FloridaTrend.com, the Website for Florida Business

Wednesday's Daily Pulse

Obamacare marketplace premiums in Florida lower than expected

Less than a week before the Affordable Care Act insurance marketplaces open for business, the federal government announced that average costs in Florida and other states will be lower than it once projected. The federal government says the national average monthly premium for a single person's midtier "silver" plan is $328 before tax credits. That's 16 percent lower than the Congressional Budget Office had originally estimated. More from the Tampa Bay Times, the Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Tim Tebow
Tim Tebow in Bradenton, working on his throwing motion with IMG’s football staff. » Story here
[Photo: George Skene/Orlando Sentinel]

Florida Trend Exclusive
A growing field at IMG Academy

In 1978, Nick Bollettieri opened a 40-acre tennis academy in Bradenton, where he guided the early careers of top-ranked players such as Monica Seles, Andre Agassi and Jim Courier. Bollettieri’s success caught the attention of IMG, a sports and media company, which purchased the academy in 1987. Bollettieri, 82, still works there but his academy has become a drastically different place. Today, the 450-acre IMG Academy in Bradenton trains more than 12,000 athletes a year in golf, baseball, basketball, lacrosse, soccer and football.
Full story.

Prescription drug deaths down across Florida

Florida leaders say their relentless efforts in the war on drugs are finally starting to pay off. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement shows drug-related deaths in Florida have gone down. The new report shows a decrease of nearly 9 percent in the total drug-related deaths compared to 2011. More from WCTV, the AP and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Business groups split over Common Core education changes

Florida's business community is struggling to find common ground on Common Core. Large groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable support the new education standards and tests, saying they'll promote a deep understanding of subject matter instead of rote memorization. But many conservative, small-business owners – especially those with ties to the Tea Party movement – want no part of it. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Some worry Florida's new Hardest-Hit program is too little, too late

Thousands of Floridians who owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth could see their loan debt drop by up to $50,000 thanks to a new housing program launching this week. But attorneys and consumer advocates say the direct-to-bank payouts are too little, too late and too restrictive, leaving out many "underwater" Floridians wanting to stay in their homes. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]


› Duke Energy seeks proposals to build new gas plant
Duke Energy plans to issue a request for proposals Oct. 8 for construction of a new natural gas plant in Citrus County to replace the power lost by its shuttered nuclear facility. Proposals will compete with Duke Energy's option of building the new plant itself.

› Southern Legal Counsel fights for the powerless
Southern Legal Counsel (SLC) has been a leading name in civil law for 35 years. The Gainesville-based, five-attorney, not-for-profit firm operates statewide in an effort to keep government accountable and give a voice to those who wouldn’t normally have access to expensive legal services.

› UCF offers new admissions program aimed at 'best and brightest'
The Top 10 Knights program promises admission to the University of Central Florida to high school students with top-notch transcripts but perhaps so-so scores on college admissions tests.

› Iconic Port Canaveral structure close to debut
Call it what you want for now — a massive white wave, a tall sail or rocket contrail — but the $23 million “welcome center” at Port Canaveral is meant to stand out as a Central Florida icon for years to come.

Go to page 2 for more stories ...

› Property values up 14%, but the surge slows a bit
Property values continued to climb in South Florida this summer, though the housing market inched back a bit from setting new records in the post-bust era, according to the latest reading from the S&P/Case-Shiller index.

› Lawsuit against Huizenga, Swisher could move north
A federal court is to decide Thursday whether a lawsuit filed by former Choice Environmental owners against H. Wayne Huizenga, Steven Berrard and Swisher Hygiene should be consolidated with class-action suits against Swisher.

› Broward College awarded large grant to develop logistics training programs
The U.S. Department of Labor announced Friday that Broward College and 12 other schools will receive $24.5 million through a grant program for expanding targeted training programs for unemployed workers, especially those impacted by foreign trade.

› Orlando City soccer surpasses goal of 15,000 signatures on MLS petition
It’s “mission accomplished” for the Orlando City soccer club. The USL Pro champions announced Tuesday morning that their #Mission15K campaign has collected 15,000 signatures from fans supporting the team’s bid for a Major League Soccer expansion franchise.