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Monday's Daily Pulse

The political side of Florida's economic turnaround

Gov. Rick Scott's chances to win re-election next year may well pivot on his ability to sell himself as the "jobs" governor to Florida voters. A former business executive turned politician, Scott clearly thinks his strategy of taking credit for the state's economic turnaround is working, bolstered by a new economic report on Friday. [Source: Lakeland Ledger]

Common Core curriculum standards spark political firestorm

The new Common Core State Standards are more than just a road map for teachers and students. They're a political football causing a rift among Republicans. In Florida, conservative moms and tea party groups have mounted fierce opposition to the national standards, saying decisions about teaching and learning should be made by state governments and local school boards — not the federal government. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Many Floridians face rising tide of flood insurance costs

More than 268,000 property owners in Florida -- including 71,747 in South Florida -- face potential rate increases of hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year for flood-insurance premiums, mostly for low-lying homes and businesses along the waterfront. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

In older athletes, a potential for sports tourism niche

Southwest Florida may have found its sports tourism niche in attracting older athletes known for their affluence and a desire to mix their avocations with vacations. With a successful Pan American Masters Swimming Championship in June and this past week's USRowing Masters Championship under their belts, Sarasota and Manatee counties will likely pursue other so-called “masters” events to boost tourism. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]

Power companies clash with small but growing solar industry

Alarmed by what they say has become an existential threat to their business, utility companies want to roll back government incentives promoting solar energy and other renewable sources of power. At stake, they say, is the future of the electricity industry. [Source: New York Times]

» South Tampa solar-powered home is model of efficiency


› Ambitious Project Looks to Refine Lakeland's Image
Is this city ready for an extra infusion of cool? With all due respect to Lakeland's swans and historic buildings, what if the city also was known for being a place where unique entrepreneurs and businesses thrive?

› Lessons learned from home flippers
Lex Levinrad is getting phone calls. More than he can handle. His Deerfield Beach-based Distressed Real Estate Institute is flooded with requests these days from regular people — teachers, plumbers, paint salesmen — who want to invest in South Florida real estate now that home prices are rising.

› Florida Keys considering drones to help eradicate mosquitoes
The Florida Keys agency charged with keeping the island chain’s mosquito swarms at bay might become the nation’s first to use drones to spot remote breeding grounds as part of efforts to eradicate the insect.

› An out-of-way incubator gains visibility
If you've ever eaten "Maryland crab cake" and wondered if it actually came from the mid-Atlantic coastline, you might be comforted to know that the country's CSI of seafood is practically in your backyard. A company called Applied Food Technologies, AFT for short, is one of many companies housed at the Sid Martin Biotech Incubator in Alachua.

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› State OKs Florida Blue restructure
State insurance officials ruled Friday to allow health insurance giant Florida Blue, one of the state’s largest employers and political donors, to restructure itself under a not-for-profit mutual insurance holding company. But the Office of Insurance Regulation’s order prohibits Florida Blue from selling stock to investors outside of the group.

› Citrus Can Expect Profitable Year
Florida citrus growers can expect a profitable 2013-14 season if citrus consultant Elizabeth Steger hit close to the bull's-eye with her estimated 130 million boxes of oranges harvested for the new season beginning in October.

› Scammers still preying on struggling homeowners
Nicholas Torgerson was a vice president at Fidelity Land Trust Co. in Boca Raton last September when Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi swooped in with an injunction to stop the company's shady mortgage-relief scams. But when one door closes, another swings right open.

› A Tampa tech exec looks through his Google Glass and sees big changes ahead
As chief marketing officer of Mize Inc., a Tampa startup, Bruce Burke is a rare breed. He's one of just 10,000 people chosen nationwide to get their hands on a "beta" or test version of the Glass headset this summer, long before a refined version hits the consumer market.