point made by Siro, the sharp new spot that replaced the Ristorante Tuscany in the center of the Orlando Marriott World Center. It’s unexpected, very unexpected...
The full story continues here.

Also see Chris Sherman's interview with Matthias Gervais, executive chef at the Setai Hotel .


Florida Supreme Court won't stop redistricting challenge

Florida’s Supreme Court handed a legal setback to the Legislature Thursday by giving a green light to a trial that challenges the redrawing of Senate districts. The challenge, if successful, could greatly shake up the next round of Senate elections in 2014. More from the Times/Herald and First Coast News.


Florida National Guard marks 100th deployment since 9/11

Four South Floridians went into active duty on Thursday alongside nearly 60 others marking the Florida National Guard’s 100th deployment since 9/11.Soldiers and air force personnel make up the deployed 2nd Battalion, 111th Aviation Regiment, which specializes in aircraft navigation. [Source: Miami Herald]


USDA: Florida orange crop down 9 percent

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued its final forecast with the 2012-2013 Florida orange crop at 133.4 million boxes, which is down 9 percent from last season. To arrive at the total, the USDA cut Valencias by 700,000 boxes to 66.3 million boxes while early-mid varieties climbed 100,000 boxes to 67.1 million. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]


ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› WWE performance center opens in central Florida
a have a place to enjoy close to home. The Global Performance Center officially opened in Orange County. City officials said the new World Wrestling Entertainment Performance Center could boost the local economy by giving a chance to train more potential stars of the WWE.

› Young Boca Raton entrepreneur plans to sell vegan shoes
Estefania Alamo says she wants people to live a simple lifestyle. And the first steps down that path, she says, should be taken in eco-friendly vegan shoes. The 23-year-old Boca Raton resident, along with her father, has launched an online crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter to produce 2,000 eco-friendly shoes without using animal products.

› Miami’s Ultra Fest gets ultra expensive for 2014
Next year’s Ultra Music Festival — the crowning event of Miami’s annual March madness of electronic dance — is going to seem ultra expensive to all but the fastest-moving ticket buyers.

› North Port at odds with business leaders
The rift between a majority of North Port's commissioners and the business community is getting wider. The latest disagreement was a decision by the City Commission this week to disband a panel of prominent business and civic leaders that has advised city leaders about economic development.


Go to page 2 for more stories ...

› New York Life's Tampa operation renews crucial AARP contract
In a boost to New York Life's growing Tampa operation, the insurer received an extension until 2022 to continue being the exclusive provider of life insurance products to AARP's 37 million members.

› UWF announces developer for mega-campus development
University of West Florida’s for-profit business arm Business Enterprises Inc. announced that Pennsylvania-based Balfour Beatty Campus Solutions will be the master developer for the University Park and Northwest Village projects.

› Gov. Scott defends law banning Internet cafes
Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday a new law aimed at shutting down Internet cafes was simply targeted at illegal gambling, as he responded to questions about a lawsuit that claims the legislation was too broadly written.

› Swiftmud approves St. Petersburg permit to demolish Pier, build Lens
The Southwest Florida Water Management District announced today that it has approved the city of St. Petersburg's request for a permit to demolish its closed inverted pyramid and construct its replacement, known as the Lens.