Friday's Daily Pulse
What You Need to Know About Florida Today
› Pinellas Audit Flags St. Pete Nonprofit for Loan Breaks
Pinellas County encourages nonprofit agencies to build affordable housing for residents by offering incentives — forgiving loans they get through the county to build an apartment complex, for example. But a new internal audit shows that the vast majority of concessions for rental housing have gone to just one agency — one with close ties to county government.
› Balance of Power: Are Castro Brothers United or Divided?
A clearly revived Fidel Castro marks his 84th birthday Friday, officially out of government yet holding veto power over brother Raúl's plans for economic reforms and hopes for improved U.S. relations. That much is pretty certain, said analysts in Cuba and abroad who have watched Fidel make a dozen unusually public appearances after a near-fatal health crisis in 2006 that forced him out of the limelight. What remains less clear is the balance of power between Fidel and Raúl, amid reports of tensions between the brothers and hints that the succession from the older to the younger Castro is far from settled.
› Failings of the Foreclosure Process Laid Bare
Attorney Ralph Fisher had a “eureka moment” while studying some paperwork in a case involving a client at risk of losing his home. A document that would give the lender's lawyer the green light to take the home was supposedly signed on Dec. 5, 2007, but the date on the notary seal meant the document could not have been created until May of 2008 — five months later.
› City Official's Aunt Gets Top Dollar for Home
In an October 2009 e-mail to the daughter of Beverly Gray, an employee in the St. Petersburg real estate department warned that the city needed to move quickly to buy her mother’s home for a park before a new mayor took office and that a new appraisal would not be as generous. The city paid $80,000 for the house — its 2007 value — in December.
› For Palm Beach Officials Life's a Beach
The Town of Palm Beach made a dramatic last-minute rescue of its lifeguards on Thursday, abandoning a plan to leave its two public beaches unguarded because they are mostly used by out-of-towners. "I know without ocean rescue, people will die. That's a plain fact," town council member Bill Diamond said at the budget-crunching meeting. "And even if they're not Palm Beach residents, they're men and women of our community."
› TV Station Denies Age Discrimination Charges
Jurors will decide whether WSVN-Fox 7 fired its healthcare reporter Marilyn Mitzel in December 2005 because top management thought she was too old to be on the air. The case is being heard this week before Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Maxine Cohen Lando. Mitzel, now 56, sued Sunbeam Television Corp., the owner of Channel 7, alleging age discrimination, in 2007, after filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She was 52 when she was fired.
› Two Biotech Firms Moving to Jupiter
Two small biotech firms that hope to create cancer drugs will move to Jupiter from elsewhere in Florida, the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County said today.
› Help wanted: Must Like Bears
The economy remains rough, but there are jobs out there for enterprising people. Do you like bears? Do you enjoy working outdoors? How do you feel about bear carcasses? Really. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is looking for black-bear agents in Orange and Seminole counties.