Business

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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Business
9:14 am
Mon September 1, 2014

In Florida, Labor Not Doing Well This Labor Day

Originally published on Mon September 1, 2014 2:28 pm

Labor Day was created to celebrate the country’s labor movement and its social and economic achievements, but a new study from FIU’s Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy (RISEP) may dampen some of this year’s celebration.

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Business
6:40 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Duke Energy Called Before State Regulators to Explain Billing Change

Duke Energy Florida will have to explain to state regulators an ongoing change in its billing process that two lawmakers say is spiking costs.

Public Service Commission Chairman Art Graham on Monday asked Duke Energy Florida President Alex Glenn to appear at a Sept. 4 meeting to address concerns raised by state Sens. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, and Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, about billing-cycle adjustments and related increased customer payments.

Glenn will be at the meeting, a company spokesman said.

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Business
11:42 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Invasive Insect Threatens Iconic Florida Citrus

Ellis Hunt Jr., 61, walks past an orange tree affected by "greening.” The Lake Wales family owns 5,000-plus acres of groves and is part of the co-op that contributes to Florida's Natural, the third-largest juice brand in the country.
Lynne Sladky/AP

The tourists stream to Florida in their cars, intent on a week at Disney or a sugar-sand seashore or a nonstop party on South Beach. Road weary and thirsty, they pull over at one of the state’s five official welcome centers. They walk inside, and then they look up.

“The best start under the sun,” reads a big sign. “FLORIDA ORANGE JUICE.”

Behind a counter, a woman sits with a stack of paper cups. “Welcome to Florida,” she says with a big smile. “Orange or grapefruit?”

The juice is cold and sweet. It tastes like the Sunshine State.

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Business
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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Business
11:47 am
Fri August 15, 2014

The Latest on Florida's Unemployment Numbers

Credit wikipedia.org

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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Business
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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Business
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.

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