An analysis of Ponzi schemes nationwide shows Florida ranks second in the number of schemes uncovered. Florida has the distinction of being the base of operations for 56 Ponzi schemes, with California leading the nation with 76 schemes. [Source: Tampa Bay Business Journal]
For decades, civic leaders have worked to forge a new identity for the Gainesville area – not just as a laid-back college town but as a center for innovation, the ideal city to launch a business or relocate a tech company. Their effort to nurture entrepreneurism is paying off. In this business portrait, we look at Gainesville, Alachua, High Springs and Hawthorne by the numbers. There are key companies, people to know, business incubators, demographics and much more. See the full report.
Downtown Gainesville, Florida » Go to business profile [Photo: Rob Witzel]
Florida is one of just three states in the country that doesn’t require 12-person juries for a trial that could leave someone spending the rest of their life in prison. But a bill that would change that passed its first committee Tuesday. More from WFSU and WJHG.
A broad farm bill passed by the U.S. Senate on Tuesday includes $125 million to fight "citrus greening," a devastating disease that kills orange trees and has cost Florida about $4.5 billion and 8,000 jobs, according to one estimate. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Overall, average consumer debt in Metro Orlando has dropped 5 percent from $26,960 in 2008 to $25,528 in 2013, according to the credit agency Experian. The national average has dropped less than 1 percent during the same period. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Winter's misfortunes help improve Tampa Bay's tourism [Tampa Bay Times]
Winter's pain is Tampa Bay's gain. Tourism officials had the good fortune and timing to launch their annual winter advertising campaigns in the Northeast and Midwest just as folks up there were battered in recent weeks by snow-packed storms, plummeting temperatures and all kinds of winter-related unpleasantness.
› Industry groups don't want new rules to protect Florida's springs [Tampa Bay Times]
Florida's springs are in deep trouble. Although the state has more than 1,000 freshwater springs — generally hailed as the greatest concentration of springs in the world — many are suffering from nitrate pollution that fuels the growth of toxic algae blooms.
› Miami ranks fifth in country in smartphone ownership [Miami Herald]
Nearly three out of four people in South Florida own a smartphone — a rate comparable to tech-happy San Francisco — and are increasingly using them to watch television shows, a new Nielsen report found.
› Cannabis College set to open in Florida [WTSP]
You can call it Cannabis U, and it's ready to launch inside the former Garcia Y Vega cigar factory in west Tampa. The 131-year-old building is the very first facility in the state dedicated to medical marijuana education.
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› Ocean energy project seeks crowdfunding, move to FAU [South Florida Business Journal]
A unique ocean energy company is launching a campaign on crowdfunding website Kickstarter as it moves to Florida Atlantic University’s Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center.
› New study: Florida's networks control health costs better than Medicaid [Ocala Star-Banner]
Results from a study of Florida's Medicaid Reform Pilot Project show that provider service networks, which the state intends to implement this year throughout the state, control costs better than traditional Medicaid.
› From China to Slovakia to Germany, students love American educational system [Fort Myers News-Press]
15-year-old Bohan Sun is getting one step closer to attending a top American college. “America has the best education in the world,” said Bohan, who is from China and attends Canterbury School in Fort Myers. Bohan plans on staying in the U.S. until he graduates from Canterbury, attends a U.S. university and establishes his business career.
› Florida tops world in shark attacks for 2013 [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Florida once again topped both the nation and the world for its number of shark attacks with a total of 24 unprovoked incidences during 2013, according to statistics compiled by SharkAttackFile.net.