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Wednesday's Afternoon Update

Florida hospitals will feel the pinch for patient safety problems

This fall, Medicare will reduce payments to hospitals with poor patient safety performance -- part of a new program under the Affordable Care Act. Hospitals that have higher-than-acceptable rates of patient complications will see their Medicare payments cut by 1 percent. In Florida, 31 are in the danger zone, according to a preliminary analysis. More from the Miami Herald and Health News Florida.

Publisher's Column

Florida's Great Northwest

Most of us probably don’t get the opportunity to visit northwest Florida as often as we should. It’s a beautiful and historic part of the state, with white sand beaches and wide swaths of timberland and farms. The 12 counties of Florida’s Great Northwest comprise 10,661 square miles, or 16% of the state’s total area. With a population of just over 1 million -- 5% of the state’s total -- the pace is far more gentle than in cities like Miami or Orlando...
Read the full column here.
Andy Corty
Publisher Andy Corty

U.S. economy contracted sharply in first quarter

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday gross domestic product fell at a 2.9 percent annual rate, the sharpest decline in five years. Economists estimate severe weather could have slashed as much as 1.5 percentage points from GDP growth in the first quarter. Since then, there are indications that growth has rebounded strongly. More from Reuters.

» 3 reasons not to freak out about -2.9% GDP

May brought bigger numbers to South Florida hotels

Hotels saw business improve in May compared to the previous year, a recent report shows. Data shows that hotels in Miami-Dade were more than 79 percent full, an increase of nearly 7 percentage points compared to May of 2013. Average daily rates increased 7 percent to more than $170, and revenue per available room soared more than 14 percent to nearly $135. More from the Miami Herald.

Scallop season starts earlier than normal this year

Get your bay scallop bags and shucking tools ready. The recreational bay scallop season opens in some Gulf of Mexico state waters (shore to 9 nautical miles) starting June 28, three-days earlier than the season was slated to start. The portion of Gulf state waters is from the Pasco-Hernando county line north and west to the west bank of the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County. More from Florida Sportsman.

FIU student a finalist to become Formula One engineering star

College of Engineering & Computing student Alejandro Diaz is heading to England as one of 12 finalists from around the world to compete in the Infiniti Performance Engineering Academy. Diaz, who was selected from a group of 1,500 international engineering students from more than 100 universities, will compete against the other finalists to win the work placement of a lifetime – a 12-month engineering role with Infiniti Red Bull Racing, complete with accommodation in the U.K., Infiniti company car and full salary. More from FIU news.

Real Estate
Affordable housing... in Palm Beach?

If you think you can’t afford to live in swanky Palm Beach, then you haven't seen the list of the 10 cheapest homes with a Palm Beach address. Palm Beach retreatThese properties -- all condos -- range from $60,000 to $155,000. They may not come with valet service or a private path to the Atlantic, but you could still call yourself a Palm Beacher. The photo at right shows the view from a $69,500 Palm Beach retreat. Full list at the Palm Beach Post.