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Monday's Daily Pulse

Florida Trend Exclusive
Banking and finance in Florida

Today, Florida Trend begins a series on the state's finance sector. Today's three stories:

Disappearing Act for Some Florida Banks -- Florida's going to lose at least another 70 banks

Well-Heeled -- Not all banks in Florida are in trouble. Below is a sampler of banks that have high equity-to-asset ratios — and different growth strategies. 

Home-Grown -- Amid the financial meltdown, Brian Philpot and Rob Harper have turned profits from a real estate firm into a lending source, helping borrowers who can't get conventional loans. 

Florida drops slightly in annual Kids Count

Florida's children continue to fare worse than those in most other states for overall well-being, according to the latest national Kids Count study that measures things like infant mortality, teen births and poverty. Overall, the state ranked 38th, down from 36th place last year, in the national study. [Source: Lakeland Ledger]

» Kids Count study

Moving closer to a more balanced housing market

Housing market hallelujahs seemingly are everywhere. A respected national index reported this week that South Florida home prices climbed more than 5 percent in July from a year ago. Local real estate agents have been buzzing for months about bidding wars and robust sales. And the playing field is leveling out for buyers and sellers.

Seeking Nominations
Floridian of the Year
Florida Trend is taking nominations for its 2013 Floridian of the Year issue. Remember: This isn't a lifetime achievement award. We're looking for the Floridians who you think had the biggest impact on the state during 2012. Please email us here.

But real estate observers say there are five critical milestones South Florida still must reach before we can toast the market's recovery. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

» Multi-family housing boosts construction contracts

Can Florida’s Medicaid reform plan be the model for the nation?

Quietly, over the past six years, an experiment in providing healthcare for the poor has been playing out in Broward and four other counties around the state. Its basic goal is to relieve the financial pressures of Medicaid on Florida’s taxpayers by turning over poor and disabled patients to private companies, a move lawmakers believe will cut costs. [Source: Miami Herald]

Baby boomers: Longer lives, shakier finances

The restless generation that invented personal reinvention -- logging an average of 11 job changes over a three-decade period -- is also is a generation famous for spending instead of saving, sparking a widespread fear that aging boomers will not be able to support themselves. And job losses in the last five years — hitting older workers harder — have ratcheted up that fear, causing talk of a “retirement crisis.” [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]


› Businesses near Tampa Bay Times Forum hit hard by hockey lockout
Call it a double whammy. Last month, many downtown businesses hungered for customers before and during the Republican National Convention. Then last week, the National Hockey League canceled all its preseason games because of a dispute between owners and players. The unfortunate combination has business owners near the Tampa Bay Lightning's home begging for mercy.

› Florida's income growth tops national average
For a change, Florida's income growth outpaced the national average -- and several Floridians are feeling the positive effects. In fact, some are helping jump start what has been a sluggish rebound from the recession, from buying new clothes to putting a down payment on a home.

› Burr & Forman Absorbs 23-Lawyer Tampa Firm
Burr & Forman is expanding its reach in the Southeast by combining with 23-lawyer Tampa firm Williams Schifino Mangione & Steady. The tie-up, which takes effect today, gives Birmingham, Alabama–based Burr & Forman nine offices—and its third in Florida—while increasing the firm's head count to 277 attorneys.

› Growing blueberries helped save the farm
After Florida's buyout of farms on Lake Apopka in 1998, David and Michael Hill could have waved goodbye to farming forever. The Lake Apopka Restoration Act, signed into law by Gov. Lawton Chiles, aimed at making the lake waters pristine once again. The way to do it, of course, was to give farmers the boot.

Go to page 2 for more stories ...

› Maintaining Ringling's Cà d'Zan mansion
You think you have a lot to do to keep up your home? Walk an hour with Ron McCarty. That's how long he spends each morning looking for the slightest crack or stain or bubble that could indicate trouble for perhaps the most ornate and historic house in the entire state.

› Magic want more time to study development deal
The Orlando Magic have asked city officials for more time to figure out whether the team's plan to develop a downtown $100 million sports and entertainment complex is feasible.

› Nuclear advance fee case in front of Florida Supreme Court has big implications
Should you be forced to pay in advance for a product you may never get? And if you don't get what you paid for, should you get a refund? The Florida Supreme Court will address those questions at a hearing Thursday.

› Pain patients decry oxycodone shortage; DEA says there isn't one
Throughout Florida, some chronic pain patients have complained that it is difficult — if not impossible — to get prescriptions for oxycodone filled at their local pharmacies. Many of these patients are told the pharmacy is out of the painkiller. They think there is a massive oxycodone shortage, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is to blame.