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Even before Hurricane Irma arrived at Florida's doorstep scammers geared into action.

HSN

Home shopping giant and one of the largest employers in St. Petersburg, HSN, is being bought out by its main competitor.

QVC’s parent company, Liberty Interactive, already owns 38 percent of HSN shares. With the new deal, however, the business once known as the Home Shopping Network will cede control of the remaining shares to the rival retail outlet.

The deal is reportedly worth $2.1 billion.

Drivers got a taste of freedom from high prices at the gas pump over the long Independence Day weekend. But these low prices may soon be a thing of the past.

Gas prices have been flirting with going under the $2-a-gallon mark for a couple of weeks now, and were at their lowest price for the July 4th holiday in over a decade.  

Fl Power & Light Accelerates Plans To Add Solar Power

Feb 20, 2017
Photo Courtesy Florida Power & Light

Florida's largest electric utility intends to double its solar-energy plans for the coming year, leading solar proponents to praise the announcement --- and say they would like to see more.

A month after outlining plans to build four solar plants this year, Florida Power & Light on Monday said it will put up eight such facilities by early 2018.

The company anticipates the plants --- combining to create nearly 600 megawatts of power, enough for about 120,000 homes at peak production --- will save customers "millions" over the lifetime of each center.

Duke Energy Cleared Of Paying Big Tab In Nuclear Plant Dispute

Dec 24, 2016
Wikipedia Commons

In a dispute involving an ill-fated plan to build nuclear reactors in Levy County, a federal judge last week said Duke Energy is not required to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to a company that designs and constructs nuclear plants.

Quincy Walters / WUSF News

In November, Hillsborough County saw an increase in bed tax revenue--a five percent tax on hotel and resort stays. Nearly $2.5 million in bed taxes were collected last month. 

www.flickr.com

Some small businesses throughout the Tampa Bay area will be getting surprise visits this week, as part of the inaugural “Small Biz Support Squad”.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

President Obama's decision to open the U.S. market to Cuban cigars could impact Tampa. Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio toured the city's sole remaining cigar manufacturer, J.C. Newman Cigar Co., and he has more than the island nation in his sights.

He also took aim at new U.S. regulations. Those include government approval of new cigar blends and requiring larger warning labels on cigar boxes. Rubio says that's something the Cubans won't have to do.

Kathy Putnam

October is Disability Employment Awareness Month. 

Florida kicked off its observance of the month Thursday at Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay.

Tampa restaurateur Richard Gonzmart, who was diagnosed with dyslexia and attention deficit disorder, said that everyone has some type of ability. Businesses lose out when they dismiss people with disabilities, he said. 

Incoming House Speaker: Scott Jobs Recruitment "Socialism"

Oct 13, 2016
Fl House of Representatives

Labeling the use of business recruitment incentives as "socialism," incoming House Speaker Richard Corcoran told a Texas audience this week he doesn't expect Florida lawmakers to give such money to Gov. Rick Scott --- or to Scott's successor.

Visit Tampa Bay

While Britain continues dealing with the fallout of its vote to leave the European Union, tourism experts are looking at the possible effects the decision will have on tourism here in Florida.

The M3 Center for Hospitality Technology and Innovation at USF Sarasota-Manatee hosted an online panel discussion on the subject Wednesday.

Tampa Bay Times Sells St. Petersburg Headquarters

Apr 24, 2016

The Tampa Bay Times has announced it sold its eight-story downtown St. Petersburg building for $19 million to a joint venture group: Convergent Capital Partners and Denholtz Associates.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

According to a feasibility study released Friday, the Museum of Science and Industry would benefit greatly by moving to downtown Tampa.

The 171-page study, which was funded by the museum and Hillsborough County, did not discuss a specific location, size or cost of a new science center, nor possible funding sources.

However, it raised the possibility of a new museum being part of Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik's billion dollar renovation plan for the Channelside District.

Take a look at the next box of strawberries you find in the store. Depending on where in the country you happen to be, it may have come from Florida. But it won't for much longer.

Why?

Port Tampa Bay

The hardest part of getting a business off the ground is finding resources and money.

Downtown Tampa will become a hub for creators and investors to meet starting Monday, February 8. The goal is to make launching a startup easier in the Bay area.

Tampa Bay Startup Week will host workshops, panels and networking events centered on entrepreneurship. 

Tourism Leaders Challenge Change to Bed Tax

Feb 1, 2016
Christopher Collier

Leaders in Tampa Bay's tourism industry said they're concerned about a legislative proposal to designate part of the local bed tax for police services. 

The bed tax, formally known as the Tourist Development Tax, is $.05 on the dollar in most area counties – $.06 per dollar in Pinellas County --  for hotel rooms, timeshares and short-term rentals.

The proposal from Rep. Brad Drakes, R-DeFuniak Springs, would set aside 10 percent of the bed tax for police services. 

Roberto Roldan / WUSF

The excitement for Saturday's annual Gasparilla Parade is ramping up, but some local businesses along the parade route are closing down.

Two Americans laid off by Disney have filed lawsuits in federal court in Tampa, against Disney and two global consulting companies, which brought in foreign workers who replaced them. They claim the companies colluded to break the law by using temporary H-1B visas to bring in immigrant workers, knowing that Americans would be displaced.

Crystal River Nuclear Financing Plan Gets State Approval

Nov 17, 2015
Wikipedia Commons

Saying the move will save hundreds of millions of dollars for Duke Energy Florida customers, state regulators Tuesday approved a financing proposal for costs tied to the shuttered Crystal River nuclear plant.

The decision by the Florida Public Service Commission came after years of controversy about the damaged power plant, but the financing proposal drew support from Duke, consumer attorneys and business groups.

On Monday, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik shared his vision about Tampa's Channelside District and downtown. But Vinik's goal is to make downtown more than just office buildings.

Before Vinik came to Tampa and bought the Lightning, he Googled 'how to buy a sports team'," he said. 

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