Despite Cuba ban, Florida’s $8 billion cruise industry sailing along
From Florida docks to Wall Street stocks, the Trump administration's new restrictions on travel to Cuba have fostered confusion and, in some cases, impromptu itinerary changes for passengers on Havana-bound cruise ships at sea. But despite the loss of a new port-of-call that was gaining in popularity, the Cuba travel ban should have little overall impact on Florida’s $8 billion a year cruise industry. [Source: The Center Square]
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Teaching in Florida vs. around the world
A decade ago, FLORIDA TREND interviewed high school students in foreign countries, looking for a sense of how their school lives compared with those of Florida students. This year — as pay and working conditions for teachers nationwide draw increasing attention — TREND set out to do the same with teachers in foreign countries. We asked them about their training. Class sizes. Pay. Working conditions.
The South’s economy is falling behind: ‘All of a sudden the money stops flowing’
The American South spent much of the past century trying to overcome its position as the country’s poorest and least-developed region, with considerable success: By the 2009 recession it had nearly caught up economically with its northern and western neighbors. The trend has now reversed. Since 2009, the South's convergence has turned to divergence, as the region recorded the country's slowest growth in output and wages, the lowest labor-force participation rate and the highest unemployment rate.[Source: Wall Street Journal]
Florida gas prices drop after surprise jump
Gas prices in Florida are declining again after a surprise hike last week. AAA says the state average rose 6 cents per gallon last week but has since dropped by 3 cents a gallon. The most expensive gas prices in the state this week are in south Florida with the least expensive available in the Panhandle. Check gas prices in your area with the GasBuddy app and read more from WJXT and the Tampa Bay Times.
Florida assault weapons ban amendment heads to Supreme Court for review — could be on 2020 ballot
A group pushing to ban assault weapons in Florida has hit a significant milestone in its effort to place a proposed constitutional amendment on the 2020 ballot. A bipartisan organization led in part by survivors of mass shootings in Orlando and Parkland, announced Monday that it has obtained 103,000 signed petitions. The total should be enough to trigger a Florida Supreme Court review of its proposed ballot question, a mandatory step in the process. More from the Tampa Bay Times and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Zillow’s home-buying service debuts in Orlando [Orlando Sentinel]
Zillow, the real estate data company that grew into popularity by giving consumers access to estimated property prices, launched its own home buying program Zillow Offers on Monday in Orlando. Zillow Offers joins Offerpad and Opendoor among the new category of tech-driven “iBuyer” companies that want to buy homes directly and then resell them.
› Scooter use grows in Tampa, but so do complaints about scooter users [Tamp Bay Times]
Two weeks after the city launched its experiment with allowing electric scooters to swarm sidewalks, the number of scooters is growing but so is the number of complaints. Four companies now rent scooters to Tampa riders looking for something faster than walking and easier to park than a car. To keep pace with demand, at least two are already expanding into more areas of the city.
› Florida strawberry growers in good spirits after fruitful season [Growing Produce]
The Florida Strawberry Growers Association recently held its 37th annual Agritech education program and trade show in Plant City. The event had a great turnout of growers and allied industry to learn what’s new in berry production, technology, and markets. One grower commented, “A lot of growers finally made some money this year.”
› Naples-based Catalyst OrthoScience closes $12.7 million round of financing [Naples Daily News]
A Naples-based medical device manufacturer has closed on its biggest round of funding yet. The company — Catalyst OrthoScience — raised $12.7 million in its third round of funding, millions more than it sought. The target? $8 million. Offering a novel total shoulder replacement system with several patents, the homegrown business continues to see a growing demand for its product across the country.
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› Polk, Florida economies to grow through 2022 [News Chief]
Florida man (and woman) can expect a good economy through 2020. So can Polk County man and woman, although less so, according to a recent four-year economic forecast from the University of Central Florida. “Florida Man should be able to find a job in this economic environment,” according to the assessment from the Institute for Economic Forecasting, part of the UCF College of Business.
› Sarasota’s Bobby Jones golf course unlikely to be sustainable [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
The release of a city consultant’s business plan for the Bobby Jones Golf Complex shows that even after pricey renovations, the course’s revenues won’t make it up to par. The city has been subsidizing the course through its largely property tax-funded general fund. The course received $425,000 last year and $650,000 this year.
› Clearwater history museum opens doors on Saturday [Tampa Bay Times]
After years of fundraising and work by society volunteers, the Clearwater Historical Society Museum and Cultural Center will become reality on Saturday, when the society hosts the public, including history lovers and local leaders, at its unveiling.
› Sponsorship gives pool company presence at MLB stadium [Business Observer]
Port Charlotte-based Superior Pools of Southwest Florida recently signed a three-year contract for a sponsorship at the new Atlanta Braves spring training stadium in North Port, CoolToday Park. Owner Jon Krawczyk says the sponsorship is about getting the Superior Pools name out into the community. “To be part of a professional baseball team like that — that’s a big deal,” he says.