U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, the longest-serving Republican in Congress and a legislator who consistently brought federal dollars to his home district of Pinellas County, died Friday. Mr. Young served with eight U.S. presidents over parts of five decades. He leaves behind a stunning volume of legislative accomplishment in which he tapped federal funds to improve science and public health, military readiness, the beaches, transportation and access to drinking water. Read more from the Tampa Bay Times and the AP.
A new report from the Florida Department of Education says the state could put in a financial literacy course without spending a lot of money. State legislators this year asked DOE to analyze how much it would cost if the state wanted to require high school students to take a semester-long course that deals with personal finances. [Source: AP]
After losing much of their beachfront to erosion from Superstorm Sandy, South Florida officials think they have found "the future mother lode" of sand off the shores of the Treasure Coast north of Palm Beach County, with more than enough to replenish their beaches for the next 50 years. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
South Florida has become a magnet for Spanish investment and trade. Not only does the region have cultural and language ties to Spain, but its advantageous location allows Spanish companies to establish an outpost here for business in both the United States and Latin America. [Source: Miami Herald]
Florida's Department of Agriculture released a 180-page report Friday showing that citrus fruits, snap beans and cucumbers grown in the Sunshine State are among the industry's highlights. The report reveals the sweep of the state's agriculture industry; it's the second-largest industry in the state, behind tourism. Agriculture contributes $104 billion to the state's economy annually and employs 2 million people. [Source: AP]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› KSC's former shuttle pad waits in limbo [Florida Today]
NASA's planned lease of launch pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center has raised the question of whether industry rivals could share the pad, something never tried before.
› As sport declines, Orlando Jai-Alai adds movies, other events [Orlando Sentinel]
When Francisco Elorriaga played jai-alai professionally in the mid-1970s, fans would stream into the Orlando Jai-Alai fronton by the hundreds to watch the frenetic matches in which players used woven baskets to hurl hard rubber balls against a wall. The fronton on U.S. Highway 17-92 near Casselberry still offers jai-alai, but nearly every seat was empty for matches during the season that ended in August.
› Hipp's new producing director hopes to bridge the arts and business [Gainesville Sun]
The Hippodrome Theatre's new producing director has extensive business experience, such as in development and planning, sales and marketing, startups, and venture capital markets — and he's also an actor.
› Darden must make major changes, analysts say [Orlando Sentinel]
An activist investor has Orlando-based Darden Restaurants in its cross hairs, which analysts say underscores the need for a new approach at the world's largest casual-dining company.
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› No flood insurance required! Realtors find selling points in soaring-premium nightmares [Tampa Bay Times]
It has never been harder, Realtors say, to land a buyer for a flood-insured home. The Biggert-Waters act, which began revoking big federal subsidies for older flood-zone homes Oct. 1, has driven premiums skyward, spooking buyers and killing deals.
› Jackson upgrade plan goes to voters [Miami Herald]
In the three months since Jackson Health System first proposed asking Miami-Dade voters to approve $830 million in upgrades to be paid entirely with taxpayer funds, proponents of the project have emphasized the public hospital network’s need to update its aging facilities and become more competitive with private and nonprofit hospitals in South Florida.
› Tax on medical devices takes toll on Florida companies [Gainesville Sun]
Several Florida companies with millions of dollars at stake watched the recent budget and debt negotiations in Washington with interest as the repeal of a tax on medical devices was one of the last remaining bargaining chips played by Republicans seeking concessions — any concession — to the Affordable Care Act.
› Broward nonprofit organizes mega-yacht event for charity [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Here's an oh-so South Florida way to raise money for a cause: Bring together the megayachts. The nonprofit Boys & Girls Club of Broward County is organizing "the largest gathering of megayachts for charity in the world," set for Nov. 21 through Nov. 23 at Atlantis resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.