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Monday's Daily Pulse

Lack of skilled construction workers poses threat to economic growth

Florida's construction industry lost half its employment during the recession and housing crisis. As projects were stalled, many construction workers and specialty trades workers left to work in the oil industry, return to their native country or just left the business, industry observers say. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Gov. Rick Scott, agencies clash over spending priorities

Florida Gov. Rick Scott wants to cut taxes by $500 million next year, trim state agency budgets by $100 million and appeal to voters in an election year with another hike in school spending. Even though tax receipts are rising and state economists project an $846 million surplus in 2014, the math won't work. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Small shops get ready for Small Business Saturday

Small businesses that participate in the event each year say Small Business Saturday builds awareness during the hectic holiday season that drives many shoppers to malls. Shopping at local bricks-and-mortar shops have financial and long-range benefits to the community. More at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and the Orlando Sentinel.

Column: Florida's future depends on energy reform

In recent years, an increasing number of Americans have decided to make Florida more than just a vacation destination, choosing our state as their new permanent home. The Sunshine State will soon pass New York to become the third-largest state in the nation. To secure Florida's future, we must prepare for a growing population and its accompanying impact on Florida's energy systems. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Holidays on the drive aim for Central Florida shoppers

Downtowns and village centers all over Central Florida are throwing holiday parties to lure shoppers. During events such as College Park Holiday on the Drive, merchants stay open late, serve refreshments and offer specials. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]


› In Miami, Medicare comes with white-glove treatment
As the country grapples with far-reaching challenges in healthcare, companies are carving out a niche that is increasingly popular with Medicare beneficiaries — and demonstrating improvements in customer satisfaction and medical outcomes that translate into bigger profits.

› Spec homebuilders see opportunity in revived market
Rick Bell unveiled plans this month to build Palazzo Paradiso, a 24,000-square-foot estate in Southwest Ranches. He's nailed down the asking price ($10 million) and the floor plan (eight bedrooms, nine full bathrooms, a meditation garden, koi pond and a full-sized sports court for tennis and basketball). What Bell doesn't yet know is who will live there.

› Fine art helps sell real estate in South Florida
Across South Florida, real estate developers are increasingly attaching extraordinary — and valuable — art to their designs, creating liveable, virtual museums as a way to market high-end condos to wealthy buyers. Brokers are catching on, too.

› Global Entrepreneurship Week shines light on innovative spirit
Global Entrepreneurship Week, a celebration of entrepreneurship, was in full swing in South Florida last week, with events for entrepreneurs in all stages of their ventures.

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› Heat cuts first rent check in 13 years for AA Arena
After 13 years and three championships, the Miami Heat says its home court finally has generated enough profit to pay rent to its landlord, Miami-Dade County. On Friday, a Heat affiliate delivered a check for $257,134.12 to Miami-Dade that represents the public’s portion of a revenue-sharing agreement.

› Jobless professionals have new networking group in Ocala
Workforce Connection has launched a new networking program in Marion County specifically for unemployed professionals. The organization is called Professional Networking Group and it offers workshops on topics of interest to job-seekers, such as resumes, interviews, goal-setting and social media.

› St. Petersburg gauging residents to see what they want in new pier
The city is gathering feedback from residents on what kind of pier should be built on the waterfront. The idea to gauge the opinions of residents came on the heels of voters' rejection of the Lens, which had been picked to replace the shuttered inverted pyramid.

› Country circus wows 'em in Williston
Two Hawk Hammock, a farm in Williston that provides trail rides, lodging and a space for events, held its first Country Circus on Saturday. The event was chock-full of entertainment, including live music, dance performances, trapeze artists and even an elephant.