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Wednesday's Afternoon Update

Sizeable opportunities exist for Florida exports

Lately, the big news is buying local. More and more consumers are looking for local goods when making purchases, and local is a growing segment. However, in Florida, our goods aren’t just sold to local markets. In fact, exports are a big business as well. More at Highlands Today.

Surprise! America's retirement mecca is NOT Florida

Florida and Arizona definitely have the weather going for them, but when it comes to quality of life, South Dakota tops the new list of Best States for Retirement from Bankrate.com. More at CNBC and Bankrate.

Spirit Airlines putting on a sunnier face — but still holding on to fees


Reubin Askew

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Jim Bacchus, who worked for many years alongside the late Gov. Reubin Askew, writes about the lessons we can all learn from Askew. Bacchus' reminiscences begin:

"I first met Reubin Askew when I was a 20-year-old newspaper reporter. He stood in the sunshine and spoke straight and true to the heart. When I was 24, I became Gov. Askew's youngest aide. My father had died a few months before, and soon the governor became a second father to me..."

» Access full story

Spirit is rolling out an effort to better communicate its business model to travelers and help customers navigate the fees that can lead to air rage with a revamped website, employee training, a media blitz, and a new logo and branding. More at the Miami Herald.

Sarasota County making efforts to encourage electric cars

Sarasota County already is ahead of the curve. It was the first local government in Florida to add the vehicles to its fleet, and has the state’s third-highest number of electric cars per person. More at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Turning vacant land to community gardens

For years, Miami-Dade schools have partnered with non-profits to build edible gardens as teaching tools at schools, like The Education Fund’s Plant a Thousand Gardens program at Twin Lakes. Increasingly, these gardens are used to influence eating habits inside schools and out. More at the Miami Herald.

Out of the Box
Cargo container homes

 cargo housesA Lakeland business has taken repurposing to a whole new level. For the past 22 years, Steven Sawyer has made a good business out of buying old cargo containers for reuse, but then one day, he had an idea. Now his business, New Generation Builders, refurbishes the 8x20-foot cargo containers, turning them into small homes.

» Full story from Bay News 9