American Express began the Small Business Saturday campaign in 2010, encouraging consumers to “shop small” on the day after Black Friday. In the three years since, the White House, Small Business Administration and hundreds of corporations and community groups have joined the effort. [Source: Washington Post]
The Florida Park Service won its third National Gold Medal for Excellence from the National Recreation and Park Association this October. Florida state parks hosted a record 25.2 million visitors in the 2012-2013 fiscal year and produced $1.2 billion in economic impact. [Source: WUFT]
Google Inc. has reached a settlement with Florida and 36 other states, including Washington, D.C., over Internet privacy practices. The settlement stems from the search engine giant’s setting of cookies on certain Safari Web browsers during 2011 and 2012. [Source: Jacksonville Business Journal]
As some 400 guests dined on rack of lamb, chanterelle ragout and truffles, the prince and princess presented the Juan Ponce de Leon 500th Anniversary award to Miami Dade College President Eduard Padron for the educator's efforts to preserve Hispanic heritage in Florida and across the United States. Read more from the AP and the Miami Herald.
» Viva Florida 500 Travel Guide
» Viva Florida! In 2013, Florida celebrates 500 years
A public hunt for Burmese pythons in Florida's Everglades won't be repeated next year, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman said Monday. Instead, the state is beefing up established programs that train licensed hunters and people who regularly work in areas known to contain pythons to kill or report exotic snakes. [Source: AP]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Why do Canadian banks come to Florida? Because Canadians do [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
You probably won't hear bankers humming "O Canada!" at any Southwest Florida bank branches -- even though one Canadian bank has already established a Top 10 presence here and another is considered a likely candidate to move into the region.
› Tampa Bay ranks among fastest-growing metro economies this year [Tampa Bay Times]
Tampa Bay's economy ranks among the top 20 fastest-growing in the country this year and the momentum is expected to carry into 2014, according to a report released Monday. Out of 363 metros ranked in the U.S. Conference of Mayors analysis, Tampa Bay is 16th fastest-growing, up 3.2 percent this year.
› Hertz unveils modern, green architectural designs for Estero headquarters [Fort Myers News-Press]
Large sheets of glass will dominate the front, side and interior sections of rental car giant Hertz’s Estero headquarters building. Hertz is designing an open-concept, three-story building with few walls and doors so their 700 future employees can better collaborate.
› AutoNation CEO wins Horatio Alger award [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Mike Jackson, the former auto mechanic who built Fort Lauderdale-based AutoNation into the country's largest vehicle retailer, has won a prestigious Horatio Alger award. The award honors outstanding Americans who have overcome adversity, and it provides about $9 million in college scholarships to at-risk youth yearly.
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› Manatee networking program draws college students into work world early [Bradenton Herald]
Within the next few years, 11,000 students at State College of Florida will be looking for jobs. Ask Manatee County business owners and hiring managers, and they'll say they want to hire as many as fit their business needs.
› LeBron James has interest in bringing MLS team to Miami [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
LeBron James is contemplating linking up with another superstar from a different sport. On Monday, James confirmed he has interest in teaming up with soccer icon David Beckham in bringing a Major League Soccer team to Miami.
› Lawmakers seek boys-only, girls-only classes [Orlando Sentinel]
Two Miami-Dade County lawmakers are seeking to start a pilot program that would lead to some elementary-school students being separated into boys-only and girls-only classes.
› Alachua schools' energy savings steps yielding budget bonuses [Gainesville Sun]
During the 2012-13 school year, Alachua County Schools cut energy use by about 3.6 million kilowatt hours, a reduction of 7.3 percent. As a result, the school district has spent $1.6 million less on energy than it had budgeted, said School Board Chairwoman Eileen Roy.