Business

Business
5:59 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

The Billionaire Who Remade Retirement Living On A Massive Scale

Gary Morse, with wife Sharon, in 1999. Morse transformed a mobile home park in Florida into The Villages, a retirement community of more than 100,000 residents.
Stephen M. Dowell Orlando Sentinel

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 6:41 pm

Gary Morse, a visionary property developer, transformed a Florida mobile home park into the nation's largest retirement community. The billionaire died Wednesday at the age of 77.

Under Morse's direction, The Villages, northwest of Orlando, redefined retirement living. It's a community that is remarkable most of all for its size — home to nearly 100,000 residents living in dozens of communities, spread over an area the size of Manhattan.

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Business
10:37 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Lawsuit Filed In Federal Court Against Florida's Beer Growler Ban

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 3:50 pm

 A craft brewery on the Treasure Coast is fighting Florida's growler ban in federal court. The owners, along with a national legal group, filed a civil rights lawsuit Tuesday with the U.S. District Court in Fort Pierce.

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1:50 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

The $137 Million Sarasota Deal That Got Away

Lead in text: 
Since its inception, Sarasota County's business growth plan — like many around the state — has had mixed success luring employers like this. But in the competitive world of economic development, where job-starved communities use promises of cash incentives and tax breaks to reel in corporate spending, this was kind of prey that local officials could not help but chase. This was one that got away.
SARASOTA COUNTY - It was a quiet Monday in September 2013 when the phone rang in Mark Huey's office. It was the start of something called "Project Yellow." And in the end, the deal hit a dead-end.
Business
9:39 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Florida Regulators Approve New Electric Rates

Credit www.blendspace.com

Florida regulators are signing off on new rates for three of the state's biggest power companies that will result in some customers paying less.

The Public Service Commission on Wednesday approved cost recovery charges for Florida Power & Light, Gulf Power Company, and Tampa Electric Company. The new rates will take effect in January 2015.

These charges include the amount of money that utilities are expected to pay for fuel in the coming year.

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Business
11:07 am
Tue October 14, 2014

Where's Wyllie? Libertarian Gubernatorial Candidate Fights For A Spot In Debates

Wyllie is Florida's Libertarian candidate for Governor

Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 5:55 pm

Last Friday, Spanish language TV station Telemundo aired the first of Florida’s gubernatorial debates.  But Telemundo chose not to include Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie. 

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Business
5:59 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Florida's Shrinking Workforce

Originally published on Mon October 6, 2014 10:09 am

This is a three-part radio series produced in partnership with The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting.

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Business
4:53 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Regulators Order Duke Energy to Refund Money to Customers

No steam rising lately
Credit www.pennenergy.com

State regulators are ordering one of Florida's largest power companies to refund $54 million it collected from ratepayers to pay for a failed nuclear plant.

The Florida Public Service Commission voted Thursday to require Duke Energy to credit customers for equipment intended for a plant in Levy County. The company never received the equipment and is suing the vendor.

Duke announced last year it was abandoning plans to build the plant in the small county on the Gulf coast.

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Business
9:39 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Utility, Foes of 'Smart Meters' Square Off

State regulators Tuesday took up a dispute about a Florida Power & Light plan to collect extra money from thousands of customers who refuse to allow "smart" meters to gauge electricity use.

The dispute involves only a fraction of FPL's customers, but it is part of a broader controversy in which critics say they worry the new meter technology could pose threats to their privacy or health.

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Business
8:15 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

State Senator Seeks to Rein in Utility Bill Extensions

Duke Energy's Crystal River nuclear generator
Credit File photo

State utility regulators would have to give formal approval before Duke Energy Florida or any other power company could again hike customer bills through a temporary billing-cycle extension, under a measure being worked on by Sen. Charlie Dean, R-Inverness.

Dean's office announced Monday that the senator is planning a pair of utility-related proposals for the 2015 legislative session, including one that would require approval by the state Public Service Commission before the start of any billing-cycle extensions that are not emergency-related.

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Business
10:38 am
Sat September 20, 2014

State-Backed Citizens Insurance May Put Early End to Storm Tax

A 1 percent charge imposed on most homeowners' policies to help the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. cover losses from the last of the 2005 hurricanes may come off the books two years early.

Citizens' Board of Governors will be asked Wednesday to put an end date of July 1, 2015, on the storm assessment, which has been slated to continue until June 30, 2017, according a proposal on the board's agenda.

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Business
4:39 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

August Unemployment Numbers Up Slightly

Credit fr.wikipedia.org

The August unemployment rates for Florida were released today. Changes were minimal from July to August.
Florida’s unemployment rate for August is 6.3%, slightly higher than the rate for July.

Florida has a higher unemployment than the U.S., with the national rate coming in at 6.1 percent. In the bay area, Hernando county has the highest unemployment rate at 8.8 percent.

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1:25 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Citrus Disease Battle Unites Growers, Researchers, Entrepreneurs

Lead in text: 
The disease is called citrus greening and is carried by a tiny, invasive bug called the Asian citrus psyllid. The disease attacks a citrus tree’s ability to take in nutrients and retain fruit. “It’s the biggest challenge we face as an industry right now,” said Andrew Meadows, director of communications of Florida Citrus Mutual, which markets and lobbies for the state’s $9 billion citrus industry.
The current menace ravaging Florida's citrus industry has brought together growers, researchers and entrepreneurs in hopes of limiting its effects, if not eradicating it. The disease is called citrus greening and is carried by a tiny, invasive bug called the Asian citrus psyllid.
Business
5:04 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Low-Wage Workers Protest in Temple Terrace

Credit Lucielle Salomon / WUSF

 Across the country and in Florida, low-wage workers protested on Thursday at lunchtime for higher pay. One of the places they gathered was at a McDonald's in Temple Terrace.

They want to be paid at least $15 per hour, and they also want the right to form a union.

Mandy Spencer works at the fast food restaurant in Temple Terrace. She said was nervous to go outside  and protest, but said her manager gave her permission.

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Business
5:12 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Tampa Bay Times Forum is Kaput, Welcome Amalie Arena

Tampa Bay Times Forum - not for long
Credit Steve Newborn / WUSF News

First, it was the Ice Palace - a homage to its main tenant, the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team.

Then, the then-St. Petersburg Times shelled out $30 million in 2002 for a 12-year deal to rename the palace the St. Pete Times Forum. That name shifted to the Tampa Bay Times Forum when the newspaper rebranded itself.

Now, it's the Amalie Arena.

In 2011, after Lightning owner Jeff Vinik purchased the Lightning, the naming rights deal was extended to 2018. Vinik announced today the Times is becoming the "exclusive print sponsor" of the 19,204-seat arena.

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Business
3:54 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Falcon's Fury Opens - Finally - at Busch Gardens Tampa

Tall, isn't it?
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Busch Gardens' Falcon's Fury is finally open. After testing that took months, the tallest free-standing drop tower in North America is now giving people the chance to fall face-down towards the ground at 60 miles per hour.

Falcon's Fury is the main attraction of Pantopia - the new area of the theme park that opened in April.

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