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Friday's Afternoon Update

University Research Parks Vital to Jobs, STEM Industry

As critical components of an innovation economy, Florida’s university research parks help develop advanced technologies into commercial products. Further developing these research parks would produce high-wage jobs, diversify the economy, and keep graduates of Florida universities in our state. Read the full Florida TaxWatch report.

Florida No. 18 for corporate subsidies

Florida ranked 18th among the states in the amount of economic development subsidies awarded to companies relocating or expanding operations, according to a new report by Good Jobs First. More at the Orlando Business Journal.

U.S. economy's growth was slower in fourth quarter

Out of the Box

Octopuses crash stone crab season

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An eight-legged mollusk with a big appetite has once again threatened to wreck Lee County’s commercial stone crab season.

Octopuses are a stone crab’s and a commercial stone crabber’s worst nightmare.

They’re voracious predators; they love stone crabs; they can easily crawl into and out of stone crab traps; and they’re smart.

» Full story from the Fort Myers News-Press

The U.S. government slashed its estimate for fourth-quarter growth as consumer spending and exports were less robust than initially thought, suggesting some loss of momentum heading into 2014. Gross domestic product expanded at a 2.4 percent annual rate, the Commerce Department said on Friday. More at Reuters.

Small businesses face operational, regulatory challenges

U.S. small-business owners are most likely to say that attracting more customers and business, a traditional business concern, is the most important challenge they face today, with 21% of small-business owners mentioning this challenge. More from Gallup.

Florida Medicaid expansion losing steam

As many other Republican-led states grudgingly begin to implement forms of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, the prospects for expansion in Florida is looking increasingly grim. More at CBS Miami.

Florida museum marks 100 years of spring training

spring trainingThe Chicago Cubs defeated the St. Louis Browns 3-2 at Coffee Pot Park on Feb. 27, 1914. The Tampa Bay region has been a spring training ground for numerous major league baseball teams ever since. The Toronto Blue Jays (Dunedin), Philadelphia Phillies (Clearwater) and New York Yankees (Tampa) currently train in the area.

» More at TBO.com and the AP.