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A Rising Concern: The impact of sea level rise on Florida

Forget the argument over what may be causing it — if we take seriously the idea that the sea level could rise by more than seven inches in the next 30 years, what should Florida communities be doing about it, and how much will it cost? Florida Trend looks at the various problems associated with sea level rise, how some communities in Florida are responding and what it costs them. Read the main story here and see how sea level rise could impact specific sectors below:

Beach and Shore
» Building and Infrastructure
» Roads
» Groundwater
» Community Planning
» Insurance
» Utilities

Florida tries to tap huge growth in Chinese tourism

Tens of thousands of Chinese already travel more than 8,000 miles each year to explore Florida's outlet malls, theme parks, golf courses, water sports and fishing. They don't spend much time at the beach, but they love to shop while shelling out an average of more than $7,000 per visit. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Big lenders bidding to keep homes

As home prices climb and inventory dries up, the nation's largest mortgage lenders are gambling on the future of the housing recovery. Banking giants from Wells Fargo to Fannie Mae are routinely paying top dollar on the auction steps to hold onto their own distressed properties, outbidding cash offers and paying well above assessed value. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]

Hurricane season may be less active as initially forecast

The heart of the hurricane season's about a month away, a time when Florida usually feels like it's in the crosshairs. For now, most forecast teams call for an extremely active year. But this year two atmospheric signs could work in the state's favor. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Statewide pain-clinic database may be abolished

The governor tried to kill it. Lawmakers wouldn't fund it. Few used it. And now, less than two years since its birth, Florida's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program is the subject of new criticism, legal action and calls that it be overhauled — or abolished. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]


› Tampa looks to capitalize on tomorrow’s Cuba
A group of 38 business leaders and politicians from Tampa flew to Cuba in late May. Tourist visas forbid them from any official meetings. But there was no mistaking that the trip was about promoting Tampa as Cuba’s future trading partner.

› Farmers seek to go co-op to stay in business
Some Florida farmers are working together to form a cooperative: a group of farmers who market their crops under a single banner. Though common in the rest of the country, co-ops are rare here.

› Analysis: Brevard's gambling potential runs high
Brevard County is part of one of the nation’s top feeder markets to nearby casinos, according to a recently released study on bringing gambling to Florida.

› MacDill civilian furloughs begin Monday
Furloughs of 3,550 civilian employees at MacDill Air Force Base begin Monday, as base leaders fight to maintain morale even as workers lose at least $9.2 million in pay. Most of the employees — about 2,200 — work for the 6th Air Mobility Wing, which is MacDill's host unit.

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› Shadow of student loans could hurt housing market as graduates swim in debt
38 million Americans face a staggering $1 trillion in student loans, more than people nationwide owe on car loans or credit cards. So instead of buying their first home after graduation, those educated debtors are running the other way, stoking worries that the massive debt could block many from the housing market just as it begins to rebuild.

› Big banks working to reconnect with their everyday customers
John P. Moskos, 62, is Central Florida market president for Bank of America Corp. and the Orlando-Tampa Bay market president of the giant bank's U.S. Trust Wealth Management unit. He spoke recently with Orlando Sentinel staff writer Richard Burnett.

› Column: Costly lessons
You’ve just graduated from college and landed your first “adult” job. You dream of fancy vacations, designer clothes and a cool apartment. Then, like the average U.S. college graduate, you receive your first payment due notice for the $23,000 you’ve racked up in student debt. And you’ve just learned your first adult lesson: It’s time to pay up.

› Tampa International Airport gets technological update
There's a new way of looking at things at Tampa International Airport — visually and mentally. The airport is in the midst of a $7 million project to install new digital signs. High-definition flat-screen TVs, video walls and other displays will broadcast a constantly updated stream of data to travelers: arrival and departure times, weather forecasts, anything that could affect their flights.