FloridaTrend.com, the Website for Florida Business


Thursday's Daily Pulse

Home sales and prices continue climb

Sales of American homes surged again last month to their fastest pace in nearly four years, leading median prices to jump to within 7 percent of their 2006 peak, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. Prices around Florida also rose. See more from the Tampa Bay Times, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Ocala Star-Banner, Florida Today and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.


FEMA chief: Florida "in denial" about hurricane danger

The emergency management chief for the United States is warning that Floridians are in "denial" about the threat posed by hurricanes. Craig Fugate is the administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He said many Floridians wrongly believe they have survived the full force of hurricanes. More from the Orlando Sentinel, the AP.


Florida ranks as 12th least obese state in the nation

A new report says that Floridians rank 12th in the nation when it comes to having a healthy weight. The report released this week found that 35 percent of Floridians have a healthy weight — while the overall adult obesity rate is 25.2 percent. The report was put together by the Trust for America's health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. More from the AP.

Related:
» Florida's slimming down? People in the trenches deserve credit


Nothing to read? Airport libraries to the rescue

In 2011, Florida's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and the Broward County Libraries Division joined forces to create the first airport program offering free e-book downloads to passengers. Screens found in all airport baggage claim areas now display QR codes that can be easily scanned to give travelers access to an e-library of more than 15,000 free titles. [Source: USA Today]


Citizens makes case for homeowners, sinkhole rate increases

Florida’s state-backed property insurer is seeking a statewide average 6.6 percent increase in homeowners’ rates and a 24.8 percent increase in sinkhole rates while citing reduced losses and an improved financial position. [Source: Insurance Journal]


ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› NextEra Energy laying off 160, cutting 1,000 job positions, most in Florida
The parent company of Florida Power & Light on Wednesday announced 1,000 job cuts across its business units over the next two years, with about 60 people to lose their jobs in Florida this fall.

› Dade County execs want American merger to fly
American Airlines and US Airways already have said they will suffer if a Justice Department move to block their planned merger is successful. Now Miami-Dade County’s mayor is saying Miami International Airport would also be a loser.

› Rep. Castor wants support on immigration reform to boost tourism
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor on Wednesday called for Florida business people to support an immigration reform bill the Senate passed this summer that contains provisions to expedite visa programs for international visitors.

› Sweetbay Supermarket's new owner may go public
The new owner of Tampa-based Sweetbay Supermarket plans to become a public company. According to Reuters, Jacksonville's Bi-Lo Holdings, the nation's ninth-largest traditional supermarket chain, is working toward an initial public offering later this year and has tapped banks to lead the deal.


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› Generous donation allows UF/IFAS much-needed citrus field research acreage
A Polk County architect-turned-citrus grower’s decision to allow researchers to use 100 acres of land has given the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences a much-needed boost in the battle against deadly citrus greening.

› The Sunshine Economy: Are South Florida Schools Preparing Kids for Future Jobs?
During the past several weeks, South Florida business executives from manufacturing, hospitality and other industries have told The Sunshine Economy how challenging it is for them to find qualified employees locally.

› MOSI's 'Sea Monsters' exhibit does not meet attendance projection
Sea Monsters Revealed, the Museum of Science and Industry's first collaborative effort in creating a traveling exhibit, broke even financially during its six-month world premiere but fell short of attendance goals.

› UCF laser scientists win $7 million "quantum leap" defense research deal
A research team led by laser scientists at the University of Central Florida has landed a $7 million "quantum leap" grant to develop exotic ultra-fast laser technology for the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.