FloridaTrend.com, the Website for Florida Business

Tuesday's Daily Pulse

More shoppers cutting back this holiday season

Nearly four in ten consumers, 38%, say they plan to spend less this holiday season than they did last year, 14% plan to spend more than last year, and 47% plan to spend the same as they did in 2012, according to a new poll from Princeton Survey Research. The results underscore the slippery ride retail stocks are now on. More from FOX Business, the Houston Business Journal and Bankrate.

Paul Anderson
Brecht Heuchan's 3-year-old Contribution Link has about 50 clients who pay from several hundred dollars a month to several thousand. Story here.

Florida Trend Exclusive
Data-crunching software for lobbyists

As a fundraiser for Republican House candidates in the mid-1990s, Brecht Heuchan spent many hours combing through a book of lobbyists, dialing numbers and dealing with rejection. Some two decades later, Heuchan, now a lobbyist and political consultant, has developed a data-mining tool that takes much of the guesswork out of the political money chase. Full story.

Lifestyle of the rich and famous farmer

The nation is in the middle of an organic-food boom, and in case you haven’t noticed, a surprising number of boldface names are becoming part of it. This gentleman’s farming — or gentlewoman’s farming — movement has spawned its own lifestyle brand. [Source: MarketWatch]

Meet the new alternatives to the GED

As the GED prepares for a major overhaul in January, a growing number of states are trying a new class of tests designed as alternatives to the GED. One of the biggest selling points of the new exams is that they will cost less than half of the new GED. [Source: StateImpact Florida]

Five energy saving gadgets for small businesses

Life is much more convenient since everything went tablet-shaped, smartphone shaped and otherwise electronic. Unfortunately this also involves a load of power consumption, which for reasons both ecological and economic can spell bad news. Here, then, are technologies and gadgets designed to bring the power bills down. [Source: Guardian]


› At one South Florida radio station, it's jingle all the way, all the time
For the DJs at the only South Florida radio station playing Christmas music 24-7, the line between merriness and madness is as thin as "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer."

› Insurance firm recruits nonprofits to sell Obamacare
The Stuart-based Fiorella Insurance Agency made headlines a couple of months ago when it began using the Obamacare Enrollment Team name to insinuate official ties to the healthcare law and sell policies to unsuspecting people, setting off an ongoing state inquiry.

› Art week fairs report record attendance, strong sales in 2013
Fairs reported record attendance and strong sales during Miami’s 2013 Art Basel art week. At namesake fair Art Basel in Miami Beach, more than 75,000 visitors attended over the fair’s five days — a 7 percent increase over the previous year.

› Tampa to host 2017 college football national championship
Tampa will host college football's national championship in 2017, according to the College Football Playoff. Arlington, Texas and Glendale, Ariz., will host the NCAA's 2015 and 2016 championship games.

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› Guns high on Floridians' holiday shopping lists
The gift of a gun may be high on many Floridians' holiday shopping lists. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says it is on target to conduct nearly 1 million background checks this year on private firearm purchases.

Vacation and Business Travel Planner

Follow these links to great ideas for your next vacation getaway or corporate meeting!

• ShareALittleSunshine.org
• Orlando   |   • Viva Florida
• St. Petersburg & Clearwater
• Jacksonville and the beaches
• Miami International Airport
• Ocala and Marion County

› Lauderdale Marine Center gets $60M loan
Lauderdale Marine Center, a key part of the South Florida marine industry, is getting a $60 million loan that will reduce costs and free up money for ongoing improvements to its 50-acre Fort Lauderdale boatyard and marina, one of the nation's largest.

› UF joins Orlando Health to battle 'tsunami' of cancer cases
The University of Florida Health has joined with Orlando Health to establish a cancer center at Orlando. The new center, called the UF Health Cancer Center at Orlando Health, aims to provide better personalized treatments for patients all over the state suffering from the disease.

› Fontainebleau resort gets major loan increase, plans for gambling
The Fontainebleau resort hotel in Miami Beach got a $123 million boost to its loan through refinancing and signed an agreement that foreshadows its plans for legalized gambling.