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Thursday's Daily Pulse

Obamacare enrollment surges in Florida, nation

Nearly 300,000 Floridians selected a health-insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act as of Feb. 1, federal officials announced on Wednesday. Nearly a quarter of them – 23 percent – are age 18 to 34, a sign that younger people have joined the late surge of applications. More from the Miami Herald, the Orlando Sentinel and the South Florida Business Journal.

See also:
» Most states lag in health insurance sign-ups

Florida State Fair
Cattle on parade in the Charlie Lykes Arena at the Florida State Fair. » Story

Florida Trend Exclusive
A day at the state fair (in photos)

The Florida State Fair is almost hard to describe. It's a combination of a theme park, flea market, mall, animal nursery, pub and food court — with neon thrill rides to top it all off. But the fair can also be quaint, with agricultural and educational exhibits, homemade crafts and entertainment. Read more and see a photo gallery.

Donald Goodman is a 'Florida Icon'

The founder of Kanapaha Botanical Gardens in Gainesville shares life’s lessons. One quote: "I measure the whole thing in terms of dead versus alive as opposed to one arm versus two arms. I’d much prefer to be right-handed, but I’m just glad to be handed." Read more...

Zombies are attacking Florida's small businesses

In a number of states, small businesses have high delinquency rates—they’re late on lots of payments—but a relatively low numbers of bankruptcies. In other words, struggling, debt-ridden companies are still hanging on, and they’re eating up sales that might otherwise flow to businesses with brighter futures. The report says this problem is particularly severe in Florida. [Source: Businessweek]

South Florida foreclosures top nation in January

South Florida began 2014 where it left off the year before – leading the nation in foreclosure filings, according to a study by RealtyTrac. There were 10,302 foreclosure filings here in January, a 50.4 percent surge from December although a 4.56 percent decline from January 2013.
[Source: South Florida Business Journal]


› NSU to open $80 million research center
Nova Southeastern University is expanding its role in research, building a new $80 million facility that could boost South Florida's efforts to become a hub for studies of cancer, heart disease and other problems.

› APR Energy lands pre-fab power plant contract with Myanmar
Jacksonville-based APR Energy has landed a contract for its “fast-track” power plants in Myanmar, a Southeast Asian country most known as Burma.

› Bradenton economic growth projected to be in top 20 percent of US
The Bradenton-North Port-Sarasota metro area averages a little better than mediocre when it comes to recovering from the recession, but the forecast for this year makes the area stand out.

› Expanded Aventura Mall would be nation’s second largest
Florida’s largest shopping mall is planned to get even larger. The owners of Aventura Mall are proposing to add a three-story, 241,000-square-foot retail wing and a seven-level parking garage to the massive shopping center north of Miami.

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› Sarasota County bans stores from selling synthetic marijuana
Convenience stores in Sarasota County will no longer be allowed to sell designer drugs like synthetic marijuana or bath salts.

› Electricity tax cut for business moving through Florida Legislature
Supporters hope that a proposal by Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam to gradually reduce the state sales tax paid by businesses on electricity will help its chances of being included in Gov. Rick Scott's goal of cutting $500 million in taxes and fees.

› State’s tallest observation tower advances
SkyRise Miami is to stretch 1,000 feet skyward and be home to a wide assortment of fun and adventure, from a nightclub to a tethered jump experience. The planned giant glass and steel tower looks a bit like a capital “R,” as it slopes back toward the area of the Hard Rock Cafe.

› 'Bollywood Oscars' team recruits bay area leaders to build buzz locally and abroad
Building buzz is something the organizers of the Indian film industry's version of the Academy Awards talk about a lot, and this week brings two initiatives to jump-start those conversations both locally and abroad.