5:42 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Florida Tourism Posts Largest Second Quarter Ever

Florida had a record number of visitors during this past spring.

Gov. Rick Scott announced Tuesday that 24 million tourists visited the state during the second quarter of 2014.

That's a three percent jump over the same time period a year ago, and the largest second quarter ever for the state.

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11:47 am
Fri August 15, 2014

The Latest on Florida's Unemployment Numbers


July unemployment rates were released today. The unemployment rates in Florida from June to July were unchanged at 6.2 percent, but, Tampa Bay's unemployment rate rose from 6.3 percent to 6.8 percent, losing 7,000 jobs over the month.

The unemployment rate for the US in July is also at 6.2 percent. Florida’s unemployment rate has been less than or equal to the national rate for 14 of the last 15 months.

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10:17 am
Tue August 5, 2014

Report: Fla. On Track To Meet 100 Million Visitor Goal, Create More Tourism Jobs

Florida TaxWatch’s Chief Economist Jerry Parrish (left) and Visit Florida's President and CEO Will Seccombe speaking during a press conference Monday.

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 4:12 pm

Since 2009, Florida has seen a steady increase in the number of visitors to the Sunshine State, and has had record tourism numbers. A new study by a non-partisan watchdog group shows Florida may now also be on track to meeting a big milestone: attracting 100 million visitors by 2015.

Will Seccombe is the head of Florida’s tourism agency, Visit Florida. He says there’s no question in his mind that the industry is on a steady upswing—as outlined in a report by Florida TaxWatch.

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5:24 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

MOSI Gets $2 Million Grant from Florida Hospital

Credit WUSF Public Media

Florida Hospital gave Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry $2 million on Friday. Long-time CEO Wit Ostrenko, who announced his retirement plans earlier this year, accepted the multimillion dollar check from Florida Hospital West Florida Region President/CEO Mike Schultz. Also in attendance were various board members of both institutions, along with State Sen. John Legg and Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham.

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12:52 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

After 150 Years of Rolling Them, Tampa Is Close to No Cigars

Lead in text: 
On the northern side of Ybor City sits the J. C. Newman Cigar Company factory, a family-owned business tucked inside a classic brick building nicknamed El Reloj, a nod to its clock tower. Both have defied the maw of modernity to outlive a century. But now J. C. Newman faces its biggest threat: the possibility that the Food and Drug Administration may introduce strict, expensive regulations on cigars that the Newman brothers, who operate the company, say could close the last working cigar factory in town.
TAMPA, Fla. - Some unforgettable places waft into memory on a scent. For Floridians, it may be the sweetness of mangoes in Miami, the salt-sprinkled air of the Keys, the pungency of the Everglades.
4:25 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Job Numbers Released; Florida Trending Upward


Florida is leading the nation in job growth, adding more than 37,000 jobs this month. The Tampa Bay area has added over 25,000 jobs in the last 12 months, third among metro areas in Florida, according to state officials..

A rise in jobs means a dip in the unemployment rate, the statewide unemployment rate for 2014 is 6.2 percent, down from 7.4 percent in June 2013. Jesse Panuccio, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, says the job picture is trending upward.

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1:34 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Florida Unemployment Rate Higher than U.S. Rate

Florida's unemployment rate is now higher than the national rate.

The state's jobless rate in June was 6.2 percent. That's a slight dip from the previous month when it was 6.3 percent.

But the national unemployment rate is 6.1 percent. This is the first time in more than a year that Florida's rate is higher than the national rate.

The good economic news is that the state led the nation in job growth according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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4:49 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Selig: Rays Can Make Succeed - With New Stadium

Lead in text: 
Speaking shortly before the final All-Star Game he'll oversee as Major League Baseball commissioner, Bud Selig again said Tuesday that the Tampa Bay Rays need a new ballpark. reports Selig said he'll leave any decisions on if and where a new stadium would be built up to Rays owner Stuart Sternberg.
Outgoing baseball commissioner Bud Selig said the Tampa Bay area has the demographics to succeed as a major-league market but reiterated the Rays' need for a new ballpark. However, after years of vocal disappointment from his office over low attendance and the need to replace Tropicana Field, Selig remarked Tuesday that he was leaving the stadium situation in the hands of Rays owner Stuart Sternberg.
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6:29 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Cigar Factory Pushes Back on Proposed Regulation

Tuptim Ploysawon has worked at J.C. Newman Cigar Factory for almost five years.
Lottie Watts WUSF

Gov. Rick Scott's office is continuing to push back against cigar regulations proposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

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3:25 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Duke Energy Holds Open House on New Crystal River Power Plant

An artist's drawing of a power plant that Duke Energy proposes to build in Citrus County. The giant plant would run on natural gas. (Duke Energy / July 8, 2014)

Duke Energy Florida will host an open house on its proposed combined-cycle natural gas plant in Citrus County Thursday.

It will be held between 3 and 7 p.m. in the Magnolia room at the Plantation on Crystal River, 9301 W. Fort Island Trail, Crystal River.

On May 13, Duke Energy Florida announced plans to construct a new combined-cycle natural gas plant in Citrus County to supply 1,640 megawatts of generation to help serve Florida's approximately 1.7 million customers in 2018.

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10:13 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Study Raises Questions about Future of Tampa Cruise Industry

Carnival Cruise Lines' Legend passes beneath the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in 2009.
Credit Port of Tampa

The Tampa Bay area has three options when it comes to the future of its cruise ship industry - and two of them would cost a lot of money.

That's the conclusion reached in a Florida Department of Transportation study released Tuesday.

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5:01 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Travel & Leisure Magazine: TIA #2 Best U.S. Airport

File photo

For the second year in a row, Travel & Leisure magazine has ranked Tampa International Airport second on its "Best Domestic Airports" list.

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2:31 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

How Much House You Can Buy, In 385 U.S. Cities

A Planet Money chart shows how Tampa stacks up to the most expensive cities in the country when it comes to the ratio of home prices to household income.
Credit Planet Money

On the heels of the chart showing how far your paycheck goes in over 350 U.S. cities (which was amazingly popular on our Facebook page), here's another great chart from the Planet Money folks.

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5:34 pm
Sun June 15, 2014

Old Tampa Federal Courthouse Gets New Lease on Life

Steve Newborn WUSF

The old federal courthouse used to be one of the most imposing buildings in downtown Tampa. That was before federal officials decamped to a new skyscraper and left the old building to the harsh Florida elements. After being left empty for for decades, the courthouse is now the Le Meriden hotel. Today's grand opening has been a long time coming.

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3:44 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Look Out Spider-Man, Captain Citrus is Coming

Captain Citrus, Away!

Marvel Comics, the creative home of Spider-Man, the Avengers, and the X-Men, might soon revamp the Florida Department of Citrus' own caped crusader.

The state agency, as it redirects marketing dollars to help juice the industry's sales, expects to finalize talks in the next few weeks with the Disney-owned company on a contract worth about $1 million to redesign Captain Citrus from a rotund creature from the Planet Orange into a male superhero.

Department spokesman David Steele said the goal is to transform the state program into a global brand.

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