Courts throughout Florida are moving foreclosures through the system at a faster clip, with the current backlog of cases now the smallest since the housing crisis began. But more than 250,000 pending defaults continue to clog financially strained judicial systems from Miami to Pensacola. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
With the U.S. economy expected to grow at its best clip since the recovery from the Great Recession began four years ago, South Florida's prospects are at least as good — if not brighter, said Dennis Lockhart, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve in Atlanta. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Earlier this year, the Hertz Corporation – a Fortune 300 company and the world’s largest airport rental car business – announced that it would move its corporate headquarters from its 25-year home in Bergen County, New Jersey to the Southwest Florida city of Estero. While critics will say this is just another run of the mill business migration, it actually holds greater significance than reported. [Source: Forbes]
Why are we doing this again? That’s a question people are asking around the state after seeing the second statewide batch of teacher evaluation data this week. Nearly 98 percent of teachers earned ratings of “highly effective” or “effective.” And the percentage of teachers earning the top rating increased to one in three statewide from one in five teachers the prior year. [Source: StateImpact Florida]
Legislation and executive orders in several states have all but banned Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) from public contracts, and a new system known as Green Globes has emerged and marketed itself as a simpler, less expensive alternative. [Source: AP]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Orlando Predators leaving downtown to play at UCF [Orlando Sentinel]
The team's relocation from the city-owned Amway Center to the CFE Arena follows quarrels with Orlando officials over advertising revenue and management of the facility. In September, the city declared the team in default on its lease at the Amway Center.
› Citizens continues to shed policies [Miami Herald]
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) has approved up to 151,249 more homeowner policies to be taken out of Citizens in February in a process known as “depopulation.” Meanwhile, officials at Citizens wait to find out how many of the 160,683 policyholders who were shifted to private carriers last month remain with their new coverage providers.
› Funds cut Florida disability service wait list in half [AP]
Earlier this year, the Legislature approved $36 million to move approximately 750 individuals off the waiting list and start receiving services. But Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday he now expects those funds to reach approximately 1,600 people.
› Related Group hosts Art Basel event involving pianos [South Florida Business Journal]
The Related Group is hosting Pop-Up Piano Miami’s free "Hyde & Seek" Pop-Up Concert Series at three of their pre-construction locations including the site of the recently launched Paraiso Bay, the upcoming Hyde Midtown and the SLS Brickell hotel/condo project.
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› Tampa scraps proposal for early alcohol sales at bars [TBO.com]
Tampa City Council's proposal to curb after-hours criminal behavior by requiring bars and restaurants to buy a special permit to serve alcohol past midnight died Thursday in a hail of opposition from business owners.
› Florida justices hear medical marijuana arguments [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
The effort to let Floridians decide whether medical marijuana should be allowed ran into a skeptical Florida Supreme Court Thursday. The state’s highest court heard arguments over whether the ballot language of the constitutional initiative is accurate or misleading.
› Southwest Airlines to end operations in Key West [South Florida Business Journal]
On June 7, 2014, Southwest will close its operations at Key West International Airport (EYW), Branson Airport in Missouri and Jackson-Evers International Airport in Mississippi.
› Tampa International awards contract for big expansion [Tampa Bay Times]
The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority unanimously voted this morning to hire a firm to design and build the first, nearly $1 billion phase of Tampa International Airport's master plan for expansion.