Florida’s Obamacare enrollment grew tenfold between the end of November and the end December, as the deadline to buy a plan in time for Jan. 1 approached. Enrollment jumped from about 14,000 to more than 140,000 by the end of December. That dwarfed the pathetic October signs up, which totaled little more than 3,500. More from the Palm Beach Post, the Tampa Bay Times and the LA Times.
How many times have we heard the cliché, “It’s what’s on the inside that counts”? The same can be said of many companies. We spend so much time tailoring, tweaking and specializing messages for external audiences that we often forget the value of communicating to our own employees. [Source: North Central Florida Business Report]
Hoping to incorporate public input and assuage criticism, state education officials on Monday released 98 proposed changes to the controversial Common Core State Standards. The suggestions represent additions and minor tweaks to the national benchmarks, which have been adopted in more than 45 states and outline what students should know at each grade level. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
A coalition of some of Florida's biggest and most influential businesses — including Walt Disney World and Darden Restaurants — on Monday threw their considerable weight behind long-stalled legislation to prohibit discrimination against gay, bisexual and transgender Floridians. More from the Orlando Sentinel and the Miami Herald.
The traditional burial, once so important in the grieving process, is becoming a thing of the past. More than half of Floridians who die are cremated instead of buried. The practice is even more common in southwest Florida, where financial, practical, religious and sentimental reasons are causing more people to choose cremation. [Source: Health News Florida]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› South Florida TV networks compete for Spanish-speaking sports fans [Miami Herald]
As with all things Hispanic, Spanish-language sports has gotten hotter than ever. With advertisers pursuing the U.S. Hispanic market on as many fronts as possible, sports has emerged as an even more important battlefield.
› A conversation with Marshall Criser III, Florida's new state university system chancellor [Times/Herald]
New state university system Chancellor Marshall Criser III has been on the job one week, enough time to see one Florida university win a national football championship and another hire its first female president. The multitude of issues and topics that have already come across Criser's desk is among the many things that have surprised him about what he calls his dream job.
› Morgan pours $2.8 million into eleventh-hour medical marijuana effort [Orlando Sentinel]
With time running out to make this year's fall election ballot, Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan upped his game last month in a last-ditch effort to gather enough signatures to ask Florida voters to legalize medical marijuana.
» Related: Florida Pot Vote Turnout Seen Helping Democrat Win Governor Race
› Cuban students to study at Miami Dade College [AP]
A group of students from Cuba is taking classes at Miami Dade College for the first time in more than five decades. The college announced Monday that the students have arrived in Miami and will spend the semester taking courses in sociology, computing, psychology, business and English.
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› Who got a gift card this holiday season? Just about everyone [Tampa Bay Times]
Call them impersonal and unimaginative, but gift cards were once again the most popular gift this holiday season. About eight in 10 shoppers bought a gift card, a foolproof way of ensuring people get just what they want. Holiday gift card spending was expected to reach $30 billion, about 5 percent of overall spending.
› Amid 'Blackfish' controversy, SeaWorld sets attendance record [Orlando Sentinel]
Pushing back against speculation that fallout from the film “Blackfish” is hurting its business, SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. said Monday that its world-famous marine parks set a fourth-quarter attendance record and that it will soon report the highest annual revenue in its 50-year history.
› Report: additional Florida citrus production declines [The Grower]
The latest forecast shows continuing production declines for nearly all of Florida citrus, with citrus greening cutting production. In a Jan. 10 report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates the state’s production of oranges, grapefruit and tangerines will decline from 1%-6%.
› Florida State, University of Central Florida among top 50 best online graduate nursing programs [AP]
Two Florida universities rank among the top 50 schools in the country for best online graduate nursing programs, according to a national publication's annual report.