Once constrained to marketing the state during the winter months only, when Northern states were blasted by freezing winds, snow and ice, Visit Florida says a near-doubling of state funds in the past two years — combined with co-op money from the state's tourism businesses — now allows it to pitch potential vacationers winter, spring, summer and fall. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
» Florida tourism getting into reality TV
Sandra Friend and John Keatley spend their lives hiking, camping, backpacking and exploring the outdoors from their vintage VW camper. Their mission: To connect the public with the great outdoors by way of their books, blogs and articles. Read more...
The "Big O Hike" -- a nine-day trek around Lake Okeechobee -- will be held Nov. 23 - Dec. 11, 2013. Go to story: Hiking Florida.
After months of avoiding taking a public stance on a simmering feud over tuition hikes, Florida's university system may finally take action. The Florida Board of Governors on Thursday agreed to change its rules to make it clear that tuition rates will go up automatically each year by the rate of inflation if state legislators don't raise rates. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Florida taxpayers have spent hundreds of millions of dollars since the 1980s to clean up thousands of gas-station petroleum tanks leaching fuel into the groundwater people drink. But almost 30 years later, more than 25,000 of the leaking tanks remain. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Most of the nation’s oldest population is now clustered in the Northeast and growing rapidly, according to Census data, straining medical, housing and transportation budgets and forcing lawmakers to look for new approaches. [Source: Washington Post]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Hertz will present plans for its world headquarters next week [Fort Myers News-Press]
Hertz Global Holdings Inc. will unveil its site preparation plans for its $68 million Estero campus next week, four months after the rental car company announced plans to move its world headquarters to Lee County.
› Task force takes shape to study mandatory paid-sick-leave [Tampa Bay Times]
Senate President Don Gaetz has announced the first four members of a task force that will study how state law affects the benefits companies can offer employees. The group will eventually grow to 11 people to bring recommendations to the Legislature next year in hopes of creating one statewide standard regarding mandatory paid-sick-leave.
› Florida coastal seaweed could help the body fend off cancers [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
A new defense against prostate cancer, the most common cancer in men in the United States, may come from a seaweed found off the coast of Florida. University of Florida pharmacy researchers have screened various seaweeds with cancer-preventive potential and identified one that shows particular promise.
› Alex Sink, woman of Florida political mystery [Miami Herald]
Will she or won’t she run? Don’t ask Alex Sink. She sounds utterly unsure about whether she’ll run for governor. But the 2010 Democratic candidate and prior state CFO at least sounds sincere about it. Sink acknowledges she's “tempted.”
Go to page 2 for more stories ...
› Copa Airlines official lauds Tampa Bay [Tampa Bay Times]
Copa Airlines Chief Executive Officer Pedro Heilbron made a series of appearances at Tampa International Airport on Thursday to promote his airlines' new non-stop route linking Tampa Bay to Panama City and the rest of Latin America.
› Florida senator wants to roll back auto registration fees [Orlando Sentinel]
At least one state lawmaker wants to give Florida motorists a break on vehicle registration fees. Senate Appropriations Chairman Joe Negron, R-Stuart, filed a bill (SB 156) that would roll back vehicle-registration fees that were increased in 2009 to help close a state budget shortfall.
› Carnival Cruise Lines launches groundbreaking new 'Great Vacation Guarantee' [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Miami-based Carnival Cruise Lines announced Thursday a new vacation guarantee for cruisers traveling aboard its ships, which it called “groundbreaking.” The “Great Vacation Guarantee” offers passengers booked on a Carnival cruise a hassle-free money-back guarantee when booking their cruise.
› Sanford Orlando Airport awarded $11.2 million grant [Orlando Sentinel]
Orlando Sanford International Airport was awarded an $11.2 million grant Thursday by the federal Department of Transportation, according to U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park. The money will be spent on improving a ramp to an apron where airliners park to load and unload passengers, as well as refuel.