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Wednesday's Daily Pulse

Tourism season gets early jumpstart, thanks to Hurricane Sandy

Eager to escape the devastation or avoid repair woes brought by the superstorm that battered the Northeast last month, many tourists and seasonal residents appear to have headed south months earlier than they normally would, according to some local businesses, anecdotal traffic counts and tourism officials. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]

Florida Trend Exclusive
Osceola County and Kissimmee Business Portrait

Pioneers were drawn to Osceola County centuries ago for good reasons -- lots of flat land and fresh water. Those same resources still support the county today. View full portrait...

Florida will pay Medicaid docs at new Obamacare rate

Starting Jan. 1, Florida will start paying Medicaid primary care doctors at new, higher rates required by the federal Affordable Care Act, a state spokeswoman said Tuesday. According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Florida primary care doctors in 2008 were paid 55 percent of Medicare rates, meaning a $50 payment would be increased to $90 under the new system. [Source: Miami Herald]

Column: Dear daughter, let me give you some career advice ...

Today, coaching our kids about career paths is complicated. Many of my reporter and editor friends who witnessed an overhaul of the media world are highly opposed to their kids becoming journalists. Where parents of the past pushed their kids to follow in their footsteps, we want the generation of college-bound kids we raise to go where the jobs will be. [Source: Miami Herald]

Florida among highest in cell phone tax rates

You may find a surprise on your cell phone bill. You may be paying much more in taxes than you think. Florida has one of the highest cell phone taxes in the nation. "I think it's ridiculous," said Bruce Hammond, who moved to Tampa from Indiana. "If I changed to an 813 [area code], my bill would go up because of taxes… I said I'll keep the 219 area code, why pay more?" [Source: My FOX Tampa Bay]


› Florida teachers upset with new evaluation system
Florida teachers are upset with a new state evaluation system that they say is unfair, untested and produces bogus conclusions about performance. It's called the Value-Added Model. It uses students' test scores to evaluate a teacher's effectiveness.

› SeaWorld buys California water park, plans 3rd Aquatica
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment said Tuesday it has acquired a water park in San Diego that it will convert into the company's third Aquatica. The Orlando-based company would not say how much it paid for Knott's Soak City — San Diego, owned by amusement-park operator Cedar Fair L.P., nor how much it will spend renovating the water park.

› Tunnel technology could help Florida blueberry growers
Protecting Florida’s $80 million blueberry crop from freeze damage is always a wintertime challenge, but a University of Florida study shows that structures called high tunnels could shield plants from cold and promote earlier fruit ripening.

› Brazilian aviation company may come to Melbourne
A subsidiary of Brazilian aviation company Solutions Designs & Engineering is considering opening U.S. operations at Melbourne International Airport, as it seeks to make inroads in the U.S. market.

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› Obama appoints Harris CEO to administration post
President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced the appointment of Harris Corp. President and CEO William M. Brown to the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee.

› OJ futures surge on cold Florida winter forecast
The price of orange juice surged Tuesday as balmy weather in Florida failed to quell concern about an expected winter freeze that could damage the state’s orange crop.

› Florida population estimated to hit 19.4M by Dec. 1
Florida is forecast to have 19.4 million residents by Dec. 1, which ranks the Sunshine State No. 4 among the states based on population, a new On Numbers analysis shows.

› High-tech production company moving headquarters to Lee County
With more than 20 years of experience, Entertainment Metals operates a high-tech production facility that is flexible and quickly adaptable to meet specific customer needs. Manufacturing capabilities span a broad range of industries including, but not limited to; audio, video, broadcast, touring, theatrical, systems rental, and install.