In the past year, venture capital investments in Florida businesses increased by 45 percent, but the state still lags on a per capita basis. Seventy-eight percent of the $318 million invested in Florida in the year ending in September went to businesses in the biotechnology, information technology services, media and entertainment and software industry sectors. [Source: Miami Herald]
» Related: Growing Florida's startup companies
The weather all over the country has been frightful — and as Christmas ushers in the the busy winter season, South Florida hoteliers and tourism boosters couldn’t be happier. Across the country, travel is expected to reach record highs, according to a forecast from AAA. [Source: Miami Herald]
Florida ranks first in the nation, again, as the most dangerous place for the homeless to live, according to the 2012 Homeless Hate Crimes report. The National Coalition for the Homeless has tracked violence against homeless people across the country since 1999. Homeless-on-homeless attacks are not included in the findings. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
In new court filings, House and Senate Republican leaders are conceding they deleted records related to the 2012 re-drawing of congressional and legislative maps. But their lawyers argue they don't know what they were -- and were under no legal obligation to retain the records because no lawsuits had been filed when the records were destroyed. More from the Orlando Sentinel and the Times/Herald.
The seas have risen and fallen before. What's new is the enormity of coastal development that will need to be protected, moved or abandoned. In this 21st century tale, an old fisherman isn't battling a large marlin (as in Ernest Hemingway's classic The Old Man and the Sea), but the cities are battling the seas. [Source: USA Today]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Food freebies a winning recipe for businesses [Fort Myers News-Press]
Free samples or free food are one tactic retailers and restaurants use to bring customers in, generate more sales or offer added-value customer service.
› Florida among 13 states with minimum wage increases come Jan. 1 [Tampa Bay Times]
While politicians in Washington wrangle over the latest attempt to hike the federal minimum wage, Florida's lowest-paid workers are already slated to get a raise in a couple weeks.
› Publix ups its game with prototype store [Orlando Sentinel]
Look out, Whole Foods. You too, Starbucks. Publix on Thursday will open a prototype store in the Dr. Phillips neighborhood that aims to be much more than a typical supermarket. It offers a cooking school, shopping and delivery services, and a café.
› Amid controversy, SeaWorld starts using discounter Groupon [Orlando Sentinel]
SeaWorld Entertainment Inc., which has generated record earnings growth this year by raising prices and reducing promotions, has begun using online discounter Groupon to sell tickets to SeaWorld Orlando.
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› Hedge fund urges Darden to cut back on deals, TV ads [Orlando Sentinel]
Olive Garden and Red Lobster should cut back on big discounts and TV ads, consider closing some restaurants and stop building new ones for now, an investment group trying to bring about changes at Darden Restaurants said in a report released Tuesday.
› Career Answers: Tech can help, but only you can find job [Florida Today]
At the turn of the 21st century, not being “good with computers” was still no big deal for many a job hunter. Fourteen years later, an incredibly short amount of time in the grand scheme of things, technology has provided tools that dramatically expand the ways in which we can communicate.
› Higher rates kick in as biomass plant hits commercial operation [Gainesville Sun]
Gainesville Renewable Energy Center declared its facility to be commercially operational just after midnight Tuesday morning. That means that Gainesville Regional Utilities will begin paying contract rates for the power the plant generates instead of the far more modest rate the city has paid for test power over the past few months.
› PortMiami could get aid in land loss for soccer [Miami Today]
A new inland port proposed for Medley could help ensure that trade at PortMiami isn’t disrupted if soccer star David Beckham builds a stadium there.