Florida has fallen further behind in solar installations, this time losing ground to the likes of Delaware, Vermont, Missouri and Georgia. The slip comes as solar installations on a national scale continue to soar. Florida is likely to fall further back because it lacks the kind of policies found in 36 other states that promote development of renewable energy, called renewable portfolio standards. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Starting a community bank in Florida used to be as common as pouring a glass of orange juice. No more. The number of banks based in Florida has dropped to a modern low, joining a national trend of U.S. banking institutions that are dwindling to numbers not seen since the Great Depression. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
The post-Panamax era in Florida came one step closer to reality in October, when four 25-story-tall cranes arrived at PortMiami after a nearly three-month journey from Shanghai. The gigantic “super post-Panamax” cranes are required to unload the huge, container-laden ships that are expected to call at the port after the Panama Canal expansion is finished in mid-2015. Read the full story here and see also: Florida's International Tourism Expansion Trends.
Many Central Florida residents who applied for insurance on the beleaguered government exchange when it first debuted may not be covered -- even though they think they are -- and will have to apply again. [Source: Government Technology]
The vast majority of business economists believe the Federal Reserve will begin to pull back on its massive economic stimulus program in the first three months of 2014, according to a November survey done by the National Association of Business Economists. [Source: AP]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› AARP seeks repeal of nuclear 'advance fee' as a priority in 2014 [Tampa Bay Times]
In its December newsletter, the AARP pledged that one of its 2014 legislative goals is the repeal of the state law that allows utilities to charge customers in advance for new nuclear projects. AARP said it is backing a small but growing coalition of lawmakers who believe the law is an unfair tax on consumers who may get nothing from the charges.
› Jacksonville building permits hit post-recession high [Jacksonville Business Journal]
Through November, builders in Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties pulled a total of 5,605 building permits, up 31 percent from 2012’s total of 4,257.
› Boca banishes sandwich signs [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Boca Raton is banishing the signs of the great recession from its streets. The signs that are going away are actually that — A-frame, sandwich-board units that the city allowed businesses to use beginning three years ago.
› Miami wants pedestrian-friendly downtown [Miami Herald]
It’s no coincidence that most of the great cities of the world — Paris, Barcelona, New York, even Melbourne, Australia — share a concept that makes them pedestrian friendly: walkability.
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› Duke Energy informs union of contract termination if talks fail [Tampa Bay Times]
Duke Energy officially informed the union that represents 1,800 of its Florida electrical workers of the utility's plans to terminate its current contract agreement on Feb. 3 if a new deal isn't reached.
› 'Flip This House' host to bring seminar to Sarasota [Sarasota Herald-TRibune]
The host of A&E's reality TV show "Flip This House" is bringing his traveling real estate seminar to Southwest Florida next week. Through radio clips now airing in the region, Nathaniel "Than" Merrill touts his free workshop as a way for real estate beginners to reap substantial income flipping houses.
› The LAB Miami signs lease for more event space [South Florida Business Journal]
Flush with success from recent events, The LAB Miami is expanding with a new lease for space at the next-door Light Box. The LAB is a shared office space in the Wynwood Arts District with a broader mission of supporting entrepreneurs.
› Entertainers cancel SeaWorld concerts [AP]
The rock bands Heart and Barenaked Ladies along with country singer Willie Nelson have canceled their planned performances at SeaWorld in Florida, citing a recent documentary that raises questions about the effects of captivity on whales.