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Monday's Daily Pulse

Employment gap between rich, poor widest on record

The gap in employment rates between America's highest- and lowest-income families has stretched to its widest levels since officials began tracking the data. While the link between income and joblessness may seem apparent, the data are the first to establish how this factor has contributed to the erosion of the middle class, a traditional strength of the U.S. economy. [Source: AP]

Patrick Smith
Patrick Smith » Story here
[Photo: Norma Lopez Molina]

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Patrick Smith is a 'Florida Icon'

The author of ‘A Land Remembered’ tells us:

» I was what was called a moonlight writer. That’s some guy who works all day and then writes at night. It’s a hard way to write. You give up a lot. You have to have the urge.

» If I could get out of this bed, I’d like to write a novel about the Indian River Lagoon. It’s a waterway that they say is dying. If it would actually die, it would affect not just the wildlife, not just the fish, but everyone.

»

Immigrants lacking papers work legally — as their own bosses

Although federal law prohibits employers from hiring someone residing in the country illegally, there is no law prohibiting such a person from starting a business or becoming an independent contractor. As a result, some young immigrants are forming limited liability companies or starting freelance careers — even providing jobs to U.S. citizens — as the prospect of an immigration law revamp plods along in Congress. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Reviving Florida's tung oil industry

Lined up in rows across a field in northern Leon County are trees that represent the future of an industry Greg Frost hopes to rekindle. In about two years the trees will begin bearing fruit — a nut that is processed to extract tung oil, a high-grade oil used in a wide range of manufactured products. [Source: AP]

Without funding, state tries other ways to publicize texting ban

Digital boards along the state's highways will light up Thursday, Oct. 1 and Oct. 15 with the message "Don't text and drive. It's the law," but otherwise don't expect a major Florida safety campaign directed at the general public. The reason? Gov. Rick Scott vetoed $1 million put in the budget in part to help promote the ban. [Source: Times/Herald]


› Legislators search for a fix to stop some flood insurance rate hikes
Congress' plan to keep the National Flood Insurance Program from tumbling into insolvency is not working as intended. That much the Tampa Bay delegation that represents Florida in Washington, D.C., can agree on. The problem is reaching consensus on a new fix — or even a delay.

› Largely unregulated e-cigarettes lighting up in Brevard
More than 200 companies market the battery-powered devices that turn liquids with flavors, other chemicals and varying levels of nicotine — including some with zero nicotine — into a vapor that is inhaled by the user. Sales are projected to surpass $1 billion this year, and analysts predict the e-cigarette market will overtake traditional cigarettes — an $80 billion industry — within 10 years.

› Southwest Florida industrial sector on rebound
Like toothpaste squeezed from a tube, demand for industrial space in Southwest Florida is being forced northward into Lee County as Collier’s robust home-building industry tightens up the local supply of space.

› Palm Beach arms business hires former senator
Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown is joining the advisory board of a small arms manufacturer based in West Palm Beach, the same company that recently hired former Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll.

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› Column: Tampa Bay Rays stalemate keeps two downtowns in limbo
In many ways, both sides of the Tampa Bay area are at a crossroads. There is an opportunity to re-imagine and reinvigorate two downtowns, but one key issue must first be resolved. When will the Rays be allowed to look in Tampa?

› Boomers, seniors connect through electronic meetups
South Florida boomers and newly retired seniors aren't looking to make friends or explore new interests the way their parents did. They aren't going to AARP chapters, joining fraternal groups, checking fliers in the condo clubhouse or playing bingo at the local senior center. Instead, they are hitting the Internet to make face-to-face connections with like-minded people their own age.

› Dinosaurs, theme park vie for land around Zoo Miami
Coming soon to Zoo Miami: Manny the Mammoth Meets T. Rex? Miami-Dade County’s unusual request for ideas to develop 120 acres of vacant land around its biggest attraction has drawn two very different proposals.

› Still trying to restate its numbers, Tech Data faces new Nasdaq deadline
Clearwater technology products distributor Tech Data Corp. is still working on its plan to restate financial "improprieties" tied to vendor accounting at the company's United Kingdom subsidiary. As a result, the company — Tampa Bay's largest public corporation by revenues — on Friday said it received a noncompliance notice from Nasdaq.