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Friday's Daily Pulse

Challenges testing Florida growers

Florida’s produce industry remains at a crossroads. Competition from other growing regions and increasing construction are among the many challenges pressuring Florida’s grower-shippers. During the Nov. 6 Florida Ag Expo, growers discussed current obstacles and peered into the future. [Source: The Grower]

See also:
» Fresh from Florida promotion program may expand TV ads


Florida's debt falls for 3rd year in a row

Florida's amount of debt keeps dropping and has now fallen to $24.6 billion. The state's bond finance director, Ben Watkins, told lawmakers during a presentation Thursday that this marks the third year in a row that the amount of money that the state owes has dropped. [Source: AP]


More Florida high schoolers taking advantage of online courses

It’s the latest trend in education and it’s coming soon to a school near you. But what exactly is a MOOC? On Thursday, Florida lawmakers got schooled on massive open online courses, or MOOCs. The concept is being tested in Miami-Dade, Broward and Pinellas counties, and will likely be expanding across the state. MOOCs are virtual classes that allow unlimited enrollment. [Source: Times/Herald]


Clock ticking on latest Citizens takeouts

The 30-day clock has begun for 160,683 property insurance policyholders to decide if they want to remain with new private carriers or return to the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. That's fewer policies than initially anticipated when what is known as a "depopulation'' effort began this summer. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

See also:
» Citizens isn’t shedding policies as quickly as planned


Stores get jump-start on holiday season

Retail experts say the early start is crucial for merchants in 2013. Thanksgiving is late in the month this year, leaving fewer shopping days until Christmas. And consumers remain cautious about spending too much in the tight economy, they say, so it's important to offer good deals up front. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]


ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Walt Disney Co. sets sales and profit records
The Walt Disney Co. said Thursday that profit jumped 12 percent for the fourth quarter of its fiscal year as consumers paid higher prices for tickets, food and hotel rooms at its U.S. theme parks and "Monsters University" drove sales of movie tickets and merchandise.

› Florida Supreme Court considers legality of Orlando's red-light-camera law
Justices in Florida's highest court focused heavily on whether cities are barred, under a legal concept known as "pre-emption," from veering away from state traffic laws in trying to crack down on red-light violations.

› Joe’s Stone Crab is crawling up to Washington
Several U.S. presidents have dunked crab meat in mustard sauce at the century-old Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami Beach. Now, they won’t have to come to South Florida to do it.

› Internet cafes take a chance
Six months after Gov. Rick Scott approved a law that forced many of Florida’s Internet cafe’s to shutter their doors, at least two are quietly re-opening in Marion County.


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› Doral shoots to the top in one real estate ranking
Florida’s priciest housing market is... Doral? That’s the conclusion of a recent study by Coldwell Banker, one of the state’s top real estate chains. The No. 1 standing seems to defy the well-known dynamics of South Florida real estate, where coastal markets fare best and suburban locales, including Doral, typically offer more affordable homes.

› Orange tourist-tax collections hit record $187 million
Orange County has good news for both hoteliers and fans of Orlando's sports and performance venues: Tourist-tax collections hit a record $187 million this year. Revenue from the 6 percent nightly room tax is a barometer for the health of Orlando's tourism industry.

› More than 100 Andy Warhol works coming to Dalí Museum
A historic Andy Warhol exhibition is coming to St. Petersburg. With a wigged, bespectacled staff and music by the Velvet Underground as a backdrop, Dali Museum executive director Hank Hine announced that the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh will loan more than 100 works for "Warhol: Art. Fame. Mortality."

› Major conference group cancels Miami Beach convention plans
One of the largest professional foundations, with 33,000 members worldwide, has cancelled its 2016 conference in Miami Beach due to the chaos two recent decisions have reaped on the city’s plan to overhaul its convention center.