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Monday's Daily Pulse

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Bright Ideas for 2014

Call them New Year's resolutions if you like. As 2014 approached, Florida Trend asked dozens of Floridians — businesspeople, politicians, academics and citizens of all political stripes and persuasions — this question: What's something Florida could do — in 2014 — to make the state a better place to live? Read more here and see the first installments in this week-long series:

» Take the $50 billion

Bright Futures
» Florida's 'Bright Futures' merit-aid program should be retooled

» Require Florida students to take a 'money course''

State not producing enough science grads, study confirms

Florida’s public universities are producing a little more than half as many engineers, mathematicians, scientists and technicians than they need to in order to meet the demand of job growth in the next decade, according to a study presented to the Florida Board of Governors. [Source: Ocala Star-Banner]

Non-tourism firms thriving in Florida

Many perceive Florida companies to be highly dependent upon spending habits of individuals, snowbirds and tourists. While true in some sectors, the business-to-business companies are an often-ignored arena, and many are doing just fine. [Source: Fort Myers News-Press]

Floridians frustrated by flood-insurance hike

Despite a stream of angry complaints from Floridians and coastal residents across the country, steep rate hikes for flood insurance are likely to continue at least into next year. Attempts to delay or roll back the increases, which amount to thousands of dollars a year for many residents and businesses in low-lying areas, have run into stiff resistance in Congress. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

For teachers, grade day looms

In 2014-15, the pay of many teachers will be tied to their scores, although exactly how merit pay will be carried out must be negotiated between school districts and the unions. With test scores playing a major role in whether they get a raise, teachers still do not know what standardized test will replace the FCAT in 2014-15. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]

See also:
» For thousands of Florida teachers, evaluations aren’t making the grade


› Homeowners fight Citizens over sinkhole repairs, compensation
An estimated 1,800 homeowners have filed lawsuits against Citizens challenging their sinkhole claims. Citizens acknowledges that most of the disputes involve disagreements over the method of repair.

› Art Basel opens this week in an increasingly cultured city
On a recent night in the Design District, lately littered with heavy equipment and engulfed in construction dust even as it grows more and more posh, a crowd celebrated the opening of Maman Fine Art, the first outpost of Buenos Aires’ largest modern/contemporary gallery. It’s one more sign of a Miami art scene gaining muscle.

› Goodwill project is built almost entirely of domestic materials
A 23,000-square-foot Goodwill Industries store and job center, under construction in West Melbourne, is laying a patriotic claim that nearly all of its components are made in the United States.

› Director sees Miami’s new art museum as ‘town center’
For Thom Collins, director of the striking new Perez Art Museum Miami, the past couple of years have rushed by like the time lapse video of the construction project posted on the museum’s website, all at dizzying speed.

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› Tampa to consider new rules on bars' closing times
It could be one of the biggest changes in years to how drinks are poured at bars, restaurants and nightclubs in the city of Tampa. On Thursday, the council is scheduled to discuss proposed rules to give the city more leverage over businesses that serve alcohol but look the other way when the clientele starts breaking the law.

› SeaWorld profit strategy: Drive up prices, not attendance
Ever since it opened more than a decade ago, Discovery Cove has been an oddity among American theme parks. SeaWorld Entertainment Inc.'s swim-with-the-dolphins park in Orlando draws some of the smallest crowds in the business, with daily attendance capped at 1,300 and reservations required. But it also commands the highest prices: more than $500 per person during peak periods.

› Small-business registers ring as gift pursuits continue
Saturday marked the third nationwide Small Business Saturday, a day between Black Friday and CyberMonday that encourages shoppers to buy holiday gifts and other knick-knacks from local stores.

› 1 Million Cups brews creative ideas for St. Pete startups
Each week 1 Million Cups St. Petersburg hosts a standing-room-only crowd where some of the most innovative thinkers in the Sunshine City gather to pitch ideas and engage new businesses.