Only four Florida banks failed in 2013, just half of the previous year's total and the lowest number in five years. But Florida is still not a healthy place for many lenders. The state is home to the nation's third-highest percentage of troubled institutions, according to analyst BauerFinancial Inc., and ranks near the bottom for the number of healthiest banks. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Executive health programs throughout Florida encourage individuals to become proactive about their health and provide strategies for taking charge of wellness. Most programs tailor evaluations to an individuals age, gender, family history, personal history and other risk factors. Following are some issues that are particularly important to monitor at specific times of life. Full story...
Pitted between tourism giants such as Walt Disney Co. and billion-dollar casino companies, legislative leaders want a rewrite of the state's gambling regulations — from changing the oversight of horse and greyhound racing to authorizing Las Vegas-style destination casinos. But there's a catch: If they can't decide during the spring session what Florida's betting landscape should look like, voters could wind up doing the job. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Lawmakers from Florida and other flood-prone states still hold out hope that the National Flood Insurance Program rate increases can be rolled back, but real estate professionals say the hikes are already taking a toll in certain neighborhoods. Home sales have stalled, sellers are dropping prices and the mechanics of completing a deal are becoming more complicated. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Burned badly by the stock meltdown of 2009, many mom-and-pop investors swore off the markets completely. They wound up missing a magical rebound that has taken the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor's 500 to new highs and the Nasdaq roaring back above 4,000 for the first time in 13 years. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Cuba charter business consolidates in Florida [Miami Herald]
Despite optimism three years ago when the Obama administration authorized a dozen new U.S. gateway cities for travel to Cuba, today the only charters to the island leave from Florida.
› South Florida trade volume likely to rise slowly in 2014 [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
South Florida likely will see slow growth in its huge volume of international trade in 2014, spurred by a small uptick in the local economy and in key markets in Latin America and Europe, insiders say.
› FSU's success on the field means more memorabilia sold [Florida Today]
A Florida State victory in the National Championship Game could mean big dollars for the university in memorabilia sales. In part, it’s because schools are doing a better job at marketing, but it’s also related to institutions inking deals with some of the top licensees and clothing manufacturers to develop more lines of colorful gear that cater to both alumni and non-alumni.
› Fight over citrus canker may resume [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
They won their court battle against the state more than five years ago, yet nearly 60,000 Broward households have not received a cent for trees destroyed in the failed campaign against citrus canker. The bitter fight may resume in the coming months.
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› A path to employment, via LinkedIn [New York Times]
f you've ever attended a local business networking breakfast in hopes of making new contacts or finding a new job, you'll be excused for wondering why you were there. LinkedIn, the networking site for professionals, offers an alternative.
› Atwater announces he wants presidency of FAU [Times/Herald]
Saying he has been recruited for the job, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater said Saturday that he is applying for the presidency of Florida Atlantic University. If selected by the presidential search committee later this month, Atwater would relinquish what is considered a safe seat on the Florida Cabinet as the state's chief financial manager, creating the only open seat on the three-member Cabinet this election.
› Providing health care complicated in rural areas [AP]
In a rural part of the Panhandle, Christopher Mitchell finds few takers when he delivers his message about the importance of exploring insurance options under the federal health overhaul. Around the country, advocates spreading the word about the Affordable Care Act in rural areas face similar difficulties.
› Boeing to base X-37B spy plane at former KSC shuttle facility [Orlando Sentinel]
A spy plane used by the U.S. Air Force is about to get a new home: a garage at Kennedy Space Center that once housed NASA orbiters during the space shuttle era.