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Tuesday's Daily Pulse

Ex-U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown gets 5 years in prison

Corrine Brown
Corrine Brown

A federal judge sentenced former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown to five years in prison on Monday, followed by three years of probation, for fraud and other charges related to a purported charity for poor students that she used as a personal slush fund. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy J. Corrigan sentenced Brown to serve 60 months in prison; Brown’s long-time Chief of Staff Elias “Ronnie” Simmons to serve 48 months in prison; and Carla Wiley, the president of the fraudulent charity, to serve 21 months in prison. Full news release from the U.S. Department of Justice, here. Also read more at Orlando Sentinel, the Florida Times-Union and the New York Times.

Column: 3.1 million reasons to support Florida's Small Business Saturday bill

Small Business Saturday Sales Tax Holiday has emerged as an opportunity to bring small businesses and consumers closer by allowing small businesses to waive sales tax on items costing less than $1,000 the Saturday after Thanksgiving. [Source: Florida Today]

Puerto Rico business owners seek post-Maria success in Florida

Because of Hurricane Maria’s destruction, many evacuees are moving branch offices, professional firms and headquarters to Florida. Others are setting up their own new businesses as contractors, especially in construction. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Florida growers catching up after delays due to Irma

Florida vegetable operations are finally approaching normal production, nearly three months after Hurricane Irma pummeled the state. Some had already begun harvesting certain items. Others expected it would be December or even January before they were shipping regular volumes. Full story from The Packer, here. Also read more at AgWeb.

See also:
» Strong market for tomatoes after Irma

Deadly storm could prompt big changes by Florida legislators

One top Republican is recommending that the state extend the Suncoast Parkway north from Citrus County to the Georgia state line to help with evacuations. Other ideas include creating fuel farms and leasing a cruise ship to help with evacuations from the Florida Keys. [Source: AP]


› Manatee tourism board recommends investments in pier and sports complex
Taxes paid on motel rooms and other short-term lodgings in Manatee County could be used to partially pay for two assets that attract tourists: the restoration of the historic pier in Anna Maria and the public acquisition of the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch.

› How did Miami end up with the best airport in the country for transit?
Miami International Airport leads the nation in transit options, according to a new ranking that gives credit to the number of bus routes running from the busy travel hub to diverse destinations.

› Six Florida cities in lowest percent of homes with emergency savings, study finds
A WalletHub study ranked six Florida cities in the lowest percentage of households with emergency savings. Tampa and St. Petersburg, tied at No. 113, and Miami, Hialeah, Fort Lauderdale and Pembroke Pines, all tied at No. 115, took the bottom spots. More on this study from WalletHub, here.

› Tampa Bay area construction firms pessimistic about availability of workers
With construction booming and Hurricane Irma repair work abundant, the Tampa Bay area’s crunch for skilled labor is getting crunchier.

Your turn:
» How much is construction booming in your Florida city? (quick poll)

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› Marco Island sees eye-popping home sales as busy season kicks off
Marco Island Realtor Jim Prange had a lot to be thankful for in November. He and his daughter, Nikki Prange-Carroll, partners and associates with Premier Sotheby’s International Realty's Marco office, had a busy month that included the resale of the priciest home ever sold on the island.

› Bank of America hands Orlando Science Center $200,000 grant
The Orlando Science Center has received $200,000, along with the potential to access more capital in the future, from Bank of America, museum and bank officials announced.

› Christmas tree shortage impacts Sarasota
The nationwide shortage, which the National Christmas Tree Association said is a delayed result of the Great Recession a decade ago, is driving up prices and cutting supplies, including for some in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

› Jacksonville Jaguars see EverBank Field tour program as way to hook more fans
A tour group of about a dozen people had that rare glimpse from an NFL owner’s point of view last week as part of a newly instituted stadium tour program by the Jaguars.

› Global business delegation touring the Space Coast Tuesday for best practices, innovation gains
Brevard County apparently has some things to teach the world when it comes to tech innovation and entrepreneurship — and some of that instruction begins Tuesday.