Gas prices leap as summer travelers hit the road
The respite Floridians felt at the pump leading up to the Fourth of July is officially over. Gas prices are on the rise, in Florida and nationally. In Southwest Florida, the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.55, up 13 cents from a week ago, according to AAA data. "Gas prices are on the rise and will continue to follow the upward trend for the next few weeks," said Jessica Brady of AAA. Brady said the spike was expected after a barrel of oil traded above $100 for more than two weeks. More at the Sarasota Herald Tribune and CNBC.
DCF says homelessness in Florida down 17.5 percent
According to the Florida Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Office of Homelessness, far fewer Floridians are living on the streets. In 2012, nearly 55,000 Floridians were homeless during a one day count. This year, just over 45,000 Floridians were living with no permanent residency, a sign the economy is improving. Full DCF statement is here.
In its annual rankings of the best hospitals in the nation, U.S. News & World Report named Florida Hospital as the No. 1 hospital in the state. Florida Hospital bested Tampa General Hospital, which ranked No. 2 in the state this year. "It feels incredible, but we don't want to get too excited," said Lars Houmann, president of Florida Hospital. "Clearly the journey toward quality and safety is a rigorous one that we are all still on." [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Tampa Bay Times columnist Robert Trigaux wonders if part-time work soon become the shaky foundation of our economy, as companies try to shift more of their workforces from full to part time. The shift is being considered by some companies because it will minimize the financial impact of the federal government's new health care plan known as the Affordable Care Act. That law requires by 2015, employers with 50 or more full-time workers to offer affordable insurance to employees working 30 or more hours a week. More at the Tampa Bay Times and the Wall Street Journal.
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When Carlos Migoya was hired as CEO of Jackson Health System in May 2011, the tax-supported hospital system was near bankruptcy. It had lost some $400 million over three years and had just 10 days of cash on hand. Under the former banker’s leadership, Jackson ended its most recent fiscal year in September with an $8-million profit and is on target for a $35-million profit this year. Find out how Migoya turned Jackson around in this Florida Trend interview.
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Miami-Dade Mayor Gimenez backs off property-tax rate hike [Miami Herald]
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez on Monday backed off entirely from a property-tax rate hike he had proposed a mere six days earlier, saying dissatisfied commissioners and angry residents prompted him to change his mind. Gimenez will recommend that commissioners keep most portions of the property-tax rate flat, increasing only the part that pays for big-ticket construction projects approved by voters.
› USF camp immerses gifted high schoolers in STEM studies [Tampa Bay Times]
This year, the STEM Research for Scholars program through USF's Pre-College has been fashioned into a select sleep-away camp for gifted high school kids from all over the country. Just 21 made the cut. They are in the top 10 percent, preferably top 5 percent of their classes. Each paid $3,800, some with scholarships, to spend four weeks at USF.
› Juror: Zimmerman jury was initially split [AP]
As they began deliberating in George Zimmerman's murder trial, three of the six jurors wanted to acquit him while the other three wanted to convict him of either murder or manslaughter, one of the jurors said. The woman, known as Juror B37, spoke with CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday.
› Washington Nationals' proposed move to Osceola County hits $98 million snag [Source
Florida Today ]
Washington Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner pitched a plan to Osceola County on Monday to move his team’s spring training operations from Viera to Kissimmee. But the Osceola County Commission balked at paying for the proposed $98 million stadium, primarily using county hotel room tax revenue in combination with state incentives.
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› Failure to expand Medicaid hits Florida's poor hard [Palm Beach Post]
The Florida Legislature’s decision to not expand Medicaid eligibility as proposed in the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, hits Florida’s poor doubly hard, but it also hits businesses and insured people with higher costs.
› Size of high-rise in Tampa's arts district under dispute [Tampa Bay Times]
At 36 stories, would the Residences at the Riverwalk be too massive for Tampa's arts district? "This building is too big … is just not suitable," said trustee Don E. Jones Jr., one of several to say the tower would be out of scale next to the Straz Center, John F. Germany Public Library and Tampa Museum of Art.
› Businesses, nonprofits launch drives for back-to-school supplies in South Florida [South Florida Sun Sentinel]
A group of South Florida businesses and nonprofits are trying to lighten the load for low-income families by collecting school supplies or money to buy them. The supplies will be distributed through such nonprofit groups as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County and Community Back to School Bash in Palm Beach County, among others.
› Orlando's existing-home price breaks $150K for 1st time since 2008 [Orlando Sentinel]
June's median sale price of an existing home was $153,000 in Orlando's core market, which is up 5.4 percent from May and 22.4 percent from June 2012, the association said. In May, the median price rose 3.1 percent from April and 23 percent from 12 months earlier.