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Northwest Fla., Panhandle Business Briefs - January 2011


» County voters passed an airboat curfew for area lakes, where airboat noise has been a topic of intense debate for years. Airboats may no longer run on the lakes between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.


» The Cancer & Genetics Research Complex at Shands launched a new breast cancer radiation system called Intrabeam, which University of Florida doctors say will reduce or eliminate the need for weeks of external radiation treatment following surgery. The mobile device can be used in the operating room to deliver precise doses of radiation directly to the tumor site. Paid for with the help of a $346,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Intrabeam system is the only one in the state and one of fewer than 20 in the nation.

» Gainesville’s Infinite Energy became a retail electric provider for the Oncor power company in Dallas-Fort Worth, the first step in a new strategy executives say they hope will double or triple the company’s sales in five years.


» The city’s long-climbing office vacancy rate dropped to 19% at the end of the third quarter, according to Cushman & Wakefield, down from 22.5% at the end of the second. Cushman’s Buddy Register says the indicators point to "a slow and gradual recovery" for Jacksonville.

» Jacksonville software developer Retina-X Studios brought to market the first spy software for the iPhone and Android. Users of the Mobile Spy software can "silently track GPS locations, SMS messages, photos and calls of children or employees inside a secure online control panel." Mobile Spy runs undetected after it is installed.

» LSI, an employee-owned defense training company based in Jacksonville, acquired Aviation Systems of Northwest Florida for an undisclosed sum. LSI employs 350 at Cecil Field and 100 more in offices in other parts of the country. LSI last year won a $48-million contract to support surveillance aircraft for the government in Taiwan, and by the end of this month will expand its Cecil facility by 24,000 square feet, to 124,000.

» The Veterans Administration is building a $35-million clinic near Shands Jacksonville in the Springfield neighborhood. It will offer expanded medical services for women, primary care and radiology.


» Call center Senture is adding more than 100 jobs and expanding its operations. The new positions include insurance agents and customer service representatives with an average salary of $31,000.


» The city had the biggest percentage drop in median home prices in the nation during the third quarter, according to the National Association of Realtors. Ocala’s median price dropped 20%, from $102,700 in 2009 to $82,200 in 2010. Local Realtors blamed increasing foreclosures and short sales.