Florida's business leaders are not yet toasting the advent of closer trade ties to Cuba. The state that stands to gain the most from President Barack Obama's historic outreach to Cuba is also the most reluctant to do business with the Castro regime or to relax a five-decade U.S. embargo. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
The number of properties that lenders repossessed in foreclosures nationwide last year is at an eight-year low, but Florida continued to have the nation's highest foreclosure rate in 2014. [Source: AP]
The Florida Department of Health is taking action on climate change. It's handing out $10,000 grants to people and organizations exploring the health impacts of a warming world. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
People in South Florida are paying more for food and housing than a year ago — so much that it more than ate up a 22.1 percent drop in gasoline prices, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Along with rising prices and a growing number of sales, here's another sign of Florida's rejuvenated housing market: more real estate agents. Last year, 24,183 people passed the state test required to become licensed sales associates. That was 36 percent more than in 2013 and by far the most since 2009. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Business groups float Medicaid expansion proposals [Gainesville Sun]
Avoiding the term Medicaid expansion, some influential business groups in the state have floated plans for Florida to accept federal funding to expand health care coverage to approximately 1 million uninsured, low-income people.
› Virtual reality summit featuring Randi Zuckerberg coming to Miami Beach [Miami Herald]
A conference next week in Miami Beach will explore how virtual reality and wearable technologies have already begun to transform healthcare, education, entertainment and other industries.
› Wedding businesses say 'I Do' to gay marriage [Florida Today]
Florida earlier this month began allowing same-sex marriages, and, like many states, more and more communities are faced with a new set of social factors as it pertains to same-sex marriages.
› FIU’s bet on Miss Universe comes with a price [Miami Herald]
Florida International University will take center stage next Sunday when the school hosts the Miss Universe pageant, an event beamed to a worldwide television audience. School administrators are banking on the exposure to raise the profile of Miami’s sometimes-overlooked state university.
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› Controversial film could be required in Florida's high schools [Fort Myers News-Press]
Hoping to "balance out" perceived anti-American sentiments of public school history classes, Florida lawmakers have proposed a bill that would require students to watch a controversial patriotic film not once, but twice, before they graduate.
› Florida salsa company donates profits to military charities [Military Times]
Stan McQuiston's company, For the Troops Inc., was founded with the goal of sending all its profits to military-related charities.
› Bren-Tronics' Alachua plant has shut down [Gainesville Sun]
New York-based Bren-Tronics Energy Systems moved into the former Energizer plant near Alachua in 2010 with research funds from the military and hopes of bringing lithium ion battery cell production to the United States.
› College-bound students forgo millions in aid by avoiding FAFSA [Tampa Bay Times]
Nearly half of all high school students never even submit an FAFSA. In Florida alone, a new study finds, more than $100 million in available college aid known as Pell Grants goes unclaimed. Unlike other forms of aid, Pell Grants do not need to be repaid.