FloridaTrend.com, the Website for Florida Business

Wednesday's Daily Pulse

Construction workers earning more

Florida's contractors are raising wages and offering benefits to help retain and attract construction workers, The Associated General Contractors of America reported Tuesday. Florida contractors said in the survey that they're having the most trouble finding project managers and craft workers including pipe fitters and welders and masons. More at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and the Tampa Bay Times.

How a man named Danger made South Florida safer

Charlie Danger is still an evangelist. He preaches tolerance and compassion. He believes in a benevolent government, where dull regulations have the power for good and desk jockeys can make people’s problems go away. When he retires Friday, County Hall will lose one of its last remaining old-school bureaucrats, the kind of undisputed expert who tells it like it is. [Source: Miami Herald]

Florida prisons to serve kosher food

Florida has been ordered to offer kosher food to its inmates following a test case brought by the US Department of Justice. Despite having a significant Jewish community and the country's third largest prison population, the state stopped offering kosher food or catering to other religious dietary requirements on grounds of cost in 2007. [Source: The Telegraph]

Putnam Says Florida Needs Statewide Water Policy

Florida's economy on several fronts is improving faster than in other states, but Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says that the lack of a statewide water policy and the threat of the greening disease to citrus could hamper that. [Source: Lakeland Ledger]

Gay couples to challenge Florida's marriage ban

Six same-sex couples on Tuesday sued Miami-Dade County for the right to marry in Florida, once again thrusting the Sunshine State into the national gay-rights spotlight. “We are proud to stand here on this historic day,” said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida, the state’s leading gay-rights group. More from the Miami Herald and the Tampa Bay Times.


› Does Lauderdale library's 'brutal' design make it a landmark?
It's not often you can use the word brutal to describe how a building looks and have it be considered a good thing. But that's precisely how to assess the Broward County Main Library, the work of an internationally acclaimed team steeped in the Brutalist style of architecture.

› Governor, Cabinet set to approve buying agricultural land
Last year, the Legislature set aside $11.5 million to target agricultural land with a type of purchase that allows farmers and ranchers to stay on land that Florida panthers may roam one day. To get the buying underway as soon as next month, Scott and Cabinet members must sign off on 16 potential properties, including four in Central Florida.

› Gale Butler, icon in local philanthropy, retires from AutoNation
For decades, Gale Butler has served as the face in the community for Fort Lauderdale's corporate giants: first Blockbuster and then AutoNation — helping fund nonprofits and civic groups, serving on boards, mentoring youth and even performing with drag queens at a charity benefit.

› Jumbo home lending surges in South Florida
Jumbo mortgage lending grew rapidly in South Florida in 2012. Lenders originated 5,074 jumbo mortgages - or those for more than $417,000 - totaling $4.82 billion here in 2012.

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› Central Florida businesses most likely to hire for remote jobs
If you're interested in working from home, Central Florida has nearly 20 companies among the best Florida firms for telecommuting and remote jobs, according to FlexJobs.

› Florida Hospital Tampa makes $53 million capital investment
Florida Hospital Tampa is investing $53 million in improvement and expansion projects, including its Women’s Health Pavilion and a new emergency department.

› Arango store, a fixture for 50 years, to close
Arango, the little landmark store that introduced Miami to high-style houseware design, is closing after 50 years as a Dadeland Mall fixture because of a sharp rent increase.

› With this coverage, I thee wed ...
With the cost of the average American wedding reaching about $26,000, insurers have been selling a growing number of policies to protect against losses from extreme weather, illness and, in one firm’s case, even a sudden change of heart.