» Slow PACE for energy efficiency retrofits
A program the state approved three years ago makes it easier and cheaper for consumers and businesses to pay for energy-efficiency retrofits. Why is it taking so long to get off the ground? Read the full story here and read more in our Green Trends series:
» Biggest Engineering Firms in Florida (a TopRank Florida chart)
Get ready for the second coming of Crist. When Charlie Crist steps to the microphones Monday in St. Petersburg, he'll instantly change the dynamics of Florida politics and set in motion a 52-week campaign that could end up making history: a former governor who switches parties and attempts to unseat his successor. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Tampa Bay Times and the Washington Post.
U.S. food retailers are poised to take a hit as the federal government reduces its $78 billion-a-year food stamp program. Grocery stores and other food retailers have struggled in recent years as consumers battered by high unemployment and shrinking wages switched from upscale products to discounted bulk goods and generic brands. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Modern Florida was more or less invented by railroad magnate Henry Flagler. Now, trains are poised to make a comeback in Florida as a way to move more people in a state clogged with highway traffic. And plans center on the very same rail line Flagler first laid down more than a century ago. [Source: Florida Today]
Local gasoline prices are swinging up and down ever more drastically, a result of a national fuel system that is operating with a shrinking margin for error. Jumps of 20 cents per gallon or more in a single day are becoming more common, for example, according to an AP analysis of daily and weekly price changes. [Source: AP]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Port Canaveral turns 60; what to expect in the next six decades [Florida Today]
Port Canaveral is turning 60 and its birthday official kicks off on Monday with the official opening of the $23 million Exploration Tower. Obviously it’s a far different place now than the sleepy fishing outlet it was mostly known as in 1953.
› Legislators scrutinize companies' 'high-crime-area' tax breaks [Orlando Sentinel]
Most people probably wouldn't consider downtown Miami's Omni neighborhood an especially dangerous place. Yet when Publix Super Markets opened a store there last year, the Lakeland-based company snagged $79,000 in state tax breaks for creating jobs in an "urban high-crime area."
› David Beckham’s bid to bring soccer to S. Fla. and win over fans is no easy task [Miami Herald]
David Beckham fits South Florida like café con leche. Which is why the thought of Beckham owning a Major League Soccer franchise in Miami has had local fans and media hyperventilating since last June. Can Miami become a big-time MLS market? That is Beckham’s $25 million question.
› Oyster industry collapse nets federal help [News Herald]
An economic injury declaration seeking loans for small businesses affected by the collapse of the commercial oyster industry in the Florida Panhandle was approved Friday by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
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› Florida cattle ranchers seek locally grown label [AP]
Under the "Fresh From Florida" marketing campaign offered by the state's agriculture officials to stores and consumers, people are encouraged to buy things that are grown and raised in the Sunshine State. Alligator, tomatoes and, of course, oranges are on the list. One thing isn't highlighted: Florida beef.
› Big Floridian donors often send charity out of state [Tampa Bay Times]
Of 41 philanthropic gifts by Floridians of $1 million or more this year, 19 were sent out of state — perpetuating Florida's challenge of winning the hearts and wallets of rich residents who live here but keep stronger ties elsewhere.
› Marine industry insiders discuss relevance, growth of boat show [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
With the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show underway, organizers and others involved in the marine extravaganza are looking beyond the horizon. Among their concerns: The event's relevance in the super-yacht sector and efforts to attract a younger and broader demographic of buyers as existing boat owners age.
› Simulation industry reaches out to high school students as workforce ages [Orlando Sentinel]
Each year, only 5 percent of the nation's bachelor's degrees are in engineering. Projections show that among the nation's aerospace and defense workers — the same pool of engineers and scientists that power the simulation industry — more than half of all employees will be eligible for retirement by 2020.